BRICS – Civil society working group on Gender Inequality – Policy Brief June 2018

From the 25th – 26th of June 2018, the BRICS Civics held a consultation to finalise recommendations for the July 2018 BRICS summit. This policy brief provides a summary and recommendations from the Gender Inequality Session. South Africa’s hosting of the summit, prioritisation of gender and expected launch of a BRICS women’s forum in the session was aimed at strengthening the momentum towards a stronger gender equality agenda within the BRICS. Gender inequality is a common challenge across all the BRICS countries. Some of the key issues raised in this dialogue pertained to the need for BRICS countries to do more to address gender-based violence (GBV), workplace discrimination, education, improve data gathering, address financial exclusion, implement gender sensitive fiscal planning, economically empower women and improve access to justice.

Download PDF here: BRICS PB 25th of June- Illustrated final

Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill – 28 June 2018

Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

Pretoria, 28 June 2018

Keynote speaker:

Hon. John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development


On the 28th of June 2018, SALO in partnership with the Embassies of Norway and the Netherlands hosted a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill at the Sierra Burgers Park hotel in Pretoria. Stakeholders in attendance represented organisations such as Centre for Human Rights UP, Restorative Justice Centre (RJC), the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Access Chapter, Save the Children, the Embassies of Norway, Netherlands and Central African Republic. Opening remarks were made by Ambassador of Norway, Ms Trine Skymoen followed by keynote speaker, Hon. John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. The event was chaired by Dr Showers Mawowa.

The Ambassador of Norway, Ms Skymoen, spoke of Europe’s experience in witnessing a rise of right-wing and xenophobic rhetoric. The importance of hate crimes and speech bill is evident in the European context. She speaks of the interlinked issues of hate crime and hate speech as a rising global challenge which is somewhat a paradox considering society is becoming more accepting and diverse. Extremist movements strongly oppose diverse and inclusive societies and while being a minority, they cannot be ignored. Intolerance and hatred is not simply cured by economic progress and development. The dialogue nurtured robust and enlightening discussion surrounding the bill, but all were clear that we must stand together in fighting against hate speech and hate crimes.

Deputy Minister, John Jeffrey, gave an overview of the bill and its status, speaking to the importance of prosecuting related crimes but emphasising that the law will not be a solution to ‘unacceptably high’ levels of racism and hateful violence in South Africa. Following this, the session focused on debating the issues surrounding the bill, specifically in relation to hate speech. Right2Know raised concerns about how criminalising hate speech, could possibly criminalise freedom of expression and protest. LGBTQI activists spoke of the influence of Religious organisations who can still preach hate if it does not actively encourage violence. They state that hate crime can be directly linked to hate speech so hateful sermons can encourage violence against minorities. The bill was seen to be dealing with the branches of racism and hate rather than the roots. The RJC emphasised the importance of restorative justice and how it can prevent high levels of recidivism, something which the bill is lacking. This tied into the finals point raised on the importance of social cohesion and how we need to look at this issue from all dimensions and using all the instruments at our disposal.

Participants felt the presentation provided a good overview of the Bill and the following discussions were insightful and informative. Participants also found they were able to ask questions and voice opinions directly to the government. Going forward suggestions were made about engaging in certain topics around solutions such as social cohesion and social contract making in SA.


“What I found most useful is the information that there’s still opportunity for public consultations with prominent figures” – Geoffery Uqwauo, Center for Human Rights

“Open Dialogue with sufficient time for discussion”- Gift Kgomosotho, SAHRC

“They offer dialogue that is informative”- Stanley Thabang Malata, RHS (PM)


Refugees fleeing the DRC

Refugees fleeing the DRC

“Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.” – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General            

SALO’s refugee and migrants work:

As part of its principle of regional solidarity, SALO advocates at all levels to improve the position of migrants and refugees living in South Africa, as well as conditions for the poor and marginalised host communities within which many migrants live.

Of particular concern to SALO is the relationship between migrants from the region and South African citizens. As much as the South African government is taking a leading role in constructively engaging in conflicts on the continent, South Africa’s citizens are often not well informed about the history and present of other countries in Africa. Migrants are an important point of contact between ordinary citizens and the rest of the continent. Often, however, relations between migrants and citizens in South Africa has been characterised by conflict and discrimination rather than mutual exchange and learning.

A particularly egregious form of discrimination is xenophobic violence targeting foreign nationals. Since May 2008, when hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals were forcibly evicted from townships and informal settlements around the country and at least 62 people were killed, xenophobic violence has been in the public eye nationally, regionally and internationally, and high levels of violence against foreign migrants have continued since.

SALO works with South African communities through education campaigns on the nature and histories of conflicts in neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland, the DRC and Somalia. This is done through workshops and the presentation and discussion of videos about the conflicts. SALO has also produced a video about xenophobic violence.

The aims are to increase South African understanding of the reasons for migration from these countries as a means of increasing dialogue with migrants, as well as building a constituency for the South African government’s efforts to build peaceful resolutions to the crises in these countries.

SALO’s work to counter xenophobia and xenophobic violence, and to work particularly towards increasing the rights and voice of migrants and refugees from Zimbabwe and Swaziland, is supported by the Olof Palme International Centre among others. SALO works in partnership with a range of organisations including the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum; People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP); Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa.

SALO joins South Africans in commemorating Youth Day

The 16th of June marks the anniversary of the iconic 1976 student uprisings which took place in Soweto.  It is a day of solemn remembrance for the brave youth who were struck down while peacefully rising up in rejection of the Apartheid regime’s inferior education system for black students. It is also a day for celebrating the essential role of youth in our society, as vibrant catalysts for change, and the torch bearers of our nation’s future.

We join South Africans in commemorating Youth Day.  As a civil society organisation we believe that it is our responsibility to confront our past, to challenge the future and to promote a more equal and sustainable society and region.  In light of the incredible international solidarity shown to the people of South Africa – which ultimately crippled Apartheid South Africa’s economy – South Africa has a responsibility to repay its historic debt to the world by playing a role in bringing about a more just world for all.  SALO believes that the work we do plays a part in that larger picture, both in seeking solutions to conflicts on our continent, and in bringing about awareness and behaviour change around issues such as homophobia, gender based violence and xenophobia.

Cognizant of the important role of the youth in affecting social change, SALO strives to mainstream youth participation in all aspects of our work. SALO places a strong focus on working with youth in our community-based anti-xenophobia, LGBTI rights and gender-based violence programmes.  SALO’s network includes youth from a wide array of political and student organisations, however SALO strives to prioritise the voices of black youth living in townships.

News Briefs 15 June 2018

Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo President Kabila Will Not Seek Third Term: DRC PM

Congo’s current President Joseph Kabila will not seek a third mandate in the Central African country’s upcoming December elections because of constitutional term limits that prevent him from running again, Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala said on Tuesday.

“The elections are going to take place without the participation of President Kabila who will abide by the spirit and the letter of the constitution,” Tshibala said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Conference of Montreal.

Tshibala’s comments follow signs in the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo that Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent in 2001, is prepared to run for a third elected term.

Tshibala said the elections are still scheduled to take place on 23 December.


Belgium prepared to accept DRC’s Bemba after acquittal: official

Belgium is prepared to accept former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, after he was cleared of war crimes last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders said on Thursday.

“The Belgian authorities have responded favourably to the court’s request to allow Mr Bemba to stay in Belgium, where his family lives, following his release on bail,” Reynders said in a statement, adding that the handover would be finalised in the coming days.

Bemba left the detention centre of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday following his acquittal of war crimes after a decade behind bars, his lawyer said.



UN says 53 people killed by tropical cyclone in Somalia

At least 53 people were killed and some 229,000 others affected by tropical cyclone Sagar that caused heavy rains and flooding in Somaliland and Puntland in northern Somalia in May, the UN humanitarian agency said on Thursday.

Citing estimates from local disaster management authorities in the two regional states, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 50 people were killed in Somaliland while three lost their lives in Puntland.

“The subsequent floods and strong winds exacted a heavy toll on infrastructure and farmland, leaving many people dead and thousands of others displaced. Basic infrastructure, including water sources and communication equipment, collapsed in many areas,” OCHA said in its latest Flash Update.



Somalia’s Al Shabaab Claims Attack in Which Us Soldier Died

Somalia’s Islamist group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for an attack in which a US commando was killed and four others were wounded when they came under fire in the country.

The US special operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defence Forces when they were attacked late on Friday by mortars and small arms fire.

“We attacked a military base … killed one US soldier, two Kenyan soldiers and nine Somali soldiers from Jubbaland state. We also injured four US soldiers,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters on late Friday.

He said the attack was in the southern town of Kismayo.


Central African Republic

UN peacekeeper killed in Central African Republic

A Burundian soldier in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) was killed late on Sunday in a clash in the centre of the country, UN sources said.

The fighting occurred in the town of Bambari, according to UN sources there and in the capital Bangui. A CAR soldier was also injured.

The death came a week after a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed and seven others were wounded when their patrol was ambushed in the village of Dilapoko in the southwest Mambere-Kadei prefecture.


US, France and Britain freeze sale of Chinese weaponry to Central African Republic

France, Britain and the United States on Thursday put on hold a request from the Central African Republic for UN Security Council approval of Chinese weapons deliveries for its national forces.

CAR’s defence minister asked a UN sanctions committee on June 5 to grant an exemption to an arms embargo and allow the shipments of Chinese-made armoured vehicles, machine guns, tear gas grenades and other weaponry for its army and police.

France said it had “concerns concerning some lethal equipment included in this exemption request,” citing anti-aircraft weapons and ammunitions, according to a document obtained by Agence France-Presse.

The French mission to the United Nations requested “additional justifications concerning this lethal equipment to be able to take a decision.”

South China Morning Post


Sudan’s security apparatus ban journalists from reporting

Sudanese security service Thursday enforced a new crackdown on journalists and the press as it withdrew the licence of a journalist reporting for a pan Arab newspaper and confiscated the entire print-runs of local newspapers.

Ahmed Younes, the correspondent of Asharq aA-Awast told Sudan Tribune that the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) withdrew his licence and stopped him from reporting to his London based newspaper.

He further said his suspension and the withdrawal of licence come as a continuation of the abuse he experienced from the NISS agents who had summoned him and threatened to remove his permit on 7 June.

NISS agents interrogated Younes on an article where he predicted a bloody purge (a Night of the Long Knives) within the National Congress Party, as he referred to a power struggle among the different factions of the ruling party.

Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s ruling party and opposition Umma reiterate commitment to peace roadmap

Sudan ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Thursday said they agreed to create a conducive environment for national dialogue and to commit themselves to the African Union roadmap as a mechanism to discuss national issues.

The agreement was announced in a joint statement signed by NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi and al-Hadi Abdallah who travelled to Cairo heading an NCP delegation to meet the self-exiled political leader.

“After mutual clarification of the views, it was agreed that creating the confidence-building measures and sticking to the roadmap should serve as a mechanism for discussing national issues,” reads the joint statement co-signed by the two political leaders.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

South Sudan’s cabinet passes $584 million budget for 2018-19

South Sudan’s cabinet adopted on Thursday a budget of 81.6 billion South Sudanese pounds ($584 million) for the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of 75 percent from the previous period, the government said.

More than four years of civil war have destroyed South Sudan’s economy. Inflation was at 161.2 percent in March, with hyperinflation persisting for several years due in part to its depreciating currency.

The government depends on crude oil, but output is less than half its pre-war level of 245,000 barrels per day.


South Sudan’s Kiir orders return of Muslim properties

The South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Monday directed that all properties that had earlier been confiscated from the Muslim communities be returned to them.

The president made these remarks during the annual Ramadan dinner with Muslim leaders at Freedom Hall in the capital, Juba.

The South Sudanese leader instructed the national security minister to work with the South Sudanese Islamic Council to retrieve back all the looted Muslims properties in the different parts of the country.

“The minister of national security is here with us in the hall, so I want him to go tomorrow morning [Tuesday] to visit the sites of the properties that have been grabbed. You will show him [minister] the stolen properties,” said Kiir.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

Committee of 24: Participants call to speed up Western Sahara decolonization

The delegations of several countries participating in the annual session of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, known as Committee of 24, called Monday to resume negotiations on Western Sahara to speed up its decolonization.

In a session devoted to the Sahrawi issue, the representative of the Ecuador Diego Fernando Morejon Pazmino said that it is important to focus on the resumption of the negotiations at the approach of the end of the Third International Decade of the eradication of colonialism, underlining that 30 years of failure is inacceptable.

For his part, East Timor’s representative Mautito called the Committee to intensify efforts to put an end to colonialism, pointing out that 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories provide shelter for nearly two million people.

Sahara Press Service

Cuba backs UN a just solution to Western Sahara question (PL)

The Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN, Anayansi Rodríguez, has reaffirmed the support of her country for a just and definitive solution to the question of Western Sahara.

Speaking at a session of the United Nations Decolonization Committee, the diplomat expressed Cuba’s support for the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination, based on respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law. .

In this regard, she highlighted the call of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union to initiate talks among the member states in order to establish a free and fair referendum.

“Cuba has repeatedly expressed its support for the efforts of the United Nations to find a definitive solution to this case, in such a way that the people of Western Sahara can exercise their right to self-determination.”

Sahara Press Service


Swaziland name change to eSwatini is now official

The change of name from Swaziland to eSwatini has been made official through a gazette signed by His Majesty King Mswati III.

The change was announced by King Mswati on April 19 during the double celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Swazi independence and of his 50th birthday.

Mswati explained the change by highlighting the fact that his country needed a name his people could identify with. Swazis have in the past complained of being confused with Switzerland in international fora.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 64 (3) of the Constitution of Swaziland Act No. 1 of 2005, I, Mswati III, King and Ingwenyama of Eswatini makes the declaration that the name of the Kingdom of Swaziland is changed to Kingdom of Eswatini,” read the gazette.

Africa News

‘Police Beat Man Close to Death’

Community police officers in Swaziland / Eswatini attacked a man described as ‘mentally disturbed’ and beat him close to death, a newspaper in the kingdom reported.

The Swazi Observer on Tuesday (12 June 2018) said five officers at Ngoloweni in Sandleni were accused of beating a 44-yearod man after claims that he attempted to rape a girl aged six.

The newspaper reported police and local residents ‘pounced on him and without saying much, he was handcuffed and heavily assaulted with sticks. He was also slapped and kicked all over the body.’

The Observer described the man as ‘mentally disturbed’ with ‘speech challenges’.



Twenty-three (23) presidential candidates cleared for Zimbabwe’s vote

At least 23 presidential candidates were cleared on Thursday to run in Zimbabwe’s elections due on July 30, the electoral commission announced.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) published a provisional list of approved candidates that include President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a young opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa.

More applications were still being processed for the first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted following a brief military takeover in November last year.

“We will announce another batch once we are done with the rest of what is being processed,” Japhet Munjere, ZEC director of elections told reporters.

The Zimbabwean Mail

Zimbabwe opens candidate nomination ahead of July polls

Zimbabwe fired the starting pistol for election campaigning on Thursday when it formally opened the nomination process to presidential hopefuls ahead of polls due on July 30.

The election will be a key test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded long-serving autocrat Robert Mugabe after a brief military takeover in November and remains untested at the ballot box.

Candidates seeking to contest next month’s presidential, parliamentary and local polls have just one day to submit their candidacy to one of several specially convened electoral courts across the country.

Mnangagwa, 75, of the ruling ZANU-PF party and Nelson Chamisa, 40, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are the presidential front-runners.





Africa in General

US calls for crackdown on S Sudan war money invested in Kenya

The United States urged Kenya on Wednesday to investigate properties and assets owned by elite families from South Sudan, including its president and his rival, who have enriched themselves in their country’s civil war raging since 2013.

Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence on a tour of east Africa, said South Sudanese, some of them on a sanctions list, have continued to invest illicit money in Kenya’s real estate market.

“I wanna be very clear, those who profit from human rights violations and corruption, preying on the poor and innocent and mothers and children, must heed our warning,” Mandelker told a press conference in Nairobi.


AU welcomes Sudan’s proposal to host peace meeting on South Sudan

The African Union (AU) on Tuesday welcomed Sudan’s proposal to host a meeting between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, the Sudanese Media Center reported.

“The AU welcomes any step that is likely to achieve peace in South Sudan,” said Wakil Amutingon, acting head of the AU Liaison Office in Khartoum.

In May, foreign ministers of the member states of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Africa agreed on holding a face-to-face meeting between Kiir and Machar.

The meeting is expected to revive the peace process in South Sudan and urge the parties to the conflict to implement the peace deal brokered by the IGAD in August 2015.


ICC court launches fund for CAR victims of Bemba militia

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a $1.18m fund for victims of a militia once run by former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, it said on Wednesday.


The fund – announced after Bemba was acquitted on war-crimes charges – will be dispensed to people who suffered at the hands of Bemba militia in the Central African Republic (CAR), the ICC’s director in CAR, Mike Cole, told a press conference.

The serious crimes committed in CAR “have not been forgotten,” he said.

The violence took place over a timeframe of five months in 2002-2003, at a time when the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was in the grip of a war that sucked in neighbouring countries.

Bemba at that time was leader of a militia called the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) – a 1 500-strong force backed by neighbouring Uganda and opposed to DRC President Joseph Kabila.



News Briefs 08 June 2018

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo OKs experimental Ebola treatments

The Democratic Republic of Congo has approved new experimental drugs to treat Ebola as the central African country tries to stem its latest outbreak, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

An ethics committee said the therapies could be used on the grounds of compassionate care.

The DRC declared a new outbreak of the Ebola virus in early May in the Equateur province. As of Monday, there have been 37 confirmed cases, 14 probable cases, seven suspected cases and 27 deaths, according to Peter Salama, deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response for WHO.

The virus has largely been confined to the city of Mbandaka and surrounding rural towns. Health officials have targeted points of entry into the area for in-depth medical assessments. They also attempted to halt the spread of the disease using an experimental vaccine.

DR Congo crisis stirs concerns in central Africa

Across central Africa, a belt of countries is casting a wary eye at the political crisis brewing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), fearing the impact on their security and economy if the situation explodes.

Nine countries share a border with the DRC, one of the biggest and most troubled nations in Africa — and the theatre of two wars in the late 1990s and early 2000s that sucked in countries around the region and led to the deaths of three million people.

From the Republic of Congo and Angola in the west to Uganda and Rwanda in the east, memories of that traumatic period remain razor sharp today as their vast neighbour’s political future hangs in the balance.

“The DRC is the mother of all crises,” Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Domingo Augustos told the French daily Le Monde in January. “What happens there affects the entire Great Lakes region.”



UN warns that Somalia’s political unity at risk

The UN Security Council warned on Thursday that “internal and external pressures risk undermining Somalia’s political unity” and expressed serious concern at the ongoing threats posed by the al-Shabab extremist group.

A presidential statement approved by the 15-member council calls for stepped-up efforts “to prevent destabilizing effects of regional crises and disputes from spilling over into Somalia” and to support the country’s federal system and institutions.


Somalia, which borders restive Kenya and lies across the Gulf of Aden from conflict-wracked Yemen, began to fall apart in 1991, when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

Years of conflict and attacks by al-Shabab, along with famine, shattered the country of some 12 million people. It has been trying to rebuild since establishing its first functioning transitional government in 2012.


UN appeals for ‘unhindered’ access for Somalia aid

The United Nations Security Council called Thursday for “unhindered humanitarian access” in Somalia, expressing concern about the risk of famine in the conflict-racked country.

“The Security Council expresses deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Somalia, including the continued risk of famine and the impact of recent flooding,” the council said in a statement adopted Thursday.

“The Security Council notes with concern that the fighting has exacerbated the humanitarian situation and calls on all parties to allow and facilitate full, safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access,” it said.

Arab News

Central African Republic

Central African Republic Approves War Crimes Court

Central African Republic has approved a law creating a special criminal court to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity during more than a decade of ethnic and religious conflict, a lawmaker said.

Hundreds have died in the violence and scores more have been raped and tortured, but the perpetrators have not faced any meaningful legal pursuit, rights activists say.

“With this law, we will now be able to count on the justice system to put an end to the conflicts, to the killings, to the massacres,” Ernest Mezedio, a national deputy, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“The executioners who walk around freely should know that the hour of justice has sounded,” he said. The country’s parliament approved the law late on Tuesday.


1 UN peacekeeper dead, 7 wounded in Central African Republic

The United Nations said Monday that a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed and seven others wounded in the Central African Republic when a U.N. patrol was ambushed.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the attack happened Sunday in Dilapoko, a village in Mambere-Kadei Prefecture in the country’s southwest.

He said one of wounded peacekeeper was in critical condition and was taken to the capital, Bangui, for treatment at the U.N. Mission’s military hospital along with three other soldiers whose condition was serious.

The U.N. mission in Central African Republic is one of the deadliest peacekeeping missions. The country has seen deadly interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the capital and mainly Christian anti-Balaka militias fought back.

Tampa Bay Times


EU calls on Sudan to commute death sentence of teen who killed husband

The European Parliament has called on the Sudanese government to commute the death sentence of a woman who killed her husband after he raped her. Noura Hussein, now 19, was forced into the marriage at the age of 16.

The Sudan Tribune reported that the young woman had been held down by the brother of her husband, a relative and a third person to assist in her rape. The next day she stabbed him to death after he tried to force himself on her again.

The woman was sentenced to death in May after her family refused to accept compensation, in a case that has raised international solidarity.

The European Parliament “deplores and condemns the sentencing to death of Noura Hussein Hammad; calls on the Sudanese authorities to commute the death sentence and fully take into account the fact that Hussein was acting in self-defence against the attempt by a man and his accomplices to rape her”, according to a recently adopted resolution.


Sudan Says It Has Cut All Defence Ties with North Korea

Sudan said on Wednesday it had cut all defence ties with North Korea, in a rare admission that it used to have such ties in the first place.

The announcement came as Washington is locked in a standoff over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes, and as Sudan, which is still on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, reels from an economic crisis.

“Sudan’s government would like to affirm that its defence production sector has cancelled all contracts … with North Korea, and ended all relations, direct or through a third party,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.


South Sudan

S Sudan rebel chief ‘happy’ to meet Kiir but denies Khartoum talks

South Sudan’s armed opposition said that leader Riek Machar would be “happy” to meet with his bitter rival President Salva Kiir but denied knowledge of planned talks in Khartoum.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir this week offered to host a meeting between the warring parties as regional leaders seek an end to the more than four-year civil war in South Sudan which has resisted numerous peace efforts.

Kiir’s spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, told AFP that such a meeting was to take place at the end of June, after his boss apparently welcomed the encounter.

However, Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) slammed this as “disinformation”.


South Sudan’s dire humanitarian crisis worsens – NGO

A humanitarian crisis in conflict-torn South Sudan is reaching alarming proportions after four and a half years of fighting, Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned on Thursday.

“I’ve never before seen, heard, experienced so many people being so food-insecure in so many places in South Sudan,” he told a press conference in Nairobi.

“What is different this year is that the acute food insecurity has spread to more parts of the country,” such as southern Equatoria, he said.

In February, UN agencies warned that 48 percent of South Sudan’s population was experiencing extreme hunger and seven million would need aid in 2018.

In 2017 some 100,000 people were affected by a famine — meaning people started dying due to lack of food. It was declared over in June.

Daily Monitor

Western Sahara

Ramaphosa condemns humanitarian crisis in Western Sahara

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the protracted humanitarian crisis in Western Sahara’s refugee camps was a direct consequence of the delay in finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the North Africa region.

Ramaphosa’s comments follow his bilateral meeting with Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic President Brahim Ghali in Pretoria. Ghali is in the country on a working visit.

Upon concluding their meeting, Ramaphosa said a memorandum signed between the two African countries regarding the current conflict and humanitarian crisis provides his country with an opportunity to assist the people of Western Sahara, particularly those who continue to struggle in refugee camps.

“The lack of a solution is also an impediment towards greater regional integration and security cooperation in the Maghreb region,” Ramaphosa said in a statement adding “in our discussions, we expressed our full support and confidence in the efforts undertaken by the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, to bring the parties together and mobilise the international community to implement all UN resolutions on Western Sahara.”


Namibians rally behind Western Sahara

“Why isn’t Morocco fulfilling its obligation to the United Nations (UN) Security Council for the self-determination of Western Sahara?  Why are economic sanctions not being imposed on Morocco? Can we accept an African country being a coloniser of another? What is being done to put pressure

on France and Spain, which are blocking the independence of Western Sahara? What are the pressure tactics Namibia can use to talk to the African Union (AU) for the independence of Western Sahara?”

These were some of the pressing questions posted to President Brahim Ghali of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) during a public lecture on the current political development in the SADR in Windhoek on Monday.

Namibians, who came to listen to the public lecture, made it known in no uncertain terms that they were in full solidarity of the Sahrawi’s struggle for independence from Morocco as they sang liberation songs and chanted, “Down Morocco, down!”

Sahara Press Service


Election Board Targets Fewer Voters

Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is targeting to register fewer voters for the forthcoming national election than registered at the last poll in 2013.

EBC Chairman Chief Gija Dlamini said it was targeting 500,000 voters. The Swazi Observer reported on Friday (1 June 2018) he said, ‘It could be a miracle to have all eligible Emaswati [Swazi people] turning out for registering but we are expecting the number to reach 80 per cent.’ If this figure is met, 400,000 people will register. He said 278,888 people had already registered.

The 400,000 target is fewer than the 414,704 people who registered to vote in 2013.


China angles for Swaziland to ditch Taiwan before major African summit

China hopes self-ruled Taiwan’s only remaining African ally, Swaziland, will sever ties with Taipei before China hosts a summit of African leaders this year, the foreign ministry said on Friday, keeping up the pressure on Taiwan.

Taiwan is claimed by China as its own, with Beijing saying that as it is merely a Chinese province it has no right to state-to-state relations.

Taiwan has lost two diplomatic allies in the past month, most recently the West African state of Burkina Faso, which re-established ties with Beijing last weekend. The Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councilor Wang Yi urged Swaziland to follow suit.



Zimbabwe’s MDC-T pledges $100B economy if it wins vote

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party says it will create a $100 billion economy within a decade and improve ties with Israel if it wins the July 30 elections.

The MDC-T, which has re-energized under 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, launched its election manifesto Thursday.

The state broadcaster, which is closely aligned with the ruling party, provided rare live coverage.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power in November when longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down under pressure, has promised free and fair elections in a country with a history of disputed polls.

Both Mnangagwa and the opposition pledge to improve the once-prosperous economy and attract foreign investors put off by years of international sanctions.


MDC wants Zimbabwe to join Rand Monetary Union

The MDC Alliance launched its election manifesto in Harare on Thursday‚ vowing to deal with Zanu-PF’s “economic mischief” ‚ should its candidate‚ Nelson Chamisa‚ romp to victory.

Presenting the party’s Sustainable and Modern Agenda for Real Transformation (SMART) document‚ finance minister from the inclusive government of 2009-13 Tendai Biti said they would seek to join the Rand Monetary Union as a stopgap measure to address the country’s economic woes.

Currently the rand is being used under a basket of currencies but pricing of goods and services is in US dollars.

“We seek to strengthen the multi-currency regime while we work towards joining the rand union and scrapping the bond notes totally‚” said Biti.




Africa in General

South Sudan and Sudan agree to repair damaged oil infrastructure

South Sudan said on Thursday it had agreed with its northern neighbor Sudan to repair oil infrastructure facilities destroyed by conflict within three months to boost production in Africa’s youngest country.

Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister, told Reuters officials agreed with their visiting Sudanese counterparts to “evaluate and assess the damage” to South Sudan’s oilfields in the Heglig area in the country’s north.

“There is an agreement between the two oil ministries of the two countries. They agreed to cooperate and work together in order to repair (the damage),” he said.

South Sudan depends virtually entirely on oil sales for its revenue but production has declined since war broke out in the country in 2013.


Raila Odinga heads to South Africa to broker South Sudan peace deal

Opposition chief Raila Odinga heads to South Africa this morning in his second leg of talks with South Sudan leaders in a bid to end three years civil war. Weeks after Raila travelled to Juba, where he held talks with President Salva Kiir, he is expected to meet with rebel leader Riek Machar, in an effort to reconcile the duo. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has given them up to June 30th to reach a deal.

The meeting is expected to complement IGAD’s peace talks which ended prematurely after parties failed to agree on a power-sharing structure or details about how to absorb rebel forces into the national army.

The National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi said yesterday confirmed the trip saying it reaffirms Raila’s image as a preeminent statesman on the continent.

Standard Media

Burundi president promises to step down in 2020

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said in a surprise announcement on Thursday that he will not run in the 2020 elections, despite a recent referendum allowing longer term limits.

“Our presidential mandate will end in 2020,” said Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, at a ceremony in central Gitega province.

“I am ready, with all my heart and all my intelligence, to support the one who will be the new president in 2020,” added the 54-year-old former rebel leader who was recently declared “supreme eternal leader” by the ruling party.

Nkurunziza made the announcement some two weeks after a large majority of Burundians voted “yes” in a referendum on presidential term limits that could allow Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034.


Tunisia PM fires top minister amid alarm over migrant deaths

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday fired his interior minister amid recriminations over a capsized boat of migrants off the coast of the North African country in the deadliest shipwreck this year on the dangerous Mediterranean Sea route to Europe.

The announcement did not say why Lotfi Brahem was fired but came a day after Brahem dismissed 10 high-level security officials amid an investigation into the weekend disaster. An estimated 112 people were known to be dead or missing.

Officials have cited “security failures” surrounding the capsizing early Sunday of the old, overloaded boat near Kerkennah Island off the coast of the city of Sfax. The boat was carrying an estimated 180 people.

Among those fired based on preliminary investigations into the sinking are the heads of the judicial police and National Guard in Sfax and the head of the maritime border patrol in Kerkennah.



ZSF Statement on the Proclamation of the 2018 Harmonised Zimbabwe Election dates

Statement on the Proclamation of the 2018 Harmonised Zimbabwe Election dates
ZSF has noted the Zimbabwe presidential proclamation which sets the election nomination date as the 14th of June 2018 and the plebiscite date as the 30th of July 2018. The ZSF wishes the people of Zimbabwe well in the coming elections. The solidarity movement is cognisant of the democratic challenges that have dogged Zimbabwe in the past. The violent and disputed election of 2008 and the questions related to the integrity of the 2013 process have left Zimbabwe with a democratic deficit. Efforts to break from this tainted past must be applauded. The ZSF welcomes the public statements attributed to the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa that recognise the imperative of a credible, free and fair election.

Read full PDF here: ZSF Press Statement [9852]