Democratic Republic of Congo
slams DRC failure to prevent December massacre
The UN on Tuesday criticised
authorities in southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo for failing to prevent
a massacre of hundreds of people last December, despite clear signs of rising
The attacks could
amount to crimes against humanity, the UN human rights office said, as it
presented the findings of an investigation into intercommunal violence in four
locations in Yumbi territory between December 16 and 18 2018.
“It is crucial to
ensure that the perpetrators of these terrible crimes are punished,” UN human
rights chief Michelle Bachelet said.
The UN Joint Human
Rights Office in the DRC deployed investigators after receiving “credible
reports” that nearly 900 people had been killed in clashes between the Banunu
and Batende communities.
President Tshisekedi pardons about 700 political prisoners
Democratic Republic of
Congo’s (DRC) new President Felix Tshisekedi on Wednesday pardoned about 700
political prisoners who were jailed under his predecessor.
Tshisekedi signed the
decree, fulfilling a promise he made earlier this month to do so during his
first 100 days in office.
Among those set for
release is Firmin Yangambi, who was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison on
charges of being a threat to national security.
Also being freed is
Franck Diongo, an opposition figure who was sentenced to five years.
praised Tshisekedi’s move, saying in a statement it was “to be applauded
as a crucial first step towards restoration of human rights in the
agreement reached in Kenya-Somalia border dispute
intervention of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Kenya and Somalia have
failed to settle a maritime border dispute which has spiked diplomatic tensions
Mogadishu will instead
wait for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on the dispute as
opposed to Nairobi’s demand for an out-of-court settlement and reversion to a
map agreeable to both sides, the Business Daily reported.
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Ahmed arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on
Tuesday night for talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta but endeavours to
resolve the dispute failed. Kenya released no details of the discussions and
nor was a joint communiqué issued.
The maritime border
dispute has been simmering for years, negatively impacting relations between
the two countries. On February 16 Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia and
Mogadishu subsequently followed suit by recalling its own ambassador.
toll rises to 18 in Somalia bombing, clashes with militants
The death toll from a
powerful car bombing explosion and clashes between security forces and gunmen
near a hotel in the Somali capital has risen to 18, police said on Friday. An
Islamic extremist group claimed that a Mogadishu hotel was the intended target,
but a police officer said militants detonated a bomb while trying to
assassinate a judge.
The car bomb went off
near the residence of appeals court chief judge Abshir Omar, and security
forces stationed outside the judge’s house fought off gunmen who tried to force
their way inside, police officer Capt. Mohamed Hussein said.
At least 40 others
were injured in the attack, said Hussein. He said the death toll could rise as
many of the wounded are still being treated in hospitals.
Shortly after the
detonation, at least four gunmen running on foot opened fire at nearby
buildings and businesses, sparking clashes with security forces stationed
nearby and hotel guards, he said.
Central African Republic
Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the Central African
Republic and Monaco
The Human Rights
Council this afternoon adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the
Central African Republic and Monaco.
Léopold Ismael Samba,
Permanent Representative of the Central African Republic to the United Nations
Office at Geneva, recalled that the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review
was taking place at a decisive moment in the history of the Central African
Republic. Out of 207 recommendations,
the Government had accepted 178 and taken note of 28. The accepted recommendations concerned the
re-establishment of State authority, the search for peaceful solutions to the
conflict, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and the fight against
In the ensuing
discussion, speakers commended the Government of the Central African Republic
for its focus on promoting security, peace and national reconciliation. States encouraged the Government to view all
recommendations as guides towards the attainment of human rights. Speakers also commended the country for
putting in place mechanisms for preventing discrimination against women and
children and for adopting measures to end the recruitment of children in armed
conflicts. Concern was raised that
perpetrators still enjoyed impunity, which further threatened civilians,
especially women and girls.
Speaking were China,
Côte D’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia,
Gabon, Iraq, Madagascar, Philippines, Russian Federation and Senegal.
African Republic’s Khartoum Agreement: Optimism and challenges
The peace accord
dubbed the “Khartoum agreement” is officially titled the “Political Accord for
Peace and Reconciliation.” The peace deal was first initialled in Khartoum,
Sudan, on Tuesday, 5 February.
Over the weekend,
details of the peace accord emerged brightening peace prospects in CAR
notwithstanding that this is the eighth agreement since the fighting began in
2013. Analysts say what is different this time is that the deal is the result
of lengthy and direct dialogue between the government in CAR and rebel groups.
The talks were brokered by the African Union (AU) and supported by the United
Nations (UN). Chad, Congo, Gabon, Angola, Cameroon, France, Britain, Russia and
the United States are also said to have contributed, in some way, to the peace
Reporting on some of
the key details of the peace agreement, AP notes that these include the dissolution
of armed groups, the formation of an inclusive government and the creation of a
fund for victims who have suffered in years of conflict.
protesters rally as new cabinet is sworn in
Scores of protesters
rallied in the Sudanese capital on Thursday as President Omar al-Bashir swore
in a new cabinet to tackle an economic crisis that has triggered months of protests
against his rule.
movement’s catch-cry “Freedom, peace, justice”, protesters took to the streets
in areas of Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman, witnesses said. But
security forces swiftly confronted them with tear gas, they said.
“How long will you
remain silent?” chanted some protesters, urging residents to join the
Bashir on Thursday
swore in a new cabinet tasked with tackling the economic crisis, the key factor
behind the protests. The new cabinet led by Prime Minister Mohamed Tahir Eila
is Sudan’s third government in less than two years, with the previous two
sacked by Bashir for failing to revive the economy.
vow to keep protesting as president digs in
Three months after
Sudanese protesters rose up against President Omar al-Bashir, the longtime
autocrat has bound himself more tightly to the military and refuses to bow to
The wily 74-year-old
has remained in power through three decades of war and sanctions, the secession
of Sudan’s oil-rich south in 2011 and an international arrest warrant for
genocide and war crimes linked to the Darfur conflict.
But since December he
has faced the biggest protests of his long rule, with political parties and
unions demanding his ouster and demonstrators chanting slogans from the 2011
A look at where things
stand, three months on.
still taking to the streets nearly every day despite a heavy crackdown by
security forces. The largest protests are being held in the capital, Khartoum,
and nearby Omdurman, with smaller ones breaking out elsewhere.
Sudan accord in danger of collapse, think-tank warns
six-month-old peace deal is doomed to collapse unless the sides can settle a
string of disputes and bring former rebels into the army before the formation
of a new government in May, a think-tank said on Wednesday.
About 400,000 people
have been killed and more than a third of the country’s 12-million people
uprooted by the five-year civil war, a conflict punctuated by multiple rounds
of mediation followed by renewed bloodshed.
The accord signed in
September by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar — the former
vice president — has reduced fighting but could break down over several
disputes, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said in a report. “The
peace agreement is stalling and is at risk of collapse if more political deals
aren’t struck,” said Alan Boswell, the group’s South Sudan analyst.
There was no immediate
comment from the government or Machar’s supporters.
Sudan’s bid to build a new army is troubled
A fortnight ago, the
United Nations envoy to South Sudan, David Shearer, noted that, after five
years of civil war and many botched peace deals, fighting in the world’s newest
nation has diminished greatly since the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution
of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan was signed on September 12 2018.
South Sudan plunged
into violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a
Dinka, and those loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice-president and a Nuer,
The main protagonists
are trying to rebuild trust and develop a security sector reform (SSR) strategy
to merge their forces and several other militias into a new South Sudan
People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) capable of providing the security that the South
Sudanese citizens expect and demand.
The stakes could
hardly be higher. The country’s brutal civil war has killed nearly 400 000
people, displaced millions and left seven million — two-thirds of the
population — in dire need of humanitarian aid.
Submits Invitations for 2nd Roundtable
The personal envoy of
the UN Secretary-General, Horst Kohler, has officially addressed invitations to
a roundtable to the parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict.
AFP reported that the
second roundtable will take place behind closed doors, like the first
roundtable, which convened December 5-6 in Geneva.
Diplomats quoted by
AFP said that the objective is to deepen the talks that began in December on
political and economic dimensions.
While they do not
expect a “breakthrough” during the second roundtable, one of the diplomats said
that it would be “positive” if the second roundtable would experience the “same
context, the same atmosphere, and same spirit.”
None of the
parties—Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and Polisario—have confirmed receiving
formal invitations from Kohler. But the personal envoy had already announced
his intention to invite the parties to a second roundtable during the first
Morocco World News
Denounces Moroccan Repression Against Sahrawi People
organization Amnesty International denounced on Tuesday the pressure exerted by
the authorities of the Moroccan occupation against peaceful demonstrations in
the occupied Sahrawi cities.
Police dispersed violently in June a peaceful demonstration in occupied Aaiun,”
during a visit of the Personal Envoy of UN Secretary General for Western
Sahara, denounced Amnesty International in its report on “the situation of
human rights in the Middle East and North Africa,” published on Tuesday.
underlined the human rights organization, the police of the Moroccan occupation
resorted to an unjustified force against peaceful Sahrawi demonstrators who
were against the illegal agreement on fisheries concluded in August by the
European Union (EU) and Morocco, affirming, in this regard, that the Court of
Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave a ruling in February according to
which this agreement shouldn’t be applied to the adjacent waters in occupied
fights for free political expression
King Mswati III of
eSwatini has been criticised for clamping down on critical voices who challenge
his authoritarian rule. Many of the activists demanding reform of the
anti-democratic parts of the constitution are either in jail and or in exile.
The muzzling of
dissidents became more pronounced when the king introduced the Suppression of
Terrorism Act in 2008, which meant certain political parties critical of the
regime were categorised as terrorist organisations.
These include the
People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), the country’s biggest opposition
party, along with its youth wing, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO); the
Umbane People’s Liberation Army, also known as People’s Liberation Army, which
is a secret militant group allegedly linked to Pudemo; and a vocal South
African-based organisation called Swaziland Solidarity Network (SNN), which
supports progressive organisations striving for systematic reforms and
Flanked by South
Africa and Mozambique, eSwatini is predominantly a rural country with a
population of about 1.3-million people. Its workers are divided into civil
servants and those who receive menial wages.
Wage Bill Chaos as Auditor General Reveals Error and Fraud
In his budget speech
Neal Rijkenberg the Finance Minister of Swaziland / eSwatini stated that public
service salaries had risen by 125 percent in the past 10 years and he
threatened to cut the kingdom’s wage bill. He said the kingdom could not afford
to pay cost of living salary adjustments (CoLA).
Now, the Swaziland
Auditor General (AG) Timothy Matsebula in his annual report has revealed that
the government has no clear idea how much money it is legitimately paying out
in salaries. Matsebula reported in the year ending March 2018 the government
overpaid its workers by E6.2 million and a further E1.9 million was paid to
‘ghost employees’ – that is workers who do not exist.
He also said that it
was impossible to tell how many ghost workers there were in schools across
The AG reported the
overpayments were made across a number of government departments.
Suspends NGO Over January Public Protests
government has suspended a non-governmental organization, which allegedly
encouraged people to stage public protests early this year over the high cost
of living following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement of fuel prices
of up to 150 percent.
administrator Ray Hove suspended with immediate effect Community Tolerance and
Reconciliation Development Trust, a youth organization that promotes democracy,
development and human rights issues.
Hove stressed that the
NGO can no longer carryout activities of any kind in the district “pending
investigations on registration and approval of your organization by our
Hove declined to shed
light on the circumstances leading to the suspension of NGO when he was asked
by VOA Zimbabwe Service to provide details of the allegations being made
against the organization.
Voice of America
miners to pay 80% wage increase
Zimbabwe mining companies
– which include units of Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum and Caledonia Mining –
are to award a wage increase of just under 80% to mine workers, with the salary
for the lowest-paid worker in the industry rising to about 480 RTGS dollars*
At current rates, this
amounts to approximately US$192 or R2 800.
negotiations between the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) and
the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines resulted in the salary adjustment for employees
in the industry. The cost of living in the country rose dramatically after
inflation for January surged to above 50%.
extensive negotiations between the AMWUZ and the Zimbabwe chamber of mines, we
managed to cobble out an agreement of 80% wage/salary increase for the mining
industry covering the period January to December 2019,” Tinago Ruzive,
president of the mine workers’ union, said Thursday.
Africa in General
sit in next critical Zimbabwe Treasury meetings
In an unprecedented
move, Zimbabwe has agreed to allow SA, to sit in official Ministry of Finance
meetings to oversee Harare’s debt clearance strategy tied to the country’s
prospects of securing new funding, its reform agenda and economic recovery
plan, confidential documents show.
Ramaphosa of South Africa this week dashed hopes that Pretoria would
immediately open its wallet and extend critically-needed financial assistance
to cash-strapped Zimbabwe, the Daily News can report.
However, the leader of
Africa’s most industrialised country also made it clear that South Africa was
ready to help Zimbabwe to revive its sickly economy – although this would be
done within Pretoria’s means and after the regional economic giant had fully
considered all the available options.
In addition, Ramaphosa
bluntly demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his under-pressure
government provide a safe and conducive investment climate for South African
companies operating in Zimbabwe.
Joyce Banda quits presidential race
Joyce Banda, who was
Malawi’s first female president in 2012, has withdrawn from the 2019
presidential race, endorsing opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera who heads the
Malawi Congress Party.
Speaking to AFP,
Banda, who heads the People’s Party, confirmed her decision, saying: “Yes, it
But she declined to
comment further ahead of a joint news conference with Chakwera on Saturday.
In a joint statement,
the two parties said they had begun talks in 2015, a year after Banda lost the
presidency, partly as a result of a huge multimillion-dollar corruption case
known as the “Cashgate” scandal.
Banda fled the country
into self-imposed exile but returned to Malawi last year, saying the
allegations against her were politically motivated. She has never faced any
Zim discussing state-guaranteed bank loan
South Africa is
considering more loans to Zimbabwe, including state-guaranteed funding from
banks to support its northern neighbour’s cash-strapped private sector.
The facility is among
a range of options the two nations’ presidents discussed at a bilateral meeting
Tuesday in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, Foreign Minister Sibusiso Busi Moyo
The talks come almost
three months after South Africa rejected Zimbabwe’s request to borrow $1.2
The leaders agreed to
“consider options for expanding the standing facility arrangement between the
respective central banks,” Moyo said.
options beyond this are also being explored, for example a facility from South
African private banks to the Zimbabwe private sector and guaranteed by the
South African government with an appropriate counter-guarantee from the
to lead delegation to SADC Council of Ministers meeting in Namibia
Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will lead a South African
delegation to Windhoek, Namibia, for a meeting of the SADC Council of
Ministers, her office said on Thursday.
The meeting is
expected to take place on Friday and Saturday.
The department said the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers is
responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of the region. The
Council also ensures that policies and decisions taken are implemented.
The meeting is
expected to deliberate on a number of key issues pertaining to the region and
will also consider a number of strategic documents and receive update reports
on the progress made since the last meeting, which took place in Windhoek in
August last year.
“Key issues to be
deliberated upon will include the status of finances of the organisation and
the approval of the 2019/20 budget. Furthermore, the Council will also reflect
on progress made towards Continental and Regional Integration,” the statement