News Briefs 17 November 2017

Zimbabwe

Mugabe meets with army commander and SA envoy as crisis solution sought

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was shown meeting on Thursday with the army commander who put him under house arrest, as negotiations with a South African delegation and a Catholic priest at the state house pushed for a resolution to the political turmoil and the likely end to Mugabe’s decades-long rule.

New photos of the meeting on Thursday afternoon has been circulated.

The photos did not show first lady Grace Mugabe, whose rapid political rise had alarmed many in the country who feared she could succeed her husband.

According to the Zimbabwe Herald the meeting was attended by Commander General Constantino Chiwenga of the Zimbabwe Defence Force, Father Fidelis Mukonori, South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo, Zimbabwe Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi and Zimbabwe State Security Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi.

News24

Zimbabwe: Chombo Found with Us$10 Million Cash – Claim

Finance minister Ignatius Chombo was reportedly found with US$10m in cash at his Harare home after the property was raided by the military Wednesday morning.

The minister, said to be one of President Robert Mugabe’s most corrupt officials, was among the first ministers detained by the army as Generals deposed the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader from power.

The unverified claim that Chombo had bags of cash at plush home was made by independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa.

“Just for your own information, Minister Chombo’s house which was invaded as he got arrested had US$10 million,” Mliswa claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera.

AllAfrica

Democratic Republic of Congo

South Africa and the DRC agree to remove trade obstacles

South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have committed to remove hurdles that hinder business interactions between business people of the two countries, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Saturday.

The agreement and commitment emanated from discussions held during this week’s Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) seminar, organised by the dti and hosted in Lubumbashi in the DRC, the department said in a statement.

Addressing delegates at the seminar, South African consul general in Lubumbashi Andrew Maswanganye said it was important for both countries to work towards “harmonising the climate of doing business” and coming up with ideas on how to implement agreements already in place.

Business Report

UN calls DRC to allow peaceful anti-Kabila protests

The United Nations has urged the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to allow peaceful rallies on the eve of expected anti-government demonstrations called by opposition and civil society groups.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, called on DRC authorities “to respect the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Congolese Constitution, including freedom of assembly and of demonstration”.

It also said that authorities should “instruct defence and security forces to respect the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, consistent with international standards”.

Aljazeera

Somalia

Federal Government of Somalia launches its Child Rights Bill drafting process

The Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Government of Somalia took a major step forward in strengthening the rights of children today by launching the drafting process of its Child Rights Bill, a gesture that the Ministry strongly believes will guarantee a better future for Somali children.

Somalia’s Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, and UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), Leila Pakkala, launched the process in Mogadishu. The Ministry is partnering with UNICEF and Somali Civil Society Organizations in the drafting process and expects wide ranging contributions from Somali society.

 

The Child Rights Bill, once approved, will be the foundation for the promotion and protection of all child rights in the country. Somalia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in October 2015. “The launch of the drafting process of this comprehensive children’s law today shows the determination of the Federal Government to ensure the Articles in the CRC become a reality in Somalia,” said Minister Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf. “Children here have been seriously affected by armed conflict, drought and many other challenges. We should now focus on guaranteeing their future by strengthening the legal framework which will enable them to enjoy their rights, including the right to development, education, and protection among others.”

Relief Web

Security Council maintains partial lifting of arms embargo on Somalia for one year

The Security Council on Tuesday renewed until 15 November 2018 the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia, authorization for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports, and the humanitarian exemption.

In the resolution adopted by 11 affirmative votes and four abstentions, the 15-member body requested the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) to continue its investigations related to the export to Somalia of chemicals that may be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, such as the precursors ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate and sodium chlorate.

Those abstained in the vote were Bolivia, China, Egypt and Russia.

UN News

Central African Republic

UN votes to add 900 peacekeepers in Central African Republic

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution increasing the UN peacekeeping force in the conflict-torn Central African Republic to a total of 11 650 military personnel.

The addition of 900 soldiers comes as the impoverished Central African Republic, known as CAR, faces rising communal tensions, violence and a deteriorating humanitarian situation.

France’s UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, who sponsored the resolution, said on Wednesday that the Security Council “cannot afford to take the risk of allowing CAR to relapse into a crisis as tragic as the one in which it was mired between early 2012 and early 2014.”

News24

Seven dead in concert attack, reprisals in Central African Republic

Seven people were killed and around 20 others were injured in a grenade attack on a peace concert and reprisal violence in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, on Saturday and Sunday, government officials and city residents said.

The riverside city has in the past been a flashpoint for inter-religious violence that erupted between Muslims and Christians in 2013 and has since engulfed most of the impoverished, landlocked nation.

Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara said two individuals on a motorcycle approached revelers attending a concert organized to foster reconciliation and social cohesion late on Saturday night and threw a grenade into the crowd.

Reuters

Sudan

Sudan journalists oppose new law curbing media freedom

Dozens of Sudanese journalists on Wednesday demonstrated in Khartoum against a proposed new press law that aims to tighten restrictions on media freedom in the African country.

“United Against the New Law” and “Free Press or No Press,” read banners held up by demonstrators who say the bill empowers Sudan’s press council to ban any journalist for an indefinite period if his writings oppose government policies.

The cabinet led by Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh is examining the draft, which if passed would go to parliament for a final approval.

“The new law threatens the freedom of the press, and so we outright reject it,” said Sadeq al-Rizeigat, head of the Sudan Journalists’ Syndicate.

News24

US prepared to talk on removing Sudan terror tag: diplomat

The United States is prepared to hold talks on removing Sudan from its blacklist of “state sponsors of terrorism,” a senior US official said in Khartoum on Thursday.

Sudan meanwhile said it was ready to cut ties with North Korea, in a sign of goodwill towards Washington.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that given the “positive” steps taken by Sudan since last year, Washington was prepared to discuss removing Sudan from the blacklist, which also includes Iran and Syria.

“We are prepared to continue discussions with the government of Sudan on this issue … and to engage with them on all that would be required to have them removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Sullivan told foreign media journalists based in Khartoum.

eNCA

South Sudan

South Sudan’s Government Using Food as Weapon of War – UN Report

South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s government is using food as a weapon of war to target civilians by blocking life-saving aid in some areas, United Nations sanctions monitors told the Security Council in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Friday.

During 2016 and 2017, the UN monitors said a military campaign by government troops in the northwestern town of Wau and surrounding areas in Western Bahr el-Ghazal targeted civilians on ethnic grounds and displaced more than 100,000.

“The government has during much of 2017 deliberately prevented life-saving food assistance from reaching some citizens,” the monitors wrote. “These actions amount to using food as a weapon of war with the intent to inflict suffering on civilians the government views as opponents to its agenda.”

EWN

  1. Sudan President Reconciles with Former Army Chief

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former army chief of staff apparently have reconciled, a week after a tense standoff in Juba threatened to escalate into violence.

The reconciliation happened Thursday at a prayer service at the president’s residence in Juba. Pictures surfaced on the internet showing Paul Malong hugging Kiir.

The coziness seems a world away from events last week in Juba, when tanks and dozens of government troops surrounded Malong’s house after he refused to release a platoon of soldiers guarding him.

Voice of America

Western Sahara

Morocco king rejects independence for Western Sahara

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has ruled out any peace deal that allows for the independence of the Western Sahara as the United Nations renews efforts to resolve the decades-old dispute.

A UN peacekeeping force has been deployed in the former Spanish colony since 1991 with a mandate to organise a referendum on its independence or integration with Morocco.

Morocco agreed to the vote in a 1988 agreement with the pro-independence Polisario Front that ended 13 years of conflict but has since blocked it being held, saying it will accept only autonomy for the territory.

“No settlement of the Sahara affair is possible outside the framework of the full sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara and the autonomy initiative, whose seriousness and credibility the international community has recognised,” the king said in a televised address on Monday.

Mail & Guardian

The UN refuses to comment on the royal speech delivered on the 42nd anniversary of Green March

The UN has refused for the moment to comment on the royal speech delivered Monday November the 6th on the 42nd anniversary of the Green March. Yesterday, during his daily press briefing, the Secretary-General spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, refused to answer a question saying “I’m not going to react to the King’s speech”.

A cautious answer that aims at avoiding tension between the two parties after the sovereign’s speech. On the Green March commemoration day, King Mohammed VI stressed in his address the conditions and the framework in which the upcoming negotiations should take place.

“‘No’ to any solution to the Sahara question other than within the framework of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara and the Autonomy Initiative, which has been declared serious and credible by the international community”.

Yabiladi

Swaziland

Swaziland Central Bank Governor: It’s ‘Not Wise’ to Dismiss Cryptocurrency

The central bank of the Kingdom of Swaziland is researching cryptocurrencies, according to its governor.

Speaking at an economic forum last week, Central Bank of Swaziland (CBS) chief Majozi Sithole struck an optimistic note about the technology, according to a report from the Swazi Observer.

While he didn’t issue any definitive statements on the topic, Sithole indicated that its a topic of study at the central bank, and that officials there don’t want to impede any possible financial innovation.

“It may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies and as the CBS we are learning and we want to accept and support innovation. If this is innovation, we do not want to stifle it. We want to learn more about it,” he told event attendees.

Coin Desk

Swaziland: Ex-MP Sues for ‘Jail Assault’

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

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

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

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

AllAfrica

 

 

 

Africa in General

Zimbabwe turmoil worries SADC Organ Troika

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ Troika Plus on Thursday, said it noted with “great concern” the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe.

“[The] SADC Organ Troika further reaffirmed the need for SADC Member States to remain guided by their Constitutions. [The] SADC Organ Troika called upon all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to settle the political challenges through peaceful means,” the short statement said.

“Having considered the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Organ Troika recommended the convening of an urgent Extra Ordinary SADC Summit and committed to remain seized with the situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.”

IOL

Kenya police use tear gas on supporters welcoming Odinga

Kenyan police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga who are trying to gather near the country’s main airport to welcome him back from an overseas trip.

Friday’s incident was shown on live television. Opposition supporters are responding to a call to welcome Odinga after speaking engagements in the United States and Britain over Kenya’s political turmoil following a court-nullified presidential election and the fresh vote last month.

Odinga boycotted the new vote, saying electoral reforms had not been made.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on Oct 26 is being challenged at the Supreme Court by activists and a politician amid claims of irregularities.

IOL