Africa in General
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will open an embassy in Zimbabwe, the UAE president has said.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued several federal decrees to establish the UAE Embassy in Zimbabwe and appointed and promoted members of the diplomatic corps.
The decrees were published in the latest edition of the Federal Official Gazette and stipulate the establishment of the UAE Embassy in capital, Harare.
The UAE is a destination of choice for many young people, especially from Africa.
Libya’s electoral commission could organise a referendum on a new constitution for the strife-torn country in February if it gets security guarantees and funds, its head said on Thursday.
“It is possible to organise a referendum on the constitution… towards the end of February,” commission chief Imed al-Sayeh told a news conference.
He said the first hurdle was overcome when the parliament, based in the remote east of the country, approved in mid-September a law on the referendum.
Sayeh, who received the text of the law in November, said the legislation was a first step “even if it is incomplete and imperfect”.
Representatives from around the globe are gearing up for a major conference in Morocco to endorse a United Nations migration pact, despite a string of countries shunning the accord.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalised at the UN in July following 18 months of negotiations and will be formally adopted at the two-day gathering in Marrakesh starting Monday.
The non-binding UN accord, which aims to promote a common approach to growing migrant flows, has become a target for populist politicians who denounce it as an affront to national sovereignty.
The United States quit negotiations last December, and was followed by Hungary seven months later.
The United Nations human rights office on Thursday said Burundi’s government has asked it to leave, months after the outgoing UN rights chief called the country one of the “most prolific slaughterhouses of humans in recent times.”
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani in Geneva confirmed they received a letter on Wednesday “requesting us to close the office. We of course regret this decision and we would like to continue our cooperation with Burundi.”
She declined to comment further, calling the issue sensitive. Sources within the UN office in Burundi told The Associated Press that they were given two months to leave. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
The East African nation’s government has long been angered by U.N. reports describing alleged abuses amid the political turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for another term in 2015.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Aid agencies working in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accused the United Nations of manipulating data ahead of elections to give an overly positive impression of the situation in a country beset by conflict and disease.
They say new figures from the U.N. humanitarian agency that show a large drop in the number of displaced people are misleading, accusing it of bowing to government pressure before a presidential election scheduled for December 23.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Congo said it did not manipulate data and that it is in ongoing discussions with agencies on the issue.
The government also rejected the accusation, saying aid agencies deliberately exaggerated crises to increase funding.
At least 18 people have killed in clashes between the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s army and rebels loyal to a renegade former general in the country’s eastern region, according to military sources.
The latest round of violence comes less than three weeks before crucial elections to replace long-time President Joseph Kabila.
Fighting killed 14 rebels and four soldiers in Fizi, a region of South Kivu, a mineral-rich province which is prone to ethnic tensions, a military spokesman and other sources said.
Violence in the troubled eastern region is just one complication before the December 23 elections in DR Congo, which has not seen a peaceful transfer of power since independence from colonial Belgium in 1960.
The US has re-established a “permanent diplomatic presence” in Somalia for the first time in 27 years.
“On December 2, for the first time since the closure of the US Embassy in Mogadishu on January 5, 1991, the United States re-established a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia,” said Heather Nauert, the US State Department spokeswoman, in a statement.
Ms Heather called the new move “another step forward in formalising US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013.”
Ambassador Donald Yamamoto and his staff looked forward to working closely with the Somalian government, she added.
The United States has based its diplomatic mission to Somalia in the capital of neighbouring Kenya since 2013, from where US diplomatic staff and other personnel travel frequently into Somalia to conduct official business.
High level delegation led by the chief of Upper House of Somali Federal Parliament Abdi Hashi Abdullahi will be flying to Kismayo, a town lies some 500km south of the capital Mogadishu.
Hon. Abdullahi said the Upper House has been trying to defuse the escalating political crisis pitying between the central government and its member states for the past months.
He will hold talks with Jubaland state President Ahmed Mohamed to resolve the current political tension.
“We will visit to the headquarters of Jubaland to start talks the President Ahmed Madobe, in a bid to defuse the rifts between the central government and its state members”, he said.
Central African Republic
Children are bearing the brunt of five years of fighting in Central African Republic as thousands are trapped in armed groups, many suffer sexual violence, tens of thousands go hungry and one in four have fled their homes, the United Nations children’s agency said on Friday.
The new report pleads for millions in funding for one of the world’s most “neglected” crises.
Deeply impoverished Central African Republic has faced interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the capital, Bangui. Mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias fought back, resulting in thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Violence has intensified and spread in the past year after a period of relative peace as armed groups battle over lands rich in gold, diamonds and uranium.
Rebel groups have raped and cut off genitals of scores of boys and men in the Central African Republic (CAR).
According to findings, most cases have gone unreported because of stigma, societal attitudes and shortcomings by state and international bodies.
Documented cases indicate sexual violence against men and boys has been most common during armed attacks or when victims were held captive by armed groups during the civil war that started in 2013.
The All Survivors Project (ASP) said it had compiled information involving cases of forced nudity, forced masturbation and of incidents in which men had their genitals beaten, mutilated and cut off.
Sudanese government and two armed groups in Darfur region signed Thursday a pre-negotiation agreement paving the way for the resumption of peace talks in Qatar next year.
The signing of the declaration of principles with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnwi (SLM-MM) took place in Berlin after two years of informal talks facilitated by the German foreign ministry with the support of the Berghof Foundation.
The signing ceremony was attended by Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Walter Lindner, Qatari Special Envoy for Combating Terrorism and Conflict Resolution Mutlaq Al Qahtani, Amin Hassan Omer Sudan’s Presidential Envoy for Diplomatic Contact and Negotiation for Darfur Amin Hassan Omer.
The Joint Chief Mediator Jeremiah Mamabolo co-signed the deal with the Sudanese government representative Mohamed Mukhtar, Ahmed Tugud JEM Chief Negotiator and Ali Trayo SLM-MM Chief Negotiator.
Sudan’s long-serving President Omar al-Bashir came closer on Tuesday to another term in office after a majority of lawmakers backed a constitutional amendment to extend term limits that would have required him to step down in 2020.
Unless the constitution is changed, Bashir, in power since 1989, is not permitted to stand again when his present term ends, having won two elections since a 2005 constitutional amendment took effect imposing a two-term limit.
Parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omar said he had received a letter signed by a majority of lawmakers backing an amendment that would extend the limit.
A group of human rights lawyers has filed a lawsuit against the government of South Sudan for sexual violence on behalf of 30 women and girls who were allegedly raped by members of the army and the presidential guard.
Antonia Mulvey, director of Legal Action Worldwide, a nonprofit network of human rights lawyers, said the South Sudan army committed “brutal” sexual violence, including sexual slavery, sexual torture, rape and gang rape against women and girls.
Mulvey says the complaint was lodged Thursday in Geneva at the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“They [CEDAW] will review the complaint and a copy will be sent to the government of South Sudan for comment,” Mulvey said.
Voice of America
Children are among those being executed in South Sudan, in an “extremely disturbing” escalation of the state’s use of the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.
This year, seven people, including one child, were hanged, the highest number since the county gained independence in 2011, according to evidence provided to Amnesty by legal professionals and government officials.
In 2017, two of the four people executed were children at the time of their conviction, the organisation said.
Amon the 342 people currently on death row – more than double the number recorded in 2011 – are a secondary school pupil, who was sentenced to death when he was 15, and a breastfeeding mother. The country’s lack of transparency on its use of the death penalty meant the figures were likely to be underestimated, Amnesty said.
In 1991, the UN helped bring an end to fighting in the territory, before setting up a peacekeeping mission there: the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Delegations from Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania are present at the roundtable meeting in Geneva.
It will involve two days of talks that have been convened by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, former President Horst Köhler of Germany, the UN confirmed in a statement.
“The meeting is the first of its kind in six years and takes place in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2440 as a first step towards a renewed negotiations process with the aim of reaching a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” the communiqué said.
In adopting Resolution 2440, the UN Security Council called on the parties to the dispute over the territory “to engage constructively” in talks, according to a Council statement published on 31 October.
The UN envoy for Western Sahara said he believes a peaceful solution to the decades-long conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front is possible.
Horst Koehler, a former German president, told reporters in Geneva on Thursday that he was “very pleased to announce the delegations committed to engaging further,” adding all sides promised to meet again for a similar “roundtable” in the first quarter of 2019.
The talks, which were attended by the foreign ministers of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and representatives from the Western Saharan Polisario secessionist movement, are the first to take place since 2012.
“From our discussions, it is clear to me that nobody wins from maintaining the status quo, and it is my firm belief that it lies in the interest of all to resolve this conflict,” Koehler said.
A three-hour Joint Negotiations Forum (JNF) between government and public sector associations (PSA) could bear no fruits as the two parties finally signed a deadlock.
The deadlock between government and the PSAs was signed at the ministry of public service yesterday with the meeting chaired by Secretary to Cabinet Mbuso Dlamini and signing on behalf of the Government Negotiation Team (GNT) was the ministry’s Principal Secretary Evart Madlopha.
The deadlock signed by the GNT and the public sector associations dates back to 28 august 2018 when the negotiations on the Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) commenced for the 2018/2019 financial year.
PRINCIPAL Magistrate David Khumalo will decide on December 17 whether businessman Sipho Shongwe should go home or not.
This comes after Shongwe’s legal team made serious arguments at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
His legal team argued that Shongwe was suffering injustice by being kept in prison, while the High Court made a ruling on the matter that he is not a flight risk, hence he should be granted bail which indeed was granted.
Making submissions was Lucky Howe, who told the court that the director of public prosecutions is conducting the trial in a very unprofessional manner and in an unethical way when he argues that the issue which touches on Shongwe escaping from custody was never mentioned at the High Court.
Zimbabwe is running out of fuel, according to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority’s (Zera) acting chief executive officer Eddington Mazambani.
He told Parliament on Thursday that the country had exhausted the $60 million worth of fuel imported last week, Pindula reported on Friday.
“The $60 million foreign currency which was released for fuel has already been exhausted because it came when we were at zero in terms of fuel supplies,” said Mazambani.
“The $60 million is about 100 million litres of fuel and it will be gone in about two-and-a-half weeks, and because we are at zero everyone wants to fill up their vehicles, and we do not know how much per week the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allocates to oil companies,” added the CEO.
Meanwhile, US Senators said new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa – who took over the country in last year’s military coup leading many Zimbabweans to believe that a new and brighter era had dawned on the country in the wake of the overthrow of former president Robert Mugabe – is saying the rights things but not producing real results.
Zimbabwe’s opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, has reportedly said that the country is “fast degenerating into a regional security threat as its economic situation worsens”.
According to NewsDay, the MDC said it had petitioned the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to intervene in bringing the country’s worsening state under control.
MDC spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said that the party would go on a regional offensive to discuss the country’s state with regional leaders.
Mafume also said that the party was planning countrywide protests to allow party supporters a chance to raise their own grievances.