News Briefs 25 October 2019


Enough Is Enough, Says Zanu-PF

Zanu-PF has thrown its weight behind the SADC-organised day of solidarity against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and called on the people to come out in large numbers for the event.

Government has since declared tomorrow a public holiday to allow as many people as possible to participate.

The main event will be at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.

SADC member states will also have activities on the day, to press the West to lift the unjust sanctions.

In a statement yesterday, Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the sanctions, which are crippling all developmental endeavours, should be removed.


US tells Zimbabwe to focus on reforms

The American Foreign Relations Committee has issued a statement telling the government of Zimbabwe to focus on reforms instead of the anti-sanctions campaign.

Zimbabwe has declared a new public holiday to protest US sanctions it says are hurting its economy, and the day comes with a state-sponsored festival.

Anti-Sanctions Day will be commemorated on October 25, acting information minister Amon Murwira said Monday, calling it a chance to “further amplify the importance of this day to the economic emancipation and well-being of Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwe Mail


Call for Swazi Men and Women to Share Experiences of Gender-Based Violence

A campaign is underway in Swaziland (eSwatini) aimed at getting both women and men to share their experiences of gender-based violence. They are being asked to write their own stories as part of ‘My Body, My Experience.’

The Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) in a statement widely circulated on social media said, ‘Magnitudes of women and children are subjected to gender-based violence (GBV). GBV is not only limited to the home but it is a lived experience even outside the home. It is prevalent in the workplaces, cultural (national events), in schools and tertiary institutions.

‘Many laws are in place in Swaziland to combat GBV but unfortunately it persists. The enactment of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act has been welcomed with mixed feelings. Enthusiasm from women activists and the progressive camp, whilst the conservatives and traditionalists remain skeptical.’


All 20 Heads of State Invited Snub Trade Event Hosted By Swaziland Absolute Monarch

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland (eSwatini), was snubbed by 20 heads of state who failed to accept his invitation to attend a trade launch.

The Swazi Government, which is not elected but picked by the King, was so confident they would attend it hired 18 top-of-the range cars to transport them while they were in Swaziland.

Media in the undemocratic kingdom revealed that many of the heads of state (sitting presidents and prime ministers) had at first accepted the invitation to the opening of an eTrade regional office but did not show.


Democratic Republic of Congo

WHO says Ebola in DR Congo still qualifies as global emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo still warrants being classified as a global emergency, even though the number of confirmed cases has slowed in recent weeks.

The United Nations health agency first declared the epidemic, the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, to be an international emergency in July. On Friday, it convened its expert committee to reconsider whether the designation is still valid and decide if other measures are necessary.

WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the situation remains “complex and dangerous” and that officials must continue to treat every case like it is the first.


Central African Republic

Central African Republic considers hosting Russian military base -RIA

Central African Republic is considering hosting a Russian military base and would like Moscow to supply it with new weapons, RIA news agency cited the country’s president as saying on Friday.

President Francois Faustin-Archange Touadera made the comments in an interview with RIA a day after Russia gathered dozens of African leaders at a summit in southern Russia aimed at expanding Russian influence on the African continent.


Central African Republic asks Russia to ‘intervene’ on UN arms embargo

Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadera on Wednesday, October 23 asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to extend military aid and work to overturn an international arms embargo.

The request came at a major summit in the Russian resort city of Sochi, as the Kremlin seeks to revive its influence in Africa.

“Heavy weapons are necessary for us to create effective forces,” Touadera said in a face-to-face meeting with Putin, in which he thanked the Russian leader for earlier military support and training.

“Armed groups get heavy weapons by circumventing the embargo and that is why we cannot control the territory of the whole country,” Touadera said.

The Defence Post


Somalia advancing towards ‘inclusive and peaceful future’ for women, deputy UN Chief

Somalia has made “enormous strides on its path to peace and stability”, and Somali women’s participation in peace and security efforts has “helped advance society towards an inclusive and peaceful future”, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Wednesday.

Ms. Mohammed’s one-day visit was part of a joint UN-African Union trip to the Horn of Africa region, focusing on women, peace and security. In Somalia they emphasized the international commitment to the pursuit of peace, stability and credible elections in the country.

She was joined by AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop, and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.

UN News

Deputy UN chief hails women’s role in Somalia’s developments

Women in Somalia have played an integral role in the country’s quest for peace, stability and progress, according to the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

Ms. Mohammed’s remarks come following her one-day visit to Somalia, which was part of a joint UN-African Union trip to the Horn of Africa region, focusing on women, peace and security.

“The opportunity to hear from a diverse range of voices about the role of Somali women in different spheres of life drove home just how vibrant and engaged they are, and also how committed they are to ensuring that the role of women and gender equality is factored into all facets of life here”, said the Deputy Secretary-General.

CGTN Africa


Thousands rally in Sudan, call for Bashir party to be disbanded

Thousands of Sudanese have rallied in several cities including the capital Khartoum, urging the country’s new authorities to dissolve the former ruling party of deposed leader Omar al-Bashir.

Crowds of men and women rallied on Monday in Khartoum, its twin city of Omdurman, Madani, Al-Obeid, Port Sudan and in the town of Zalinge in Darfur, expressing their support for the new authorities who are tasked with the country’s transition to civilian rule.

The gatherings also marked the October 21, 1964 uprising that had removed the then-military leader Ibrahim Abboud. That push ended six years of military rule in Sudan following a wave of riots and strikes.


Delegation of Darfur Rebel Movement to Arrive in Khartoum Today

Leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) will travel to the Sudanese capital on Saturday, to intensify communication with political forces in the country.

Upon return to Khartoum from Juba on Thursday, the negotiating delegation of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, a coalition of five armed movements) asserted that there is a strong political will of both the Sudanese government and SRF delegations to reach a just and comprehensive peace throughout Sudan.

The daughter of the late Khalil Ibrahim, founder of the Darfuri Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Isar Khalil, who signed the Juba Declaration of Principles for the movement in September, said at a press conference at Khartoum Airport yesterday that the peace talks brokered by South Sudan “will tackle the roots of the Sudanese crises, and stop the voice of arms to achieve peace, security and stability in Sudan.


South Sudan

‘Unique opportunity’ to resolve border dispute between Sudan, South Sudan

Sudan and neighbouring South Sudan “have never been closer” to reaching a sustainable peace with each other, and their own internal armed opposition groups, the head of UN peacekeeping told the Security Council on Thursday.

The meeting was focused on the disputed, arid, oil-rich border territory of Abyei, where the UN Interim Security Force, UNISFA, has helped to monitor an uneasy peace without formal governance, and protect civilians, since 2011, in the weeks before South Sudan became independent from its northern neighbour.

Boundary lines for the ethnically-split rectangle of territory, have not been agreed between the two nations, but both sides agreed to allow UNISFA’s neutral presence when inter-communal fighting erupted in 2011, to help foster a more secure environment, until final agreement can be reached.

UN News

South Sudan’s opposition leader warns of return to civil war

South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar warned Sunday that the country could return to civil war if a coalition government is formed by a Nov. 12 deadline and he asked for another months-long delay for the crucial step in a fragile peace deal.

Machar made an impassioned plea to a visiting United Nations Security Council delegation that met with him and President Salva Kiir to urge speedier progress in pulling the country out of a five-year civil war that killed almost 400,000 people.

“Suppose we form a government on the 12th, you know what’s going to happen? The ceasefire we’ve been enjoying for over a year will erupt,” said the visiting Machar, whose opposition has said he won’t return to South Sudan for good until security arrangements are in place.

Associated Press

Western Sahara

An Exiled Nation: Saharawi advocates call on the world to support self-determination for Western Sahara

For 40 years, the Saharawi people have been exiled from their homeland, cast out into what is known as the “desert of deserts”, where they live in hope of one day experiencing a long-awaited return to their promised land: their homeland of Western Sahara.

Their wait has been so long that entire generations have lived and died hoping for a return. One young Saharawi woman, Tecber Ahmed Saleh, tells me: “My grandmother, she died holding the radio, thinking that tomorrow they would call a referendum.”

The referendum that Tecber’s grandmother was listening for was first promised in 1991, when, after decades of colonisation and conflict, the Moroccan government agreed to a ceasefire that would have led to a vote on independence or autonomy within the Moroccan state.

Global Voices

EU does not recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara

The European States have finally and clearly recognized that Morocco was not sovereign over the Western Sahara territory in accordance with “extension” agreements sealed in early 2019 between the European Union (EU), said Lawyer of the Polisario Front, Gilles Devers.

In a statement to APS on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN Fourth Committee on Decolonization, the Polisario Front’s lawyer before the European authorities said that “the European states have changed their views and have finally and clearly acknowledged that Morocco is not sovereign over the territory of Western Sahara,” in the decisions taken in January and March 2019 by the EU Council based on the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ECJ decision states that Morocco and Western Sahara are two distinct and separate territories, and the dispute is governed by international law. Morocco has no sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara.

Sahara Press Service

Other African News

16 Ugandan LGBT activists given forced anal exams: rights group

Sixteen Ugandan LGBT activists were subjected to forced anal examinations after being arrested, the country’s leading gay rights organisation said Thursday.

The 16 men were taken into police custody late Monday to protect them from a homophobic mob which had surrounded the house where they were staying, but were then arrested and charged under a colonial-era anti-gay law.

“Last night (Wednesday) the police subjected them to forced anal exams,” the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) Frank Mugisha, told AFP.


Integrated approach needed to manage SA-Zimbabwe border: Parliament

An integrated approach is needed to ensure efficiency in managing the Beitbridge port of entry on the border with Zimbabwe, parliament’s committee on security and justice said on Thursday.

In a statement, the committee said a tour of the port of entry on Wednesday revealed several challenges, including poor road conditions and human resources constraints faced by the departments involved in managing the border, including home affairs, the national defence force and the police service.

The port services an average of 30 000 trucks, 40 000 light motor vehicles and 10 000 buses a month.


Nyusi and his ruling Frelimo party heading for big win in Mozambique poll

Preliminary results show Mozambique’s president and ruling Frelimo party heading for overwhelming victories, as the opposition and some observers charge the elections were marked by intimidation, ballot stuffing and flawed vote-counting.

The opposition Renamo party has rejected the results of last week’s elections and called for the polls to be re-run.

Results from all Mozambique’s provinces, available Thursday but not yet ratified by the central electoral commission, show a landslide win for Frelimo, with the ruling party gaining an absolute majority in the elections for president, parliament and provincial representation.


Botswana’s Masisi wins 51% in hotly-contested election

Incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Friday won a five-year term in Botswana’s elections which saw his ruling party secure more than 51% of parliamentary votes, the chief justice said.

“Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi is elected President of the Republic of Botswana,” chief justice Terrence Rannowane announced.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has ruled since independence from Britain in 1966, was declared the winner after attaining the minimum 29 parliamentary seats required to form a government after Wednesday’s vote.