[Surging street violence against African migrants in Israel, including a rampage that an Israeli broadcaster dubbed a “pogrom”, drew statements of empathy for the rioters as well as censure from the government on Thursday]
Burundi : des militants de droits de l’Homme fustigent le verdict de l’affaire Ernest Manirumva
jeudi 24 mai 2012 /www.afrik.com
La justice burundaise a condamné ce mardi quatorze personnes, accusées d’avoir assassiné en 2009 Ernest Manirumva, éminent militant anti-corruption au Burundi. Les prévenus écopent de très lourdes peines de prison, dont huit de la perpétuité, rapporte RFI. Les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme parlent de mascarade judiciaire, estimant que les condamnés paient pour les véritables commanditaires, qui eux, sont bien placés, selon RFI. Ernest Manirumva, vice-président de l’Observatoire de lutte contre la corruption et les malversations économiques au Burundi (Olucome), avait été assassiné en avril 2009, alors qu’il enquêtait sur plusieurs affaires de corruption dont un important trafic d’armes au sein de la police burundaise.
Rwanda genocide suspect to appeal for extra time
KIGALI — Rwandan genocide suspect Leon Mugesera, who was deported by Canada to Kigali after a long legal battle, said Thursday he would appeal a court decision to refuse his request for a further delay of his trial.
Mugesera returned to court Thursday after the latest two week adjournment of the trial and requested a further two months so as to “thoroughly analyse” his 240-page case file.
“I received a copy of my dossier six days ago, there is no way I could have analysed 240 pages in such a short period,” Mugesera told the court.
“The prosecution has had this dossier for three months … and if we are to consider the principle of equality before the law then I should be given more time,” he added.
However, the judge turned down the request.
Mugesera immediately told the court he was appealing the ruling in the high court, and the judge said the pre-trial proceedings would resume after the appeal.
This is the second time Mugesera has appealed a decision taken by the same court. He previously appealed a decision ordering him to stand trial in Kinyarwanda, but lost.
No date has been set for the latest appeal hearing.
Mugesera made an infamous speech in 1992 that allegedly played a major role in sparking the 1994 genocide, in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800,000 Tutsis.
Mugesera, a linguist, allegedly called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” and encouraged his fellow Hutus to kill them.
Prior to his most recent two-week extension, Mugesera, who returned to Rwanda in January, had already obtained two postponements on the grounds he was still putting his defence team together.
Plus de 39 000 Congolais fuyant les combats se sont réfugiés au Rwanda et en Ouganda
Jeudi, 24 Mai 2012 / Écrit par Bouba Sow / Source: APAnews
Plus de 39.000 Congolais se sont réfugiés au Rwanda et en Ouganda à la suite de récentes opérations militaires au Nord-Kivu (Est de la RD Congo), a appris APA mercredi de source proche du Haut-commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) à Kinshasa.
Cette agence onusienne rapporte la présence de 9.006 réfugiés congolais au Rwanda tandis que les autorités locales en Ouganda indiquent que 30.000 Congolais ont traversé la frontière.
Par ailleurs, plus de 8.000 ménages déplacés (plus de 40.000 personnes) ont été enregistrés dans le territoire de Rutshuru, dans la province du Nord-Kivu entre le 30 avril et le 19 mai, selon le HCR qui indique que ces ménages se retrouvent dans des écoles de plusieurs localités du territoire.
Toutes ces personnes fuient les récentes opérations militaires en cours dans la Province du Nord-Kivu. Au sud du territoire de Lubero, il est signalé la présence de plus de 18.000 personnes déplacées.
Les combats qui opposent depuis avril dernier dans la province du Nord-Kivu les Forces armées de la RDC (FARDC) aux mutins constitués en un mouvement politico-militaire dénommé « M23 » se sont traduits par une situation humanitaire difficile avec d’importants déplacements de populations civiles.
Dans son rapport hebdomadaire publié mercredi à Kinshasa, la Mission de l’ONU pour la stabilisation en RDC (MONUSCO) a indiqué que la situation sécuritaire à travers la province du Nord-Kivu reste caractérisée par une grande instabilité, à cause non seulement des opérations FARDC en cours contre les mutins du M23, mais aussi de la résurgence des activités criminelles perpétrées par les éléments de la rébellion rwandaise des Forces démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) et par les groupes armés congolais Mayi-Mayi.
Ugandan Government Denies Accusations of Secret Oil Deals Says Oil Extraction to Begin in 3-5 Years
Douglas Mpuga /www.voanews.com/May 24, 2012
Ugandans will have to wait 3-5 years for commercial oil production to begin, according to senior government official. The delay, said Bukenya Matovu, the spokesperson for Uganda’s ministry of Energy, is due to “some other things that have to be done in terms of [putting in place] infrastructure before production can start.”
Output from the Ugandan fields, which hold an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil, is expected to reach more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Tallow Oil, the London-based company that signed oil production agreements (PSAs) with the government.
The oil production agreements signed in February, despite a resolution of Parliament halting such agreements until an enabling law was in place, fueled calls for public disclosure of oil production contracts and their revenue streams.
Matovu, however, dismissed accusations of lack of transparency in the oil deals and instead accused some parliamentarians of failure to read these agreements and explain their contents to their constituents.
“Once we have spoken to parliament we have spoken to the country, said Matovu, “these PSAs are in parliament. Parliamentarians have had them for almost two years; therefore they cannot claim ignorance of their existence.”
He said government doesn’t have a policy of secrecy [in regard to oil transactions] but added that these are business agreements that have areas that cannot be disclosed to the public. What is important, he added, is people to have trust in government to act on their behalf.
Matovu said even a court case filed against the government compelling it to release the details of the PSAs had been dismissed by court.
He said there are two oil bills currently before parliament giving the legislature a chance to add their input.
“Uganda has an environment management law,” he said, in reference to concerns that oil waste disposal and environmental issues were not adequately addressed in the oil contracts.
The law, he explained, states that no activity shall go on unless that activity is subjected to an environment impact assessment.
He advised those who think the current [environmental] law isn’t adequate to call for its revision to bring it in tandem with what is happening [in the oil sector].
In February, Tullow Oil, France’s Total and China’s CNOOC completed their long delayed $2.9 billion partnership venture that gave each of them a one third stake in Tullow’s five Uganda exploration blocks.
EA ecosystems law hits snag
By Judica Tarimo /SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN/25th May 2012
Tanzania is opposed to the enforcement of a regional law on Trans-boundary Ecosystems, whose Bill was recently endorsed by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
The regional assembly passed the Bill on January 12, this year, and it is now awaiting final approval of Heads of State in order to become law enforceable in the EAC member states.
However, its’ enforcement is now being challenged by Tanzania, which has rejected the law on the grounds that it would interfere with land issues which are not part of the broader EAC Treaty.
“I requested President Jakaya Kikwete not to sign the Bill. It’s against the EAC Treaty,” said Samuel Sitta, Minister for East African Cooperation at the orientation seminar for newly-elected members of EALA.
He explained that the Bill, which originated from a private motion tabled by a Tanzanian EALA member, touches on matters related to land, “an issue which is not included in the EAC Treaty.”
EAC partner states left out land in the regional Treaty and agreed that the issue would be dealt with under the national laws and frameworks of the respective countries.
“But EALA MPs from partner states are very clever…they may use some tricks to get your (Tanzania’s EALA MPs) support in endorsing certain Bills, which may not directly touch on land, but indirectly they will have direct implications on our land,” said the minister.
He pointed out that EAC Transboundary Ecosystems Bill stands as a good example: “Influenced by other MPs from partner states, one Tanzanian EALA MP moved a private motion which was endorsed by the legislative body, but indirectly that Bill will touch our land.”
According to Sitta, on the face of it the Bill seeks to streamline regional environmental affairs, which “at the end of the day would have implication on land issues, which is not part of the EAC Treaty.” He said EAC partners use direct approaches to push for enforcement of regional land-related laws, asking newly-elected Tanzania’s EALA MPs to be careful with the “techniques used by regional colleagues.”
Before the Bill becomes a regional law, it must be approved by Heads of State from EAC partner states, observed the minister, noting: “I have already requested President Jakaya Kikwete not to accept this Bill (Transboundary Ecosystem) because of the reasons I stated above.” Sitting in Kampla, on January 12, this year, the East African Legislative Assembly, debated and passed the EAC Transboundary Ecosystems Bill 2010.
According to national and regional media reports, the Bill whose debate was suspended last year received overwhelming support when it came up for debate on the floor of the House.
The object of the Bill originally moved by Dr George Francis Nangale is to provide for a legal framework to effectively streamline the management of trans-boundary eco-systems with a view to enhancing the quality of the environment and also ensure sustainable utilisation of shared natural resources in the EAC.
It seeks to provide for the management and regulation of transboundary ecosystems to establish a Commission managing ecosystems in the region and other related matters.
Suspension of the Bill followed concerns raised by EAC Council of Ministers, who requested for more time to consult. The adjournment was further stayed in November 2011 during the subsequent 2nd Meeting of the 5th Session held in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The Council of Ministers sought to clarify the mandate of the envisaged Commission for the management of transboundary ecosystems vis a vis existing institutions. At the same time, Council felt there was an imminent conflict on matters of land given the fact that such matters remain a preserve of the partner states as stated in the Common Market Protocol.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
Kenyans Divided Over Surveillance Camera Plans
Gabe Joselow/ www.voanews.com/May 24, 2012
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga says the country has received funding from China to install surveillance cameras in an effort to fight terrorism in Kenyan cities. East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow spoke to the citizens of Nairobi to hear their views on the matter.
Odinga told Kenya’s parliament Wednesday the government will soon be installing the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the country, starting with the capital Nairobi.
“We are going to start the installation almost immediately,” said Odinga. “And this is going to spread to other cities, Mombasa is next, then Kisumu, and other cities, Mr. Speaker.”
He said Kenya received a $100-million grant from China for the project, and that the goal is to stop terrorism and improve security.
On the streets of Nairobi, Kenyan citizens had mixed reactions about the project.
Kenyan Albert Bwire expressed support for the cameras.
“I think that is a good idea, because CCTV camera will be able to capture any criminal activities, especially in this moment of elections,” said Bwire. “I think security forces will also be able to curb certain plans by the criminals, the gangs are planning to interrupt the election. So I think I do support that issue of CCTV cameras.”
Benson Njunguna was also supportive.
“You have heard of so much money being used somewhere and it does not help, but I think this can help,” added Njunguna.
But Jimmy Kariuki was against the plan.
“I do not think so. Why are they targeting only big towns? I usually go to church, it is outside Nairobi, it is only in the village, what are they deciding about us? Those people in the village. I do not think – it is not worth the money, definitely,” Kariuki noted.
Alois Gitonga expressed worry that corruption would sideline the surveillance program.
“You know we have been experiencing so many such scandals before. So I cannot tell you the truth how it is going to succeed or whether somebody is going to pocket that money. Because there are so many projects, where money has been pocketed. So there’s no guarantee for this one,” said Gitonga.
The Kenyan government’s counter-terrorism efforts have focused in large part on the Somali community.
Militants from Somalia have staged a number of cross-border raids in the past year, abducting tourists and aid workers, and attacking Kenyan police.
A Kenyan-Somali who works in marketing, Ibrahim Mohammed, told said that he thinks the CCTV could actually be a good thing for Somalis.
“Every crime that happens it is blamed on Somalis. So the camera might put clear who exactly is doing the wrong things,” Mohammed said.
Abdi Shekih Mohammed, another Kenyan-Somali has similar feelings.
“I support that initiative, by the China government, Kenya government, to install CC – is it CCTV? – yeah, but the issue of taking Somalis as terrorists, I think it is a negative perception,” he added.
Surveillance cameras are used widely in cities around Europe.
In London, there are an estimated 600,000 cameras for a population of 7.5 million, which is one camera for every 13 people.
CCTV footage played a large role in Britain’s investigation of the 2005 London subway bombing that killed 52 people.
But a 2008 study commissioned by the British Home Office concluded that CCTV cameras have had little impact on crime, except in parking lots.
The widespread use of cameras has also raised privacy concerns among civil rights groups.
Whether it serves as a comfort or a concern, Kenyans will soon be going to sleep knowing the government is watching.
Angola to Hold General Elections on Aug. 31, Dos Santos Says
By Colin McClelland /www.bloomberg.com/ May 24, 2012
Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second- biggest oil producer, will hold general elections on Aug. 31, according to a statement from the office of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
The elections will be the second Angolan ballot since the end of a 27-year civil conflict in 2002, and the first for a president in 20 years. Voters will choose “to fill the position of president and members of the National Assembly” in a single poll, according to the statement e-mailed today.
The southern African country pumped about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from wells drilled by companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), BP Plc (BP/) and Total SA. (FP) Angola supplied 2.6 percent of U.S. oil imports in February, according to Energy Department data. China imported 15 percent of its crude from Angola in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Dos Santos is expected to run and win handily, while his choice of a successor remains a mystery, according to Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at Chatham House in London.
“The greatest issue of uncertainty is the succession of dos Santos in Angolan politics,” Vines said this month in a telephone interview. “That is the one thing we don’t know.”
Dos Santos said last year elections would be held by Sept. 5 and that he was “available” to extend his 32-year rule. He has not formally announced his candidacy, nor a list of candidates that would include a potential successor to the 69- year-old. Dos Santos is Africa’s second-longest-serving ruler after Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The governing Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola won the last parliamentary election in 2008 with 82 percent of the votes. The MPLA has 181 of the legislature’s 220 seats compared with 16 held by the largest opposition group, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola, a former rebel group.
Unita may suffer at the polls because former leader Abel Chivukuvuku, 54, broke with Unita leader Isaias Samakuva and set up his own party in March, Vines said.
Anti-African street violence surges in Israel
By Dan Williams/ Reuters/Thu May 24, 2012
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Surging street violence against African migrants in Israel, including a rampage that an Israeli broadcaster dubbed a “pogrom”, drew statements of empathy for the rioters as well as censure from the government on Thursday.
Waving Israeli flags and chanting “Deport the Sudanese”, residents of a low-income Tel Aviv neighbourhood where many of the border-jumpers from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan live held a march late Wednesday that turned violent.
Police said 20 people were arrested for assault and vandalism. Trash cans were set alight, storefront windows were broken and a crowd attacked an African driving through the area, breaking his car’s windows. No serious injuries were reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Wednesday’s violence, saying there was no room for such action and that the issue must be resolved “responsibly”. But his interior minister, Eli Yishai, was more forgiving.
Interviewing Yishai, Army Radio likened the incident to pogrom attacks on Jews in 19th-century Europe. Yishai bristled at such language, citing police findings that Sudanese and Eritrean migrants were a crime risk.
“I cannot judge a man whose daughter gets raped. I cannot judge a young woman who cannot walk home,” said Yishai, in a reference to the rape of a 15-year-old girl last month and the three Sudanese migrants who were arrested for the crime.
“I cannot under any circumstances judge people who get abused and harmed, and who are then confronted by the state, which says, ‘Why do you behave this way to the foreigners?'”
Fleeing poverty, fighting and authoritarian rule, some 60,000 Africans have crossed illegally into Israel through the relatively porous desert border with Egypt in recent years.
That has jarred the Jewish state, with its already ethnically fraught citizen population of 7.8 million. Some Israelis warn of a gathering demographic and economic crisis while others say a country born after the Holocaust has a special responsibility to offer foreigners sanctuary.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said some 15 percent of city residents were “illegal foreign workers” and the number was growing. Interior Ministry data show 82 percent of the African migrants are men, 15 percent women and the rest children.
Israel says most of the migrants come seeking work rather than refuge, but this has been challenged by U.N. humanitarian agencies and civil rights groups. As a result, the Africans are kept in a legal limbo, many of them granted temporary permits but no clear permanent status.
The government is erecting a fortified fence on the Egyptian border and wants to deport the migrants. But it has no ties with Sudan that would allow direct repatriation, and some humanitarian experts say it cannot force subjects of South Sudan and Eritrea back to those impoverished and ravaged states.
Eritrea’s ambassador to Israel, Tesfamariam Tekeste, said in a television interview on Tuesday that Asmara would admit its citizens who return voluntarily – but not deportees.
An April 1 expulsion order issued by Yishai against illegal South Sudanese was blocked by a Jerusalem court as it considers an appeal by Israeli human rights activists.
Unchecked, the number of Africans illegally in Israel could reach millions and overwhelm the citizenry, predicted Yishai, who heads a party run by rabbis in the coalition government.
“So what, the State of Israel, as the Jewish state, in the name of democracy, in the name of honouring U.N. resolutions, (should accept) a recipe for suicide?” he said.
“The truth has to be told, and believe me it is hard and it hurts, as we are the Jewish people, a merciful people.”
David Gez, a senior Israeli police officer, said Wednesday’s violence was one of several such anti-African incidents this month in Tel Aviv.
Oscar Olivier, a Congolese migrant, said on Army Radio that he has been in Israel for 18 years seeking refugee status and that the public mood reminded him of the assassination in 1995 of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an ultranationalist Jew.
“I feel like we’re facing a former alcoholic who has started drinking again,” he said in fluent Hebrew. “The question is not if they will kill an African because he is black, but when.”
Olivier acknowledged the migrants posed problems for Israel but said: “There are professional, reliable, serious, and independent laws and judges. Let them decide what to do and how to do it – just without violence.”
(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Michael Roddy)
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