EAC to rally behind Burundi in next polls
By FRED OLUOCH /www.theeastafrican.co.ke/ Sunday, January 31 2010
The East African Community will take an active role in Burundi’s coming elections, as part of its broader programme to push for free and fair polls across the region.
The move will ensure that Burundi, which has suffered decades of war does not relapse into strife after the elections, which take place in June. The EAC says the country’s peace and stability is still fragile, while its recently created electoral body needs the support and experience of other EA countries in order to build its capacity.
Burundi will be the starting point for the implementation of the broader EAC programme, where member states will, through its Political Affairs Directorate, also develop the Protocol on Good Governance — a binding document that will foster good electoral practices.
The decision is informed by the lessons learnt from Kenya’s experience — the bloody aftermath of the 2007 general elections.
According to the Deputy Secretary General in charge of the East African Political Federation, Beatrice Kiraso, conflicts resulting from flawed elections in any EAC country will impact negatively on the integration process.
Burundi leads EA
Rwanda and Tanzania are due to hold elections in August and October respectively; Uganda will follow next year and Kenya in 2012.
Burundi’s elections may be just four months away — the second since peace was restored — but the country is still faced with a number of challenges including the absence of a law governing elections; the need to address the funding gap; ensuring timely and updated voter registration as well as security concerns during the campaign and election period.
So far, the Political Affairs Directorate has established and is soon to deploy an Electoral Support Mission to Burundi. The caucus of six is drawn from the electoral bodies of member states, and was formed last November with the support of the United Nations.
The EAC also intends to move from conventional election observer missions that concentrate on how ballots are cast on the voting day, to long-term monitoring of the entire election process.
This involves keeping an eye on the voter registration process, conducting civic education, ensuring the right material is in the right place at the right time as well as monitoring the counting, tallying, announcement of the results up to the swearing-in of successful candidates.
Ultimately, the EAC observers will ensure the standardisation of election processes across the region. Ms Kiraso said this was also in preparation for the political union and a single East African constitution.
“Currently, elections take place at different times and thus affect the work of the EAC due to the lack of a quorum at meetings. Partner states must corporate to allow the harmonisations process to carry on,” she said.
Burundi: Tutsi and Hutu soldiers combine to plot coup
Hutu and Tutsi military officers in the Burundi army have been arrested for attempting to overthrow the government. The army chief of staff, Major Gen Godefroid Niyombare said the soldiers were planning to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza- a former rebel leader elected under a deal that ended the years of conflict between the Tutsi army and Hutu rebels in Burundi.
The authorities are investigating and more arrests are expected. This event precedes the forthcoming elections in June- which would be the second poll ever to be held in the country, since the end of the deadly 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.
Burundi’s army absorbed more than 2,000 former rebels, Tutsis and Hutus, after a peace deal in 2005, and despite the progress made in the direction of democracy, some analysts say the June elections could be disturbed by some disgruntled factions of the unified army of Hutus and Tutsis.
The approaching election would also be contested for by former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa. He has been chosen by his party as its candidate for the country’s 2010 presidential election. Agathon Rwasa vowed to rule for all Burundians, if elected.
Burundi, after its independence in 1961, has been plagued by tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority, and it has become one of the world’s poorest nations.
The unification of Hutu and Tutsi soldiers to plot a coup distorts the expectations of outside observers, who are only aware of the years of political tensions between Hutus and Tutsis in that region.
According to a BBC documented historical profile on Burundi, In 1993 when Burundians chose their first Hutu head of state, Melchior Ndadaye, and a parliament dominated by the Hutu Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu) party, he was assassinated within months.
This led to years of Hutu-Tutsi violence in which an estimated 300,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed. In early 1994 parliament elected another Hutu, Cyprien Ntaryamira, as president. But he was killed in April alongside the president of neighboring Rwanda when the plane they were traveling in was shot down over Kigali.
This of course led to the Rwanda genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.
In Burundi, another Hutu, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, was appointed president in October 1994. But within months, the mainly Tutsi Union for National Progress (Uprona) party withdrew from the government and parliament, sparking a new wave of ethnic violence.
However, there have been relative peace, after a 12-year ethnic-based civil war due partly to international mediation and support. Nonetheless the peace has been recently altered with the report of an alleged underground coup by Tutsi and Hutu soldiers .
France, Rwanda co-operate over genocide suspect
By PAUL REDFERN /www.theeastafrican.co.ke/ Sunday, January 31 2010
A Rwandan doctor who is accused of genocide and war crimes is facing extradition from France to Kigali in another sign of improving ties between the two countries.
Rwanda quickly turned into a living hell after missile attack
His arrest on an extradition warrant from Rwanda comes two months after France and Rwanda restored diplomatic ties.
France had rejected an asylum bid by him in 2008, saying there were “serious reasons” to question his involvement in war crimes in 1994.
But he was arrested and detained by French police at the end of January following an extradition warrant issued by Kigali.
Dr Munyemana is understood to have been on an Interpol wanted list since 2006 and Rwanda had been seeking his return for more than a decade but until recently the French authorities had delayed proceedings.
Dr Munyemana who previously worked as a gynaecologist at the University Hospital in Butare, is alleged to have been involved in the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the 100-day massacre in 1994.
He has been referred to as the “butcher of Tumba” but Dr Munyemana himself says he is the victim of false accusations.
Campaigners for justice for the Rwandans killed in 1994 have welcomed Paris’ change of heart after years of hostile relations between the two governments.
Dr Munyemana has now been released on bail, but must report to judicial officials until a court date is set.
The arrest comes weeks after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner made his first visit to Rwanda since diplomatic ties were restored in November.
Relations between Paris and Kigali had been poor for several years but were severed in 2006 after a French judge accused President Paul Kagame and several senior officials of being behind the 1994 murder of Rwanda’s Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana.
The shooting down of his plane triggered the 1994 genocide.
Rwanda has in turn accused France of being partly responsible for the 1994 genocide because its armed forces had backed the Hutu regime of President Habyarimana.
A government appointed panel in Rwanda found last autumn that Hutu extremists in the 1994 government were responsible for Mr Habyarimana’s death and that France was not involved.
Those suspected of being most responsible for the killings are being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Italy’s Eni and Ireland’s Tullow wait on Uganda Oil decision
lezgetreal.com/By CanuckJacq/Sunday 31st January
The Ugandan government has withdrawn its objection to Tullow Oil buying out Heritage Oil’s Lake Albert blocks after the company held talks with the president. Now Italian Oil company Eni, who had been favoured by the Ugandan government, and Tullow Oil, will wait for a decision that is expected next week.
Italian oil company Eni, has a statement on its website regarding its own human rights policy.
An active and attentive approach is also adopted in order to prevent the risk of complicity in violations committed by third parties in combination with the intention to promote human rights as a fundamental theme for sustainable development while strengthening the involvement of public institutions and the business community in this area.
I wonder to “violations committed by a third party” include human rights being violated by the state in which they are operating?
Irish (UK-registered) Tullow Oil has a document on their Corporate Social Responsibility activities which outlines what projects they have initiated in the developing countries where they have been operating. No word on advocating for oppressed homosexuals, obviously.
The Ugandan government ruling party has introduced an Anti-homosexuality Bill that will introduce sentences for failing to report homosexual incidents, speaking up for gay rights and will also allow the state to kill homosexuals if they are “repeat offenders”.
Dar to push for ivory sale in teeth of Nairobi opposition
By ABDUEL ELINAZA/www.theeastafrican.co.ke/Sunday, January 31 2010
Tanzania has said it will soldier on seeking a temporary lifting of the ivory trade ban to enable it to sell its 60 tonne-stockpile which it has been holding for the past two decades — despite its neighbour, Kenya, trumpeting for a total ban.
Shamsa Mwangunga, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam last week that Kenya’s argument that relaxing the ban on a one-off basis would increase poaching in the region, “does not hold water” because the number of elephants in the country had increased over the past decade.
Mrs Mwangunga said Tanzania and Zambia had already secured backing from the Southern African Development Community for their bid to allow their ivory to be auctioned.
Dr Kalumbi Shangula, permanent secretary in Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, told The EastAfrican from Windhoek that his government will back a proposal by Tanzania and Zambia during next month’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Quatar, to be allowed to conduct a one-off ivory auction, saying the proposal is in line with Namibia’s philosophy of utilising natural resources sustainably.
The number of elephants in Tanzania currently stands at 120,000. Between 1977 and 1987, the period of the worst poaching, their numbers had dropped from 184,000 to 55,000.
It is believed that Ruaha National Park in Iringa, south of Dar es Salaam holds the largest elephant population in Tanzania with an estimated 6,300 elephants in 2006.
“The country will argue the case scientifically and wisely at the meeting… because despite having the ban in place, poachers are continuing to kill our elephants,” Mrs Mwangunga said.
She added that the key issue is to have the right anti-poaching strategy in place accompanied with the right equipment. She said that in less than two months the anti-poaching squads had nabbed 70 poachers.
Along with Tanzania, Zambia too is keen to off load its 22-tonne ivory stockpile.
Kenya, on the other hand, is already claiming victory, with 16 out of 23 member countries of the African Elephants Coalition backing its proposal to replace the moratorium on ivory trade, which ends in 2019.
This was during a recent meeting in Brussels at which the countries urged the European Union not to support the sale.
Kenya is now ready to use next month’s forum to oppose the Tanzanian and Zambian proposal to relax the 1989 Cites ban on a one-off basis.
Ezekiel Maige, the deputy minister for Natural Resources and Tourism said last week that Cites officials were in Dar es Salaam inspecting the stockpile that Tanzania wants to dispose of.
Mr Mage said the inspection is a normal exercise undertaken by Cites whenever any of its member countries sends it a proposal on the planned sale of endangered species or related products.
Should it go ahead, the Tanzania-Zambia sale, will be the third such “one-off” ivory auction to have taken place since the international ban on ivory trade was enforced.
Now Tanzania and Zambia also want their elephant population to be downlisted from Cites Appendix I, which prohibits all trade in animal and plant species, to Appendix II, which allows trade if it is monitored.
Kidnapped yacht couple issue plea
A British couple kidnapped by pirates in the Indian Ocean have issued another desperate plea for help.
Paul and Rachel Chandler, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were captured while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania in their yacht Lynn Rival on October 23.
In a video filmed by the French news agency AFP, Mr Chandler begged the British government to help secure the couple’s release.
CONGO RDC :
DRC clears sailors of immigrants’ deaths
Kinshasa – A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday cleared seven Ukrainian sailors and one Russian sailor of charges of killing four Congolese illegal immigrants on their boat.
During the televised trial of the eight, the prosecution had called for the death sentence and a fine of one million dollars.
On Saturday, the Kinshasa-Gombe county court acquitted the eight men following “irregularities found in the prosecution file”.
The seamen were accused of beating and throwing overboard seven Congolese illegal immigrants who had climbed on to their boat on October 19 when it was at the port of Matadi, 300km south of the capital Kinshasa.
Of the seven thrown into the Congo river, four drowned.
The ruling judge, Rene Nsibu, said he had “difficulty reconciling the intention to kill of the accused, presented as violent, with their throwing flasks and lifebelts to their victims”, adding that the prosecution provided only “presumptive evidence”.
The accused had denied all the accusations against them and said they had never come into contact with the victims.
Kenya ‘conduit’ of weapons as South as ‘arms race’ begins in Sudan
By KEVIN J. KELLEY/www.theeastafrican.co.ke/Sunday, January 31 2010
Kenya has been named in a report by a Swiss research institute as the conduit for many of the weapons transferred to Southern Sudan government forces in violation of a peace agreement strongly backed by the United States.
The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment, which is a multi-year research project administered by the Small Arms Survey — an independent research project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies — reported that satellite imagery has confirmed the presence at Southern Sudan military headquarters of tanks that arrived at the port of Mombasa in 2008.
These T-72 tanks were part of three weapons shipments from Ukraine “ostensibly consigned to the Kenyan Ministry of Defence” but that were in fact under contract to the Government of Southern Sudan, according to the Small Arms Survey. In addition to tanks, the three shipments in 2007 and 2008 are said to include 122 mm vehicle-mounted rocket launchers, 14.5 mm machine guns, 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon, RPG-7 rocket launchers and AKM assault rifles.
Some of these arms transfers to South Sudan forces were facilitated by a Mombasa-based shipping agency run by a British national, the survey says. It does not name the agency.
The researchers warn that an “arms race” is underway in Sudan, with the national government in Khartoum and the SPLM-led government in the South both acquiring large quantities of weapons.
The United States is meanwhile warning that shipments of arms into Southern Sudan are heightening insecurity there in the run-up to a referendum that could result in the region’s secession.
US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice did not directly answer a reporter’s question last week about Kenya’s reported involvement in this illicit arms trade. “In a region where you have porous borders,” Ms Rice said in response, “there are undoubtedly weapons coming from all directions.”
The US envoy added that the task now is to identify the principal source of the shipments and to answer the question, “Is this simply small arms trafficking of the sort that we see throughout the continent or is it actually a deliberate effort to sow instability?”
Ms Rice spoke with reporters following a January 26 UN Security Council meeting on developments in Sudan. She said UN officials had indicated that heavier weapons now appear to be reaching the South. Specific information on the shipments has not been provided, Ms Rice added.
Violence is escalating in Southern Sudan, which had been at war with Khartoum for 20 years. The UN reports that more than 2000 people were killed in clashes among tribal militias last year. Some of the incidents involved thousands of heavily armed attackers, the UN says.
International monitors worry that the 2005 peace agreement could break down in the coming months, leading to a resumption of the war that killed an estimated two million Sudanese. Tensions are growing as the antagonists prepare for a scheduled 2011 referendum in the South on the question of whether the region should claim independence.
The US government under George W Bush invested considerable diplomatic effort to bring about the peace agreement. And the Obama administration appears determined to prevent that achievement from coming undone.
The State Department has meanwhile contracted with private companies to help train South Sudan’s armed forces. The US says that arrangement does not contravene the peace treaty, which forbids arms shipments to the South without the joint approval of its government and the Khartoum government.
The Small Arms Survey report was made public as President Mwai Kibaki last week met Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir, who paid him a courtesy call at his Harambee House office in Nairobi.
At their meeting, President Kibaki said Kenya was committed to enhanced security along the two countries’ common border through regular cross border meetings and other forms of security co-operation.
During the meeting which was also attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Presidential Press Service reports, President Kiir briefed President Kibaki on the progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed in Nairobi in January 2005.
President Kiir appreciated the role Kenya has continued to play during the entire peace process in Southern Sudan through immense support in various forms.
President Kibaki reassured the Southern Sudan delegation that Kenya, Igad and the AU would remain actively engaged in the successful implementation of the CPA due to the far reaching implications for the region’s security.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula was not available for comment but Assistant Minister for Internal Security Joshua Orua Ojode dismissed the report as “rumours” and demanded evidence. “The Kenya government does not trade in arms and respects the territorial integrity of other countries. But if there is evidence, we are ready to investigate,” he said.
Additional reporting by Fred Oluoch
Togo Nations Cup Ban Sets Continent’s Image Back Decades
Ben Johnston Contributor/bleacherreport.com/ January 31, 2010
The last thing you really need when you’ve just had two of your officials shot to death, your reserve goalkeeper nearly paralysed and put in intensive care, a whole bunch of other people you know riddled with wounds and everyone around you scared absolutely stupid, is some suit-wearing, grudge-bearing Confederation official coming along and pissing on your wounds.
That is exactly what CAF have done by banning Togo from the next two Nations Cups.
“The executive committee has banned Togo from the next two African Nations Cup and fined the Togo FA 50,000 U.S. dollars. The players publicly expressed their willingness to return to the Nations Cup to compete. But the Togo government decided to call back their national team,” Caf explained in its statement. The decision by political authorities contravenes Caf and African Nations Cup regulations.”
I would laugh if it wasn’t so completely, inappropriately insensitive, if it didn’t insult the dead, and if it wasn’t the single biggest example of historical revisionism I have seen in many a month. Here’s a quote from Thomas Dossevi, a member of their squad…
“We don’t really want to play in the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said. “We are thinking of our friends, the injured players.”
Another player, Alaixys Romao said this…
“We’re not thinking yet of what could happen, but it’s true that no one wants to play. We’re not capable of it.”
Emmanuel Adebayor doesn’t sound like the kind of person who wants to play football…
“I’m still under shock, I was one of those who carried the injured players into the hospital; that is, when I realised what was really going on. All the players, everyone was crying, calling their mums, crying on the phone, saying their last words because they thought they’d be dead.”
When Togo withdrew from the ANC, only complete buffoons thought they were doing the wrong thing. Granted, there were plenty of arguments put about as to why they should stay, but none of them were put forward by someone who’d seen their best mate get shot in the spine.
The sheer level of ignorance displayed by CAF is staggering…to the point where you have to wonder if they are even human. The president, Issa Hayatou, said…
“Do you want us to tell the Angolan government to stop the tournament because a little group put out a release? FIFA received threats in Nigeria from a rebel group but did they suspend the competition? No, and I went there despite the threats.”
So that’s absolutely fine then. It really doesn’t matter now, because ‘you can’t let terrorists win’ and ‘the show must go on’ and ‘I was really brave before.’ The threats in Nigeria came to nothing, but that doesn’t mean you ignore them.
You step up security and, if a team gets machine gunned, then yes, you pull the plug on the tournament and stage it somewhere safer. Another absolute nugget is…
“Why would we regret bringing the competition here? What happened with Togo happened outside the city of Cabinda; nothing happened in the perimeter of the city, which the Angolan government put at our disposal.”
Perhaps some block caps and bold type will aid me. YOU REGRET BRINGING THE COMPETITION TO WAR-TORN, REBEL-INFESTED ANGOLA BECAUSE ONE OF THE TEAMS PLAYING IN IT GOT MACHINE-GUNNED ON THEIR TEAM COACH. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT WAS IN CABINDA OR NOT.
Do they really, genuinely think that it’s okay because it didn’t happen inside the city limits? And are CAF forgetting that this was the 2010 ANC Angola, or am I mistaken, and it’s the ANC Cabinda?
The decision to disqualify them also flies in the face of the following statement released after Togo withdrew, made by the same absolute clown…
“We did not disqualify them; we simply noted their departure, we wished they would have stayed, but respect their decision to leave.”
Respect their decision to leave doesn’t sit very well with their decision to punish them in the aftermath. I’m getting angrier and angrier as I write this.
The reputation of African football was shaken by the Togo attacks, but could have been rescued had the continent pulled together, supported the Togolese and delivered a wonderful footballing tournament.
And whilst the sport has been entertaining, African football has now lost so much face, this summer’s World Cup is going to be under intense scrutiny.
Should there be any incident of any sort, the reputation of the continent could be, in football terms, irreparably damaged.
It’s a tragic microcosm of the African story: a continent blessed with millions upon millions of amazing, talented people and the potential for their nations to be truly great players on a global scale, yet spoiled by greed, malice, and apathy from the elites in power.
S. African official’s wife arrested
Cwele is being held without bail pending a hearing, The Daily Telegraph of London reported. She and a Nigerian man, Frank Nabolis, allegedly got two women to serve as drug mules from Turkey and South America.
Cwele, a municipal official, was arrested Friday at her office. She denies the charges.
A South African newspaper reported several months ago that Cwele was connected to a young woman who was taken into custody in Brazil. Investigators there said they found 22 pounds of cocaine in the woman’s luggage.
The opposition Democratic Alliance party suggested Cwele used her husband’s political connections to try to thwart an investigation.
“This is disturbing news and raises a number of serious questions regarding the minister,” the party said. “We believe that he must demonstrate to the South African public that he is in no way compromised by this matter; if he fails to do so, he ought to stand down from his position right away.”
AFRICA / AU :
Gaddafi chides African Union after leadership change
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, failing in his bid to stay on as chairman of the African Union for another year, said on Sunday the pan-African grouping wasted time while failing to meet global challenges.
On the first day of a summit in Addis Ababa, Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika was selected to succeed Gaddafi, even though diplomats said Gaddafi was seeking another term.
The Libyan leader used his farewell speech to again urge African leaders to begin the process of political unification, which was a large part of his agenda during his chairmanship.
He also criticized the AU for “tiring” him with long meetings and making declarations and reports without asking him.
“It was like we were building a new atomic bomb or something,” he said, referring to meetings that had lasted long into the night and that he characterized as “really useless.”
“The world’s engine is turning into 7 or 10 countries and we are not aware of that,” Gaddafi said, dressed in a white robe and black fur hat.
“The EU is becoming one country and we are not aware of it. We have to get united to be united. Let’s be united today.”
An African unity government is a goal of the AU’s founding charter goal and Gaddafi, supported by leaders like Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade, has been pushing for union for years, saying it is the only way Africa can develop without Western interference.
But members, led by South Africa and Ethiopia, argue the plan is impractical and would infringe on sovereignty.
FOOD SECURITY IS PRIORITY
The Malawian leader promised to make battling hunger a top priority.
“Africa is not a poor continent but the people of Africa are poor,” wa Mutharika said. “Achieving food security at the African level should be able to address the problem.”
In recent years, Malawi has enjoyed bumper harvests following the introduction of a fertilizer and seed subsidy program.
Although leaders fought over who would be chairman, they agreed on the need to support leaders of transitional governments in Somalia, Guinea and Sudan, and for tough action against feuding politicians ignoring AU directives in Madagascar.
The chairman of the AU commission, Jean Ping, said there would be unspecified consequences for parties that go it alone in resolving Madagascar’s year-long political crisis. They have been given 15 days to respond to AU power-sharing proposals.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said millions of people continued to be displaced in Sudan’s Darfur region. He added the United Nations would work with the African Union to see off a crisis with grave risks for regional instability.
“In Sudan, time is of the essence. The elections are three months away. The two referenda to determine the future shape of Sudan are in just under a year,” he said.
Ban said the United Nations also would continue to provide financial support to AU peacekeepers in anarchic Somalia, as the conflict has a “direct bearing on global security.”
An AU peacekeeping force of 5,000 — provided by Burundi and Uganda — is struggling to hold back Islamist rebels in Somalia. The AU has repeatedly asked for UN peacekeepers to bolster its efforts but has only been given funding.
(Editing by Michael Roddy)
Ban slams Africa power-grabs as Kadhafi steps aside
ADDIS ABABA — UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Sunday criticised power-grabs in Africa in a speech to the continent’s leaders as Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi reluctantly handed over the presidency of the African Union to Malawi.
The build-up to the three-day AU summit in Addis Ababa had been dominated by the expectation that Kadhafi would try to extend his 12-month tenure as head of the 53-member body.
But soon after Ban issued his appeal at the summit’s opening for leaders to stick to the rules, Kadhafi announced that an agreement had been reached for Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika to take the helm for the coming year.
“My brother president of the republic of Malawi will replace me and take over,” Kadhafi said.
The veteran Libyan leader’s presidency of the body has been marked by his efforts to promote his vision of a “United States of Africa” — a project that has made little progress during his 12 months in charge.
It has also prompted awkward questions about the continent’s commitment to democracy, given the absence of free elections in Libya ever since Kadhafi took power in a bloodless coup in 1969.
In his address to the conference, Ban expressed concern about what he called a recent resurgence of “unconstitutional” power changes in Africa and rapped attempts by incumbents to change the law in order to help them stay in office.
“The resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa is a matter of serious concern,” said Ban, the United Nations secretary general.
“We must also guard against the manipulation of established processes to retain power.”
Africa has been dogged by a series of political crises in the last year, including in Madagascar where President Marc Ravalomanana was toppled in an army-backed coup in March and Guinea where an army junta which came to power in December 2008 was accused of massacring opposition followers.
Other recent trouble-spots include Niger where the president has brushed aside international pleas to allow himself another term in office and Mauritania where the country’s first democratically-elected leader was toppled by the army in August 2008.
In an interview with AFP on Saturday, Ban put particular emphasis on the fate of Sudan, where tension has been mounting in the run-up to a 2011 referendum in which the south is widely expected to choose independence from Khartoum, only six years after signing a peace deal.
He called the situation prevailing in the western Sudanese province of Darfur “a serious situation which reflects and exposes our limitations”.
“The UN has a big responsibility with the AU to maintain peace in Sudan and make unity attractive… This year will be crucially important for Sudan with the election in three months and the referendum in a year,” he said.
Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir arrived in the Ethiopian capital on Friday. His movements have been closely monitored since the International Criminal Court last year slapped him with an arrest warrant over the atrocities committed in the Darfur region since 2003.
Other leaders welcomed to Ethiopia include Zimbabwe’s veteran President Robert Mugabe who managed to stay in power when Morgan Tsvangirai, his challenger in polls in 2008, withdrew from a run-off vote after scores of his followers were killed.
In an interview with AFP in Davos, Switzerland, Tsvangirai said that a delicate power-sharing deal under which he became prime minister had made “significant progress” but warned that “toxic issues” remained to be resolved.
“I cannot predict that a coup will happen or derailment of the project, but I am satisfied that so far all the indications are that this process is irreversible,” he said.
The summit’s official theme is information technology, but the leaders barely touched on the subject in their opening remarks.
The assembled leaders also observed a minute’s silence in memory of the 90 victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash off the coast of Libya in the early hours of January 25.
They also expressed their sympathy for the people of Haiti whose capital was devastated by a powerful earthquake on January 12,
AU picks Zimbabwe for Peace and Security Council
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The African Union (AU) has selected Zimbabwe for a place on its Peace and Security Council, one of the bloc’s most powerful organs, the organisation’s head of legal affairs said.
The southern African country is emerging from a period of international isolation after a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Peace and Security Council is concerned with resolving conflicts between member states and with helping sort out domestic political turmoil. Other states picked late on Saturday for three year terms on the body were Kenya, Burundi and Equatorial Guinea.
Ben Kioko, the AU legal counsel said the trial of former Chadian ruler Hissene Habre would commence in the next few months, once the AU and the European Union have sorted out a trial budget and issues of procedure.
Habre, president between 1982 and 1990, faces charges of crimes against humanity.
The EU became involved in the issue after Belgium issued an international arrest warrant for Habre in 2005.
Belgium’s move to try him in Europe was rejected by the AU and the trial will take place in Senegal where Habre is exiled.
“It is an issue (budget) that we should be able to finalise within the next two weeks,” he said.
A detailed plan to merge the African Court of Human and People’s Rights with the African Court of Justice, and to mandate the new entity to handle serious offences like war crimes, would be presented at the next summit of AU leaders in July, Kioko also said.
“The African judicial organs should be able to deal with cases relating to unconstitutional changes of government so that is also another axis we will be looking to confer jurisdiction upon the African court.”.
(Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Matthew Jones)
UN /ONU :
UN Chief Pledges Full Support for Peace, Security in Africa
UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon pledged here on Sunday that the world body fully supports the peace and security in the African continent.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 14th summit of the African Union, Ban ki-moon said that the United Nations is proud to back the African Union as it fulfills its potential as a strategic and operational partner.
The African continent faces a number of critical elections, and of the 13 nations that have elections scheduled in the coming two years, six are in countries with UN peacekeeping or peace-building operations, the UN chief said.
“We must work to ensure that these lead to strong foundation for stability and democracy.”
“In Cote d’Ivoire, we have seen contending political parties assume full ownership of a peace process, use regional facilitation and benefit from security, logistical and technical support from the United Nations to resolve conflicts,” he said.
He urged the parties to overcome the outstanding issues and set a definite date for the election.
In Liberia, the UN chief said “I pledge UN support for building security institutions as we near next year’s elections. We must work together to make Liberia an enduring success story in the transition of peacebuilding.”
The UN chief said in Sudan, time is of the essence.
“The elections are three months away. The two referenda to determine the future shape of Sudan are in just under a year.”
Ban said he is pleased that African leaders support the United Nations efforts to solve the Darfur conflict in Sudan.
“We must continue to work to deepen the encouraging improvement in relations between Chad and Sudan.”
In Somalia, recent events have tragically shown that the conflict has a direct bearing on global security, he continued.
“The United Nations remains strongly committed to continuing to work with the African Union to strengthen the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).”
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Ban said the United Nations will also help build an armed force capable of protecting civilians and which can progressively task over security responsibilities from the UN peacekeeping force, Ban said.
“We will continue efforts to end the conflicts in the east (of DR Congo), restore state authority, facilitate the return of refugees, and protect civilians against all forms of violence including sexual violence.”
Ban said the United Nations and AU are also working closely to establish dedicated mechanisms to build peace, a key part of the UN efforts in Africa and with the African Union.
“The UN peacebuilding Commission is currently engaged with Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau to support these post-conflict countries in their peacebuilding efforts.”
The Peacebuilding Fund has provided 130 million U.S. dollars to peacebuilding projects in 10 African countries, and four out every five dollars from the fund has gone to Africa, he noted.
There is enormous potential for even closer strategic cooperation in this area, the UN chief said.
“I encourage the AU to actively engage and contribute to the upcoming review of the UN peacebuilding architecture,” Ban added.
Israel submits reply to UN on Gaza war report
Harper champions the right cause
It is women, according to the United Nations, who hold the key to a sustainable future. Women and mothers hold families and communities together, Asha-Rose Migiro, the UN’s deputy secretary-general noted last year. They “feed their children, send them to school and take them for vaccinations,” she said.
Maternal health is one of eight Millennium Development Goals established by the UN in 2000. But a decade later, little progress has been made. Around the world, maternal mortality decreased by less than one per cent a year between 1990 and 2005.
Every day in the developing world there are an average 1,400 preventable deaths of women in childbirth. An estimated nine million children die before they reach age five.
The prime tool to reduce this appalling toll is political will in the poorest countries. then come clean water, adequate food, immunization, and medical care. An estimated 1 million more health-care workers are needed to provide life-saving services for mothers and children around the world.
It will, however, take sustained effort to keep this issue at the forefront of those nations that can help. Harper’s decision to try to push the G8 and later this year the G20 nations into providing consistent leadership on maternal and child health has to be applauded – wherever one stands along Canada’s political spectrum.
It is quite plausible – as Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has charged – that Harper is acting both out of character and in his own political self-interest. Ignatieff accused Harper of having cut programs and funding that promote women’s equality in Canada.
And it is true that the Conservatives under Harper have failed over the years to attract a majority of female voters. So it is hardly surprising that the Conservatives want to appear to be championing the cause of women.
But whatever the party’s reasons, maternal and child health worldwide is a cause in desperate need of a champion. If it suits the Harper Conservatives to play that role, good will come of it, whether accusations of cynicism are warranted or not. Ministers must know that voters wary of Harper and his party will need to see results, not just rhetoric, on this issue.
The emphasis on maternal and child healthcare fits into the Harper government’s more focused approach to aid. The prime minister has announced his government will devote Canada’s $4 billion yearly aid spending to three key areas: food security, sustainable growth, and problems affecting youngsters.
Bev Oda, minister of international co-operation, rightly complained that while Western countries have spent $2.3 trillion in foreign aid since 1960, they have not managed to get “12-cent medicines” to children to prevent half the world’s malaria-related deaths.
A clear, focused championship of women’s and children’s health and safety – at home and abroad – is something we should all support.
West Australian Metals Ltd. – Financial Analysis Review – New Report Published
by Press Office
(Companiesandmarkets.com and OfficialWire)
West Australian Metals Ltd. – Financial Analysis Review;West Australian Metals Ltd. (WME) is an Australia-based mineral resource exploration company. The company is principally involved in the identification, acquisition and exploration of mineral properties. WME mainly explores for uranium and gold properties in Australia and Namibia. The project portfolio includes Marenica Uranium project, Scaddon Uranium project, Northampton Base Metals project and Badgebup Gold project. WME’s holds 80% interest in Marenica Project which is located in the center of the uranium-rich Damara Province in Namibia, Southern Africa. The project has high potential for significant uranium deposits and mines.
Our “West Australian Metals Ltd. – Financial Analysis Review” is an in-depth business and financial analysis of West Australian Metals Ltd.. The report provides a comprehensive insight into the company, including business structure and operations, executive biographies and key competitors. The hallmark of the report is the financial analysis of the company. This highlights the company’s ratio analysis for the past five years.
And More inside the report¦
Dec 03, 2009: West Australian Metals Announces Name Change To Marenica Energy
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Reasons to buy
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West Australian Metals Ltd. – Financial Analysis Review: http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/r.ashx?id=28IRFRX71264293
African politics bestowed with Chinese feng shui
ADDIS ABABA — China, often accused of being concerned only with Africa’s oil, is building, free of charge, the edifice that will house the continent’s political headquarters for decades to come.
While China’s ties with Africa are often characterised as a mad rush to secure resources to fuel its energy-hungry economy, the Asian giant is working on erecting the symbol that was missing for its relations with the continent.
As Africa’s leaders gather in Addis Ababa for their annual meeting at the African Union’s headquarters, they can see the site where hundreds of Chinese workers are building the titanic structure that should host their summits in two years.
“Symbolically, it is a very strong message: China and Africa have a long and strong friendship and this centre is the symbol of this solidarity,” said Fantahun Michael, the official coordinating the project with the African Union.
All around him, hundreds of helmeted Chinese and Ethiopian workers and yellow earth-moving equipment inscribed with ideograms work on the foundations of what will become the new headquarters of the 53-member AU.
“The project started in January 2009 with the inauguration ceremony. Normally it should be completed in December 2011,” said the Ethiopian official.
“It is a gift to the AU designed by China, managed by China, financed by China and constructed by China.”
“AU has its own team to follow up the construction, to ensure the quality of the project. It is natural even if it is a gift that we have our say about our needs,” Fantahun explained.
Once completed, the AU headquarters will top 100 metres (330 feet) in height with 23 floors and some 500 offices, making it the tallest building in the Ethiopian capital.
The compound will house a conference centre with an auditorium that can accommodate 2,550 guests, a huge conference room and many other facilities, including two helicopter landing pads.
On the same plot, Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Sheikh al-Amoudi, the country’s top private investor, is building a five-star hotel slated to include 32 presidential suites and 27 ministerial suites out of a total of 276 rooms.
As early as 2012, the entire project should enable the African Union to host its annual ordinary summits without having to rent out the UN conference centre, as has been the case for years.
“We don’t know yet the total cost of the construction. We have already signed several agreements with China for a total amount of 120 million dollars,” Fantahun said.
“It is a gift and there is nothing in exchange, or any attachment to it.”
China, on the brink of becoming the world’s second economy, is often criticised for lavishing no-strings-attached projects on Africa in a way that is reminiscent of the continent’s colonial history with the West.
At the recent China-Africa summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the Chinese government pledged 10 billion dollars in low-cost loans for the continent’s development over the next three years.
China, which is building political institutions in several other African countries, argues it is not in the business of lecturing on human rights and good governance, treating Africa as an equal partner.
Beijing’s detractors for their part retort that the initial mercantilist approach conceals more political intentions which have not been fully revealed yet.
Trade between China and Africa grew tenfold in ten years to reach 107 billion dollars in 2008, and the Asian giant’s investments on the continent rival those of major international financial institutions.
India Pledges to Cut Emissions
In its statement announcing the target, the Environment and Forests Ministry didn’t spell out what measures India, the world’s fifth largest polluter, would take to meet the goal. The statement also said the targeted cuts won’t be legally binding.
An accord agreed at the Copenhagen climate conference in December had set the Jan. 31 deadline for developing countries to present their nonbinding, voluntary carbon-curbing actions, and for rich nations to submit economy-wide emissions targets for 2020.
India’s pledge, which it publicized earlier, means that it will adopt cleaner technologies to slow the rate at which emissions are growing–reducing the intensity of emissions per unit of gross domestic product. However, it doesn’t cover the agriculture sector, a move aimed at ensuring food security for the country’s growing population of 1.2 billion.
China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut carbon emissions intensity by 40% to 45% by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.
United Nations scientists warn of dire consequences for the planet if action isn’t taken to fight climate change. They say any temperature rise above 3.6-degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) could lead to a catastrophic sea-level rise, threatening islands and coastal cities, the killing off of many species of animals and plants, and the alteration of agricultural economies of many countries.
Officials from India, China, Brazil and South Africa met in New Delhi last week where they urged developed countries to act on their pledge made in Copenhagen to contribute $10 billion to help poor countries deal with the effects of climate change.
Mugabe factor hits Zimbabwe hopes of ending sanctions
DAVOS, Switzerland — Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is pressing the world to end sanctions on his country as it climbs out of a political and economic abyss but wherever he goes the shadow of Robert Mugabe follows.
The two will soon have been in an uneasy “inclusive government” for a year. The relationship remains difficult, Tsvangirai said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos where he tried to convince global leaders to take a new look at the African nation.
“How do you deal with a president who was determined to see your destruction? How do you deal with the level of acrimony that existed between us?” said the prime minister.
Tsvangirai and the veteran president, who is the subject of a western travel ban and asset freeze, now meet every Monday and then go to the regular cabinet meeting.
“I have taken a decision that we can work together, despite this acrimony, for the good of the country. There is a working relationship. Personally I don’t know what his intentions are but I think what is important is for us to ensure that we finish this transition.”
“I cannot predict that a coup will happen or derailment of the project, but I am satisfied that so far all the indications are that this process is irreversible.”
Tsvangirai pulled out of a runoff presidential election last year, citing deadly violence against his followers. Further trouble was only avoided when Mugabe agreed to set up a unity government with his arch-rival as prime minister.
Tsvangirai said “toxic issues” remain with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party over control of the central bank, use of the attorney general’s powers and the share of other political posts.
But his foreign trips abroad are now devoted to getting aid, investment and trying to convince the international community to ease sanctions.
Tsvangirai met Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Davos. “His view is that the perception out there is still very negative as long as Mugabe is there.
“As far as we are concerned, the country has to move forward with or without Mugabe.”
Tsvangirai insisted there has been “significant progress” with the government’s dual aims of stabilising the country and “national healing” changes to improve democracy and make constitutional reform.
The Zimbabwe dollar was eradicated in favour of a multi-currency regime. Inflation, once estimated in the billions of percent, is now minus three percent, said the prime minister. “We are in a deflationary state.”
Tsvangirai said there can be no new Zimbabwe currency for at least two or three years until the country’s production base is functioning again.
On the political front, he said a constitutional referendum would be held in October and then he and Mugabe would set a date for elections in 2011.
“We have done so much in so little time,” he said. “However I would be the last to say that everything is rosy” and acknowledged international “scepticism” at the slow pace of implementing political change.
But he said: “This is a delicate moment, to support the process that is taking part in Zimbabwe.”
“We are not sliding back. Suddenly the country is moving forward and now is the time to look at the country in a more positive environment.”
The European Union meets on February 20 to discuss Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai would like them to take “a two stage approach” to ease some sanctions and acknowledge progress has been made.
He also wants foreign companies to return to Zimbabwe and is keen to renew links with China. The mining, tourism and agriculture sectors are all important to the government.
There is platinum, gold, diamonds and huge coal deposits in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said, adding that there is no limitation of profits being taken out of the country.
China broke off a business relationship with Mugabe’s party about five years ago, Tsvangirai said, but now China wants to renew links.
“They have said they will work with the inclusive government. What it means is that we will have to revisit some of the projects that were suspended five years ago.”
Tsvangirai called it a key relationship. “Who wants to avoid one of the biggest developing economies in the world?” he declared.
“Zimbabwe has to open up to all possibilities and I think that China is one of those possibilities.”
India steps up scramble with China for African energy
LUANDA — India has stepped up its efforts to gain an economic foothold in Africa in a new scramble with China for the continent’s resources, signing energy deals with top oil producers Angola and Nigeria.
India has lagged behind China’s aggressive courting of African nations to secure rights to energy as well as raw materials.
Beijing is using its deep pockets to build roads, railways, even a new parliament building in Malawi, to win favour across Africa, deploying at least half a million Chinese workers to labour on projects around the continent.
India’s democratic system and often lumbering bureaucracy have left it slower to make inroads and less likely to fund big projects, since government must account for all spending to parliament.
But this month India deployed two high-level missions to the continent, with Oil Minister Murli Deora last week leading a delegation of top energy executives through Sudan, Nigeria, Angola and Uganda.
India’s state Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) left with deals for 359 million dollars worth of investments in Nigeria and an agreement for joint exploration and refining projects with Angola, seen as a precursor to a broader future deal.
Deora also tried to patch up a dispute over payments on oil deals in Sudan while discussing major new oil finds in Uganda.
Nigeria is already India’s largest African trading partner, at about 10 billion dollars annually, and Deora said in Lagos that his country wants to see that figure grow.
India’s flagship gas company GAIL has expressed an interest in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Angola and Nigeria, Africa’s two top oil producers.
India also offered to invest billions in building and refurbishing refineries in Angola and Nigeria, which cannot process enough crude to meet their fuel needs.
“India has been trying to get its foot into Angola for a long time so this is a significant development,” Edward George, Africa-China specialist the Economist Intelligence Unit in London told AFP.
“The key will be the next licensing rounds to see if ONGC can win oil blocks,” he said.
India had lost out on previous attempts to win contracts in Angola, much in part to Chinese competition, but GAIL chairman Shri BC Tripathi played down rivalry between the growing giants.
“We don’t see China as a direct competitor but we know they are like us and have a growing economy so need to source oil,” he said in Luanda.
India’s ambassador to Angola, AR Ghanashyam, believes the latest deal is just the start of co-operation with India and pointed out that ONGC was already working with Sonangol in Iran.
Trade between the two nations is expected to exceed two billion dollars this year, up from 1.3 billion dollars in 2007/8 and from 300 million dollars the year before, mostly in oil exports to India.
Trade with China last year totalled more than 25 billion dollars, however, as Angola became the country’s fifth-largest supplier of oil.
China has granted Angola an estimated 10 billion dollars in loans, compared to around 70 million dollars in Indian loans, mainly for rebuilding a railway in southern provinces.
In practical terms as well, China has a larger physical presence in Angola, with more than 40,000 workers, compared to 1,500 Indians.
“We are a much smaller country that China,” Ghanashyam said. “We have half their GDP and cover one third of the area but give us 20 years and we will catch them up.”
Analysts said Africa could benefit from increased competition.
“It’s very good for Africa to have another investor to compete with China because it will drive competition and hopefully bring benefits in terms of quality and delivery,” George said
EN BREF, CE 31 janvier 2010 … AGNEWS / OMAR, BXL,31/01/2010