Zimbabwean provincial minister Dinha charged with bribery

Reuters

Zimbabwean prosecutors have charged one of President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet ministers with bribery and abuse of office in the first corruption case against a senior government official since 2004.

Critics and the opposition accuse Mugabe of turning a blind eye to graft, especially among his close allies and ministers, and say endemic corruption is one reason that foreign companies are not investing.

Martin Dinha, Minister of Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland Central Province, north of the capital Harare, appeared at the Bindura magistrates court in the province on Wednesday, where he was charged and then released on $1,000 (654 pounds) bail.

According to the charge sheet seen by Reuters on Thursday, Dinha demanded and was paid $60,000 in 2012 to protect a white farmer who faced eviction from his farm.

Prosecutor Nguni Nguni said Dinha abused his position as minister and head of a committee that distributes land to people in his province to get a bribe from farmer Guy Frank Dollar.

Dinha has denied the accusation but is yet to make a plea in court, his lawyer Tapson Dzvetero said. The trial is due to start on Oct. 19.

The charges were politically motivated, Dzvetero said, but gave no further details.

Mugabe’s government has seized more than 4,000 white-owned commercial farms in a land reform exercise that often benefits senior ruling ZANU-PF party and government officials.

The last government minister to be charged with graft was Chris Kuruneri, who was acquitted in 2007.

Zimbabwe was last year ranked 156 out of 174 countries on the Transparency International index, which measures public perceptions of corruption in public institutions.

Its economy has been struggling for five years to recover from a catastrophic recession that was marked by billion percent hyperinflation and widespread food shortages.

Cameroon – 10 killed in suspected Boko Haram blast in north

BBC

Mao

At least 10 people have been killed and many more wounded in two bomb attacks in northern Cameroon, officials say.

The blasts happened in the Kerawa region, where Cameroon’s army is fighting Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants.

There have been a spate of recent attacks in northern Cameroon blamed on jihadists from Boko Haram.

The authorities in August said that the militants are believed to enter Cameroon disguised as refugees.

Boko Haram fighters were accused of a series of suicide bombings in the northern town of Maroua, that killed dozens of people in July.

The first explosion on Thursday went off just after 0900 local time (0800 GMT) in the market in Kerawa.

The second was detonated soon afterwards, about 200m (218 yards) from the military infantry camp, an army officer based in the north told Reuters.

A local government official told Reuters that the attacks were carried out by female bombers although there has been no independent conformation of this.

A picture taken on February 17, 2015 shows a Cameroonian soldier carrying a rocket launcher as he stands post in the Cameroonian town of Fotokol, on the border with Nigeria, after clashes occurred on February 4 between Cameroonian troops and Nigeria-based Boko Haram insurgents.Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionBoko Haram has vowed to attack Cameroon because the country is supporting the Nigerian military’s mission to defeat them

Boko Haram militants have increased the number of attacks on countries bordering its north-eastern Nigerian stronghold – Chad, Niger and Cameroon – after they participated in a regional offensive against them earlier this year.

Cameroon has deployed thousands of troops to its northern border where militants regularly carry out raids, killing some villagers and kidnapping others.

Boko Haram has vowed to attack Cameroon because the country is supporting the Nigerian military’s mission to defeat them – and is part of a newly boosted multi-national force to battle the militants.

Female suicide bombers were behind several blasts in northern Cameroon in July and the regional governor has banned the Islamic veil as part of counter-terror measures.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram fightersImage copyrightAFP
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined Islamic State, now calls itself “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year

Nigeria – the seven lives of Boko Haram leader Shekau

ISS

Dead or alive: the seven lives of Boko Haram’s leader
2 September 2015

Early in August 2015, the President of Chad, Idriss Deby,announced the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekauand a possible change in the militant group’s leadership. A purported picture of Shekau’s corpse was circulated in the media, but the Nigerian military neither denied nor confirmed the story.

That was not the first announcement of its kind. Army officers in Cameroon and Nigeria had made similar claims about Shekau in the past. But a few days after Deby’s pronouncements, in an audio recording, Shekau thanked Allah for still being alive and promised to continue his orgy of violence. It looks as if, like Saddam Hussein, Shekau has seven lives.

The Nigerian government and its regional allies would welcome the incapacitation of Shekau who was relatively unknown until he assumed the leadership of the Islamist group in July 2009. His rise to power produced one of the most brutal and deadly forms of terror ever witnessed in Africa. Before Shekau took over, the sect was largely involved in ‘hit and run’ tactics like throwing petrol bombs into police stations and attacking police checkpoints.

In six years, Shekau turned a group of ragtag ‘shoeless’ civilians into an effective radical entity
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Under Shekau, Boko Haram transformed into a formidable terror group with a well organised propaganda machinery, networks across the region, and consolidated financial resources and weaponry.

In six years, Shekau turned a group of ragtag ‘shoeless’ civilians into a radical entity capable of seizing territories, operating rocket-propelled grenades, taking hostages and hitting back at the armies of Nigeria and other states in the region. Ineffective government responses to Boko Haram, fuelled by corruption and a lack of attention from neighbouring countries contributed to the group’s reign of terror under Shekau.

Reports of his death have been received with scepticism for several reasons. Firstly, in his announcement, Deby failed to specify who had killed Shekau or how the leadership changes came about. Secondly, the long absence of what had become Shekau’s regular video appearances – which fuelled speculations that he was dead – may be linked to the group’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March. In doing so, Shekau sought to yield leadership and control of Boko Haram to the global terrorist network. Thirdly, the Nigerian government and its military leadership want to avoid repeating past embarrassments by rushing to pronounce on his death. Lastly, it is not certain that Shekau’s death or a change in Boko Haram’s leadership will mean an end to the violence.

Since February the tide has started to turn against Boko Haram
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Empirical evidence demonstrates that removing leaders can weaken non-state armed groups, but it can also lead to the proliferation of independent units that are even more dangerous than the main body. Shekau’s death could also trigger feelings of revenge that unite Boko Haram members as happened with al-Qaeda after the demise of Osama Bin Laden.

Boko Haram remains extremely violent and active, but since February the tide has started to turn. The sect has been defeated in some areas; territories have been regained and the group has been dispersed and is now largely confined to the Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria. It has also resorted to attacking soft targets rather than confronting the military.

Although Boko Haram remains a serious threat after recent attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria, the scale of its activities does not resemble that experienced in 2013 and 2014 when swathes of territories across northeast Nigeria were seized and controlled. Even the so-called allegiance with IS does not appear to be working in its favour. The combined bombardments by armed forces from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria flushed out the sect, and it may well be that Shekau pledged support to IS as a survival strategy in response to the intense military pressure on Boko Haram.

Even its allegiance with IS doesn’t appear to be working in Boko Haram’s favour
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The success of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign against Boko Haram will be a key indicator of his performance during his first 100 days in office. Eradicating the group was one of his election promises, and Buhari has undertaken a number of reforms to improve Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy. He relocated the army command centre to Maiduguri (the birth place of Boko Haram and the epicentre of the crisis), brought about key changes in the military hierarchy, and instructed security forces to destroy Boko Haram within 90 days. This is an ambitious timeframe but displays Nigerian authorities’ resolve to end the reign of terror.

Regional efforts to set up a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) of 8 700 troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin present an opportunity for an effective offensive against Boko Haram. Headquartered in N’Djamena in Chad and under Nigeria’s command, the MNJTF will complete the operation launched in February and enable a regional response to terrorism.

This is welcome, but other measures are also needed. Rumours about Shekau’s death could deal a blow to the morale of the militant group and give armed forces fighting Boko Haram a confidence boost, but it may not diminish Boko Haram’s effectiveness as a terror group.

Achieving that requires a coherent and comprehensive approach by all stakeholders and security agencies, along with better laws and intelligence, well-equipped and trained armed forces, and unwavering political commitment. Border control needs to be more effective, and the flow of funds and weapons to Boko Haram must be stopped. A multi-pronged approach is needed and Nigeria must display leadership in this regard.

David Zounmenou, Senior Research Fellow, ISS Pretoria and Segun Rotimi Adeyemon, post-graduate student, UNISA

Buhari says Nigerians will soon see the changes he promised

Premium Times

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina (R), Receiving a Letter from the President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Tijani Shehu, during a Solidarity rally by Nans In Support of Muhammadu Buhari's Anti-Corruption Crusade, in Abuja

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina (R), Receiving a Letter from the President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Tijani Shehu, during a Solidarity rally by Nans In Support of Muhammadu Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Crusade, in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigerians will soon see the fulfilment of his election campaign promises.

He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja while receiving university students.

The president assured Nigerian youth that his government’s anti-corruption campaign would secure their future.

In an address to members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) who marched to the presidential villa to pledge their full support for his anti-corruption campaign, President Buhari promised that he will do his best to place Nigeria well on the way to becoming the nation of their dreams.

“Everything you have asked for are the things that will make for a good country, and what we are after is a good country, a country where our youths can have a future and a hope,” the president said.

“We are totally committed to building a country where our youths can realize their full potential.

“You can be assured that your welfare and well-being are topmost in our minds and very soon you will see the things we have promised come to fruition.

“During the campaigns, change was our slogan, but today it is no longer a mere slogan, it is now a reality and we will see it in every facet of our lives.

“The youth will feel it, the adults will feel it and old people will feel it and we will get the country of our dreams,’’ the president, who was represented by his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), Femi Adesina, said.

Mr. Adesina later received a document addressed to President Buhari from the NANS President, Tijani Usman Shehu, and promised that the president will look into their requests.

In his remarks, Mr. Shehu said the students were united against corruption, cybercrime, prostitution, human trafficking, drug abuse and other anti-social vices.

“Nigerian students demand that our future must be secured and we strongly believe in the President’s zero tolerance for corruption,’’ he said.

 Ex-president’s backers in power struggle before Ivory Coast pollsABIDJAN | BY JOE BAVIER    

Reuters

ABIDJAN | BY JOE BAVIER
    
Pascal Affi N’Guessan, leader of Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), party of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, speaks after submitting documents to Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) president Youssouf Bakayoko to register his candidacy for the presidential election in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON
Two years ago, Pascal Affi N’Guessan was in jail after backing the losing side in Ivory Coast’s civil war. Now he is running for president, provoking a power struggle within the opposition whose outcome will help decide the country’s future stability.
While N’Guessan appears likely to lose in October, the fact that the former prime minister is even contesting the election for the main opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) ought to mark a step towards national reconciliation.
But the party’s founder, former president Laurent Gbagbo, is awaiting trial in The Hague over his role in the 2011 war, and FPI hardliners have called for an election boycott, which would be the party’s third in the past four years.
Under the incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast is emerging as one of Africa’s star economies, but it also needs a credible election and political calm to maintain the revival.
Support for the FPI remains relatively strong. Thousands of supporters, some waving signs reading “Affi President” and wearing pink and blue shirts emblazoned with his face, turned out last month to anoint N’Guessan as the FPI’s candidate.
“We cannot remain eternally absent from political competition or we risk disappearing,” the 62-year-old N’Guessan told Reuters. “If a party doesn’t participate in elections, it has no reason to exist,” he told Reuters.
Gbagbo’s refusal to stand aside after losing the last presidential election in 2010 led to the civil war, in which more than 3,000 people were killed. This ended after the victor, Ouattara, was installed in power with French support the following year.
The largest economy in French-speaking West Africa has grown by 9 percent annually for the past three years, helping to make Ouattara the runaway favourite for re-election.
Hotels are mushrooming to accommodate an influx of business travellers to the commercial capital, Abidjan, along with supermarkets, including France’s Carrefour, catering to the region’s largest middle class.
But political reconciliation has moved at a crawl. The FPI says hundreds of Gbagbo supporters remain political prisoners, while tens of thousands of people displaced by the war live as refugees in neighbouring countries.
BOYCOTT MENACE
N’Guessan’s Abidjan house still bears the scars of the conflict. Graffiti scrawled by pro-Ouattara soldiers remains in a dark back stairwell, and he returned home to find a 6-metre (20-foot) pit in the atrium which they had dug, looking for guns and money.
Nonetheless, N’Guessan has largely abandoned the rhetoric of the crisis for a more moderate tone, hoping to reposition his party. “I proposed and continue to follow the path towards reconciliation, because the country has already suffered too much,” he said.
A sizeable FPI faction led by former foreign minister Aboudramane Sangare is not so ready to leave the past behind.
“Just because there’s no more bombing and no more shooting every day, doesn’t mean the crisis is over,” said Boubacar Kone, a spokesman for Sangare’s faction, who still describes Ouattara’s election as a “coup d’etat”.
Due to the FPI boycotts, Ivory Coast’s parliament is dominated by Ouattara allies. Now the president needs peaceful and credible presidential elections contested by viable opponents to turn the page on the war, buttress his legitimacy and ease the minds of investors.
Hoping to foster reconciliation, the government released dozens of FPI prisoners – including N’Guessan in 2013 – as well as unfreezing their bank accounts and restoring their property.
Sangare’s faction says Ouattara favoured FPI moderates and accuse him of creating a toothless opposition that might lend the polls credibility but won’t mount a serious challenge.
Hardliners see N’Guessan as Ouattara’s straw man, pointing to the trial of 83 Gbagbo allies accused of crimes committed during the war. Sangare was handed a five-year prison sentence in March, though he remains free pending a detention order. N’Guessan got only 18 months and was credited with time served earlier, meaning he will not return to prison.
N’Guessan also won court decisions blocking attempts by the hardliners to strip him of the party presidency. Today, the two factions have rival leadership structures.
“Of course, he’s with (Ouattara),” Kone said, accusing N’Guessan of “working against the party”.
FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE
While analysts give N’Guessan little chance of winning the presidency, his party could gain a strong voice in the National Assembly in parliamentary elections next year.
Even in defeat, Gbagbo won 46 percent of the vote in the 2010 run-off against Ouattara. N’Guessan will look to mobilise those supporters, but the split complicates his task.
“Given the label of traitor that the Sangare faction has pinned on him, I’m wondering if that will not be a millstone around his neck,” said Lori-Anne Theroux-Benoni, head of the Institute for Security Studies’ West Africa office.
A well-supported boycott would be another setback for national reconciliation by excluding Gbagbo’s supporters from the political process. It could also embolden the hardliners in their withdrawal from the mainstream, a risky prospect given the country’s history of violence.
After the war, exiled Gbagbo allies in neighbouring Ghana were behind months of attacks in Abidjan and along the border that began in late 2012, according to a U.N. panel of experts.
N’Guessan believes the worst can be avoided and said some Sangare backers have begun to return to the fold. “Their place is here in the heart of the party. I am optimistic that before October we will all be back together and continue the struggle to serve our country,” he said.

South Sudan – Kiir rejects as “utopian” accusations of mass killing

Sudan Tribune

September 2, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has dismissed as “utopian” reports quoting his former deputy in government and party turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, accusing his government and army loyal to him of allegedly slaughtering more than 600 political prisoners.

  
South Sudan President Salva Kiir voices his reservations before signing a peace deal in the capital Juba, South Sudan Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo AP/Jason Patinkin)

President Kiir, a statement from his office noted, was puzzled and could not believe the serious allegations labeled against his administration at the time his leadership had demonstrated political will to implement the peace deal which he signed with the rebel leader, despite reservations.
“The office of the president has received the news of the press conference recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the rebel leader, Riek Machar, in which he accused the government for slaughtering more than 600 political detainees with disbelief and utter puzzlement,” the statement dated September 2, 2015, and bears the official seal and logo of the office of the head of state reads in part.
The truth of the matter, according to the statement, is that South Sudan had no political detainees.
The statement explained that the only time when South Sudan had political detainees was in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt when 10 former government officials believed to have perpetuated the attempted coup were detained but later on released on bail and handed over to Kenya more than a year ago.
“Since then, South Sudan did not have any single detainee. This is a serious negative campaign even at the time when the government has expressed political will in the implementing the compromised agreement. The allegations of the rebel leader against the government of slaughtering more than 600 political detainees are utopian and exceedingly farfetched and wanting,” it added.
Kiir, according to the presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, challenged the rebel leader to disclose the names of the alleged slaughtered political prisoners, the family of the victims and where the alleged political prisoners were kept before being slaughtered without being felt by the population of Juba.
“It is unfortunate for the rebel leader to accuse the government of slaughtering none existing political detainees,” the statement noted.
South Sudan’s rebel leader, Machar, was quoted in the media as saying that over 600 prisoners were slaughtered on 25 August in Juba, a day before president Kiir signed the peace deal. Howver, no details of evidence about this serious allegation has come out from the rebels’ leadership.
VICTIM OF MASS TORTURE SPEAKS OUT
However, one of the survivors of an alleged mass murder on 25 August said he narrowly escaped death after all his colleagues were killed by security agents in the country’s capital, Juba.
A 42-year old victim from Eastern Equatoria state’s, Buddi county, said he was arrested with Dominic Lodai and Clement Lokeya, both were killed, together with many others in Juba by government security through collaboration with Ugandan authorities.
The victim, nicknamed John Simon, said they were detained in a place called White House (torture center) for a number of days before the alleged execution began.
“We were arrested in Kabong District of Uganda by Ugandan People’s Defence Forces when we were trying to seek asylum in Uganda. We were tortured and taken to Acholi Pii military barracks in Pader District,” Simon, who is currently in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, narrated to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday what he described as a “horrible” scene.
“We were then transferred to Gulu military headquarters where we were handed over to government of South Sudan’s security who took us to Juba and detained us in White House military detention center. We found over 900 other inmates. We were subjected to severe torture in the White House including physical assault, arm and finger twisting, burning, cold water. We were forced to sit on chair fitted with needles, they pricked our testicles and they sexually abused us at night,” he said.
He said while in the Whitehouse (torture center) he used to see one of their inmates taken away at night and they never returned.
“At night twenty of us were taken to Rajaf near the River Nile and they twisted the neck of everybody and strangled us and threw us in the river. I was the last to be strangled but I did not die. When I was thrown in the river I struggled and came out alive,” Carter said, with visible wounds below his ribs and eyes, which had turned blood-red.
GOVERNMENT ACCUSED
The rebels newly appointed governor of Imatong state, curved from Eastern Equatoria state also confirmed the arrest and murder of hundreds of innocent civilians from Eastern Equatoria.
“Indiscriminate arrests are going on in Magwi, Torit, Ikwotos, Buddi Lafon and Kapoeta counties. There are also massive arrests in the other two states of Equatoria. The government of South Sudan is guilty of mass extermination. I urge the human rights bodies to intervene and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Oyet Nathaniel, the armed opposition-appointed governor in Eastern Equatoria.
“South Sudan should be suspended from Human Rights Council pending investigation of all cases of genocide and human right violations and torture,” he said.
Rebels said the over 600 killed were people, mostly young men, randomly arrested over a period of two years and accused by government of supporting the opposition group.
(ST)

South Africa – Ramaphosa says government will  act on fake qualifications

City Press

Government will deal with those who fake qualifications – Ramaphosa

2015-09-03 08:39

Andisiwe Makinana –

  
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)
The government is working on a new policy to deal with the prevalence of fraudulent qualifications and fraudsters who misrepresent their academic qualifications.
In recent years, a number of senior public officials and politicians have been exposed as frauds and now the government is planning to root out the problem.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament yesterday that the government has indeed considered the reported incidents of persons who misrepresented or faked their qualifications.
“Such incidents do great damage to the credibility of our country’s education and training system,” he said.
Ramaphosa revealed that Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was preparing a proposal for the Cabinet’s approval on various mechanisms to address the problem.
He said the proposal will result in measures that will end up with those people [who misrepresented qualifications] being reported to the police and being charged and the National Prosecuting Authority also pursuing charges against them.
Ramaphosa said this was being done “as this problem has reared its head in such a way that it needs attention”. He said further details will be made available once the Cabinet has considered and approved Nzimande’s proposal.
Nzimande has already requested the South African Qualifications Authority to establish a national register that will list the names of individuals who have misrepresented their qualifications and who have invalid qualifications.
“It is important that the rigorous verification processes that are undertaken in the public service at national and provincial level are extended to other public institutions and entities,” he said.
“We urge all public and private entities to make every effort to verify the qualifications of all prospective employees and directors and to report any suspected fraudulent activity to the South African police or the National Prosecuting Authority,” he said.
Ramaphosa revealed all this during a question and answer session in the national council of provinces.
He was responding to a question from the United Democratic Movement’s Lennox Gaehler who wanted to know whether the Human Resource Development Council and the government had considered the regularly reported incidences of persons with either none and/or fake qualifications in the public and private sectors as a serious concern.
Ramaphosa called on members of the public to make sure that they do not jeopardise their employment prospects or face criminal charges by misrepresenting their credentials or qualifications.
“When it comes to qualifications; it’s either you have it or don’t have it. If you do not have it, do not misrepresent yourselves.
“Go and study and get your qualification and only when you are qualified can you put your qualification in a curriculum vitae or put that qualification behind your name,” he said.
Ramaphosa called on those who still practice this behaviour to desist from it and to focus on getting their qualifications.
“We call upon them to remove those fake qualifications from their CVs immediately. Remove them immediately and embark on a process of studying.
“Let us not be fakes. Let us not be fraudulent when it comes to our qualifications. Let us be properly educated people,” he urged.
Earlier in the session, Ramaphosa was made to sweat just a bit as a DA MP posed an uncomfortable question about succession in the ANC.
DA MP Jacques Julius asked Ramaphosa whether he would support a female candidate to lead the ANC when it elects its next leader.
Julius said he was asking the question following the declaration by the ANC Women’s League that the organisation was ready for a female president.
“It is always the ambition of a deputy president to become a president one day or in the next term. I am sure you have an ambition to become president of South Africa,” he began.
“Seeing that the ANC Women’s League expressed the desire of a female president from the ANC’s side which puts you in a difficult position I would say … can we now say the ANC is ready for a female president?
“Would you support a female candidate for the presidential election?” he asked.
The deputy chairperson of the NCOP, Raseriti Tau, who was presiding over the session tried to block the question saying Julius was “making reference to people and structures that cannot answer for themselves in the House”.
Ramaphosa gave a long-winded response about the processes of electing an ANC president, but never directly answered the question.
“It is not up to you and it is not up to me, it is up to the membership of the ANC at branch level. Watch this space; it is going to do the right thing again,” he said.
Julius asked his question as a follow up to a question on whether the government was engaging political parties and civil society organisations on their role in ensuring that the nation achieves gender parity political decision-making as is required by the SADC Gender Protocol.