Category Archives: Africa – International

South Africa – ANC Women’s League defies Mantashe and calls for woman president after Zuma

Mail and Guardian

Despite Gwede Mantashe’s call for members to desist from leadership debates, the women’s league has made their stance known loud and clear.

ANCWL treasurer general Maite Nkoana Mashabane. (Oupa Nkosi, MG)

The ANC Women’s League is pushing ahead with its campaign to have a woman candidate replace president Jacob Zuma as ANC president in 2017 and that of the country in 2019.

This is despite a warning issued by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe to members to desist from debating leadership as it had the potential to cause divisions within the organisation.

Addressing journalists on the eve of the ANC’s national general council at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, ANCWL treasurer general Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the time was ripe for women to ascend to top leadership positions, including that of president in the ANC.

“The time has come for women leadership to be acknowledged.  We are not asking. We are saying the time is ripe,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Until recently, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was widely expected to take over from Zuma as ANC president in line with the party’s long-held tradition. But the ANCWL, the ANC Youth League and the ANC Veterans League are pushing for a woman candidate to be elected as ANC president. The leagues are supported by the so-called premier league, which consist of premiers from Mpumalanga, Free State and North West. Nkoana-Mashabane said it was an insult to suggest the ANCWL’s league was used by the premier league to push for a woman president.

“You must convey a message to those who are saying we are used by the ANCWL that that’s an insult.

“We are adults. We have role models like Mme Ruth Mompati and others [who have contributed to our struggle],” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Her sentiments were shared by ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba.

“We don’t know a structure called premier league. We [the new ANCWL leadership] were elected by a properly constituted conference,” said Matuba.

Ramaphosa is expected to enjoy support from Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape and part of the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. The South African Communist Party is believed to be in support of Ramaphosa as president and Mantashe as deputy president, while Cosatu is likely to remain neutral this time around.

African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete are among the preferred candidates of the ANCWL to take over the ANC’s top position.

ANCWL national spokesperson and deputy minister of tourism Tokozile Xasa said the league would not raise the succession issue during this week’s NGC, but it would be on its agenda going into the ANC’s elective conference in 2017.

“Whoever becomes president in 2017 will be president of the entire organisation [ANC]. We are saying women are ready for a woman president. But it is not on our agenda for the NGC. What is on the agenda would be gender policies,” said Xasa.

Nkoana-Mashabane said it was not asking too much to say women, which are in the majority in the ANC, should at least make 50% of all structures in the ANC from branch- regional, provincial and national level. She said the women’s league would like to see more women assuming positions of regional and provincial chairpersons and secretaries. The Women’s League would also lobby for more women premiers. Currently, Northern Cape Silvia Lucas is the only woman premier out of the eight provinces under the control of the ANC.

The ANCWL said it would use the NGC to push for the review of the parole boards.

“This is almost like one of the last areas left by apartheid where our people were not paying attention. We need to pay urgent attention to ensure parole boards across all provinces are restructured,” said Ngoana-Mashabane.

The ANCWL has also called for harsher sentences on perpetrators of violence against women.

It welcomed the decision not to free South African athlete Oscar Pistorius from prison on parole.

South Africa – Supreme Court says don’t muzzle the public protector


The Supreme Court of Appeal has clarified the role of the office of the public protector, saying that its findings cannot be ignored.

In its ruling on Thursday dismissing an appeal against part of a Western Cape High Court judgment that SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended pending a disciplinary inquiry against him, the SCA dismissed part of the same judgment which said the public protector’s findings were not binding.

This ruling could affect other recommendations Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has made, including those related to the spending on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

“The SCA confirmed the finding of the [High] court… that the SABC must institute disciplinary proceedings against Mr Motsoeneng,” the court said in a statement.

“In arriving at this conclusion, however, the SCA rejected the reasoning of the court… which had concluded that the directions of the public protector were not ‘binding and enforceable’ in the same way as a court order.

“The SCA noted that a court order is an ‘inaccurate comparator and the phrase ‘binding and enforceable’ is terminologically inapt and in this context conduces to confusion.”

Madonsela’s office ‘vulnerable’

The SCA’s ruling said the office of the public protector, like all Chapter Nine institutions, was a “venerable one”.

“Our constitutional compact demands that remedial action taken by the public protector should not be ignored. State institutions are obliged to heed the principles of co-operative governance as prescribed by [section] 41 of the Constitution.”

It said an “affected person” or institution aggrieved by a public protector finding could, in “appropriate circumstances” challenge it by way of a review application.

Rwanda – Supreme Court clears the way for referendum on Kagame third term


Rwanda’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Paul Kagame could run for a third seven-year term, rejecting an attempt by the main opposition party to block changes to the country’s constitution.

In the latest instance of an African leader seeking to extend his days in power, the Kagame-controlled parliament backed a motion in July to let him run again as leader of the east African state.

The constitutional changes must pass a referendum although there is little chance of them failing due to Kagame’s control over the media and many aspects of public life, as well as his popularity as a nation-builder after a 1994 genocide.

“All depends on the opinions of the people,” the Supreme Court said in its ruling.

The opposition Democratic Green Party, which brought the case before the Supreme Court, said it would continue to push for protection of existing constitutional term limits, a hot topic in Africa after similar moves by regional leaders.

“We are not happy but we’ve not given up. We are going to appeal to the president,” Green party leader Frank Habineza told Reuters after the decision.

Kagame has not said explicitly that he wants to run again but has made clear he is open to persuasion.

The Kigali court ruling is likely to attract attention in other African nations where term limits are under similar pressure.

Congo Republic is holding a referendum this month on constitutional changes that would allow 71-year-old President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his decades-long rule.

In neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, opposition parties have accused President Joseph Kabila, who has been in charge for 14 years, of plotting to extend his time in office via violence and manipulation of a packed electoral calendar.

In Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza sparked months of protests and a failed coup in April when he decided to run for a third term after a controversial court ruling that the first of his two terms did not count because he was not directly elected.

Former rebel leader Kagame won international and domestic praise for rebuilding Rwanda after the genocide, in which 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were massacred.

But international donors have criticised his suppression of dissent and any move to change the constitution. Washington said this month it “opposed those in positions of power changing constitutions solely for their political self-interest”.

Nigerian Senate in uproar over Amaechi petition


Rotimi Amaechi

THERE was a mild drama on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday when a lawmaker representing Rivers East Senatorial District, George Sekibo, rose to present a petition against the nomination of former governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a minister.

No sooner than Sekibo, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, raised a point of order to submit the petition than the All Progressives Congress senators kicked against the submission, and raised their voice, shouting No!! No!!!

Notwithstanding the reaction of the APC senators, Sekibo went ahead with his point of order and got the permission of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to submit the document on behalf of his other colleagues from Rivers State.

Saraki, who ignored the protests of his party members, referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the allegations against Amaechi and report back to the Senate.

Speaking with journalists in his office shortly after the plenary, Sekibo said the petition was based on an investigation carried out by a Port Harcourt-based group, called the Integrity Group.

Sekibo said the same petition had earlier been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari and the various anti-graft agencies in the country about two months ago when the group concluded its investigation.

He said, “The Integrity Group, based in Port Harcourt, believes in transparency, fighting against corruption. They (Integrity Group) believe in good governance and effective utilisation of every fund that is allocated to any state government.

“They went into a research and discovered that over N70bn were transferred from hard currency account to places outside the country. A petition on this note was written to Mr. President. I believe the President has not read it.

“If he has read it, he may not have hurriedly nominated Rotimi Amaechi to be a minister. Amaechi is qualified to be a minister, but when issues of corruption and fraud are openly X-rayed by people, it is necessary for Mr. President to take a critical look and examine the allegations whether they are true or not.”

Sekibo said senators from Rivers State were not kicking against the appointment of a Rivers man to be a minister, but that Buhari should pick another member of the APC from the state with cleaner records.

Reacting to the action of the APC senators, a Peoples Democratic Party member representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ighoyota Amori, lamented the development, stressing that such behaviour would send negative signals to Nigerians.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, on Wednesday explained why the APC members in the upper chamber protested the submission of petition against the nomination of Amaechi, as a minister.

Melaye told one of our correspondents in an interview that his colleagues in the APC protested against the submission of the petition because it was submitted by senators.

He said, “Our responsibility as senators is to screen the ministerial nominees based on petitions received from outsiders like civil society organisations, and communities and not from senators.

“We specifically objected to Senator George Sekibo presenting the petition not because we are against the investigation of allegation against Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, but because the petition was brought by senators.

“Petitions should come from outside. They should not be sponsored by members within the chamber. We should not be the judge in our own case.”

Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the APC has flayed Sekibo for his attempt to submit a petition against Amaechi’s nomination as a minister.

The State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, said Sekibo lacked the basic knowledge of how Amaechi administration worked.

Finebone recalled in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday that Amaechi had supported Sekibo’s second term bid for the Senate against the wish of the current governor of the state, describing the lawmaker as a man that bit the finger that fed him.

Copyright PUNCH.

Fewer than half of Ivory Coast’s candidates sign election code of conduct


Presidential candidates Jacqueline-Claire Kouangoua (L) and Henriette Lagou (2nd L) arrive for the signing of a ‘code of conduct’ at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan October 7, 2015.

Less than half the candidates in this month’s Ivory Coast presidential election signed a good conduct pledge on Wednesday as some opposition politicians said the vote would not be democratic and risked turning violent.

President Alassane Ouattara is heavily favoured to win re-election in the Oct. 25 ballot meant to draw a line under a decade-long crisis which ended in a civil war that killed over 3,000 people after the last presidential vote in 2010.

The campaign period officially opens on Friday.

The code of conduct, drafted with help from the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), urges candidates to renounce fraud and violence before, during and after the polls.

It was signed by Ouattara, his likely main challenger Pascal Affi N’Guessan of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), and the two women candidates Henriette Lagou and Jacqueline-Claire Kouangoua.

“We are here to show our willingness, the willingness of the Ivorian Popular Front, to ensure that these elections are fair and peaceful and allow Ivory Coast turn the page on all the violence,” N’Guessan told journalists following the ceremony.

The document was signed just a day after ex-foreign minister Amara Essy, a member of the National Coalition for Change (CNC) opposition bloc, suspended his participation in the election process, claiming it was undemocratic and dominated by Ouattara.

The CNC has called for direct dialogue with the government to discuss grievances including security concerns, demands for the restructuring of the election commission and more state media coverage of its candidates.

Speaking on Tuesday, Ouattara rejected CNC claims that its candidates risked being attacked if they campaigned.

“Ivory Coast is in peace. Ivory Coast is in security. People are holding marches, holding rallies on the eve of the campaign. There is no problem,” he said.

No candidates from the CNC, which includes former prime minister Charles Konan Banny, ex-parliament speaker Mamadou Koulibaly and Kouadio Konan Bertin, once the youth leader of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), signed the document.

“It’s a very open process and I am confident that in the coming days we’ll be able to collect the signatures from the candidates,” said Christopher Fomunyoh, NDI’s senior associate for Africa.

However, at a rally in the commercial capital Abidjan later on Wednesday, CNC members said they were not ready to go to elections under the current conditions and repeated a demand for direct talks with Ouattara.

“Campaigning opens in two days. We’re waiting for a round table,” Koulibaly told thousands of cheering CNC supporters. “If in 48 hours we don’t have clear discussions, we will notify you. I won’t say anything more, but you’re intelligent.”

First week in West Africa with no new ebola cases


Ebola burial workers in LiberiaAP The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 11,000 people

The three West African countries at the heart of the Ebola epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since the outbreak began in March 2014.

The outbreak has so far killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

New cases have fallen sharply in 2015, but the WHO has warned that the disease could break out again.

The epidemic is the worst known occurrence of Ebola in history.

More than 500 people believed to have had dangerous contact with an Ebola patient remain under follow-up in Guinea, the WHO said in a report.

It also said several “high-risk” people linked to recent patients in Guinea and Sierra Leone had been lost track of.

Liberia has already been declared free of the disease after 42 days without a new case. It is the second time the country received the declaration, following a flare-up in June.

Sierra Leone released its last known Ebola patients on 28 September and must now wait to be declared free of the disease.

Guinea’s most recent cases were recorded on 27 September.

Burundi expels Rwandan diplomat


Burundi has expelled a senior Rwandan diplomat, officials said on Wednesday, the latest sign of tension between the central African neighbours that share a history of ethnic conflict.

Burundi was plunged into crisis six months ago, when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement he would seek a third term ignited weeks of protests and a failed coup. Nkurunziza went on to win a July 21 vote, but opposition groups have accused his government of a violent crackdown against them.

Rwanda, which endured a genocide in 1994, has expressed alarm about the situation in Burundi and its regional implications.

Salvator Ntacobamaze, permanent secretary in Burundi’s Ministry of External Relations and International Cooperation, said the diplomat, Desire Nyaruhirira, had been expelled but declined to give any further explanation.

Government spokesman Phillipe Nzobonariba said the expulsion was most likely due to the diplomat’s alleged contacts “with putschists hosted in Rwanda”.

“It is not a problem with a country but a problem with an individual since he is reported to be in permanent contact with coup plotters,” he said.

Rwanda had no immediate comment.

Opposition groups have accused Burundi’s government of launching a crackdown since May, when crowds first took to the streets saying Nkurunziza’s bid for a third presidential term was unconstitutional.

Burundian security personnel have been accused of conducting frequent raids in parts of the capital Bujumbura that are known to be opposition strongholds.

A row broke out this week at a prison in central Burundi after police tried to move 28 prisoners tied to efforts to topple Nkurunziza into isolation. Inmates blocked the police from entering, while opposition leaders said they feared for the prisoners’ lives.

The police on Wednesday succeeded in isolating the 28 prisoners, prison officials said, with no deaths reported.


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