Category Archives: East Africa

Sudan – Bashir selected by Shura as NPC candidate for presidency again

Sudan Tribune

October 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Shura Council has selected president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, as party candidate for the 2015 election.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir looks on during an interview with state television in Khartoum late February 3, 2012 (Reuters)

The incumbent president won 265 votes out of 495 which represent 73% of the total percentage. His official nomination will be approved at the NCP General Convention.

The NCP Leadership Council on Monday besides Bashir selected four other leading members and referred them to the Shura Council to pick one of them as the party’s nominee for 2015 presidential election.

The 70-year old president previously said he would not seek a new mandate saying the country needs “fresh bold”. The appointment of a military, Bakri Hassan Saleh, as first vice-president was also perceived as a step towards his departure.

During the past weeks, Bashir received different delegations from the NCP dignitaries requesting him to accept their nomination for the presidential race.

The other four nominees chosen by the Leadership Council and submitted to the Shura Council included the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, former first vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.

Meanwhile, the former presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that he does not seek to run for the presidency despite being selected among the NCP’s five possible candidates.

“The party members will not select me [as presidential candidate] and I do not want it and it is better for them not to select me”, he said.

The NCP leading figure, Amin Hassan Omer, said in press statements that Bashir and his deputy Salih are not serving army officers, pointing they had retired and became members of the NCP.

The head of the NCP organisational sector, Hamid Siddiq, for his part, scoffed at reports that Bashir will easily won the upcoming election because he wouldn’t run against strong competitors, saying what is wrong if Bashir wins by consensus.

He downplayed voices saying that Sudan needs a president who could break the barrier of the the international isolation and build strong relation with the United States, saying the NCP needs someone who is close to Allah [God] not the US.

Siddiq pointed the NCP leaders were unwilling to accept party nomination for presidency, saying that 7 members withdrew their nomination and the technical committee conducted the nomination process twice for lack of a quorum.

NCP MISTAKES

Bashir, who addressed the Shura Council meeting on Tuesday, acknowledged that the NCP committed several mistakes and violations, announcing intention to form a committee to look into these violations in order to overcome the flaws.

He directed the NCP members to implement the recommendations of the Shura conferences, pointing to the political mobility his party made ahead of the General Convention.

The NCP chairman said his address in the opening session of the General Convention on Thursday will tackle NCP achievements during the past five years, pointing he will also deal with the failures.

(ST)

ICC warns Kenya against leaking Kenyatta trial information

BBC

ICC cautions Kenya on Kenyatta media leaks

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after attending the Mashujaa Day (Hero's Day) celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, on 20 October 2014.Mr Kenyatta was elected in 2013, despite facing charges at the ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warned Kenya’s government against leaking information from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case to the media.

Mr Kenyatta became the first serving head of state to appear at an ICC hearing earlier this month.

He denies charges of crimes against humanity, including inciting violence after Kenya’s disputed 2007 polls.

But the court says it is concerned over the Kenyan government’s ability to ensure confidentiality of the case.

In a report released on Tuesday, the ICC’s Trial Chamber V specifically referred to the leaking of details of a confidential request from the ICC judges to help freeze or seize President Kenyatta’s assets.

The request was issued under seal, however, the Kenyan authorities filed public documents in 2013 referring to the request, which Mr Kenyatta’s lawyers later apologised for.

Details of the request later resurfaced in Kenyan media in April and September this year, in what the court described as “a pattern of information contained in confidential filings being leaked to the media, in some cases even before the filings have been notified to the chamber”.

It subsequently issued a “formal caution” to the Kenyan government, noting “cumulative inattention to the taking of appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of proceedings”.

Mr Kenyatta is facing five charges relating to ethnic violence after the 2007 elections that left some 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced – the worst violence in Kenya since independence in 1963.

On 8 October, he was summoned to appear at an ICC “status conference” – a pre-trial hearing.

But correspondents say the case has reached deadlock, with the prosecution accusing the Kenyan government of withholding vital evidence and the defence saying that without evidence, there should be no trial.  BBC

Sudan – Bashir accuses Mahdi of advancing rebel agenda

Sudan Tribune

October 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has accused the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi, of being used by the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF).

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech in the capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 in which he appealed for a political and economic renaissance in the country (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Bashir, who was interviewed by several journalists en route to Khartoum from Egypt on Sunday, lashed out at al-Mahdi, stressing he refused to meet with him in Cairo according to his request.

However, al-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying press reports that Bashir rejected a request from the NUP leader to meet with him in Cairo.

Bashir said al-Mahdi made “a mistake” in the first time and we granted him a way out but he repeated the same mistake and he should bear the consequences.

The Sudanese president was alluding to remarks al-Mahd made accusing a government militia of committing serious abuses in conflict zones.

The opposition veteran was asked by the security service to stop his criticism against the Rapid Support Forces when he did for the first time. But he was detained on 17 May when he repeated it

The Sudanese president underscored the deal between al-Mahdi and the SRF was “brokered by a Zionist mediator”, saying the SRF leaders sought to find someone who can promote their project and help them implement it.

“We had information that the SRF was looking for a national figure to help them carry out their project and they found al-Sadiq al-Mahdi,” he added.

He pointed the SRF takes arms against the state in order to seize the whole country, emphasising the SRF program is based upon a Zionist project targeting Sudan.

On 8 August, the NUP and the SRF signed the Paris Declaration after the former suspended its participation in the government-led national dialogue initiative following the arrest of al-Mahdi, who was detained for one month.

NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Bashir reiterated commitment to the national dialogue initiative he launched in January, saying some have mistakenly understood the initiative as a sign of weakness and submission.

“We noted that some [political parties] seek to jump over the dialogue and demand the outcome even before the dialogue convenes,” he said.

He added the national dialogue initiative did not mention postponement of the election or forming a national or transitional government, saying dialogue does not mean breaking the law.

In January, Bashir called on political parties and rebel groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss ways to bring peace in the country and to discuss constitutional reforms.

Several opposition parties, including the Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi, the Reform Now Movement (RNM) led by Ghazi Salah al-Din Attabani and the National Umma Party (NUP), agreed to participate in the dialogue before the latter decided to suspend its participation after al-Mahdi was detained in May 2014.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), gathering mainly leftist parties and the rebel umbrella organisation of the Sudan Revolutionary Force (SRF) refuse to engage in the dialogue citing the need to end the war, create an environment conducive for dialogue and form a transitional government.

VISIT TO EGYPT

Meanwhile, Bashir refuted media reports that the Egyptian government deliberately hung a map showing the disputed Halaib and Shalateen triangle as part of Egypt’s territory during his meeting with president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He said the map has been put since the Ittihadiya presidential palace was built; underscoring that the triangle of Halaib is part of the Sudanese territory.

Bashir stressed they will not engage in war with Egypt, saying his visit to the latter was successful and achieved its objectives.

He said he felt psychological comfort in Egypt for the first time, stressing that he sensed al-Sisi’s keenness to promote ties between the two countries.

However, he acknowledged the existence of controversial issues with Cairo, saying he agreed with al-Sisi to postpone these issues and focus on what is being agreed upon which represent 90% of the issues.

He said the remaining 10% of the issues, including Halaib, could be resolved through dialogue and legal avenues.

The Sudanese president emphasised that he agreed with al-Sisi to utilise Sudan and Egypt relations to achieve peaceful solution for the Libyan crisis, reiterating Khartoum’s fixed position not to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.

“Determining the identity of who should rule Egypt falls in the heart of the Egyptian people responsibilities and we are not involved in that matter,” he said.

(ST)

South Sudan – rival SPLM groups sign framework agreement

Sudan Tribune

October 20, 2014 (ARUSHA) – Factions of the ruling party in South Sudan, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM), have signed a framework agreement which aims to address the root causes of the conflict that erupted in mid-December and plunged the country into violent crisis.

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SPLM factions sign framework agreement, Arusha, October 20, 2014. Peter Adwok (right), Daniel Awet (center), CCM SG, Abdulraman Kinana, and Pagan Amum (left). Behind are the principal leaders (Photo ST)

The document was signed on Monday in the Tanzanian northern town of Arusha and witnessed by the two principal rival leaders, namely president Salva Kiir, who chairs the SPLM in government and Riek Machar, former vice president and leader of the SPLM-in-Opposition.

SPLM of former detainees also participated in the talks and inked the document as well.

President Jakaya Kikwete chairs the Tanzanian ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which facilitated the intra-SPLM dialogue.

Delegates of the three rival groups of the South Sudanese ruling party met in Arusha from 12th to 18th of this month to try to come up with the framework in the process hosted by the Tanzanian ruling party.

The framework agreement highlighted preamble, principles, objectives and agenda that will be discussed in the intra-party dialogue. It also included rules of engagement and role of CCM.

However, it said the process is distinct from the peace talks which takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“The parties recognize that the Arusha process is essentially an intra-SPLM dialogue and is separate and distinct from the IGAD mediated peace talks among South Sudanese stakeholders. Yet the parties are fully aware that the two processes, although separate, are mutually interdependent and reinforcing,” partly reads a communiqué.

The document recommits the parties to the principles of democracy, internal democracy especially on matters of decision making, elections, succession and peaceful transfer of power.

It further calls for “unity of SPLM as a safeguard against fragmentation of the country along ethnic and regional fault lines.”

“Initiate measures to stop the war, lead the government and the people of South Sudan towards peace, stability and prosperity,” it further urges.

Both leaders expressed their commitment to the intra-party dialogue that would reunite the divided historical party.

The document was signed by senior officials of the rival factions, namely Daniel Awet Akot, Peter Adwok Nyaba and Pagan Amum Okech, representing SPLM in government, SPLM-in-Opposition and SPLM former detainees, respectively.

When contacted for some clarity on the meaning of the document inked by the three SPLM rival parties, Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak, said the agreement served as a roadmap for further negotiations in trying to reunite the ruling party and end the war.

“It is a roadmap agreement with guiding principles and objectives for further discussions and possible resolutions,” Dak told Sudan Tribune when contacted on Monday.

“The governance crisis within the SPLM gave birth to the 15 December violence which has unfortunately plunged the country into the current national crisis or civil war. The intra-party dialogue provides a supplement to the peace talks in Addis Ababa to try and address the root causes of this conflict within the ruling party,” he added.

Also, Dak added that the framework agreement has recognized the need to “revitalize, reorganize, strengthen and restore the SPLM to its vision, principles, political direction and core values.”

Analysts, however, say the dialogue, could provide an avenue for progress on key issues, including deep divisions between South Sudanese party leaders, if respected.

“Progress on party politics in Arusha is likely good news for the peace process. The fear is that it might come at a high price for civil society and other stakeholders that have been struggling for months for meaningful engagement at the IGAD-led peace talks,” said Justine Fleischner, a Sudan and South Sudan policy consultant at Enough Project.

Akshaya Kumar, a Sudan and South Sudan policy analyst at Enough Project said the new Arusha forum on party politics must tackle issues beyond elite power sharing so as to fulfill its promise of being mutually reinforcing of the peace talks in Addis Ababa.

“South Sudan’s ruling SPLM is facing much more than a leadership schism; after 10 months of internecine war, its very legitimacy is at stake,” said Kumar.

(ST)

South Sudan – SPLM rebels say they won’t re-unify while Kiir runs the party

Sudan Tribune

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s rebel faction, the SPLM in Opposition, led by former vice-president Riek Machar, said on Sunday it would not reunify with the ruling SPLM party unless president Salva Kiir steps down.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AFP)

Delegations from the rival SPLM factions met in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha where they held discussion from 12 to 18 October on holding intra-party dialogue aimed at reconciling the two groups.

However, rebel officials in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, ruled out possible reunification unless Kiir agrees to hand over the leadership of the party to Machar.

The officials said they remained pessimistic about the Tanzanian talks, saying they doubted the process would deliver any positive outcomes even if discussions centred on the same agenda.

They went on to say that the rebel delegation had agreed to take part in intra-party dialogue only to tell their side of story.

Their comments appear to contradict those of CCM secretary-general Abdulrahman Kinana, who said that the initial phase of dialogue was held in a frank, honest and cordial manner and that progress has been made on the establishment of a framework for the intra-SPLM dialogue, including shared principles, objectives and an agenda for ongoing talks.

The dialogue is being facilitated by Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, (CCM), which means revolutionary party in Swahili, the official language of Tanzania.

Following the conclusion of the initial phase of dialogue, Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete invited both Kiir and Machar to the official launching of the process, due to take place on Monday in Arusha.

According to a source at the talks, both rival parties had recognised the need for reconciliation and the reunification of the SPLM as the vehicle that will implement a comprehensive program of political reforms.

In an encouraging sign, he said participants at the talks had shown a willingness to be identified as one entity, rather then separate groups.

The ruling party in South Sudan split in mid-December last year following an internal political dispute, plunging the young nation into a deadly cycle of conflict that has increasingly divided communities along tribal lines.

The outcome of the latest talks remains unclear, with similar attempts by other ruling parties in South Africa and Ethiopia failing to bridge the gap between the warring SPLM factions.

Ongoing peace talks, which are being facilitated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), have also failed to yield a lasting political settlement to the crisis.

(ST)

DR Congo – gunmen free hundreds of prisoners in North Kivu

Reuters

(Reuters) – Heavily armed gunmen freed some 300 inmates from a prison in eastern Congo on Saturday, the provincial minister of justice said, amid fears over deteriorating security in the mineral-rich region.

Christophe Ndibeche said the attackers easily overpowered the security guards, freeing all the prisoners from the central prison of Butembo, a town in North Kivu province.

By Sunday evening, authorities had recaptured about 30 of the fugitives, he added.

“These are enemies of peace who committed this attack to liberate the bandits in the prison. We are going to do everything to find them,” Ndibeche said.

The assault comes at a time of growing alarm in North Kivu, a mineral-rich province bordering Rwanda and Uganda that has long been plagued by dozens of armed militias.

Last week, suspected rebels from the Ugandan ADF-NALU group carried out two overnight raids near the town of Beni, 50 km (30 miles) north of Butembo, killing more than 50 people.

Ndibeche said that highway bandits were the most likely culprits in the prison break given that group’s strong representation among the prison population.

Reuters

Sudan – National Congress Party to choose presidential candidates with Bashir on the list

Sudan Tribune

October 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Leadership Council will meet on Monday to select five figures as candidates for the presidency ahead of the scheduled General Convention on 23 October.

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A Sudanese woman stands in front of an electoral poster for Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (File/The Guardian Website)

Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that the NCP Leadership Council meeting will be held in a secret place away for the media.

According to NCP bylaws, the Leadership Council selects five people and then refers it to the Shura (consultative) National Council which chooses and ranks three of the five in terms of preference.

Afterwards only one name is picked and tabled at the General Convention to endorse.

The leaked list of candidates includes the incumbent president, Omer al-Bashir, and his two deputies, Bakri Hassan Salih, and Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, besides the former vice-president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and the former presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie.

However, some media reports put the current presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, among the possible nominees instead of the vice president, Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman.

The same sources underscored that the Islamic Movement’s (IM) Shura meeting which was held last Saturday has recommended four names for the list of candidates including Bashir, Salih, Ali Osman and Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, urging the NCP to continue to carry out party reforms.

According to the schedule of meetings seen by Sudan Tribune, Bashir will address the meeting of the Shura National Council on Tuesday to table the name of the presidential candidate at the General Convention which will be held on Thursday 23 october.

In recent years, Bashir has asserted that he will not run for a new term and went on to say that he spent enough time in power and that the country needs new faces.

But later he backtracked by saying it is up to the party’s institutions to decide on the 2015 presidential candidate and that he will respect their decision.

Bashir who ruled the country since staging a military coup in 1989, faces an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has restricted his international travels and his meetings with western officials.

His health has also came into question recently after undergoing two throat surgeries in 2012 to remove a tumour and two knee replacement surgeries this year.

(ST)