Donors pledge $352 million to help Uganda’s South Sudanese refugees

Reuters

By Elias Biryabarema | KAMPALA

KAMPALA About $352 million has been pledged to help Uganda cope with an influx of refugees fleeing conflict in South Sudan, donors said on Friday.

Uganda needs some $2 billion for its surging refugee population. The money would fund operations for the next 12 months .

About 1.3 million refugees have fled to Uganda, of whom an estimated 950,000 have come from South Sudan, displaced by the country’s escalating civil war.

Most of the South Sudanese are crammed into about five camps in Uganda’s northwest. One of them, Bidi Bidi is among the world’s largest refugee settlements, hosting about 270,000 people.

“I don’t think anyone ever anticipated that we would be dealing with one million refugees out of South Sudan alone,” David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, told Reuters.

Food for the refugees will run out in July without more help, Beasley said.

Fighting erupted in Africa’s youngest nation in December 2013 between forces allied to President Salva Kiir and his then- deputy, Riek Machar. A peace pact in 2015 briefly halted the conflict, but it exploded into war again last July.

“The international community needs to step up and needs to give to the Ugandan people and to the refugees hosted by the Ugandan people the kind of support that is absolutely needed because the circumstances in which these sacrifices are being made are extremely, extremely challenging,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa, Larry King)

 

Nigeria – state security service says it has foiled plots for attacks in Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Sokoto during Islamic holiday

Premium Times

SSS operatives

SSS operatives

The State Security Service, SSS, announced on Friday that it arrested suspected terrorists planning to attack Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri during the Sallah celebration.

The federal government had earlier declared Monday and Tuesday next week as public holidays for the Islamic festival.

In a statement on Friday signed by Tony Opuiyo, the SSS said, “The past few weeks, this service has uncovered a sinister plot by terrorist elements to stage series of coordinated attacks using explosives on different cities across the country.”

Two suspects, Yusuf Adamu and Abdumuminu Haladu, were apprehended by the domestic intelligence agency during the early hours of Friday in Sokoto.

According to the statement, Mr. Adamu and his accomplice were to command the operation in Kano.

“However, the Service had earlier arrested the facilitator of the Kano attack, an explosive expert by name Bashir Mohammed at Unguwar Barnawa, Shekar Madaki, Kumbatso LGA, Kano State on June 20”.

“Their plan, together with others now at large, was to assemble the explosives and use them on select targets during the Eid-el-Fitr Celebrations”.

“Their aim was to hit on soft targets such as markets, public parks, public processions, recreation centres, as well as worship centres especially the Eid Praying Grounds and other densely populated areas during the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration.  The latest plan by the terrorists was to unleash mayhem on Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri,” the agency said.

However, the service assured Nigerians that the planned terrorist attacks in the states have been foiled by the agency.

The agency said during the arrest of Mr. Mohammed in Kumbotso, Kano, a search was conducted at his residence where it recovered “Eight (8) AK-47 rifles, Twenty (20) fully loaded AK-A7 magazines, Twenty-seven (27) hand grenades, Seven hundred and ninety-three (793) rounds of live ammunition.”

One gas cylinder, three laptops, one mobile phone, a motorcycle, a car, and a printer were also recovered.

The SSS also said it uncovered plans by the terrorists to infiltrate the ranks of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, which has been demanding the release of its leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, held without trial since December 2015.

“This is in an attempt to assume a formidable cover to unleash violence and evoke a complete state of chaos in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja during the group’s Qudus Day Procession/Rally scheduled for Friday in Abuja and several States in the Northern parts of the country”.

“Sequel to this, the Service is warning members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to desist from staging any form of procession or demonstration as the terrorists will seize the opportunity to unleash mayhem”. Mr. Opuiyo said.

The rallies by the IMN had, however, been held across many cities, in a largely peaceful atmosphere, before the SSS statement.

“The Service is working, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure that no section of the country is attacked during and after the Sallah celebrations”.

“Law abiding citizens and residents are not only assured of their safety but enjoined to go about their normal businesses without fear of attack. It pledges to engage all stakeholders to ensure a hitch free Eid-el-fitr festival across the country,” it stated.

Nigeria – pro-Biafra leader says no election in south without Biafra referendum

Premium Times

 

 

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No election in Southeast Nigeria without Biafra referendum — Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has warned that elections will be boycotted in the South East states starting with the Anambra State gubernatorial elections scheduled for November 18 if the Federal Government fails to hold referendum for the realisation of the state of Biafra.

“If the Federal Government does not agree with us on a date for referendum, there will be no elections in the southeast, we are starting with Anambra come November this year. There will be no governorship election in Anambra State”, Mr. Kanu said while addressing a crowd of protesters in his father’s compound in Abia state.

It is not clear when the video was shot. If it happened after Mr. Kanu’s release from detention in April, then it would appear a violation of conditions set by Justice Binta Nyako when she granted Mr. Kanu bail in April.

Mr. Kanu, who is facing charges of treasonable felony at the Federal High Court in Abuja, has been at the vanguard of the call for an independent Biafra Republic from the Nigerian state.

In granting him bail in April after more than a year in detention, Justice Nyako listed 12 conditions, including an order for Mr. Kanu to avoid being seen in a crowd of more than 10 people.

The court also instructed that Mr. Kanu desist from granting interviews or engaging in any form of rallies as part of his conditions for bail.

However, in the 16 minutes, 21 seconds video posted on Youtube, Tuesday, Mr. Kanu who is seen speaking to a congregation of Biafran supporters also said there would be no form of election in the Southeast during the 2019 general elections, stressing that he would not relent in his agitation for Biafra.

“In 2019, the whole of Biafra land will not vote for any president. There will be no Senator, there will be no House of Reps, there will be no House of Assembly and there will be no Councilor-ship elections in Biafra land if they (federal government) fail to call for a referendum.

“Nigerian government should build as many prisons as possible to jail all Biafrans because there is no going back and we are ready to go there (prisons) unless the federal government gives us Biafra.

“We are not like any other people. People like us don’t come twice. That’s why I know that with the last breath in this very body that Biafra will be restored. There’s nothing anybody can do about it. Tell them that’s what I said. Nobody on this earth can stop Biafra,” the IPOB leader said.

Since the IPOB leader was freed, he has not only addressed hundreds of his supporters but has also granted media interviews.

Last month, while addressing the members of the Jewish Synagogue at his residence in Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia in Abia state, Southeast Nigeria , Mr. Kanu declared that the coming of the Republic of Biafra was imminent.

Similarly, Kanu had told Al Jazeera that he was not bothered about landing in trouble over his actions due to the bail conditions given to him Justice Binta Nyako of an Abuja Division of the High Court.

 

 

South Africa – Zuma on the ropes but is a knock-out blow coming?

Rand Daily Mail

 

The announcement of the commission of inquiry follows weeks of continuous reporting by The Times and the Sunday Times concerning the hundreds of thousands of leaked Gupta e-mails

23 June 2017 – 07:39 Nomahlubi Jordaan and Penwell Dlamini
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma’s hold on power is weakening, analysts say.

He announced yesterday the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, in which he has been repeatedly implicated, shortly after the Constitutional Court ruled that there was no impediment to a secret ballot of MPs on his future.

The announcement of the commission of inquiry follows weeks of continuous reporting by The Times and the Sunday Times concerning the hundreds of thousands of leaked Gupta e-mails which have shed new light on the scope and scale of state capture.

The court’s judgment on an application by the United Democratic Movement for a court ruling on a secret ballot imperils Zuma’s presidency further.

The court made it clear that Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete was mistaken when she claimed that she did not have the power to authorise a secret ballot in a vote of no-confidence in Zuma. It outlined the considerations Mbete would have to take into account in deciding on the ballot.

A statement from parliament shortly after the judgment indicated that a secret ballot is on the cards.

“Now that the court has clarified that the speaker has the powers under the constitution to conduct motions of no confidence by way of a secret ballot, she will, accordingly, ensure the judgment is given effect,” the statement said.

Opposition parties hailed the court’s decision. The DA said it would move to have the motion of no-confidence debated.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said: “The UDM is vindicated because we asked the speaker to use her prerogative‚ but she put the interests of her party ahead of parliament … MPs are free to vote and follow their conscience.”

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota said: “The court has made it clear that those of us who are elected‚ once elected and having taken an oath of office‚ owe it to the people of South Africa as a whole that no political party can compel a member of parliament to vote against their conscience and against their judgment.”

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said Mbete would have to give “sound reasoning” for her decision on a secret ballot.

“This constrains her space to manoeuvre‚ making it very difficult for her not to allow a secret vote‚” Mathekga said.

Because it is individual Members who really have to vote, provisions are couched in the language that recognises the possibility of majorities supporting the removal of the President and the Speaker. Conceptually, those majorities could only be possible if Members of the ruling party are also at liberty to vote in a way that does not always have to be predetermined by their parties

Constitutional Court

Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe said Zuma’s judicial commission announcement had more to do with pressure from within the ANC than with the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

“There has been an increase in pressure from Luthuli House [ANC national headquarters]. When it became the decision of the ANC national executive committee that the judicial commission be formed, he [Zuma] became very constrained in his defence.

The least that he could do was appoint this commission,” said Hlophe.

He said the terms of reference of the commission would be critical.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her State of Capture report recommended that t he chief justice, and not Zuma, appoint a judge to preside over the inquiry because Zuma was implicated in her report.

Hlophe said other signs of the ANC’s national executive committee flexing its muscles had been the rescinding of the decision to reappoint Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO, and the challenge to the controversial mining charter released by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

The Hawks appeared to be probing state capture now.
“All these things indicate that there is a decline in terms of his authority … as a president who is at the end of his second term, his powers are institutionally getting weaker and weaker.”

– The Times


Botswana – former President Masire dies at 91

News24

2017-06-23 08:28

Sir Ketumile Masire (File: AFP)

Sir Ketumile Masire (File: AFP)

 

Gaborone – Former Botswana president Sir Ketumile Masire has died. He was 91.

Reports on Friday indicated that Masire died on Thursday night after he was hospitalised last weekend in a critical condition.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Botswana government said: “This is to confirm that our beloved Former President Sir Ketumile Quett Joni Masire has passed away. May His Soul Rest in Peace and his family and the nation as a whole be comforted.”

Masire was the president of Botswana from 1980 to 1998.

He led various diplomatic initiatives in Africa, including chairing a panel that investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and co-ordinating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue.

Kenya – cholera outbreak affects dozens at health conference

BBC

 

People walk past a kiosk where a poster giving information on how to prevent Cholera is displayed in the Kibera area of Nairobi on May 20, 2015Image copyright AFP
Image caption It is not clear what triggered the latest cholera outbreak (file picture of Kibera slum in 2015)

Nearly 50 people have contracted cholera while attending a health conference in Kenya’s capital.

The infected delegates were among hundreds who had gathered for the four day forum organised by the Ministry of Health at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday.

They have been isolated in a city hospital, but health officials say the number of people infected may rise.

It is unclear how they caught the disease, which has led to five deaths in the past month.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.

Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms but, in severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

 

In Yemen, a large cholera outbreak is fast approaching 300,000 cases, according to UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien. He described it as a “man-made catastrophe” caused by both sides of the country’s ongoing civil war.

In a press release on 24 May, Kenya’s Ministry of Health said there had been 146 cases across the country since the outbreak began.

Some of those infected had attended a wedding at an upmarket estate in Nairobi.

As a result, authorities put in place emergency measures to try and curb its spread.

An outbreak two years ago killed 65 people across Kenya.

Nigeria – anger among Ogoni over delays in cleaning up oil spill

Guardian (Lagos)

By AFP   |   22 June 2017   |   3:26 pm

Under a leaden sky in oil-rich southern Nigeria, young men hang around with nothing to do, covering their noses from the noxious fumes of the polluted swamp.

The sight in Bodo, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Port Harcourt, is repeated in communities elsewhere in the maze of creeks that criss-cross Ogoni land.

One year after the launch of a much-heralded clean-up programme, the oil slicks which blackened the waters, killed the fish and ruined the mangroves remain untouched.

Locals, deprived of their livelihoods from fishing and farming, and with the billions of dollars extracted from under them channelled elsewhere, are angry and frustrated.

“The progress made on the Ogoni clean-up is known only to the government,” said Fegalo Nsuke, from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People pressure group.

“The people of Ogoni still cannot have access to safe drinking water, not to talk of electricity, basic schools and roads,” he told AFP.

– Environmental disaster –
In January 2015, there were hopes Ogoni land’s luck was changing after Shell agreed to pay £55 million ($70 million, 63 million euros) in compensation to more than 15,500 Bodo people.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant also agreed to start a clean up of two devastating oil spills in 2008, following a three-year British legal battle that was settled out of court.

In June 2016, Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo formally launched the project, which the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said could take 30 years.

So far, however, only $10 million of the initial $1 billion programme has been released.

Since then, a governing council and trust fund have been set up, and a project coordinator appointed, but no equipment has been moved to the sites, residents say.

Drinking water is still not fit for human consumption.

“The fact is that Ogoni still drinks poisoned water and remains polluted and these cannot be changed by internal processes and media promotions,” said Nsuke.

“Our people are frustrated,” added Livinus Kiebel, chairman of the Bodo council of chiefs.

“The environment is completely devastated.”

Fish and carcinogens
Ignatius Feegha, 41, used to catch fish as a child in the waterways of the Niger Delta.

“I used to wake up around 5:00 am with my father to fish and would come back with baskets of fish before going to school,” said the civil servant.

Today, fishermen are lucky to catch even periwinkles.

Standing near a jetty, Buddy Pango holds up a plastic bottle filled with discoloured water as the heavens open and a boat heading to the Bonny Island natural gas plant speeds by.

“We can’t see no fish in this water because the water is stained with crude oil,” he said. “Before we can get some fish, we (must) go to the ocean and it is very far.”

In places like Ogale, wells and boreholes are contaminated with the carcinogen benzene at levels more than 900 times above the recommended World Health Organization limit.

Signs beside boreholes warn residents not to drink the water.

“Every week, at least five people die because of cancer and respiratory diseases,” said community leader Dandyson Nwawala.

Clean-up suspended
Roman Catholic priest Father Abel Agbulu, who has been mediating between Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary and Bodo locals, said the clean-up could have started earlier but for opposition from some youths.

He said the youths who were unemployed insisted on being paid the money instead of allowing Shell to give the job to contractors.

“The youths said they wanted money instead. So Shell, which had already engaged two companies to do the job, had to back out,” he added.

Agbulu said Shell was not ready to give cash to the youths and since they would not allow the contractors to handle the job, decided to suspend the clean-up.

The head of the government-appointed Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Marvin Dekil, said training local workers in the required skills is taking time.

“We don’t want… to rush it and get it done in a wrong way,” he explained.

In the meantime, some locals have taken matters into their own hands and begun planting trees to try to restore the damaged mangroves.

The United Nations Development Programme’s representative in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, visited Ogoniland last week and called for patience.

“This is a very technical investment, it is not a rural type of investment where you are going to see houses built within a short period of time,” he said.

How long they will have to wait is anyone’s guess.