Zimbabwe – police fire tear gas at street vendors involved in protest

Zimbabwe Indepedent

POLICE fired teargas at stone-throwing vendors resisting removal from city streets on Tuesday in the latest flare-up of protests against President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year rule.

Army trucks and tankers joined Harare’s regular municipal police in a drive against the hawkers, pursuing them through the streets of the capital while firing teargas and water canons.

The southern African nation’s 80% unemployment rate has left thousands of people surviving by selling fruit and vegetables, mobile phone credit, trinkets and second hand clothes on sidewalks in the city centre.

Such vendors see the city streets as key markets and have over the years refused to be moved from the central business district.

As security officials moved in, some of the vendors fought back, hurling stones and bricks.

“The government has ruined the economy and here they are, trying to interfere with our only means of survival,” said 28-year-old Gilbert Fodya, as he fled from the police.

“I have to run away because I can’t afford to lose the little that I have,” he added, clutching a bundle of belts.

Mugabe, 92, has been confronted with a series of protests in the last few months from a wide range of opponents who say Zimbabwe, once considered one of Africa’s most promising economies, has slipped into irreversible decline under his rule.

He denies this and blames Zimbabwe’s economic problems on Western sanctions.-Reuters

Zambia – Saasa says donors will withhold funds over media suppression

Post (Lusaka)

Donors will withhold funds over media suppression in Zambia – Saasa
By Joan Chirwa   |   Updated: 27 Sep,2016 ,11:44:16   |   606 Views   |   0 Comments[ – ] [ + ]

NO RESPONSIBLE donor will put money in a country like ours which has muzzled independent media, says Professor Oliver Saasa.

Prof Saasa said in an interview that he did not expect enthusiasm from donors to fund Zambia if the independent media was not opened.

“I do not expect much enthusiasm from the likes of the multilaterals and bilaterals if we do not open up the independent media, because they are the ones that make the government accountable; more so in Zambia now, with the electoral outcome where democracy was lost,” Prof Saasa said.

“No responsible donor will put money in a country like ours which has muzzled independent media; it has completely taken away freedom of the press, speech and association.”

He observed that it was difficult to extend aid to Zambia because of governance challenges.

“It is difficult to extend aid in a country like Zambia where you have challenges of governance. Of course you will find countries that don’t mind, so they will always go for the soft targets, but the likes of the IMF, the World Bank…right now we are expecting the IMF to come in,” Prof Saasa said. “The IMF has expectations; many of them are already communicated. They have talked to civil society, government, media, so that they get an idea of what is going on. If you fail to adhere to the expectations of the IMF, the money is not disbursed until you have met certain parameters. In worst cases, you will end up blaming IMF for being nasty to Zambia when in fact they would have done nothing. And there is no such thing as the IMF programme; what we have is a government programme supported by the IMF. And the toughness of the conditions are in line with the transgressions you committed before.”

He said democracy could not thrive based on inaccurate information.

“Democracy cannot thrive if it is based on inaccurate information or insufficient information to make informed decisions. So if you cripple that conduit that provides critical information, which includes the media, a free media…a media that has the ability to analyse issues, then the electorate will have no capacity to demand of their leaders what is appropriate,” Prof Saasa advised.

“Independent media is the most important as opposed to government media, because government media is generally expected to be a mouthpiece of the government. You have to realise that a free media is so important, not only in terms of meeting the expectations of the people but for informing even government to take corrective action. Because there is no decision that can be made that can be considered to be informed if it is based on insufficient information of the various options, and that is where the media comes in.”

He said the independent media must not be expected to toe the line of the party in power.

“The media may be actually not be toeing the line of the party in power. It may actually intend to remove you from power because it is a democracy, they also have their interest. They cannot be neutral and you have to know that that lack of neutrality is what constitutes democracy, because democracy is about contestation. It is not really that you hate those in power,” Prof Saasa said.

He said no one could boast of having a democracy when they had removed an essential part of what constitutes it – an independent press.

“Immediately you start muzzling the press, especially the independent press, you actually completely forgo everything that is supposed to take place in a democracy, you actually deny yourself an opportunity to be able to get information that is so vital to inform your decision making. And that information will only come from the people who are the bosses. They must be allowed to express themselves. Even normal human life, it is impossible to have people with different DNAs to think alike, it is not possible. Even in homes, as husband and wife, where you find they are always agreeing on things, it means that only one is doing the thinking. It is that richness of differences which constitutes democracy,” Prof Saasa said.

“We can’t say we have a democracy when you have removed a very important ingredient, you have removed a very important ingredient that can allow people to make informed decisions, both in terms of the demand by the electorate to their leaders, and also the quality of decisions of those in power.

Now can you get aid with such going on?”

He noted that the opposition had been weakened.

“Because there is no opposition now; immediately UPND shuts up, you look at the others, even those who were vocal, if you listen to them now, their language has changed because everyone is lining their pockets. We are no longer hearing voices of people that used to talk. There will be nobody in the political sphere that will hold the government accountable. In a dispensation like that, opposition, de facto, have to be the likes of the independent press, the unions, civil society, that have to call government to account. Opposition politics is almost as good as dead if you ask me, opposition politics in Zambia and a very important element of democracy is dead,” Prof Saasa said.

He said donors did not support undemocratic states.

“So when it comes to bilateral donors, they will tell you that our system is democratic, the people that give you money, it is taxpayers money by the way where it comes from, they adhere to certain principles. So we will be wrong to extend aid when our masters, the people, demand actually that they do not support undemocratic systems. So governments in Europe, Britain, America, name it, would not in fact abrogate the expectations of the electorate if they deny us aid because for them, government, through the parliament, would allocate a percentage in the budget going to aid. And it comes with very clear conditions that do not support rogue states; do not support terrorist states, do not support undemocratic states, otherwise you will be fattening the pockets of individual politicians,” said Prof Saasa.

Kenya – UDF MPs considering dumping link with Jubilee

Star (Kenya)

Sep. 27, 2016, 

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri. /FILE
Vihiga Senator George Khaniri. /FILE

A section of MPs whose UDF party was dissolved for Jubilee are mulling options that will enable them to remain in the ballot for the 2017 poll.

The legislators, some of whom have said their backyards have turned hostile, are planning a protest to the Registrar of Political parties.

They said they will demand that the registrar allows them to run independently or join other parties without attracting sanctions.

The MPs are confident that independence will not subject them to new party rules or intimidation by officials who will be named to steer Jubilee Party.

They told the Star on Monday that they will inform the registrar, should they decide to be independent, before the lapse of the 30-day deadline stipulated by law.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri (UDF) has led the pack of those who fear they might be disgruntled in the new outfit that President Uhuru Kenyatta will use to seek re-election.

“We have three options; stay in the new party, join another party or go independent as required by the new political parties Act,” Khaniri said.

The MP said he was not comfortable in Jubilee Party since the merger was poorly managed and there was no agenda for Kenyans.

“I have notified the registrar that I do not want anything to do with the newly launched JP. I don’t like how they conduct their business and how they run the country,” he told the Star on phone from Johannesburg, South Africa.

The legislator said Jubilee was not popular at the grassroots because of tribalism and corruption in the government, making it hard to sell the party to voters.

“We do not move alone as leaders. The electorate take us where we belong and dictate what we do for them,” he said.

He added that Jubilee’s days of being in power were numbered due to corruption and poor service delivery.

Read: Jubilee wants to bar nomination losers from joining other parties

Lugari MP Ayub Savula said he will wait for the current term of parliament to end before he jumps ship.

“We have an agreement with Jubilee on working together. Meanwhile, we are working on an alliance in western through which we must form and control the next government,” he said.

Khaniri and Savula’s statements come at a time when several officials of New Ford People, PNU and Tip Tip have protested to the registrar over the merger.

Read: UDF unhappy with planned Jubilee merger

South Africa – Gauteng premier says province will sell its properties


2016-09-27 17:06

David Makhura (Cornel van Heerden, Netwerk24)

David Makhura (Cornel van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – The Gauteng government will sell most of the properties it owns, in a bid to cut costs, Premier David Makhura said on Tuesday.

“We are confident that this decision will not only save us money from maintenance, but will help raise additional resources to fund the TMR (transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation) priorities,” Makhura told members of the provincial legislature in reply to a question from opposition parties.

The infrastructure development department was given the mandate to sell the properties.

Only properties and land that contributed to service delivery, infrastructure development, and transformation would not be sold.

The DA previously questioned the annual R1.5m it cost to run Makhura’s Bryanston state house, when he used his private residence. He said it was used for official business and meetings.

A decision about whether to sell it would follow completion of the asset register and valuation of all the Gauteng government’s fixed assets, he said.

South Africa – Motsoeneng to apply again for job court removed him from

BD Live

Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS







HLAUDI Motsoeneng has announced that he will apply for the job of chief operating officer at the SABC, from which he was removed by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“I’m going to apply for the job, it’s a given. I qualify for the job,” he told a media briefing at the broadcaster’s Auckland Park headquarters.

Sporting a new hat, the SABC’s former operations chief said: “SABC is very interesting. I’m also very interesting.”

Referring to his new job, he said: “When there is dark, I feel light! I’m going to ensure that that position is more exciting and does what it is supposed to do!

“People have been talking about Hlaudi’s stress. Hlaudi will never have stress. I’m a different animal.

“When it comes to court matters, several times I mentioned through my lawyer that I respect court processes,” he said.

He said that a minority of media and political parties were behind the controversy over him.

“People push certain agenda and they mislead the public.

“Everywhere where I go, people support Hlaudi — worse in the rural areas because you know I’m a rural boy.

He added: “There’s only one Hlaudi in SA.

“I want to applaud the people who applaud this wonderful person called Hlaudi!”

Is Nigeria facing a triple secession threat?

Daily Maverick

Photo: President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari speaks at the US-Africa Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel, in New York City, New York, USA, 21 September 2016. The forum is focused on trade and investment opportunities on the African continent for African heads of government and American business leaders. EPA/DREW ANGERER / POOL

Just as President Muhammadu Buhari thinks he’s got the measure of Boko Haram, breakaway movements in the Niger Delta and what was once the Republic of Biafra are gathering momentum. Does anyone want to be Nigerian any more? By SIMON ALLISON.

As he addressed the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, Muhammadu Buhari was in bullish mood. Nigeria’s experience, he argued, is evidence that terrorism can be defeated, suggesting that the war against Boko Haram has already been won.

“Nigeria has made remarkable progress in our resolve to defeat Boko Haram, whose capacity to launch orchestrated attacks as a formed group has been severely degraded,” the Nigerian president concluded.

Encouraging news, even if Buhari is overstating his government’s successes. Yes, Boko Haram is on the back foot, but it is far from a spent force, and is still capable of causing death and destruction in the region. It proved this yet again on Saturday night, when an attack on a town near Chad’s border with Niger left four Chadian soldiers dead.

But what Buhari conveniently neglected to mention is that even as his government makes progress against Boko Haram, it is fighting secessionist fires on two other fronts. In Nigeria, independence movements are like the multiheaded Hydra of Greek legend: every time you chop off one head, another magically appears from somewhere else.

The most serious threat comes from the grandly-named Niger Delta Avengers, who made their presence felt again this weekend, shattering a brief ceasefire in the process. According to Reuters, the militants once again attacked an oil installation, targeting a pipeline that connects Bonny Island to the mainland.

The Avengers claim to be fighting for a fairer distribution of the Niger Delta’s vast oil wealth, which too often goes to feed Nigeria’s fat cats while development in the area remains poor to non-existent. Hence their targeting of the oil industry: since the beginning of the year, repeated attacks have forced down oil production by a hefty 2.1-million barrels a day, adding to Nigeria’s already-considerable economic woes.

As the Avengers grow in strength, seemingly unperturbed by a military offensive designed to stop them, so do their demands. Now they’re talking about “the restoration of our right to peaceful self-determination”, with the intention of pressing for complete autonomy. And they are threatening to force the issue through violence if they don’t get what they want.

Last month’s ceasefire was supposed to provide a little breathing space for talks about some kind of peaceful resolution, but the Avengers maintain that the government refused to speak to them – hence the new attack. It’s a troubling development, and one that will worry Buhari even more than the continued Boko Haram-related instability. Boko Haram can terrorise Nigeria’s north-east; the Avengers, by disrupting the oil supply, can impact the entire country.

But even if Buhari does succeed in smashing Boko Haram, and placating the restive Niger Delta – unlikely given that both are enormous, seemingly intractable problems – he’s now got a third secessionist movement to worry about. The self-proclaimed, short-lived Republic of Biafra may have been brutally smashed by the Nigerian army in 1970 – leaving 3-million civilians dead in its wake – but the tensions that led to its creation have never really disappeared. Many Igbo still feel marginalised and discriminated against, and a new group has been capitalising on these long-stranding grievances.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have placed the Biafra issue firmly back on the national agenda, with repeated calls for a Brexit-style referendum on whether to remain within Nigeria or not, backed up by protest action. The arrest last year on dubious treason charges of IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, appears to have backfired: if the intention was to silence him, his detention has only made him a martyr, and amplified his message. So much so that even the Niger Delta Avengers have taken up his cause, making Kanu’s release a condition for their negotiations with the government.

But Buhari has repeatedly made it clear that the chance of re-secession for Biafra is non-existent. Most recently, in response to protests from pro-Biafra activist groups in New York, Buhari reiterated that he had no plans to hold a referendum on the subject, and advised activists to form a political party to advocate their position through Nigeria’s democratic channels.

Individually, Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Avengers and IPOB all represent major challenges to the federal government’s authority. Taken together, however, it becomes clear that this country we call Nigeria remains a tenuous, fragile construct, even 56 years after independence. Can Buhari hold it together? DM

Photo: President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari speaks at the US-Africa Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel, in New York City, New York, USA, 21 September 2016. The forum is focused on trade and investment opportunities on the African continent for African heads of government and American business leaders. EPA/DREW ANGERER / POOL

Nigeria – 8 soldiers and 25 suspected militants killed in Boko Haram clash

Al Jazeera

At least eight soldiers and 25 attackers die in separate strikes as armed group continues to hit military targets.

The attacks brought the official death toll of troops killed the past week to 10 [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]
The attacks brought the official death toll of troops killed the past week to 10 [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Boko Haram has killed at least eight soldiers in two attacks in northeastern Nigeria while more than two dozen fighters also died, according to the military.

The armed group ambushed a convoy late on Sunday near Bama, 70km southeast of Maiduguri, resulting in the deaths of an army officer, three soldiers, and three attackers, an army statement said on Monday.

Earlier in the day gunmen attacked an army position at Logomani, 110km northeast of Maiduguri city, killing four soldiers, it said. The army said at least 22 fighters died in the firefight.

The attacks brought the official death toll of troops killed in the past week to 10 with 24 others wounded.

However, Boko Haram claimed more than 40 soldiers from a multinational army were killed in just one attack last week.

On Sunday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video denying military reports that he was fatally wounded last month. He also insisted he remained in charge despite the fact that ISIL appointed a new leader of Boko Haram, which is also known as Islamic State West Africa Province.

In the video, Shekau taunted parents of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014, saying they will see their daughters only if the government swaps them for detained leaders of the group.

“To the people of Chibok: You have not seen the worst yet,” Shekau said, ending with laughter.

Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and displaced more than two million in its effort to create a state adhering to strict Islamic laws.

Source: News Agencies