Category Archives: Africa – International

South Africa – ANC youth league denounces members who voiced support for Lungisa


2017-03-24 18:15

In the latest twist in the

ANC youth league denounces members who voiced support for Lungisa

In the latest twist in the Nelson Mandela Bay leadership saga over stubborn “chairperson” Andile Lungisa, members of Ward 28 have said the ANC Youth League regional task team who openly stated their support for Lungisa do not represent them.

Represented by Zolani Mdolomba, in his capacity as branch secretary for Ward 28, they denounced the regional task team, and said they were not a legitimate structure.

“It is unfortunate that a comment was made by Cde [Luyolo] Nqakula in respect of the Andile Lungisa issue, claiming to be the convener of the regional task team of the youth league,” said Mdolomba.

“As a legitimate youth league branch in Ward 28, we reject and disown their statements under the name of the ANC youth league,” he said.

Nqakula defended his position, and said that the league’s regional task team in the Nelson Mandela Metro was appointed on February 24.

“We have however, found ourselves in foreign terrain, in the sense that there is an unfortunate memo which was sent out to the structures of the ANC across the province, communicating a decision of the provincial executive committee not to recognise the provincial task team, as appointed by the national executive committee of the youth league,” said Nqakula.

What this decision translates to, is the illegitimacy of the regional task team structures across the Eastern Cape Province.

Citing an appeal process they lodged with national officials of the ANC, which defends their recognition, Nqakula said: “We view the appeal process and subsequently the memorandum sent out to structures as means that seek to sequestrate the autonomy of the ANC youth league,” he said.

The memo, which has been seen by the City Press, stipulates that any regional task team set up by the provincial task team of the youth league should not be recognised by the structures.

“It is within this context that we were chased out of an regional task team meeting of the ANC, prior to the regional conference, and subsequently denied the opportunity in participating in an organisational platform of critical substance.”

Nqakula said they were denied an opportunity to engage in the process of cross-pollination with branches of the ANC and contribute towards reshaping and rethinking the ANC in the metro.

“In light of these difficulties, we as the regional task team of the league have managed to convene a cadres forum which has provided us with the opportunity of not only to inculcate a culture of political education but to engage our constituency in the organisational renewal process and do away with gatekeeping and factionalism.”

He said they were visiting and engaging clusters in the region.

“The process of cluster visits will be concluded by this weekend.”

Mdolomba has his version of events which he called the “facts” on the status of the Nelson Mandela Region youth league.

He said the provincial executive committee of the ANC in the Eastern Cape made it very clear, that any structure elected by the provincial task team of the youth league must not be recognised.

“The so called regional task team led by Nqakula did not even take part in the regional conference due to its illegitimacy and only the expired youth league regional executive committee, represented by Xolani Mgxoteni and Siphiwo Tshaka, participated,” said Mdolomba.

“Even they were not delegated by the league branches to represent us in the conference, Mgxoteni and Tshaka delegated themselves and voted on our behalf illegitimately,” he said.

“Therefore, it cannot be correct for the so called regional task team to hijack the name of the league and misuse it for their own interests, which are unknown to the legitimate structures of the youth league in this metro.

“I therefore put it to you that they were speaking on their capacity as members, not as a legitimate structure,” he said.

“The appeal process is one of the avenues within the ANC constitution and its course should be allowed to unfold and if they feel that they have been aggrieved by the said memo and appeal, they also should consume the same avenues available to them as members. The ANC views are discussed and adopted at a conference as policy not by individuals using their own discretion.”

Somalia – US general wants more authority for US forces to act against Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda


WASHINGTON The head of U.S. forces in Africa told reporters on Friday that greater authority to fight al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants in Somalia would lead to more flexibility and quicker targeting, but that a decision had not yet been made by the White House.

Al Shabaab has been able to carry out deadly bombings despite losing most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the Somali government.

The United States has a small presence in Somalia and is allowed to carry out strikes in defence of partnered forces.

“Regardless of what combatant commander was sitting here this afternoon, I think they would all tell you that it is very important and very helpful for us to have a little bit more flexibility, a little bit more timeliness in terms of decision-making process and … it will allow us to prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion,” Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa, said at a press conference.

Critics of former President Barack Obama’s administration said that it took too long for Washington to approve strikes against militants when they surfaced, allowing some to escape.

Obama’s supporters, however, said greater scrutiny of U.S. military power helped reduce civilian casualties and the risk of “mission creep.”

Waldhauser also said there was no need to “sound the alarm” about a potential resurgence of piracy off Somalia’s coast after pirates seized a small oil tanker, the first such incident since 2012.

“It is too early to say that now we have an epidemic, but it did catch our attention,” Waldhauser said.

In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, data from the International Maritime Bureau showed, and held hundreds of hostages.

Separately, Waldhauser said the United States had severely weakened the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebellion group, but had not been able to capture its leader Joseph Kony.

A regional task force, including U.S. troops, has been hunting the down the group.

“This thing is coming to an end to be very frank … We think that we have a plan in place for a steady state, sustainable transition that will not only look out for Kony or any other groups that would emerge in that part of the country,” Waldhauser said.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart.; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Gambia to set up truth commission to probe Jammeh’s rule


Yahya JammehAFP  Yahya Jammeh first seized power in a coup in 1994

The Gambia will set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate abuses committed during ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s rule, the justice minister has said.

The finances of Mr Jammeh would also be investigated, Abubacarr Tambadou added.

People would be encouraged to confess to crimes, and victims would be offered compensation, he said.

The former regime was accused of widespread torture and enforced disappearances during its 22-year rule.

There were also unconfirmed allegations that more than $11m (£8.8m) went missing from The Gambia’s state coffers following Mr Jammeh’s departure in January.

He fled to Equatorial Guinea in January after regional troops entered the tiny West African state to force him to accept defeat to property developer Adama Barrow in elections the previous month.

“A Truth and Reconciliation Commission with appropriate reparations for victims will be set up within the next six months and public hearings will be expected to commence by the end of the year,” Mr Tambadou said in a statement.

Former intelligence chief Yankuba Badjie was arrested in January, making him the first of Mr Jammeh’s security officials to be taken into custody by the new government.

No official reason was given for his arrest.

Five notorious cases for The Gambia’s TRC:

  • Opposition member Solo Sandeng allegedly beaten to death in detention in April 2016
  • Journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay allegedly forced to drink cooking oil and beaten unconsciousness in detention in July 2015
  • Ex-army chief of staff Ndure Cham allegedly ordered to dig his grave and shot dead in 2013 for plotting coup
  • Journalist Ebrima Manneh missing since he left his newsroom on July 2006
  • Newspaper editor Deyda Hydara shot dead in his car in December 2004

Jammeh’s inglorious end

After his election victory, Mr Barrow pledged that his government would not seek vengeance against officials of the former regime, and would instead set up a South Africa-styled Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal wounds of the past.

In a 2015 report, campaign group Human Rights Watch said Mr Jammeh’s regime “frequently committed serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture against those who voiced opposition”.

Torture methods included the “electroshock of body parts, including genitals and dripping melted plastic bags onto the skin”, it said.

The regime relied heavily on its intelligence agency to target opponents, and was also accused of running paramilitary hit squads.

It denied the allegation, insisting that it upheld the law.

Nigeria – Shell to start clearing up 2008 oil spill


Global Energy News | Fri Mar 24, 2017

LONDON The head of a group helping organise Shell’s (RDSa.L) clean-up efforts in an oil Delta community in Nigeria said on Friday he was hopeful clean-up work after two spills in 2008 could start in April.

Royal Dutch Shell agreed in 2015 on a 55 million pound settlement with the Bodo community after accepting liability for two pipeline leaks due to corrosion that contaminated their land. []

But progress to clean up the spill has been slow after Shell said members of the community had denied it access in August 2015 when work was set to begin. A community

After months of wrangling, the parties have reached agreement and clean-up work is set to start in April, said the chairman of the Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI), a programme started in 2013 by the Dutch ambassador to Nigeria.

“Hopefully we should be able to go to site and start the clean-up next month,” BMI Chairman Inemo Samiama told Reuters.

The BMI is mediating between Shell’s Nigeria subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and the Bodo community. It also includes representatives from the United Nations Environmental Programme, the local government, the Dutch embassy and several non-governmental organisations.

“SPDC remains fully committed to ensuring clean-up takes place and will continue to work with the BMI to implement a remediation plan for Bodo area,” said a spokesman for SPDC.

Samiama said Shell had appointed international contractors to carry out the clean-up work. Once it commences, the first step would be to remove oil from the water surfaces before restoring landscapes that were damaged by the spill, he said.

“We are hoping this time around we are going to start this clean-up once and for all and get this job done,” Samiama said, adding the entire clean-up process will take several years.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Kenya – NASA committee says it’s Raila or lose

Star (Kenya)

It is Raila or lose, NASA committee warns principals

Mar. 24,  12:45 am

The technical committee tasked with recommending NASA’s presidential candidate has emphatically said it must be Raila Odinga.

The committee warned that excluding the ODM leader and former Prime Minister would outrage his supporters and convert intact opposition bastions into battlegrounds with Jubilee.

According to five top academics, Raila remains the most formidable candidate and his stepping aside will not translate into automatic votes for any NASA principal.

The confidential recommendation has been presented to the National Coordinating Committee, NASA’s political wing. The NCC will deliberate and make recommendations to the principals — Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

The committee includes economist Dr David Ndii, Nairobi University professor Dr Adams Oloo, Kabarak University law professor Elisha Ongoya, former member of the defunct Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Abubakar Zein and ex-Mumias Sugar Company chairman Dan Ameyo.

Despite the technocrats’ unqualified verdict, Kalonzo’s Wiper insists it is their turn to run for President, citing a 2013 MoU with Raila’s ODM. It made Raila a one-term President who would support Kalonzo in 2017.

Either Kalonzo is the candidate or Wiper is out and “NASA is dead,” it says.

Comment: Raila Odinga’s is still a name to conjure with

This dispute threatens NASA unity and it is not clear how the opposition will navigate the growing discord, with only four months to the August 8 polls.

Today, the four principals are to stage a rally at Masinde grounds in Nairobi’s Mathare area.

This would be NASA’s first rally in Nairobi, the country’s political epicentre, since the coalition was officially formed on February 23.

NASA’s steering committee said, “A major announcement is to be made that will significantly change the country’s political landscape. All citizens of goodwill, yearning for change and aspiring for Kenya’s prosperity, are invited to attend.”

Sources familiar with NASA negotiations told the Star the technical team’s analysis indicates that if Raila is not the flagbearer, nearly all ODM turf becomes swing-vote areas.

This means Jubilee’s candidate, President Uhuru Kenyatta — and by extension other JP candidates — could harvest much more in perceived opposition areas thought to be under lock and key.

These include Coast, Western, Kisii and Luo Nyanza.

The analysis says only a Raila-led NASA will retain opposition strongholds and secure considerable votes in Jubilee zones of Central, Eastern and Rift Valley.

The analysis is based on results of the two previous elections, parties’ presence in various regions and voter registration.

In 2007, Raila beat Kalonzo by a huge margin in Western, despite both having running mates from the same region.

Raila won 415,705 votes in Western against Kalonzo’s 25,581.

Kalonzo choseJulia Ojiambo as his deputy, Raila chose Mudavadi.

In 2013, Raila thrashed Mudavadi in Central Kenya, despite the ex-Deputy PM having a running mate from Mount Kenya. Mudavadi teamed up with former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni. Raila scored 2,889 votes in Kioni’s Nyandarua backyard, compared with Mudavadi’s 498.

Political analyst Kazungu Katana yesterday disagreed, however, with the analyses, while emphasising Raila remains the Coast’s choice.

“In my understanding, the presidential candidate in the Coast region is Raila. And if he says today I am standing down for so and so, I can assure you the greatest majority will vote for the candidate. Of course, there will be pockets of protest,” Kazungu told the Star.

Kalonzo and Mudavadi allies cite the Raila-phobia in Central Kenya as a major reason they are the best to penetrate Jubilee turf.

In a controversial commentary that irked Raila handlers, Wiper’s Kitui Senate aspirant said if Raila is NASA’S candidate, Uhuru’s second term is guaranteed.

“A Kalonzo presidency is good for every community in this country, including constituencies that largely align with the other side of the political divide,” Enoch Wambua, former managing editor of The Standard, wrote on March 12.

“He [Raila] can also choose to bulldoze his way to the NASA presidential candidate and hand UhuRuto clear victory.”

The former PM still has some loyal foot soldiers among the Kalenjin, despite the haemorrhage triggered by William Ruto’s exit from ODM.

Recently, NASA caused a stir in Meru with massive rallies and Raila’s grassroots networks are credited.

“Negotiations [on the presidential ticket] are ongoing. The committee have returned their verdict. Their analysis forms an important part of negotiations,” our source said.

In 2013, ODM had two MPs from Meru: Tigania East’s Mpuru Aburi and Igembe Central’s Cyprian Kubai.

Last week, Wiper shook NASA by declaring Kalonzo must be the candidate — nonnegotiable

National Assembly minority leader Francis Nyenze, who sits in the powerful 12-member NCC, said it was imperative to implement the 2013 Raila-Kalonzo MoU.

“The reason there’s a stalemate is because the MoU wasn’t honoured and Cord was killed so we don’t raise that issue. NASA came into being and when I asked about it [MoU] in the committee, I was told all those MoUs and agreements were buried in Cord,” Nyenze told the Star.

An Infotrak poll showed Raila has 68.3 per cent support among NASA followers.

Kalonzo came second with 13.1 per cent, Musalia third with 12.3 per cent, Wetang’ula at 2.2 per cent.


South Africa – DA’s Zille won’t go quietly into the night

Huffington Post

It’s Zille against Maimane, which means it’s her against the rest of the DA over those colonialism tweets.


Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Helen Zille

Helen Zille, the embattled premier of the Western Cape and former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), will not go quietly into the night and is preparing a comprehensive defence of her controversial tweets about colonialism.

She will apparently argue that she did not defend colonialism or apartheid in any form, that her sentiments were twisted and misconstrued and that her vilification is driven by “mob justice”. Her arguments also centre around respect for the rule of law and due process and a contention that she must be awarded the opportunity to be judged on her actual words and not just the “national calamity” which it caused.

Zille was last week criticised after she sent out a series of tweets that were widely interpreted as defending aspects of colonialism. The DA’s federal legal commission (FLC) will this weekend decide whether or not she should be disciplined.

According to seven senior sources in the party, including close associates, long-time supporters and active opponents of Zille, in and outside of the parliamentary caucus and national leadership:

  • Party leader Mmusi Maimane, who was mentored by Zille before she stood down in favour of him, is said to be “genuinely angered” at his predecessor’s tweets;
  • An opinion piece, in which she tries to contextualise her tweets and seemingly berates the DA’s leadership, seriously exacerbated the situation;
  • A proposal that she steps down, with the party undertaking to defend her legacy, is being discussed and will be made to her; and
  • There is broad agreement that her tweets and the subsequent fallout did serious damage to the party and that she must be subjected to a “harsh” penalty.

Zille’s supporters in the party’s top echelons seem distraught at the fallout her tweets caused and accept she might not survive a disciplinary process. Her enemies however believe she has served her purpose and that Maimane must be seen to distance himself from her in order to mould the party in his image.

“Emotions are raw at the moment. She’s a great figure and to see it come to this is very painful for many who have worked closely with her,” an experienced and senior MP, who supports Zille, told Huffington Post South Africa.

The MP added that Zille “can in no way be branded a racist, but the party has no choice but to mete out a heavy penalty”.

“She understands the bigger picture, she knows what’s at stake, but she will fight this. The best possible outcome is for her to pre-empt what could become a messy fight and stand down,” the MP said. “But she won’t.”

Another senior DA leader, who was involved in the debate around Maimane’s accession to the leadership position and is sympathetic to Zille, said it is possible that a deal might be cut which would prevent a “nasty” fight, but that it is not yet on the table.

According to this source the storm around the initial tweets could have been weathered, but the subsequent opinion piece in which she defended them was perceived as an attack on Maimane. “Nobody in the party took kindly to that,” the source said. Zille, in a piece published on The Daily Maverick, warned the DA should beware not to “swallow every tenet, myth . . . of African racial nationalism”.

There is also agreement — among friend and foe alike — that it will be very difficult to convince Zille that her comments in themselves are damaging because she firmly believes they were taken out of context. Zille will “mount a powerful and persuasive” argument, according to sources. She feels hung out to dry by the party’s leadership. According to her it was the DA’s reaction, fuelled by a social media “lynch mob”, that caused the real damage, not her tweets.

“It’s just a tweet,” one ally said. “There’s no way you can construe Zille to be a racist. It’s just patently and empirically untrue.”

Another MP, who has been a long-time opponent of Zille, told HuffPost SA even though her actions are “a waste”, a calamity like this was “almost inevitable”.

This MP says Zille is incapable of understanding that the conflict is not between her and a faction in the party, but that it’s her against Maimane, which means it is her against the rest of the DA. Zille was supposed to adhere to an implicit understanding that she should stay out of national politics and focus on the Western Cape. “This was always going to happen. She has to go.”

Zille will meet the FLC chaired by MP Glynnis Breytenbach on the weekend. The FLC will forward a report to the federal executive, which will meet on April 22 and 23, where a decision about whether to charge the former leader will be taken.

According to this source she has forced the party to choose between the past and the future “and nobody will choose the former”.



DA caucus about Zille tweets ‘tense and emotional’

2017-03-24 08:06

Helen Zille. (File, Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Helen Zille. (File, Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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WATCH: Helen Zille’s history of Twitter upsets

2017-03-17 21:56

Helen Zille has faced a backlash from Twitter users following her latest posts which appeared to argue for, in her opinion, the positive aspects of colonialism. This is not the first time the Western Cape Premier has been controversial on social media. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s tweets on colonialism were in the spotlight for more than four hours on Thursday during a “tense and emotional” DA caucus meeting.

Zille addressed the 30-odd strong members at her own request, and the “robust and open” discussions which followed were apparently “tense” at times, Netwerk24 reported.

Her political career is in the balance because of her tweets that not all aspects of colonialism were bad.

The DA distanced itself from the tweets and immediately ordered an inquiry. Zille apologised.

Members of political parties are not supposed to discuss what is said in caucus, because it is confidential.

However, one source told Netwerk24 that the meeting had been necessary and the DA MPs were very outspoken. “Everyone took part. It was an open, honest  and robust discussion which, at times, was characterised by raw emotion.

“It was a serious meeting in which members emphasised the dangers of social media, as well as the impact the Zille tweets had on the DA because of the perceptions it created. People are concerned about what the fall-out will be for the party”

‘We know Helen isn’t a racist’

Another source described the meeting as “tense, emotional and sad”. One Member of the Provincial Parliament was apparently in tears.

“People could air their opinions openly and say how they felt. We are sad because we know Helen isn’t a racist. We do, however, know that there are people with other agendas.”

Zille was “calm and open for the criticism which came her way”, the source said. At the end, there was no bad blood.

Neither Zille, not her spokesperson, Michel Mpofu answered their cellphones on Thursday.

The chair of the DA’s legal commission, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, will be holding talks with Zille on Friday, after which she will make recommendations to the DA federal council about whether disciplinary action should be taken and what the charges should be.


Kenya – hacker stole nearly $40m from tax authorities

Al Jazeera

IT expert Alex Mutuku charged with hacking into the country’s tax authority, Kenyan media reports say.

23 Mar 2017 07:01 GMT

Mutuku is accused of electronic fraud but denies any wrongdoing [File: Reuters]
Mutuku is accused of electronic fraud but denies any wrongdoing [File: Reuters]

Kenyan authorities have charged an IT expert with hacking into the country’s tax authority and stealing almost $40m, according to local media.

Alex Mutunga Mutuku, 28, is accused of belonging to a syndicate of electronic fraudsters who steal money from various institutions and companies in the East African nation, The Standard newspaper reported.

“The information we have is just a tip of the iceberg. The racket is big and involves people outside the country,” Edwin Okello, the state prosecutor, was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Mutuku, who pleaded not guilty, allegedly hacked into the Kenya Revenue Authority’s computer systems over the past two years.

The suspect, who routinely posted his lavish lifestyle on social media, was known to authorities and was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of hacking into the country’s biggest telephone network provider, Safaricom, and stealing airtime worth $150, according to The Daily Nation newspaper.

Mutuku was accused in 2014 of hacking into the system of a local bank, the paper said.

The trial is scheduled to continue on March 28.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies



Alex Mutunga Mutuku, Kenya's IT expert accused of massive electronic fraudDaily Nation   Alex Mutuku’s lawyers want him to be released on bail

An IT expert has been charged with hacking into Kenya’s Revenue Authority and stealing $39m (£31m).

Alex Mutungi Mutuku, 28, is accused of electronic fraud but he denies any wrongdoing.

The prosecution says he is part of an international network stealing money from several state bodies.

The government says there is a ring involving expatriates from the United States and other countries, along with police officers and civil servants.

A thorough background check on state employees is now being conducted, government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe told the BBC.

Other state agencies affected by the alleged hacking include the e-citizen online payment portal where users pay for government services.

Mr Mutuku was arrested after police conducted an operation following a tip-off that institutions were losing money.

A lawyer for Mr Mutuku, Tacey Makori, has asked for him to be released, arguing that police had failed to show enough evidence to warrant an extended detention.

‘Tip of the iceberg’

He is being held while anti-cybercrime officers dig deeper into what they believe is an elaborate fraud scheme with international connections.

It allegedly involves hackers with access to high-tech equipment and software which enabled them to steal from corporations, Kenya’s Standard newspaper reports.

“It is a case of remote control hacking where the suspects operate smoothly with their machines and the next minute you realise you have no money in your account,” state prosecutor Edwin Okello is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“The information we have is just a tip of the iceberg. The racket is big and involves people outside the country.”

The cybercrime unit says Kenya lost $165m (£132m) through hacking in 2016.

Earlier this month, several people including foreign nationals were arrested in Nairobi over their involvement in theft of funds through hacking.

Ten suspects have so far been charged in court.