Category Archives: Africa – International

Survey says bribery increasing in South Africa

News24

Marked increase in bribery in SA – survey

16 minutes ago

Carin Smith

(iStock)

Cape Town – Incidents of bribery are on the rise in South Africa, according to the findings of the latest ENSafrica annual anti-bribery and corruption survey.

About 132 respondents took part in the third annual anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) survey and Steven Powell, forensics director at law firm ENSafrica, released the results at a briefing on Friday.

Most survey respondents work in the financial services sector, followed by manufacturing, retail and wholesale. The rest of the respondents are active in the energy, consulting, telecommunications, mining, transport, IT and electronics; and tourism sectors.

And the survey found that 39% of respondents have experienced incidents of bribery and corruption in the past two years.

Although 92% believed that their companies demonstrated a culture of compliance and 90% indicated that their companies had an anti-bribery and corruption policy in place, it turned out there actually was an absence of certain important measures, according to Powell.

About 27% of respondents said they were highly exposed to bribery in Africa – this is up from 17% in 2015 – while 57% said they were moderately exposed.

About 15% of companies indicated that their companies did not, for instance, do due diligence on merger and acquisition transactions.

Meanwhile, 28% said no due diligence was done on new employees and 35% said no due diligence screening was done on third parties.

About 79% of respondents indicated that their companies did not provide anti-bribery and corruption training to third parties. This is despite 76% of respondents indicating that the most significant anti-bribery and corruption risk faced by their companies was the use of third parties.

About 52% of respondents said they were exposed to the risk of bribes and 48% to facilitation payments. The exposure of employing government officials or their relatives jumped from 8% in 2015 to 21% in 2016.

About 92% of respondents indicated that the area that would be most severely impacted by bribery or corruption would be their “corporate reputation”, followed by financial loss (55%), possible debarment from government contracts or trading (29%) and a negative impact on the share price (24%).`

The most frequent means of reporting incidents, according to the survey results, were verbal reports to management, followed by whistle-blower hotlines and email.

“From a practical perspective, the importance of whistle-blower hotlines cannot be over-emphasised as they provide employees and third parties with a vital channel to report suspected incidents of bribery and corruption to senior management,” explained Powell.

“Many systems allow whistle-blowers to remain anonymous, which can address fears of victimisation and personal danger.”

“The key findings of the survey suggest that a regulator may perceive the commitment of certain companies to anti-bribery and corruption as being superficial and unable to pass muster if placed under scrutiny,” said Powell.

“This could in turn expose companies and senior management to significant legal liability.”

He added that for some corporates operating in Africa there may be a prevailing view that compliance with anti-bribery and corruption laws is simply too costly and that business cannot be effectively conducted if stringent controls were to be put in place and enforced.

“Regulators have been dishing out staggering fines in recent years – with US and UK regulators leading the charge,” said Powell.

In his view, the arrest of the son of a former Gabonese prime minister in August this year for allegedly paying bribes on behalf of a US company in Zimbabwe, the Congo and Libya, re-affirms the focus of the US regulators on bribery in Africa.

“Corporates that believe they can escape the jurisdiction of foreign regulators should be cautious as ultimately there is a global wave of change towards zero tolerance to non-compliance,” said Powell.

“When it comes to corrupt activities, prevention is better than cure and anti-bribery and corruption compliance should be non-negotiable for all corporates operating in Africa.”

Powell emphasised the importance of the tone for a culture of anti-bribery and corruption to be set from the top in a company.

“Actions do ultimately speak louder than words and it is important that the tone from the top is confirmed by actions to improve anti-bribery and corruption compliance,” said Powell.

Of particular importance in his view, is the extent to which resources and funding are dedicated to anti-bribery and corruption compliance.

Powell also emphasised the importance of continuous monitoring.

READ: Gordhan speaks out on patronage, corruption

Ten important “ingredients”

Powell highlighted ten aspects that should form part of an effective anti-bribery and corruption programme:

– A commitment to compliance at the highest management level;
– Written and widely disseminated compliance policies;
– Periodic review and updates;
– Independence and funding;
– Training and guidance;
– An internal reporting mechanism;
– Investigations;
– Enforcement of policies and disciplinary measures for non-compliance;
– Paying attention to third party relationships;
– Monitoring and testing.

Why the ivory trade ban isn’t working – Murphee., Martin and Conrad

The Conversation

The ban on ivory sales has been an abject failure. A rethink is needed


The fate of elephants ultimately lies in the hands of humans and a continued ban will not solve the poaching problem. Shutterstock

The issue of trade in African elephant ivory will dominate the 2016 CITES Conference of the Parties meeting. Debate will revolve around maintaining or lifting the ban on trade, but with little chance of addressing the overarching human element. For example, what impact has the trade ban had on local communities? And what is the relationship between their livelihoods and elephant protection and poaching?

There has been vocal support for maintaining a ban on the trade in ivory. But the central arguments for a continuation of the ban fail to grasp the mismatch between a CITES trade ban and Africa’s de facto realities. Instead, overly simplistic views are aired that are blind to grass root complexities and nuances.

This narrow lens leads to the prescription of a “one size fits all” solution under which both communities, and elephants, ultimately suffer. Elephants are treated as a global commons. In fact their fate ultimately lies in the hands of humans which is why a continued ban, with increased enforcement accompanied by demand reduction, will not solve the poaching problem.

Indeed, regaining control of elephant ivory as a resource is the core problem around which the trade debate centres. It also concerns itself with allocation of power and control of resources among governments, communities and institutions.

Opponents of a legal trade in elephant ivory give the impression that there is a deep crisis: elephants are headed for extinction. Yet the status of elephants varies greatly across and within Africa. The greatest losses have occurred in central and west Africa, the continent’s two most politically unstable regions.

Contrast this with southern Africa, which has experienced a steady rise in elephant populations and is now home to two-thirds of Africa’s elephants. There is a problem, but it’s not continent-wide problem. The global population of the African elephant is not in immediate danger of extinction.

A legal ivory trade

A major flaw in the argument against those wanting to lift the ban is that legalising the sale of ivory may fail to reduce its price. But the pro-trade southern Africa countries are not seeking to drive prices downward. Why would they want to reduce the income from a product over which they have a competitive advantage?

Southern African countries’ aim is to realise the maximum income that the market will pay in a trading system based on regular sales. They want to gain control of the supply of ivory to a market that has been seized by illegal traders. Money from the legal sale of ivory would provide income to rural peoples who live with elephants – establishing the incentives for their conservation.

The ultimate goal of southern African countries is the transition from the present land-use system to a higher-valued one where rural people derive a better living from alternative options. This requires an enabling framework that does not include ivory trade bans or donor-dependent conservation. One example is Namibia’s Conservancy Programme, generally regarded as the most successful in southern Africa.


Money from the legal sale of ivory would provide income to rural peoples who live with elephants. Shutterstock

Southern Africa needs higher-valued land uses to survive an impending environmental crisis. The lives of millions of people are at risk through climate change. By demanding the inception of a legal ivory trade at CITES, southern African nations are seeking no more than that ivory sales assist in alleviating this crisis. Its sheer magnitude makes CITES’ preoccupation with listing species on Appendices irrelevant. It is a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

Responsible global citizens should be doing everything in their power to facilitate a legal ivory trade that will mitigate human misery, realise the true potential of elephants and ultimately result in their long-term conservation. The likely annual proceeds from ivory for the anti-ban nations are of the order of US$1.5 billion.

This is calculated on the basis of around 300,000 elephants producing 500kg of ivory per 1,000 elephants at a value of US$10/kg. Existing rural community institutions are in place to ensure that funds are returned to local people.

Demand is in flux, prices sensitive

Another fallacious argument is that the market for ivory in Asia – particularly China – is insatiable due to growing affluence. This was purportedly ignited by a large “one-off” ivory sale conducted by CITES in 2008. This demand, the argument goes, has the potential to wipe out African elephant populations by 2020.

This is just drama. Demand is in flux and is sensitive to prices. And the role of affluence must be questioned since incomes in Asian consumer countries have been increasing since well before 2000. It’s not possible to reconcile the assertion that affluence is synonymous with insatiable demand.

For many, the spectre of laundering in sufficient quantity to pose a significant threat is reason enough not to pursue legal trade and, indeed, to shut down all trade – even in extinct, look-alike species. In excess of 2400 metric tons of raw ivory left Africa between 2002 – 2014 and, of this, China’s 5-6 tonnes/year is a minor amount. Illegal traders do not need a legal market to launder ivory: their established trade conduits continue to work, as always.

Abject failure

Everyone agrees that the illegal ivory trade continues despite the international trade ban. It has been an abject failure. CITES has had 27 years to evaluate the experiment and, far from being part of the solution to illegal elephant killing in Africa, the ban must be seen as part of the problem.

Some posit that a legal trade in ivory cannot work with the corruption in Africa. But they fail to consider that the ban has created fertile conditions for corruption. Indeed, officials and governments across the continent who declared the trade of ivory illegal have themselves been engaged in it. It made smuggling easy, according to popular writer V. S. Naipaul.

As he has done before, Naipaul touches a nerve. Africa today has no need for yet another spurious declaration. Rather, it needs support for the creation of a robust management and marketing system for one of its most valuable products.

Kirsten Conrad and Rowan Martin featured as co-authors on this article.

Nigeria – Police deny torture and bribery at SARS special unit

Daily Trust

Police: Torture, Bribery allegations at SARS untrue

By Ademola Adebayo | Publish Date: Sep 22 2016 3:14PM

Police: Torture, Bribery allegations at SARS untrue

 

 

A report by Amnesty International accusing the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police of torture and bribery has been rebuffed by the Nigeria Police Force.

The report which Amnesty International captioned “NIGERIA: YOU HAVE SIGNED YOUR DEATH WARRANT” special Police Squad ‘get rich’ torturing detainees and demanding bribes in exchange for freedom” according to the police is a clear misrepresentation of facts, unverified accounts and absolute distortion of the current situation in SARS throughout the country.

In a statement signed by DCP Don N. Awunah the force Public Relations Officer, the assertion of the Amnesty International Nigeria researcher Damian Ugwu who described the operations of SARS that detainees are subjected to horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers from the feared squad was a ‘fantasy.’

“The report is evidently the characteristic mindset and pattern of Amnesty International to deride and castigate public institutions especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

“The Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, Damian Ugwu’s choice of words in describing the operations of SARS portrays the researcher’s apparent ignorance of the rules of engagement of SARS and the laws regulating criminal investigation in Nigeria.

“The researcher deliberately misconstrued the cautionary words, a prerequisite for suspects to sign before voluntary statement is taken from them as “death warrant”.

For avoidance of doubt, word of caution is in accordance to Judges Rule 5, which states that, “I have decided to make complaint against you in the court of law, do you wish to say anything? You are not obliged to say anything but remember that whatever you say shall be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence”.  The Nigerian Lawyers and the court system are aware of these words of caution but to Amnesty International, it translates to “death warrant”.

The statement said the force has in place a functional and pragmatic disciplinary measure against erring officers and men, and has charged to court police officers involved in proven cases of violations of rights of suspects in detention with verifiable facts.

The statement also said the force has been working with critical stakeholders in the criminal justice system in the country and other local and international NGOs and partners including foreign embassies and international human rights organisations to train and retrain police personnel to conform to International best practices on care and custody of detainees in its detention facilities across the country.

“It must be pointed out that suspects/detainees in police detention facilities generally have unfettered access to legal practitioners of choice, access to relatives at regulated time and care.

On feeding and medical attention for detainees, the statement said; “It is the practice throughout Nigeria Police Force detention facilities across the country that detainees are fed by Police food contractors on reasonable meals on daily bases and medical attention are promptly given to those who fell sick while in detention before they are taken to court.”

The police statement further urged Nigerians and the International community to discountenance and disregard the Amnesty report as a clear demonstration of mischief and calculated attempt to promote a campaign of calumny and hidden agenda of suppressing growth and development in Nigeria.

“The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris wishes to reassure Nigerians and the International community that the Nigeria Police will continue to discharge its statutory functions according to all known laws and regulations despite obvious distractions.

“The Nigeria Police is determined to adhere to principles of International Police reforms, conform to standard discipline and rewards system, building trust and confidence in the citizenry and will not condone torture and other ill treatment of suspects in the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) detention or any of its detention facility throughout the country.  The Nigeria Police performance in International organisations has been a source of pride to Africa and the United Nations.”

 
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/police-torture-bribery-allegations-at-sars-untrue/163474.html#7aVz7wYh8XItSWqy.99

South Africa – the shadow of 2019 looms for the ANC; how to get the Zuma elephant out of the room

Daily Maverick

  • STEPHEN GROOTES
  • POLITICS
Photo: South African President Jacob Zuma attends a lunch for world leaders during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 20 September 2016. EPA/PETER FOLEY / POOL

 

As the days and weeks continue to rush past us until the next general elections in 2019, it is becoming ever clearer that the various parts of the ANC are not, as yet, working hard to ensure the party does not lose power. The shock of the loss of not one, but three metros in the local government elections is still sinking in, and the party appears to be looking inward rather than working on its image. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be for the ANC to retain power in just three years’ time. It is now glaringly obvious that the big stumbling block, the big obstacle in the way, is the party’s leader with all he represents. And yet, it is even more glaringly obvious that it is impossible to remove him, and all he represents. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

 

In the months before August’s poll there was much discussion about whether a bad result for the ANC would lead to President Jacob Zuma being removed from the Presidency. The elections have come and gone, and the results were about as bad as they could possibly have been. And yet the holding pattern that was in place before the elections does not appear to have been altered in any way.

If anything, things became worse, and the image of the ANC has deteriorated. It was the SACP who first said that the Hawks’ latest move against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan coming so soon after the elections was deeply suspicious. It looked like it proved the point that people had been waiting for the polls to be over to reveal their true intentions. At the same time, Zuma appears to have made a grab for more power over State-Owned Enterprises.

And while all of this is going on, Kebby Maphatsoe is refusing to accept the discipline ordered by the ANC’s National Working Committee, Faith Muthambi is refusing to implement ANC instructions with regard to the SABC, Mosebenzi Zwane has shown themiddle finger to his own party, and Mzwanele Manyi is merrily self-destructing by claiming that a person calling for a political leader to step down is guilty of treason.

All in all, it shows that these are people who do not believe in democracy. They have also shown that they are beholden to only one constituency. The joint constituency of Zuma/Gupta.

When looking at the problems facing the ANC from an objective point of view (as far as a human being can possibly be objective) it is not hard to see what needs to be done. Voters have shown they are tired of corruption, tired of the arrogance of those who believe they have a divine right to be in power, and that they want good governance. Even the ANC itself has said this. As have the SACP, Cosatu, party stalwarts and just about everyone else.

But those are just pretty words. The deeds show that the parts of the party that appear to count at the moment simply don’t believe that.

It is, of course, a mistake to believe that removing Zuma will fix all of these problems. Perhaps the best and most honest critique of the ANC at the moment has come from Blade Nzimande. Speaking a couple of weeks before the polls, the SACP general secretary explained that it was all about factionalism, the way provinces gang up with each other, and how that was tied to the system of “slates” (or people running for leadership positions together, rather than on their own).

But at the same time, it must also be true that the ANC is very unlikely to be able to improve its prospects of winning back voters as long as Zuma is in charge. It is surely hispresence, and the perception that he is still Number One, that allows people like Maphatsoe, Manyi, Motsoeneng, Muthambi and Zwane to behave in the way they are. And make no mistake, voters are well aware of their behaviour, and do not appear to approve.

However, it seems that the ANC has no easy options when it comes to attempts to remove Zuma.

The first, probably the biggest problem, is that he himself has become almost a hostage to power. Like Vladimir Putin in Russia, Zuma has much to fear from losing office. It is not just the corruption charges, it is the allegations of state capture and his relationship with the Guptas that he must surely fear.

On Wednesday it emerged that he was being asked in Parliament if he had met the Gupta family at their residence in Saxonwold on Sunday 20 September last year and whether that visit resulted in the appointment of Zwane to the Mineral Resources portfolio. In his reply, he doesn’t even bother to make a pretense of answering the question, saying, “The Presidency was informed by the Public Protector that she has received complaints and requests that she should investigate this matter or related allegations. The Public Protector’s investigation is still continuing.”

It is obvious from this that Zuma doesn’t give a fig about us, voters, democracy, Parliament, or even his own party. If he did give a fig for the ANC, flying or otherwise, he would know that a response like this is damaging to the party he claims to lead.

Over the last few months it became apparent that Zuma cannot leave office without some kind of assurance that he, his family, and his many associates, will be protected once he is out of power. As a measurement of the depth of Zuma’s unpopularity, it is entirely likely that the country would be prepared to live with it, that many, perhaps the majority, of voters would be happy just to see the Zuma era end, and at any costs.

Of course, these two issues would have to be presented together; it would be impossible for him to leave office and only then start a debate about a pardon – they would have to be presented as part of a package.

That may be a political solution, but it is not necessarily workable: even if Zuma were to leave office early, there is still no guarantee that the ANC would win the next elections. And there is no way in hell the DA, or the EFF, would be willing to make any promise to honour any political deal involving Zuma. They would be mad to. Frankly, the salesman who could convince Mmusi Maimane or Julius Malema to accept this type of deal hasn’t been born yet.

So it looks like Zuma cannot be tempted out of office, which inevitably means he would have to be forced out, which is much harder to do. One needs an incredibly large political bullet that simply cannot miss. Considering that so much ammunition has already been fired at Zuma, in the shape of the Nkandla ruling, the reinstatement of the corruption charges, the many claims around the Guptas, his general lack of interest in governance, miserable performance of his hand-picked government(s), the Central African catastrophe, it is hard to know what would work.

Zuma’s staying power indicates how powerful and deeply entrenched his support base is. It is an illustration of the scale of the patronage network that he has fostered that at a time when almost everyone can see what the ANC needs to do to reform and save itself, it still is not doing it. It also shows us that the “reformist” part of the ANC is not just outgunned, it’s also outnumbered and outplayed. And there is no indication yet of how this could actually change. At the moment, no one appears to be gaining momentum in a way that could challenge those who currently appear to benefit from Zuma’s style of non-governance.

There are some similarities here with how change has happened in other countries. At the end of the Cold War, for example, when the Berlin Wall came down, the crucial moment was not so much the announcement by the East German politburo that people could leave the country. It was the decision by the border guards to allow people through the bordercheckpoints, because they could not get instructions from their authorities. Those guards realised they would be on the wrong side of history if they used their guns. In a way, the guards were seeing past their current bosses and through to the other side.

It appears that that moment, the moment at which a majority in the ANC look past Zuma, has not yet come to pass. The longer it takes until that moment arrives, the worse the party is likely to do in 2019.

Because it is beginning to run out of time. DM

Photo: South African President Jacob Zuma attends a luncheon for world leaders during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 20 September 2016. EPA/PETER FOLEY / POOL

  • STEPHEN GROOTES

DR Congo – opposition protests at violence by security forces

Reuters

By Jonathan Landay | WASHINGTON

A Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader called on Wednesday for the imposition of international sanctions against security officials responsible for the deaths of protesters in two days of demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila.

“Without sanctions, they will continue killing people like mosquitoes,” said Moise Katumbi, a business tycoon and former Kabila ally. He was convicted in absentia of corruption and sentenced to 36 months in jail after he fled the country in June.

At least 37 protesters and six police officers died this week in the violence, according to Human Rights Watch. The government, which has blamed the opposition for the unrest and vowed to punish the ring leaders, put the death toll at 32, including four officers.

Katumbi, who put the number of dead at more than 50, denies the corruption charges, and said that African Union mediator Edem Kodjo, a former Togolese premier appointed to arbitrate between the government and opposition, should be replaced because he is biased toward Kinshasa.

He spoke to Reuters after some three dozen people died in clashes this week between police and protesters that erupted during demonstrations demanding that Kabila relinquish power when his second term expires in December.

Opponents of Kabila think he is trying to retain power in the mineral-rich country by delaying elections due in November or amending the Constitution to eliminate a two-term limit.

“President Kabila is just fooling everyone. He doesn’t want to go. He wants to remain in power and is killing his own people,” said Katumbi, who plans to run for president.

The United Nations should send an “independent commission” to the DRC to investigate the deaths of protesters, he said. Moreover, the African Union and international community should impose sanctions on senior security officials, including Minister of Justice Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, he added.

“If there are sanctions, there is going to be stability in Congo,” Katumbi said. “There is instability because there are no sanctions.”

The United States in June imposed “targeted sanctions” on a senior DRC police official, citing his role in what it called the violent repression of opposition protests and dozens of deaths.

The government denied the allegations.

Tom Perriello, the U.S. special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region, warned on Tuesday that Washington is ready to slap sanctions on more DRC officials “involved in abuses or violence.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; editing by John Walcott, G Crosse)

Kenya to lead Africa in another anti-ICC fight

Star (Kenya)

Sep. 22, 2016, 2:00 am

Attorney General Githu Muigai at the ICC on Wednesday /ICC
Attorney General Githu Muigai at the ICC on Wednesday /ICC

Kenya is set to mobilise Africa in a new fight with the ICC after judges at The Hague-based court referred the country to the Assembly of States Parties for non-cooperation.

The court referred Kenya to its peers at the ASP, claiming the government refused to cooperate when it sought President Uhuru Kenyatta’s bank records and phone logs.

Attorney General Githu Muigai yesterday indicated that Kenya would not accept the court’s verdict. But he said he does not expect the matter to arise at the November ASP.

“We have to fight the resolution at the ASP if it is brought there. That forum has no appetite for another round of fights with Africa,” the AG told the Star from The Hague.

The decision by the ICC may trigger renewed calls by Kenya for the African signatories to the Rome Statute to withdraw.

Already, a Bill seeking to repeal the International Crimes Act, which domesticates the Rome Statute, is before the National Assembly.

The Bill is expected to be passed after October 4, when MPs return from recess and should be passed before the ASP scheduled for November 16.

Even if the Bill becomes law, Kenya will still participate in the upcoming ASP as withdrawal is only effected after a year. In May, Kenya spelt out the reforms it wants at the ICC in exchange for shelving its threat to withdraw.

Kenya has been leading a group of African ministers drafting the amendments to be presented for adoption at the November ASP.

The country wants immunity from prosecution for sitting heads of state and senior government officials in office. It also wants the recognition of the primacy of African judicial systems and the African Union before a case is deferred to the ICC.

Kenya also wants the UN to have a say in the deferral of cases started through the prosecutor’s initiative. It is also pushing for the reduction of the powers of the ICC prosecutor.

Kenya wants the rules on offences related to the administration of justice amended to block the court from pursuing arrest warrants issued against three Kenyans over alleged interference with witnesses.

The court on Monday said the ASP would be best placed to address the lack of cooperation to provide an incentive for the Kenyan government to cooperate with the court.

“Noting that the case against Mr Kenyatta has been already terminated and considering the relevance of the materials sought, Trial Chamber considered a referral to the ASP appropriate for the purpose of fostering cooperation more broadly for the sake of any ongoing and/or future investigations and proceedings in the Kenyan situation,” the court said.

West Africa – people flock back to bushmeat after post-ebola ban lifted in Ivory Coast

News24

2016-09-22 06:00
iStock

iStock

Abidjan – As the deadly outbreak of Ebola has subsided, people in several west African countries are flocking to eat bushmeat again after restrictions were lifted on the consumption of wild animals like hedgehogs and cane rats. But some health experts call it a risky move.

Ivory Coast, which neighbours two of the three countries where Ebola killed more than 11 300 people since December 2013, lifted its ban on wild animal meat this month.

The meat of squirrel, deer, fruit bats and rats has long been a key source of protein for many in the region, but it is also a potential source of the Ebola virus.

Though bushmeat hasn’t officially been linked to West Africa’s recent Ebola outbreak, the deadliest in history, infections in Africa have been associated with hunting, butchering and processing meat from infected animals, according to the US Centre for Disease Control. The Ebola virus is then spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of victims or corpses.

Source of Ebola

“From a public health standpoint, this decision is unfortunate at best,” said Ben Neuman, a virologist at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. “The only source of Ebola in the world is infected animals, and there’s good evidence that some of these animals, like bats, can be infected for a long time.”

However, not all bushmeat is equal, he said. Bats pass on the virus and travel far. Some types of rodents can get the virus. Primate meat is likely not as much of a danger, given that they succumb to Ebola more quickly than people.

“There’s a good case for banning the sale of bats as bushmeat. The other sources are a lesser risk,” Neuman said. “I don’t want to see it all legal, but we don’t want to see people go hungry, either.”

Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana all warned against, or banned, the sale of bushmeat in 2014 as the outbreak emerged. They began rolling back those restrictions after the World Health Organisation said in March that Ebola was no longer an international health emergency.

Many in the countries are happy that they can now enjoy the meat they have always relied on. Some believe it is tastier than imported meats or chicken, and it’s often cheaper.

“We weren’t happy that the government banned us from eating bushmeat these past two years. But we did what we were told because of Ebola,” said Lucien Douhan while shopping for bushmeat in the Yopougon suburb of Abidjan.

‘Ebola will come again’

In the teeming open-air markets, vendors handled the stiffened meat in recognizable animal form. Bat wings competed for space on worn wooden tables with other meat, some tails and claws still attached. Flies buzzed. A machete hacked.

Those who sell the meat say they have been through hard times.

“We couldn’t afford for our kids to go to school. It was hard for us. We had to sell frogs so the kids could eat, and we sold snails too,” said Brigitte Gahie. “But today, thanks be to God, the meat is back and the people are coming back.”

In Guinea, bushmeat sales are still illegal, said Mohamed Tall, the minister of livestock and animal production there. Despite the ban, people still consume it.

“We ate it before Ebola. We eat it after Ebola. Nothing can stop me from eating it,” said Marcel Yombouno in Guinea.

Liberia issued a warning against the consumption of bushmeat during Ebola, but now the meat is being sold openly. In Sierra Leone, a bushmeat ban has been lifted.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Congo and has caused periodic outbreaks there and in other African countries. Its re-emergence is likely, said Neuman, given the densely populated areas where Ebola has occurred.

“Ebola will come again,” he said. “Hopefully we will be ready this time.”