Category Archives: Africa – International

Botswana – former President Masire dies at 91


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



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.

Dr Congo – twelve reported dead in fighting with rebels in N-E Congo


At least 12 killed in heavy fighting in northeastern Congo

By Aaron Ross | KINSHASA

KINSHASA At least 12 people were killed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in heavy firefights between the army and militia fighters on Thursday, and several students sitting exams were wounded in an explosion at a school, local activists said.

The fighting in and around the city of Beni between Congo’s army and what is believed to be a new coalition of armed groups, the National Movement of Revolutionaries (MNR), killed at least eight militiamen and four soldiers, said activist Teddy Kataliko.

The clashes, some of which occurred near the mayor’s office, broke out early Thursday morning but the army had driven back the militias by mid-afternoon, he added.

Gilbert Kambale, another local activist, told Reuters that at least 13 militiamen and three soldiers had died in Thursday’s fighting.

The mayor and a local army spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.

The fighting followed a breakout by more than 900 inmates, many suspected militiamen, from Beni’s main prison this month – one of a series of mass jailbreaks that have undermined security in Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December.

Worsening security in the vast central African nation has raised fears of a return to the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions, most from hunger and disease, and sucked in more than half a dozen neighbouring countries.

Kataliko and Kambale also said unidentified assailants set off an explosive device at a local secondary school, wounding several students sitting exams. A hospital source said at least three students were injured in the blast.

Eastern Congo contains dozens of armed groups that prey on locals and exploit mineral reserves. Hundreds of civilians have died near Beni since October 2014 in a series of overnight massacres, mostly carried out with hatchets and machetes. It is still not clear who is responsible for most of the attacks.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Toby Davis)

Kenya – Kamba elders groups backs Uhuru rather than Kalonzo

Star (Kenya)

Kamba elders back Uhuru, says Kalonzo will be irrelevant in 2022

Jun. 22, 2017, 12:00 pm

Boniface Syengo, chairman of the Kamba Clans Governing Council of Elders, addresses the media at a Mwingi hotel, June 22, 2017. /LYDIA NGOOLO
Boniface Syengo, chairman of the Kamba Clans Governing Council of Elders, addresses the media at a Mwingi hotel, June 22, 2017. /LYDIA NGOOLO

A section of Kamba elders have said they are keen on the community’s journey to State House and that they regret being in the Opposition.

The Kamba clans governing council of elders said being in government will ensure more members of the community benefit.

Chairman Boniface Syengo asked all those under his leadership to support President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto’s re-election.

“The association is moving around advising people to elect leaders, especially the president, wisely,” he noted during a delegates meeting on Thursday.

“We endorsed [Uhuru] as a Kamba mzee currently baptised as Uhuru Muigai ‘Mutua’ Kenyatta during the inauguration of the Kibwezi-Kitui-Mwingi-Meru-Isiolo road.”

But the elders asked the President to tackle their community’s problems, noting they have been in the political cold for too long.

They said being in government is vital as resources have been limited.

James Ngului from the Office of the President said GEMA and the Kamba elders constitution states clearly that they must support the government of the day.

He added that there is no Kamba seeking the presidency and that they cannot support Kalonzo Musyoka as NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga’s running mate.

“Unfortunately Kalonzo will be irrelevant in 2022 since there will be young people seeking the same seat. Uhuru’s plan is to leave Kambas in a better place politically. He is not after our votes since we did not vote for him in 2013 and yet he won. He has done a lot of development projects in Ukambani,” said Ngului.

South Africa – ANC caucus says it won’t vote against Zuma even with a secret ballot


2017-06-22 13:32

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)


Cape Town – The African National Congress in Parliament has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s ruling that Speaker Baleka Mbete must decide again on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, saying it doesn’t change its stance.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Wednesday said the party will consult with its members and legal advisors on the implications of the judgment, but that it in effect won’t change their expressed position.

“… Our initial understanding of the judgment is that it gives the Speaker of the National Assembly, who is the chairperson of the rules committee of Parliament, the powers to decide on a secret ballot…” Mthembu said in a statement.

“Notwithstanding these matters and the effects of the engagements that will ensue in the rules committee, we are still steadfast that whether such engagement will result in a vote by secret ballot or not, we have unqualified and unequivocal confidence in the ANC caucus not to vote in support of a motion to remove the President of the ANC, who is also the President of the Republic of South Africa and our government, from office.”

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ruled on Thursday that Mbete as speaker does have the constitutional power to decide whether or not to hold a secret ballot for a motion of no confidence in the president.

Focus on Mbete

She had erred in her previous stance that she did not have the authority, he said.

She and President Jacob Zuma were ordered to pay costs of the opposition counsel as well.

Mthembu said the party’s caucus will engage positively on the matter going forward, as eyes now turn to Mbete to make a decision.

He also affirmed the party’s right to decide how its members conduct itself in Parliament according to their party’s constitution.

“As Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng reminded us today, the South African electoral system is a party political system. The electorate votes for political parties who represent them in the legislature.

“ANC members of Parliament are therefore representatives of the ANC in Parliament and derive their mandate from the political party which deployed them in the same way as members of other political parties derive their mandate from their political parties.”

Mthembu cited examples in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature where the Democratic Alliance refused to vote with the ANC to remove Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

In Mogale City, the DA also instructed councillors to take a lie detector test after some of members voted in favour of removing the mayor.

“This is the level of hypocrisy of the opposition who expect the ANC to do something which they flatly refuse to do.

“We reiterate our long stated position that we will not support the motion of no confidence on President Jacob Zuma by opposition parties. We will defeat this motion of no confidence by the opposition as we have successfully done so in the previous four motions tabled in this fifth term of Parliament.”

‘Pivotal moment’

Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane called on all political parties, especially the ANC, to allow their members to “do what they know is right, and to vote Jacob Zuma out”.

Maimane described the motion as “a pivotal moment for our country and its future.

“Jacob Zuma has abandoned the interests of the people, the economy, and South Africa, in favour of a kleptocratic Guptamocracy. We cannot allow this to continue any longer.

“For the sake of the country, it is important that members of Parliament, regardless of political affiliation, come together and put South Africa first by voting to protect the Constitution and to end corruption. Public representatives in Parliament are accountable to the people – first and foremost.

“The removal of Jacob Zuma is the first step in stopping the ANC that is destroying our country and its future.”

Shortly after Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng delivered his judgment, Maimane sent out a press release stating that he wrote to Mbete to request her to schedule the motion of no confidence at the earliest available opportunity.

Parliament, however, enters its winter recess on July 3, and there are no plenaries scheduled for next week.

“Regardless of today’s [Thursday’s] ruling by the Constitutional Court, the Democratic Alliance’s vote in the upcoming motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be no secret,” said Maimane.

“The DA will vote to fire Jacob Zuma – and we call on every other Member of Parliament, from all political parties, to do the same.”

Kenya – Uhuru wants Raila to say he’ll accept election results

Daily Nation

Wednesday June 21 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenol, Murang'a on June 21, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenol, Murang’a on June 21, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 


President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday launched a stinging attack against their closest rival Raila Odinga as they challenged him to state in public if he will accept election results in case he loses.

President Kenyatta said the Orange Democratic Movement presidential candidate was bad for business and Kenya would plunge into economic chaos if the Opposition were allowed to have its way.

He challenged Mr Odinga to declare if he will concede defeat if he loses in the August election just like he had done.

In a visit that was marked by infighting among Jubilee and independent candidates in Murang’a, the President also asked residents to turn up in large numbers and vote for the party’s candidates during the August election in what is commonly referred to as six-piece voting.

The Head of State and the Deputy President warned that the military should not be dragged into election rigging claims and assured the uniformed officers of the government’s support in their work regardless of their tribal backgrounds.

Mr Ruto said the meetings being held to ensure peace and stability were being attended by officers from all communities and accused Mr Odinga of politicising the matter.

“We have a professional military. Keep politics out of the military,” he said.

President Kenyatta said by making the claims, Mr Odinga was selectively naming officers from a particular community whereas the security forces are made by all communities in the country.

“Mr Odinga is a specialist in dividing Kenyans. We want a united Kenya unlike what he is advocating. No genuine leader can stand in front of Kenyans and claim that some people should leave a certain area,” said the President.

“Do you want to be the President of Kenya or president of a few tribes of 10 million Kenyans?” asked President Kenyatta while addressing a rally at Kabati market.


The President, who made several stops in different constituencies in the county, warned that the government would not take lightly dangerous remarks by Mr Odinga which bordered on incitement.

Such statements, he said, should not be made by a leader of Mr Odinga’s calibre who aspires to be the President.

President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by MPs and different candidates, also delved into the debate surrounding the Sh2.5 billion ballot tender awarded to a Dubai company, saying the firm was used to print ballot papers in the 2013 elections.

Rejecting the tender, the President said, was an indication that Nasa was not ready for elections.


The electoral agency has said it will not cancel the ballot paper printing contract awarded to a Dubai firm.

The President further said the government had subsidised inputs for coffee farmers the same way it had helped sugarcane growers and also invested a lot of money on reviving New-KCC to serve Kenyans from other regions. “Our opponent is so divisive that he even cites debt waivers for coffee farmers to incite other Kenyans, while ignoring the fact that subsidies for farmers has been done on a national scale,” he said.

The tour was not devoid of local politics with Jubilee nominees and those vying as independent candidates clashing before the President’s arrival.