Category Archives: East Africa

DR Congo – UN to start investigation of Kasai killings


By Stephanie Nebehay and Aaron Ross | GENEVA/KINSHASA

GENEVA/KINSHASA The United Nations opened an investigation on Friday into killings in central Democratic Republic of Congo, though some Western countries and campaign groups said they had hoped it would have a stronger mandate.

Kinshasa has been fighting insurgents in the Kasai region since August, triggering fears of a wider conflict in the large central African country, a tinderbox of ethnic rivalry and competing claims over mineral resources.

Congo’s Catholic church said this week the violence had killed more than 3,300 people since October, with both government forces and the militia responsible for hundreds of

The U.N.’s Human Rights Council, composed of 47 member states, adopted by consensus the resolution calling for an investigation, brought by African countries.

Congo’s Ambassador Zénon Mukongo Ngay, addressing the Council, said President Joseph Kabila’s government would cooperate to shed light on atrocities. But the Congolese justice system would be in charge of the joint investigations, with the U.N. providing “technical or logistical support”, he said.

U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who is to name fact-finding experts to the investigation, had called repeatedly for an international inquiry into events in Kasai, an opposition stronghold.

“We fully support the establishment of an international investigation …as a step forward in identifying the perpetrators of gross violations and bringing them to justice,” Zeid said in a statement.

His office counted on the “full cooperation” of the government and on the experts having unfettered access to all sites, files, people and places.

“The team will conduct investigations in a fully independent manner, in accordance with international standards,” he said.

Zeid told the Council on Tuesday that a militia linked to the government has committed a string of ethnically-motivated attacks in recent months, including cutting off toddlers’ limbs and stabbing pregnant women.

Kinshasa has repeatedly denied that security forces systematically use excessive force and insists it is capable of conducting its own investigations.

Several government officials have said in recent days that they were pleased a European Union proposal for a fully-independent international investigation into the violence had been withdrawn. But diplomats said elements of that had been incorporated into the African text.

In a statement to the council, Jason Mack, a representative from the U.S. delegation, said Washington welcomed the resolution but retained doubts about the Congolese government’s commitment to a transparent investigation.

Paul Nsapu, the deputy secretary-general of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), a French NGO, said investigators might not have sufficient authority to identify perpetrators of rights abuses.

“This resolution risks not being enough to stop the massacres,” he said.

Human Rights Watch’s Leila Matar, however, said in a statement that the inquiry “brings hope of uncovering the truth about the horrific violence”.

(editing by Richard Balmforth and John Stonestreet)

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


By Elias Biryabarema | KAMPALA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.

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.

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.

Tax evasion and dirty money harming African economies

Mail and Guardian

Tax evasion and dirty money are draining Africa

Africa loses far more than it receives in aid and foreign direct investment.
Africa loses far more than it receives in aid and foreign direct investment.

Tax evasion benefits individuals to the detriment of society, wiping out state services. It also hampers the achievement of the eight United Nations millennium development goals (MDGs), which were designed to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people.

If tax evasion takes place in the grey area between legality and illegality – such as when companies shift their headquarters to tax havens – tax fraud involves the overt breaking of laws. It is often combined with dirty money from illegal activities (trafficking, terrorism, etc.) and thus weakens the gross domestic product (GDP) of African states. The organisation Global Financial Integrity estimates that Mauritania loses 12% of its GDP to such activity, Chad 20%, and the Republic of Congo 25%. As a result, illicit financial flows both damage African states and hold back their industrialisation and development.

Tax evasion, a major obstacle to the development of Africa chart shows that fraud and tax evasion weigh heavily on the timing of countries that want to achieve their millennium development goals. Source: Global Financial Integrity.

Illegal financial flows bleed Africa dry“PIB” stands for gross domestic product (GDP). The chart shows illicit financial flows as percentage of GDP. Africa loses far more than it receives in aid and foreign direct investment.

Adam Abdou Hassan, Enseignant chercheur, Université de Rouen Normandie

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Adam Abdou Hassan