Category Archives: Media

Uganda – Museveni calls for “Trump therapy” for western liberals

Daily Nation

Monday February 20 2017
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. He has

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. He has recommended a “Trump therapy” for liberals in the West who he argues are bent on forcing their ideology on other parts of the world. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI 

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is recommending a “Trump therapy” for liberals in the West who he argues are bent on forcing their ideology on other parts of the world.

In a long commentary published over the weekend on his website, the Ugandan president chided what he called “liberals” and “leftists” in the West for their lack of “gratitude” and being a “danger” to global peace by forcing their ideologies on (other) people.

In the article, full of historical anecdotes, Mr Museveni says other parts of the world like Africa, China and Russia have made more sacrifices than the West has done to contribute to global development.

“The freedom fighters from Africa, who have been fighting colonialism, neo-colonialism, slave trade and marginalisation for the last 500 years, would have counted the Western liberals and leftists among our automatic allies because these should be people that should be fighting for freedom and justice for all peoples, including the formerly colonised peoples.

“Instead, we notice confusion, ingratitude and, therefore, danger from these liberals and leftists,” he says.

APPEARS TO SUPPORT TRUMP

The Ugandan leader, who has been in power since 1986, appeared to support the ideologies of US President Donald Trump in spite of controversies surrounding his election in 2016.

Trump was accused of groping women, got rejected by many leaders within his own Republican Party and there were allegations that he had links with Russian hackers, which he denies.

But Mr Museveni says the image of Trump portrayed by the so-called liberals who are hardliners on political, economic and social issues is warped, rather than progressive.

Often known for composing long lectures on political ideology, development, and revolutions, President Museveni’s arguments in his blog titled “The confusion, ingratitude as well as the danger of the Western liberals and the Trump therapy”, includes his own experience of working with the West, something he admits was mostly irritating.

NON-CONVERGENCE

“We would spend endless hours arguing with the Western liberals on matters on which we cannot have convergence, bearing in mind that our societies were still pre-capitalist and traditional while theirs have been industrial for centuries now.

“These are issues to do with family, forms of democracy, homosexuals, central planning versus economic liberalisation. One had to control irritation to politely get through these meetings.”

To him, the West had better work with the rest of the world on common issues he called “convergence.”

Citing Trump’s campaign for convergence rather than divergence, he says the West can work together on issues the world agrees on.

“There are so many issues on which all of us (Africa, the West, Russia, China, India, Brazil, etc.) agree: universal education; improved health; industrialisation; freedom of Peoples; the emancipation of women; anti-terrorism; etc.

“Why not take advantage of these convergences? We who were colonised and brutalised by the Western countries forgot and forgave those mistakes.

“Why can’t these countries of the West have a just and balanced attitude to the countries of the East that are growing in capability and getting millions of peoples out of poverty?”

AFRICAN SACRIFICES

Delving into history, President Museveni reminded the world of the African sacrifices for liberation, the communist contribution to world order and how the West’s “greed” put us in a bad situation without them admitting it.

He calls these the “three pillars that have influenced our ability to regain freedom”.

“These groups were against the Soviet Union after the October Revolution in 1917, throughout the inter-war period (1918-1939), during the Cold War and even after the Cold War. It is unfair, it is wrong and it is dangerous for world peace,” he says.

“It is this Soviet Union, that did not only support the freedom of us, the colonised peoples of the world, but saved the whole of humanity by defeating (German dictator Adolf) Hitler, that is ever the target of the ungrateful, confused and, therefore, dangerous groups in the West.

Mr Museveni was referring to the formation of the Soviet state in 1917 when the revolutionary Bolsheviks ousted the Czar to replace the empire with a socialist state.

SOVIET UNION

The Soviet Union would be formed in 1922 under Vladimir Lenin to be a “true democracy.”

However, the Union was under only the Communist Party which demanded loyalty from every citizen.

Mr Museveni says the West should thank the Soviet Union under dictator Josef Stalin for ending Adolf Hitler’s brutality during the World War II, a war in which most of the West had refused to side with the Soviets.

While President Museveni says the Soviets helped Africa’s rise against colonialism by emphasising on freedom, Stalin himself rose to be an expansionist dictator in contrast with the supposed freedoms of the colonised people.

PROTESTS AGAINST SOVIETS

In fact, at some point, there were protests against the Soviets in Africa after they, in 1968, invaded Czechoslovakia (which later dissolved into the Czech Republic (Czechia) and Slovak Republic (Slovakia)).

The Ugandan leader says he took part in those protests in Dar es Salaam (when he was a student there), but he believes the Soviets were the lesser evils.

“True, the Soviets made their own mistakes. Why did they occupy Western Europe after the defeat of Hitler? Would the mighty Red Army not have earned more admiration from the peoples of the world if they had withdrawn from Eastern Europe in 1946 and left those people’s to shape their own destinies?” he asked.

“However, to me, who is not biased, those mistakes neither compare with the mistakes of the West, past and present, nor do they deem the great historic contributions of both the USSR and China to the cause of humanity in general and the African peoples in particular,” Mr Museveni says.

Kenya – Kenyatta performance ratings dropping

Star (Kenya)

Feb. 14, 2017, 2:00 am

President Uhuru Kenyatta. Latest Ipsos polls indicate that his ratings have dropped by sic percent to 57 per cent.
President Uhuru Kenyatta. Latest Ipsos polls indicate that his ratings have dropped by sic percent to 57 per cent.

With only 175 days to Election Day, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s approval ratings have dropped by six per cent, despite his being the “most inspiring” leader, an Ipsos poll indicates.

The poll shows that though 66 per cent say they have confidence in the President, only 57 per cent approve of his performance in the last three months.

According to the poll, Uhuru’s performance approval ratings have dropped from 78 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent this year.

This is however not the lowest score the President has had, having been given an approval rating of 47 per cent in another Ipsos poll – released in November 2015.

A total of 2,097 respondents were interviewed in this survey. The margin of error was -/+2.16 with a confidence level of 95%.

In terms of confidence levels, 42 per cent of respondents said they have a lot of confidence in Uhuru, this is compared to 28 per cent who say the same for Raila Odinga.

“Even among Opposition supporters, he wins more than twice as much of the highest confidence rating (“a lot of confidence”) than does Deputy President William Ruto,” Ipsos leader researcher Tom Wolf explained.

Confidence levels for all the main Opposition leaders are considerably lower, but Raila has the highest.

This is about twice the level that it is for his nearest NASA colleague, Kalonzo Musyoka.

In the poll, 35 per cent of those sampled were of the opinion that the Head of State performed poorly in the last three months and a paltry 8 per cent had no opinion.

Those who have approved of the President’s performance over the last three months attributed it to infrastructure (41 per cent), improving the education system (14 per cent), the economy (11 per cent) and combating corruption (seven per cent).

Those against Uhuru’s performance cited abetting corruption (46 per cent), the economy (18 per cent), labour relations and strikes (eight per cent) and poor infrastructure (5 per cent).

Interestingly, the President’s performance seemed to be acknowledged even in areas that are believed to belong to the Opposition.

Some 66 per cent of Mombasa residents approved his performance as well as 52 per cent of Western residents.

“So when you see Jubilee leaders go vote hunting in some of these strongholds that supposedly belong to the Opposition, even without our data they may think they have an argument, so we can see that there is some potential,” Wolf said.

Wolf said that almost half of those who approved the President’s performance feel that the country was heading in the right direction.

On the other hand, those who disapproved of the performance, 84 per cent, said that the country was heading in the wrong direction.

The data also show 81 per cent of those interviewed said that Uhuru was responsible for the country heading in the right direction.

However, 59 per cent said that he should be blamed if the country is heading the wrong direction.

“We wanted to know how could people think that the country is heading in the right direction and still approve of the President’s performance?” said Wolf.

The high cost of living (22 per cent); corruption (21 per cent); lack of employment, (17 per cent); and the ongoing drought (14 per cent) were some of the problems that Kenyans said they face.

Among Jubilee supporters, 24 per cent also identified corruption as a major problem in Kenya, compared to Cord’s 20 per cent.

Twenty-one per cent of Jubilee supporters mentioned the high cost of living, 17 per cent said hunger and drought were a problem and only 13 per cent identified unemployment as an issue.

Ivory Coast – journalists in court after reporting army mutiny

BBC

Members of the special forces

Reuters

Members of the special forces are rarely seen in public and considered loyal to the government

Six journalists are expected to appear in court in Ivory Coast, charged with spreading false information following a mutiny last week by more than 2,000 soldiers demanding bonus payments.

The journalists – who work for three opposition newspapers – reported on Saturday that the Ivorian government had agreed to pay the mutineers about $11,000 (£8,800) each to persuade them to go back to work.

This contradicted an official statement that the troops had apologised and no money was involved.

The newspapers said the cash was expected to be handed over on Monday.

During the mutiny, members of an elite unit fired into the air at their base in the south-eastern town Adiake near the border with Ghana.

Residents stayed indoors and shops and schools closed.

The Ivorian special forces, who report directly to the president’s office, accused their commanders of stealing part of their salaries.

It comes a month after regular soldiers staged a mutiny over pay and conditions.

South Africa – W Cape court rejects SABC appeal against Motsoeneng decision

News24

2017-02-07 11:04

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (City Press)

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (City Press)

Cape Town – The Western Cape High Court has dismissed the SABC’s leave to appeal a ruling against Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The DA applied to have Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive for corporate affairs set aside and the court ruled in December that he could not go to work in any capacity at the SABC, pending the findings of a new disciplinary inquiry or a court review of parts of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on his conduct, which was released in February 2014.

Her findings included that he lied about his qualifications.

Motsoeneng was removed as chief operating officer (COO) after the Supreme Court of Appeal in September rejected his bid to appeal the Western Cape High Court’s November 2015 ruling declaring his appointment irrational and setting it aside.

The DA has welcomed the judgment.

Kenya – can civility permeate election period?

Daily Nation

Can civility permeate the ballot? Yes, we think so!

NATION AGENDA: Can civility permeate the ballot? Yes, we think so!

Election year in Kenya brings both promise and peril. There is the joy of choosing hundreds of representatives but history has shown that elections can also go wrong.

Before dawn breaks every day, Bariki Saitoti, 27, is at his small stall in Buru Buru Phase I Estate, Nairobi, with the vegetables, fruits and tubers he sells neatly lined in rows.

His only shelter is a tree that offers shade from both rain and sun. Even so, his daily hustle helps to put a meal on the table for his wife and two children back home in Kajiado County, and keeps the children in school.

On August 8, 2017, like millions across the country, Bariki will break his daily routine to line up to vote for the president, governor, MP, senator, MCA and woman rep, who will craft the policies that will shape his life for the next five years.

Kennedy Obonyo, 48, will also join the queue in Makadara constituency, and his attitude about the polls sums up the resilient spirit that has shaped Kenya for the last five decades of independence.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1qlaI/2/

“Elections come with a lot of issues,” he says from the stall where he sells fried groundnuts and sugar-coated sesame seeds. “You won’t say if it will be good or bad, you just wait.”

Both Saitoti and Obonyo cite the need to tame the rising cost of living as the number one issue they expect their elected representatives to tackle, but the underlying optimism in their own futures is striking at a time when so many are worried about what the 2017 elections will bring, coming a decade after a disputed presidential election brought the country to the verge of civil war.

Few elections in Africa draw as much attention as those in the commercial and transport hub of East Africa.

In March 2013, 1,834 international observers joined 21,554 domestic monitors and 6,327 local and international journalists to scrutinise the first Kenyan election since the Constitution was endorsed in 2010.

By comparison, there were 107 accredited international observers in the pivotal Nigerian election in 2015.

Balloting in Kenya this year is expected to attract as much, if not more, attention as the 2013 poll. And the reasons why Kenyan elections are so keenly watched in Africa and beyond tell a story about the country the various presidential candidates will be seeking to rule when millions go to the polls on August 8.

“Kenya is the only country in the developing world that hosts the headquarters of a United Nations agency,” says Prof Winnie Mitullah of the University of Nairobi. “The country is home to a large number of envoys. It is a transport and commercial hub in the region. Elections here matter. And, despite all its shortcomings, Kenya is a fairly liberal democracy whose progress is keenly watched across the continent.”

Election year in Kenya, of course, brings both promise and peril. There is the joy of choosing hundreds of representatives across the country who will manage resources and shape policy for five years, but history has shown that elections can also go wrong, resulting in the kind of mass violence and displacement witnessed in 2007/8.

MPESA AMID POLITICS

What does not change is the people. Kenya has one of the best educated, most dynamic and resourceful populations on the continent.

“When it comes to the people of Kenya — particularly the youth — I believe there is no limit to what you can achieve,” former US President Barack Obama said while addressing an entrepreneurship summit in Nairobi in June 2015.

Obama cited the progress that has been made in the technology field in particular. In 2002, income from the ICT sector stood at Sh1.5 billion. It shot up to Sh42 billion in 2013, a staggering climb in just a decade.

The Safaricom money-transfer platform M-Pesa, the most successful e-wallet system of its kind anywhere in the world, has become a fixture in many Kenyans’ lives, making it hard to believe that it was launched only 10 years ago, in 2007.

Today, 25 million Kenyans use the service, transacting Sh15 billion every day. The concept has been taken up far and wide, from Ghana to Albania to Afghanistan.

The march of the mobile money revolution has seen the number of Kenyans with access to banking products rise from 25 per cent in 2006 to 68 per cent in 2014.

 The advances in technology have drawn some of the biggest names in the business — Google, Intel, Nokia, Microsoft and IBM — to set up offices in Nairobi. Also, when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made his first foray to try and establish a bigger presence in Africa, he chose to stop in two cities — Nairobi and Lagos.

But all these advances sit uncomfortably beside a political class that has failed to move beyond an old form of politics where support is canvassed strictly along ethnic lines.

This leaves pundits worried that, despite all the progress Kenya has made in many fields, the nation remains hostage to destructive forces which only enlightened voters can help to break.

“The ethnic dimension to our politics, particularly in the race for the presidency, is something that we have completely failed to address,” says Dr Mutakha Kangu, a constitutional and governance expert.

“The failure to tackle this problem means that we have skirted around many of the issues that caused problems in 2007, including matters such as the need for good governance, the question of ethnicity, and the winner-take-all system.”

GLOBAL EVENTS

Dr Tom Wolf, lead research analyst at Synovate Ipsos, says the key test for Kenya in 2017 will be how well the electoral process is managed to produce an outcome that is broadly acceptable to all parties. Dr Wolf says the reasons for the immense attention that Kenyan elections attract partly stem from history.

The fact that the country was able to make a transition from single-party rule to a multi-party system of government in the late ’80s and ’90s without descending into a civil war, he says, caught the attention of many scholars that study Africa.

The subsequent decision by President Daniel arap Moi to obey the two-term limit and, in particular, the peaceful 2002 election that brought to an end Kanu’s four-decade-long hold on power, electrified much of Africa.

“There is also the fact that Kenya has a dual personality,” says Dr Wolf. “It is still a relatively poor country, but for those that can afford the amenities, Nairobi offers a first-world lifestyle. It is a convivial and convenient place for international journalists to report on the continent, meaning Kenya will attract attention, whether it likes it or not.”

The consistent excellence of Kenyan athletes at global events such as the Olympics and, more recently, the breakthrough efforts of members of the rugby and cricket teams in competitions where African participation was historically low, have also helped.

This attention means that triumphant elections such as that in 2002 and disastrous ones such as the 2007 poll draw massive coverage around the world.

For the Kenyan on the street, elections also bring fear and anxiety. For Daudi Loasa, 21, who, like Obonyo and Saitoti, is a trader in Buru Buru and a new father who keeps abreast of news thanks to a small transistor radio at his stall, his hope is that the election does not cause dramatic disruptions that will complicate his life.

POTENTIAL FLASHPOINT

“I am worried because the way our leaders are trading verbal exchanges may affect my business. They may make people run away to the countryside and that may see our customer base shrink,” he says.

Public security and safety analyst Dr Simiyu Werunga says the most essential ingredient to ensure 2017 will go smoothly is to take steps to ensure that the public has faith in the electoral process.

“Let Kenyans believe that the elections are credible, free and fair,” he says. “That is the sure way to have a smooth outcome. Public confidence is critical. Without it, the battle will be lost.”

Dr Werunga flags party nominations, which are often marked by acrimony, as a potential flashpoint, considering the high stakes.

The intense battle for the position of governor will be another key issue to watch. Across the 47 counties, little has been heard of the contest for other seats, such as that of senator or woman rep.

“Every speaker in county assemblies, deputy speaker, the deputy governors and senators all seem to be in the running for the position of governor,” says Prof Mitullah. “This is a situation that needs to be managed carefully to avoid problems.”

 In a sense, the massive competition for governor posts could be seen as a marker of the success of the young experiment with devolution. The system, designed to reduce the powers of the presidency and bring power and resources closer to the people, was a centrepiece of the 2010 Constitution.

“We are a very resilient people,” says Prof Mitullah. “We managed to survive crises like 1982 and 2007. And the best thing about 2007 is that the crisis was used to yield a progressive Constitution that helped to consolidate the country’s liberal democratic framework.”

The economy will be another factor to watch. Anxiety around elections has spelt slower economic growth in every election year since 1992.

A 2011 paper by Prof Karuti Kanyinga of the Institute of Development Studies in Nairobi illustrates the sharp decline in agricultural production witnessed when elections come around, spelling a fall in incomes for the vast majority of Kenyans that depend on the sector.

‘ENORMOUS PROMISE’

Dr Samuel Nyandemo, a lecturer in economics at the University of Nairobi, says there are already some worrisome signs on this front.

“In election years, a lot of money is pumped into the economy, inducing heavy consumption at the expense of production” he says. “This in turn leads to a higher cost of living.”

Investors have already started offloading stocks in the Nairobi Securities Exchange and the shilling is expected to come under pressure in the course of the year as well.

However, in typical Kenyan style, thousands of entrepreneurs have lined up to tap into the billions that the politicians will spend. This will be high season for everyone, from entertainers and graphic designers to drivers, pilots, car-hire operators, printers, hoteliers and many more.

At the end of the day, the decision will fall to the people of Kenya, who, in the preamble to the Constitution, are given the “sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance” that the country adopts.

The words of Mr Obama in his address to Kenyans at Kasarani in July 2015 could be a useful guide: “Kenya is at a crossroads — a moment filled with peril, but also enormous promise. And the pillars of that success are clear:  Strong democratic governance; development that provides opportunity for all people and not just some; a sense of national identity that rejects conflict for a future of peace and reconciliation.”

South Africa – are MPs up to the task of reforming SABC?

BD Live

The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

SA’s public broadcaster, the SABC, is in trouble. It has been for years. But things are a little more dangerous than before. There are two critical processes on the go, one to address the SABC’s financial and governance crises and the second to appoint an interim board.

Each must be concluded in the public interest. If the processes unravel there may be little hope of arresting the SABC’s long-term decline and marginalisation. And that will also be a problem for democracy. Through its radio and television offerings, the SABC has the widest media reach in the country.

With the rise in sponsored, commercial content and fake news globally and in SA, the country needs a professional, independent public broadcaster offering context, professional fact-checked news and a multitude of views.

The two critical parliamentary processes are the inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board to fulfil its duties. This is being overseen by an ad hoc committee specially set up in 2016. The other is the parliamentary portfolio committee on communication’s appointment of an interim board.

The ad hoc committee has done admirable work. But the process of completing its task is being held up by bickering between the ANC and the DA. It’s critical that this gets resolved. The work on appointing an interim board is ongoing but it also needs to be concluded urgently.

The work of the ad hoc committee

The ad hoc committee has hit a rocky patch. Members of the DA on the committee have walked out and haven’t endorsed a draft report produced by the remaining committee members.

Their complaints are that the report contains only findings and doesn’t include recommendations and that this has significantly watered down the power of the report. Also, in particular, they accuse ANC MPs of protecting Communications Minister Faith Muthambi by not including recommendations for her firing.

But MPs from the governing ANC argued that recommendations should come later after the committee had received further inputs from Muthambi as well as comments from other interested parties.

The ad hoc committee was set up in November 2016 in the wake of multiple crises at the SABC. Its brief was wide-ranging and included:

• Looking into the financial status and sustainability of the SABC;

• The corporation’s response to the public protector’s critical 2014 report When Governance and Ethics Fail, which followed her probe of the broadcaster; and

• The SABC’s response to court judgments against it, and its response in particular to the ruling by the Independent Communication Authority of SA (Icasa).

Tough findings

The committee did its work with what seemed to be an unprecedented level of co-operation among political parties in Parliament. Some even went as far as to say Parliament had at last found its backbone after years of weakly standing by as finances, governance and editorial principles crumbled at the SABC.

The broadcaster’s board and management fought against the process. They walked out of proceedings and refused to provide documents and then maliciously complied through sending hundreds of e-mails. But the committee stood strong.

It heard testimonies from a range of key stakeholders. These included the public protector and the auditor-general as well as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights organisations. It also interviewed former board members, former SABC employees and eight journalists who had been fired for standing up to management against its illegal ban on showing footage of violent protests.

The committee’s subsequent draft report captured the hours of testimony and pointed to a number of deep structural challenges. It pointed to the conflict between the Broadcasting Act and the Companies Act. It said that Muthambi had selectively used the Companies Act to give herself powers to fire board members. The report said that the SABC’s independence needed to be protected and that The Broadcasting Act was undoubtedly specific to the SABC, and was therefore the primary law applicable to the public broadcaster.

It also highlighted irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. It calculated that there had been irregular expenditure of R5.1bn and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R92.5m. It also included a section on “suspicious transactions”.

The report included a section on the SABC’s editorial policies, concluding that these had been passed without sufficient consultation. It also pointed to problems with their content, including the fact that they undermined the role of journalists by insisting that they refer all “controversial” editorial decisions upwards to management.

The report highlighted the problematic role of Minister Muthambi and her tabling of the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, 2015 which calls for her to be given powers to appoint board members. The report stated that this showed the lengths that the minister had been prepared to go to “concentrate power in the ministry”.

It pointed to her illegal role in appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the position of permanent chief operating officer, despite the public protector’s findings that he lacked the necessary qualifications for the role.

Next steps

The ad hoc committee’s findings were powerful. It would have been better still if it had included recommendations in its draft report. But what is now critical is that the process isn’t scuppered. MPs need to work together to ensure a final report is delivered which contains strong recommendations. ANC MPs have promised to do so. This is a good start, but they need to be held strongly to account.

As far as the interim board is concerned, the portfolio committee is due to select one shortly. According to the Broadcasting Act, it should be made up of five nonexecutive directors and three executive directors who will sit for no longer than six months. Its task is to implement the ad hoc committee’s recommendations that will be included in the final report.

What is essential is that parliament selects a competent group of individuals, ready to roll up their sleeves. It’s essential that they have the required technical skills. But they also need to have political clout. They must be brave and resilient and have the guts to work against the SABC’s entrenched networks of power and corruption.

Nigeria – author Buchi Emecheta dies at 72

Punch

 

Renowned Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta, 72, is dead.

According to reports, Emecheta died yesterday in London.

The celebrated writer has published over  20 books, including Second-Class Citizen, The Bride Price , The Slave Girl and The Joys of Motherhood.

Emecheta once described her stories as “stories of the world…[where]… women face the universal problems of poverty and oppression, and the longer they stay, no matter where they have come from originally, the more the problems become identical.”

BBC

Nigerian literary icon Buchi Emecheta has died

The novelist died in her home in London at the age of 72. She was one of Nigeria’s veteran writers, an author of more than 20 books including ‘The Joys of Motherhood’, ‘Second-Class Citizen’, ‘The Bride Price’, ‘The Slave Girl’ and many others. Buchi Emecheta has received many literary awards. She was a woman who wrote about feminist struggle, but didn’t describe herself as one. Dr Nnedi Okorafor says Mrs Emecheta was the reason she started writing.

(Picture: Buchi Emecheta; Credit: BBC)