Category Archives: Southern Africa

South Africa – Radebe says ANC must examine itself before 2019 elections

News24

2017-06-25 19:34

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe (Netwerk24)

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe (Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Sunday said the ANC needed to examine itself critically, individually and collectively, ahead of the 2019 national elections.

“The task at hand is a difficult one…Each member must devote himself or herself to building the ANC. To strengthening the branches of our organisation. As we always say, Amandla asemasebeni – the power is in the branches. It is the selflessness of the ANC cadres that will ensure that our historic revolutionary mission is not compromised,” he said.

Radebe was speaking at the OR Tambo Memorial Lecture at the Lakeside Community Hall in Midvaal.

He spoke about what it took to be a selfless cadre and that there was no better time to speak about the subject considering the challenges that the movement was facing with its alliance partners.

Radebe said the ANC needed selfless cadres who will galvanise society and restore trust in the ANC.

“We must carefully and earnestly evaluate the state of our movement today against the vision, values and principles that [OR] Tambo and many of our leaders in the preceding generations espoused.”

He said the country was facing a difficult time and those challenges needed men and women of integrity “who will remain loyal to the principles and values of the ANC.”

Radebe said while it was in the interest of the ANC to increase membership, the party must guard against those whose interests are not in serving South Africans.

“We must be wary of those who join the ANC with the sole purpose of pursuing their parochial interests at the expense of our revolutionary movement and the people of South Africa.”

Factional battles

He reminded the gathering of the oath ANC members swear to live by when they join the party.

“We want cadres to join the ANC and abide by its values and principles and contribute to its historic revolutionary mission of creating a better life for all.

“We don’t want people who will become members of members of the ANC. “A member of a member” will not build the ANC.”

Radebe said real cadres could not be lobbied into factional causes that contradict the revolutionary objectives.

“We have seen many cadres actively acting as foot soldiers for factional battles, in many instances corrupting not only the ANC and its alliance partners, but also the state.

“A true cadre, a revolutionary in this instance, must be inspired or guided by great feelings of love for the people for whom the revolutionary undertaking must benefit. As we have characterised our present challenges as those of poverty, unemployment and inequality, this must irk the true cadre or true revolutionary.”

He said given that the current administration was left with less than two years in office, the party could not carry on doing things the same way and expect different results.

He said as the party approached its national policy conference, branches should take time to study the various policy documents so that they could make meaningful contributions.

Chad’s Deby says shortage of funds could be an obstacle to fight against terrorism

Reuters

 

PARIS Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, an important Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants, warned in an interview that cash-strapped Chad could be forced to withdraw some of its troops from the fight if it does not get financial help.

Chad has one of the most capable armies in the region and Deby has played a key role in efforts backed by the West to combat neighbouring Nigeria’s Islamic State-affiliated Boko Haram fighters as well as al Qaeda.

Chad has in recent years sent troops to fight militants in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Mali.

“Chad is a small country with no financial means which has known huge problems in its recent history. It is the duty of those who have more means to help it,” Deby told RFI-TV5-Le Monde in a joint interview released on Sunday.

“Apart from intelligence from time to time, training, since our intervention in Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, we have not been helped financially. Chad spent out of it own resources over 300 billion CFA francs (402.77 million pounds) in the fight against terrorism without any external help,” he said

A former French colony, Chad also hosts the headquarters of France’s 3,000-troop strong regional anti-militant operation, known as Barkhane.

Asked if he was disappointed by his Western allies, he said:

“I am absolutely certain that Chadians are disappointed and think Chad did too much, that it must withdraw from these theatres to protect itself…We reached our limits…If nothing is done, Chad will unfortunately be forced to withdraw.”

Asked about a timetable for a possible withdrawal, he said: “I think end-2017, early 2018, if this situation was to continue, Chad would no longer be able to keep as many soldiers outside its territory. Some of our soldiers should gradually return to the country,” he said.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Adrian Croft)

Kenya – Uhuru-Raila battle centres on manifestos

Star (Kenya)

Jun. 26, 2017, 12:30 am

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta address Meru residents on Saturday, June 24, 2017. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta address Meru residents on Saturday, June 24, 2017. /

President Uhuru Kenyatta will today unveil an eight-key pillar reelection manifesto in an aggressive scramble for the 19 million voters against NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Buoyed by what his strategists call “a four-year Jubilee success story” Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto – who rode to State House on jumbo pledges -hope to reinvent themselves to parry a sustained opposition onslaught.

Raila is expected to unveil his election blueprint tomorrow to counter Jubilee’s.

The President will today highlight his track record and point out the work in progress on whose scorecard he seeks woo Kenyans for another term in office.

Key proposals in Jubilee’s reelection plank include the promise of Free Secondary Education starting January next year, expansion of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Malaba, increasing the penetration of electricity to remote areas and more jobs for the youth.

Quality, affordable and adequate urban housing, free medical cover for the elderly above 70 years, expansion of irrigation that includes placing the botched Galana Kulalu scheme under public/private partnership to maximise returns and making government services accessible to all Kenyans.

“There is nothing spectacularly new about our manifesto, ours is the continuation of what we started in 2013, the train has taken off and we want to tell Kenyans that it is too late to disembark,” said Jubilee party vice chairman David Murathe.

Murathe, a key figure in the presidential campaign team, said today’s ceremony will be a media affair without much fanfare and elaborate pomp and colour.

Forty-three days to the August 8 polls, NASA’s Raila and his brigade have opened an avalanche of accusations on the ruling party, blaming Uhuru and Ruto for reneging on their 2013 mega campaign pledges.

Today, Uhuru and Ruto will attempt to reignite and rejuvenate their millions of supporters with a more ruthless and flaming blueprint on whose contents they want a social contract to occupy State House for the next five years.

During his swearing in at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on April 9, 2013, the son of the country’s founding father promised ‘heaven on earth’ – to take Kenya forward socially, politically and economically.

Amid much pomp and colour, Uhuru, then elected on The National Alliance (TNA) ticket, promised free maternity healthcare to all women within 100 days of taking office and free laptops to school-going children, beginning 2014.

However, the promised but aborted transformation of Kenya’s economic growth by double digits, multibillion-shilling corruption scandals, and unprecedented skyrocketting food prices, have been the hallmark of Uhuru’s four-and-a-half-year administration.

Uhuru and Ruto had a number of ambitious and exciting promises that saw them ascend to the presidency by more than 6 million votes against then Cord leader Raila Odinga.

However, Jubilee’s unfulfilled manifesto promises due to numerous mega controversies, infighting and bickering have attracted criticism not only from the opposition but also independent political analysts and economists.

NASA flagbearer Raila, for instance, bashed the Uhuru administration for “overspending, over-borrowing and over-stealing” during its first term.

Jubilee pledged to end the perennial problem of corruption in the country. Its manifesto promised, “cleaning up the Government by introducing some of the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world”.

The war on graft has, however, remained a thorn in the flesh of the Jubilee administration often accused of turning its guns against independent and constitutional offices such as the Auditor-General’s.

“Although the government has said it has recovered some of the looted funds, the fact is that some names mentioned in public media have been cleared to contest in the coming election, while some remain in public office. This half-hearted action will yield no fruit,” said Catholic clerics led by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ chairman, Philip Anyolo.

Jubilee has been hit by high-flying corruption scandals, including the infamous ‘Hustler’s Jet’, whose inquiry report was watered down in Parliament; the Sh1.9 billion National Youth Service scam, according to a special audit, and the Youth Enterprise and Development Fund, among other scams.

In the Jubilee manifesto to be unveiled today in a jamboree at the Kasarani Stadium, the word “Transformation” features prominently, as does provision of Free Secondary Education, highlighted as Uhuru’s major reelection plank against a resurgent opposition.

With FSE taking the forefront of Uhuru’s reelection promises, the government wants to leverage on this to achieve 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school, under the slogan “Free education for all”.

The provision of free secondary education is one of the priority targets President Kenyatta wants to accomplish in his second term.

While NASA has also promised to deliver FSE within a month of taking office, Uhuru has said the new plan will be rolled out smoothly, given the gradual increments in funding levels for the education sector in terms of capitation as well as allocations for school infrastructure.

Capitation is the amount of money government pays for each student in school.

“One of the reasons we are seeking reelection is to implement our plan to make secondary education completely free from next year, to reduce the burden on parents to educate their children,” said the President on Saturday, campaigning in Meru.

Only Sh5 billion has been included in the 2017/18 national budget to improve and expand schools’ infrastructure across the country, meaning that Jubilee will have to come up with a Supplementary Budget to effect this plan.

With about 2.2 million students in secondary school in 2016, the Government allocated Sh32.7 billion to cater to subsidise secondary education, up from Sh28 billion it paid out for the same purpose the previous year.

In 2013, free laptops for primary pupils within 100 days of entering office was Uhuru’s magnificent promise that excited voters and propelled Jubilee to power. The project was to cost taxpayers Sh24.6 billion.

However, this project experienced a myriad of challenges in procurement, including graft allegations, forcing the government to give away cheaper tablets two years after taking office.

Jubilee pledged to increase the schools in disadvantaged areas and restrict class sizes to a maximum of 40 countrywide. They also pledged to establish a national water-harvesting policy in every village or estate as part of a five-year investment plan.

The mandarins working on the Jubilee Manifesto have been cautious to balance between a resigned population overburdened by basic commodity scarcity and prices hikes.

In Uhuru’s reelection plan, strategists have included the expansion of the Standard Gauge Railway, the Jubilee signature infrastructure project, from Naivasha to Busia as one of the ruling part’s most ambitious projects if reelected.

The Sh337 billion Mombasa-Nairobi project has been hit by claims of corruption, with opposition leaders accusing Jubilee of having inflated its cost by a staggering Sh100 billion.

Raila has accused Uhuru of diverting the original SGR design to Naivasha, allegedly for personal business interests, at the expense of the country.

The SGR will the link Uganda at the Busia border to boost transportation of goods across the two nations and the region.

In a momentous campaign strategy to woo the youth -the country’s single largest vote bloc – Jubilee is promising to create 100,000 jobs annually through the graduate internship programme or paid apprenticeship.

Under this programme, all graduates from universities and technical training institutes will be absorbed by government and the private sector. This will complement the government’s ‘Ajira’ job initiative that enables the youth to access up to a million available jobs online.

Five new national sports stadia in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Garissa has been elusive, despite numerous promises, however, the upgrade of existing sporting facilities in some counties to accommodate swimming, tennis, basketball and rugby has been ongoing.

South Africa – will Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma have to strike a deal with leadership?

News242017-06-26 08:35

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaking during a press conference as head of the African Union (AU) Commission. (Simon Maina, AFP)

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaking during a press conference as head of the African Union (AU) Commission. (Simon Maina, AFP)

 

The possibility that the ANC might lose power in the 2019 elections is increasingly bearing on members of the party as they struggle to take positions on the leadership that need to be elected in the forthcoming elective conference of the party to be held in December.

This is the only eventuality that has any pulling power to get ANC members to realise that South Africa can and will indeed carry on into the future without the ANC.

Losing the 2019 elections is something that is becoming as real as the force of gravity for the ANC. Having lost control of key metros in the 2016 local government elections, the ANC has learned the hard way that when the roof collapses over your head you don’t need any further proof that the force of gravity exists.

When it comes to the possibility that the party will further shed support in 2019, the only thing remaining for the ANC is to adopt an effective damage control plan to minimise an impending loss.

Of course, removing President Jacob Zuma would have played a major role in minimising potential loss of electoral support in 2019. Since the option of removing Mr. Zuma failed to garner sufficient support within the party, the only remaining choice is to find a way to rapidly undo his legacy and ensure voters that the party will turn a corner. This commitment has to be made before the 2019 elections.

An agreement has to be speedily reached on what type of leadership would send a strong message that the ANC will not be spending the next few years defending the indefensible legacy left behind by Mr. Zuma when his term as president of the party expires later this year.

It is probably out of this reality that ANC members are rumoured to be talking about a compromise leadership scenario; a chop-and-mix picture of the top six that need to be elected in the December conference. This is possible only if the warring factions within the party acknowledge that on their own, their respective victories at the elective conference will be hollow.

For example, Dlamini-Zuma has to realise that she has no chance of leading her party to a successful 2019 election if she carries on with the negative messaging, including blaming apartheid for everything under the sun. She is experiencing a trust issue since she became part of the Jacob Zuma leadership incubation programme driven by the president’s allies.

On the other hand, Ramaphosa’s base within the party is not strong enough to fully dislodge President Zuma’s allies from key positions within the party; something that could make him a lame duck president from day one.

In a situation like this, Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma would have to be brought to compromise and agree to some form of a list of top leadership comprising of individuals from both camps.

Ramaphosa could agree to serve one term as the president while Dlamini-Zuma becomes deputy president and focus much of her attention on stabilising the party. This would allow her to work her way into the party and repel the reputation that she is just jumping on Zuma’s compromised ticket. She can then take over after Ramaphosa’s one and only term as the president of the country.

I see Ramaphosa as both a deal taker and a deal maker; having taken a deal from Zuma’s people to become the deputy president of the party back in 2012.

Regarding Dlamini-Zuma, she has no realistic chance of inspiring anyone to return to vote for the ANC as long as she is seen to be too dependent on Zuma’s allies to survive and clinch the presidency. Her only way out of the political wilderness she currently finds herself in is to reach out to Zuma’s detractors.

After all, if Ramaphosa could nestle in Zuma’s ticket since 2012 when he was offered an opportunity to become the deputy president of the party, why isn’t Dlamini-Zuma strategic enough to realise she has to wait in the Ramaphosa transit lounge until such time that she can proceed to become the president of the country?

– Ralph Mathekga is an independent political analyst and author of the book When Zuma Goes. He writes a weekly column for

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Tens of thousands have fled violence in Congo Republic

Reuters

By Christian Elion | BRAZZAVILLE

BRAZZAVILLE More than 80,000 people have fled their homes in Pool province surrounding Congo Republic’s capital since the government began a military operation there last year, a joint U.N. and government statement said.

The campaign, involving occasional aerial bombardments, aims to curb what the government says is a resurgent rebellion led by Pastor Ntumi, an enemy of President Denis Sassou Nguesso from the oil-rich country’s 1997 civil war.

While it has been hard to confirm death tolls and the impact on residents, any clear evidence of escalating violence could be damaging to Sassou Nguesso’s ruling party, the Congolese Party of Labour, ahead of legislative elections next month.

The United Nations is seeking around $20 million in emergency funding to provide humanitarian assistance in the province, after a recent visit found widespread signs malnutrition, the statement released late on Friday said.

Many of the displaced remain beyond the reach of aid workers, it added.

“In non-accessible zones… there is reason to fear an even more complicated situation as the number of (displaced) continues to increase and living conditions worsen more every day.”

(Writing by Emma Farge; editing by John Stonestreet)

South Africa – rhino breeder John Hume to sell rhino horn in global online auction

timeslive (South Africa)

500kg of horn for sale as rhino owner hosts controversial global online auction

24 June 2017 – 09:49 By Tony Carnie
South African rhino breeder John Hume has a herd of nearly 1500 rhinos at his private ranch in North West province. Their horns are “harvested” on a regular basis.

South African rhino breeder John Hume has a herd of nearly 1500 rhinos at his private ranch in North West province. Their horns are “harvested” on a regular basis.
Image: Tony Carnie

The world’s biggest rhino breeder has announced plans to sell part of his massive stockpile of horns in a global online auction, sparking concern that this could undermine the 40- year-old international ban on rhino horn trading.

Billed as the world’s first “legal rhino horn auction”, the three-day sale is scheduled for midday on August 21.

South African businessman and game rancher John Hume, who has nearly 1500 rhinos at his game farm in the North West, has a stockpile of nearly six tons of horns that he wants to sell. This after he won a series of court battles earlier this year to overturn the eight-year-old moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns.

Hume – along with other private rhino breeders – has been removing horns from his herd for several years. The animals are anaesthetised and the top section of the horn removed so that they can regrow naturally as part of a “bloodless, horn-harvesting” operation.

In an attempt to halt the unrelenting slaughter of rhinos in Africa and Asia by poaching syndicates, a ban on the international sale of rhino horns came into force in 1977 by member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This was followed by a 2009 ban on the sale of rhino horns within South Africa that coincided with an unprecedented spike in horn poaching.

Now that Hume has overturned the moratorium on domestic sales within South Africa, he plans to sell 500kg of horns in an online auction that will be open to bidders from China, Vietnam and other nations. A condition of sale is that the horns will have to remain in South Africa until global trade is unbanned – or alternatively, until foreign buyers are granted import and export permits from South Africa and their home nations.

Senior officials of the Department of Environmental Affairs and South Africa’s Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) held a meeting in Pretoria early on Friday to wrangle over the terms of the proposed auction. It it is understood that the department raised a number of concerns over import and export permit procedures yesterday, but Hume told TMG Digital that the auction was going ahead regardless.

“The (auction) dates are fixed” he said on Friday.

In a social media campaign notice, it was announced that the auction would start on August 21, with anonymous bids continuing until noon on August 24.

This was confirmed by the appointed Pretoria-based auction house. Van’s Auctioneers spokesman Johan van Eyk said Hume would offer just over 500 kg of rhino horns for sale. The horns would be split into 250 separate lots, mainly sets of front and back horns and some larger individual front horns.

A second, conventional auction would be held amid tight security in Gauteng on September 19.

Van Eyk said he was not willing to speculate on expected prices, but noted that current domestic black-market prices were considerably lower than end-of-market prices in the Far East.

Jo Shaw, rhino programme manager for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in South Africa, has questioned why buyers would want to bid for rhino horn when the international trade remains illegal.

“There is no significant demand for rhino horns inside South Africa and the access to international markets is illegal – so why would buyers want to bid for horns at this auction?”

A spokesman for environmental affairs Minister Edna Molewa did not respond to written queries last night, while the CITES secretariat in Switzerland claimed it was not aware of the proposed auction.

Instead, CITES spokesman Yuan Liu pointed to a statement issued earlier this year after South Africa published draft proposals that would allow foreign nationals to export two rhino horns from South Africa for “personal purposes”.

This statement notes that – with the exception of legal hunting trophies – no rhino horns can be traded internationally “if the use is for primarily commercial purposes”.

“The Secretariat has received questions from CITES parties and journalists, as well as messages of concern from the general public, regarding measures proposed by the Republic of South Africa relating to the domestic trade and the export for personal purposes of rhinoceros horn…The application of relevant CITES provisions to South Africa’s proposal is rather complex.”

But private rhino owners – who now own 37% of South Africa’s increasingly threatened rhino population – are hoping that buyers from London, Tokyo, Beijing, New York and other major centres will still bid for a slice of the massive stockpile of rhino horns that has been building up for forty years in private and state storage facilities in South Africa.

PROA spokesman Pelham Jones described the latest move as the first move of a “two-step dance”.

“Why buy it illegally, when you can buy it legally? There is no intention nor desire to flood the market. After the first horn auctions are held we will be able to see how much interest there is. There is no legal bar to holding an auction,” he argued, noting that rhino owners had studied the relevant legislation very closely.

“We see a lot of nonsense on social media suggesting that this would enable ‘blood horns’ to be laundered and sold off. It’s nonsense because you have to be in possession of a permit in order to sell horns. Poaching will continue unless there is a regulated supply of horn available to meet demand,” he said.

South Africa – Mantashe on ANC owning up to #Guptaleaks

News24

2017-06-24 07:48

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (Lerato Sejake, News24)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (Lerato Sejake, News24)

 

Tshwane – The fact that some ANC members have confirmed being implicated in a trove of leaked Gupta emails is good for the political party says its secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

He delivered an address on Friday night at the ANC Gauteng’s policy conference taking place throughout the weekend in Irene.

“There is something positive coming out of these emails up, to now four of our comrades have owned up. Four, yes, owned up.” He told delegates.

Mantashe who used the opportunity to deliver a political school style lecture spoke about the state of branches and members of the party. He also praised those who confirmed their involvement with the family said to have close ties to the president.

The Guptas have been accused of having undue influence over President Jacob Zuma and some state owned enterprises. The family is also said to have had a hand in making key decisions such as appointing ministers in the country.

Their role in claims of state capture has been likened by some, such as the academic fraternity, as a soft coup.

‘We used to lie blatantly’

Among those who have confirmed the claims are Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo who admitted that she had taken a trip to Dubai courtesy of the Gupta family, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo who was cited as being one of the many faces in the liberation movement to have pitched at their Saxonwold home and the president’s advisor Lakela Kaunda has admitted that in 2008 she was a non-executive director of a Gupta owned company, but resigned after 6 months.

“It didn’t used to happen, we would deny everything [and say] no I don’t know what’s going on. We used to lie blatantly” said Mantashe in explaining how the posture of the party needed to change when it came to negative developments around the party.

“They all said it, yes I was there, yes it true, yes it’s true, yes it’s true,” said the SG in Xhosa.

He also reiterated the calls for a judicial inquiry, which the president has now said he would establish.

“It must be constitutional and enforceable,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe said the 105 year old liberation movement needed to change its posture on matters in the public domain, not only speak out against wrong doings but show that it was actually taking measures to address the problems.

He praised one of his comrades, former mayor of Ekurhuleni and now Member of Parliament Mondli Gungubele for his role in an adhoc committee on communications and its handling of the troubles at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

“When you started confronting the situation at the SABC then people began to see that the ANC knows the difference between right and wrong,” said Mantashe.

No political ideology

The ANC SG also decried the state of branches saying there was a decline in political ideology in the movement.

“Comrades begin to howl and use common sense that is not so common because they are guided by no ideology,” said Mantashe.

Giving insights on areas where current office bearers and stalwarts disagreed, Mantashe said former leaders of the party who had called for a national consultative conference had wanted to discuss the state of the organisation without the branches.

“We didn’t agree with veterans when they said we don’t want the branches [because] their politics [are] too poor,” he said describing the request as flawed.

When you say that you are blaming the victim, he added.

“You recruit a person say for 23 years, then say a member who has been around for 15 years is of poor quality, that member of the branch is a victim of you not doing what you should do,” he said.

Mantsashe said when he visited different branches across the different regions to deliver political school he found leaders, even in regions, did not know about the national democratic revolution.

“This is not isolated. It’s not rare, you come across it everywhere,” he said.

Mantashe said party members were not busy with discussions but too focused on issues around deployment and tenders.

He also said the party needed to accept that society was correct when it placed high expectations on the party.

“When people complain of state capture and that family [the Guptas] we then say what about white monopoly capital,” he went to define this as flawed.

“You are selecting the lowest common denominator to measure yourself because white monopoly capital is the essence of the revolution.”