South Sudan – gunmen kill six humanitarian aid workers

Reuters

GENEVA Six aid workers were killed in an ambush in South Sudan on Saturday while travelling from the capital Juba to the town of Pibor, the United Nations said on Sunday, without specifying if they worked for the U.N. or giving other details.

It was the highest number of aid workers killed in a single incident since the country’s civil war began in December 2013, a U.N. statement said. At least 79 aid workers have been killed since then. This year, at least 12 have died and at least eight humanitarian convoys have been attacked.

“I am appalled and outraged by the heinous murder yesterday of six courageous humanitarians in South Sudan,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan Eugene Owusu said in the statement.

“I implore all those in positions of power to step up to their responsibilities and stop this, as they are ultimately accountable for what happens under their watch. There is no safety when attacks are met with silence and inaction.”

U.N. monitors have found President Salva Kiir’s government is mainly to blame for the catastrophe in his country which – in less than six years of independence – has collapsed into a chaotic ethnic war, with an epidemic of rape and a famine in parts of the country.

It was not clear if Saturday’s ambush was linked to recent violence in Pibor, where youth groups belonging to the Lango and Kurene clans clashed on March 21-22, prompting armed civilians to take up defensive positions near a U.N. base.

The U.N. said on Saturday that 800 to 1,000 civilians ran from Pibor town to the U.N. site for protection on Thursday. Indian peacekeepers shielded them and two U.N. helicopters and a civilian aircraft that were offloading at the airstrip.

The local governor later held a peace meeting and tensions subsided, the U.N. said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

Next In World News

Kenya- inside the Kenyatta election machine

Star (Kenya)

Mar. 27, 2017, 12:30 am
Kenyatta

Deputy President William Ruto chats with President Uhuru Kenyatta during Jubilee party rally at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa in March.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has crafted an elaborate reelection plan and hired over 300 Secretariat staff as he kick-starts a grueling reelection battle against the National Super Alliance.

The hundreds of staff, hosted at the JP’s state-of-the-art headquarters at Pangani Junction, Nairobi, include data experts, statistical analysts and communication professionals.

The staff has intricate links to the grassroots, and will work round-the-clock to interpret information compiled in the field by a dedicated network of coordinators to ensure synchronised and seamless communication.

For the first time, Jubilee’s Head of Secretariat and Secretary General Raphael Tuju disclosed that they are also recruiting 200,000 volunteers who will be on grassroots campaigns across all the 47 counties.

But while volunteers will only be given “a token of appreciation”, all the other secretariat staff will be on the JP payroll, signaling the strong financial war chest of President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

Comment: JP has two more elections – let’s focus on August 8

This means that the Jubilee machine is slowly beginning to roar after a bumpy start full of infighting and suspicion among affiliate parties.

Part of the Secretariat team’s terms of reference are to map out the country and after analysing internal opinion polls sanctioned by the Party, assign percentage vote targets for Jubilee in every county. At the apex of the UhuRuto reelection machine is Tuju.

Other operatives in commanding positions are former State House political adviser Nancy Gitau, Jubilee Alliance Party vice-chairman David Murathe and Veronica Maina, the immediate former Secretary General, who is now the party’s deputy chair in charge of Strategy.

The Star has established that Jubilee has hired veteran journalist Alex Chamwada as part of its media and communications team.

Part of his mandate will be to lay out complex media and communication strategies and package Uhuru for a second term.

The Opposition is believed to have dented Uhuru and Ruto’s image, discrediting Jubilee as failed, indifferent, irredeemably corrupt and a two-tribe outfit. NASA boss Raila Odinga has been on a massive negative-publicity campaign, accusing Uhuru of what he calls economic exclusion, failure to address historical injustices, including recommendations of the TJRC Report, and weakening devolution by denying resources to the counties.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Tuju said it is the media department that will work in publicising the party and ensuring JP is able to pass its key messages to the public.

“The mandate of the media department will be to work and ensure that the supporters of Jubilee and Kenyans in general know what is happening in their party and they also are the people who will be linking the party to the media and press,” Tuju said.

The department has a staff of close to 20 personnel, including Chamwada. The volunteers, Tuju said, will be answerable to the county coordinators.

“Apart from the volunteers, we expect that those who will have clinched the party ticket to vie for various positions in elective posts will not only be required to campaign for themselves but also will be required to campaign for the President,” Tuju revealed.

The data entry department has close to 50 staff and is headed by a Jubilee Party elections board member. The personnel in this department have been mandated with the role of analysing data that will be used to determine JP’s stakes across the country.

The department works closely with 47 other county representatives and another 18 regional directors who will be giving reports on the situation on the ground – nationwide.

“Each county has its own desk here who keep contact with regional and county coordinators to know the situation on the ground,” Tuju said, taking reporters on a guided tour around the expansive eight-storey facility.

The party has mapped each county and determined the percentage of votes it intends to scoop in specific counties, depending on the support the party enjoys.

At the Coast, for example, the party targets to scoop only 30 per cent of the total votes in a bid to loosen Raila’s stranglehold on the region.

In Central and Rift Valley, Jubilee’s foremost strongholds, the Party targets to scoop 98 per cent of the total votes. Other regions mapped out by both Jubilee and NASA as battlegrounds are Kisii, Nyamira, parts of Eastern and Northeastern.

In these regions, Jubilee plans to outwit NASA by scoring between 50 to 70 per cent of the total votes.

Tuju expressed confidence that Jubilee will trounce NASA and win the majority in both Houses of the bicameral Parliament.

“NASA may be holding rallies – but it is yet another smokescreen. They have no flagbearer, no strategy, no vision, they only stand a chance of winning by cheating,” the former Rarieda MP claimed. It has also emerged that Jubilee received a total of 8,622 applicants for its party ticket across the country. This means that the Party has received millions in nomination fees.

Governors paid Sh400,000 as nomination fees while Senators, MPs and Woman representatives each paid Sh250,000.

Currently, the data entry department has been tasked with the role of sorting out the nomination details of all the aspirants.

“I bet that there is no other party with the same level of thoroughness and preparedness as Jubilee Party,” Tuju concluded.

Kenya – Odinga chosen as candidate by Coast

Daily Nation

ODM leader Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses a press conference at Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa on March 26, 2017. Mr Odinga was endorsed to run for President. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By LUCAS BARASA

By MOHAMED AHMED

ODM leader Raila Odinga stormed back into the campaigns with a well attended solo rally at Mombasa’s Tononoka grounds and immediately turned his guns on President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga, who campaigned without the other Nasa leaders — Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper, Mr Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Mr Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress — was endorsed to run for President.

Mr Odinga and the other three are fighting to be torchbearer for Nasa, the opposition alliance.

At the Tononoka rally, ODM supporters from six coastal counties vowed to support Mr Odinga for the presidency.

In what was dubbed “the Coast Declaration”, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and John Mruttu (Taita Taveta) said although the region was in Nasa, they preferred Mr Odinga to run for president.

The declaration, read by Mr Mruttu, said that only Mr Odinga could protect the interests of locals, unite Kenyans, end tribalism, uplift the economy and protect devolution.

In his speech, Mr Odinga said the Jubilee leadership had failed to fulfil its promises to Kenyans and should prepare to go home in August.

He accused Jubilee leaders of setting a new record in corruption, saying Kenya was now in “the Super League of graft”.

“President Kenyatta has promoted Kenya from lower league in graft to top league only compared to Nicaragua and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said and dismissed claims by Jubilee leaders that the government had built 7,500 kilometres of roads, calling it “a lie”.

He accused President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto of launching roads that were not budgeted for to hoodwink Kenyans into voting for them.

“The tractors and earth movers are usually removed from the site once the leaders leave,” Mr Odinga said, adding that the prices of fuel and maize flour had skyrocketed under Mr Kenyatta’s leadership.

He accused the President of launching county government projects such as the Mtongwe ferry, and harassing governors.

“A governor is not like a provincial commissioner,” Mr Odinga said and accused Coast regional commissioner Nelson Marwa of undermining Mr Joho.

ILLEGAL AWARD

Mr Odinga also used the rally, and an earlier press conference, to raise questions about the award of a tender for the management of the second container terminal at the port of Mombasa.

He said a soft loan given by the United Arab Emirates was a “bribe” so that the UAE’s port management company, Dubai Port World, can get the tender to run the terminal.

“This loan looks more like a bribe to senior persons in government than a loan. This so called loan leaves more questions than answers and we want specific answers from none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mr Odinga said at a news conference at

 

 

 

 

 

Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa.

But Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia dismissed the claim, saying there was no concessional agreement between the Government and Dubai Port World.

“There is no financing agreement between UAE and the Government. There is no loan and there is no port management deal,” said Mr Macharia on the telephone.

Dubai Port World is one of the best port management companies in the world and runs more than 77 marine terminals across six continents.

Mr Odinga claimed that the UAE Government agreed to offer the loan as a sweetener to secure the tender to manage the terminal.

Dubai Port World won the tender to manage the terminal although in Mr Odinga’s opinion, the other 12 port operators, who had tendered, “were more qualified”.

“Can President Uhuru Kenyatta prove to Kenyans that the so-called loan was not a bribe to sway the contract in favour of Dubai? Can he explain how he ended up giving the job to Dubai instead of the more than 10 firms that came out top?

“What was the purpose of the tender when the job ended up being given to a defeated bidder,” asked Mr Odinga.

SELF-INTEREST
But in Malindi, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale dismissed the bribery allegations as propaganda.

“All the loans have been used for various projects in the country after being approved by the National Assembly,” he said during a Jubilee rally at Malindi Stadium in Kilifi County.

Mr Odinga argued the case for a Chinese consortium, PSA International, which had partnered with Multi Hauliers, a Kenyan company, and which he said “emerged top in the bids for the tender but was denied the contract”.

“A whiff of corruption hangs over this so-called loan as it leaves more questions than answers,” he said.

He also said the Japanese Government had funded and built the project, expecting to be given the chance to manage and operate it, did not win the contract either.

Mr Odinga claimed there was direct conflict of interest in the matter and asked the President to assure Kenyans that he had no personal reasons in having the Middle East firm manage the port.

Nigeria – N19bn Paris Club scam: EFCC report indicts Saraki, aides, ex-bank MD

Punch

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki

Eniola Akinkuotu and Leke Baiyewu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has submitted a report to President Muhammadu Buhari linking Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and some of his aides to the diversion of about N19bn from the N522bn Paris Club refund.

The report also fingered Mr. Robert Mbonu of Melrose General Services Limited.

Mbonu is a former Managing Director of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, the commercial bank owned by the Saraki family which was later liquidated.

The Federal Government had, in December 2016, approved the sum of N522.74bn to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement of the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan from 1995 to 2002.

The EFCC had sometimes in January discovered that the loan refunds were illegally routed through the account of the Nigeria Governors Forum by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Upon receiving the funds, the NGF, in an alleged connivance with Saraki, began remitting huge sums to private consultants who then laundered about N19bn.

According to the report, apart from the NGF, others under investigation include the Relationship Manager to the Senate President in Access Bank, Kathleen Erhimu.

Some others under probe and identified as Saraki’s aides include Obiora Amobi, Gbenga Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Idowu.

The report alleges that sometimes in December, Saraki introduced the ex-bank MD, Mbonu, to Erhimu.

Others at the meeting were Saraki’s aforementioned aides.

It added that sequel to the meeting, the sum of N3.5bn was lodged into Melrose General Services Company account number 0005892453, domiciled in Access Bank from the Nigeria Governors Forum on December 14.

The report stated that two of Saraki’s aides, Obiora Amobi and Gbenga Makanjuola, were introduced to Access Bank as representatives of Melrose General Services Limited by Mbonu to enable them to make cash withdrawals from the account.

It added that Amobi and Makanjuola made cash withdrawals in various tranches of N5m and N10m.

The report reads in part, “Based on the foregoing findings, it is clear that Robert Mbonu, the Managing Director of Melrose General Services Company and his company were used to help divert proceeds of unlawful activities under the guise of payment for contractual obligations with the Nigeria Governors Forum.

“Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu, who are principal aides to the Senate President.

“Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.

“This includes the sum of $183,000, which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.

“Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US Dollar Domiciliary account.”

The report concludes that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of unlawful activities  and money laundering, contrary to sections 15(3) and 18(9) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004, could be established against the aforementioned suspects.

“Additionally, investigation into their personal accounts is ongoing,” it adds.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, who spoke on behalf of Saraki, said he would not react except he sighted the report.

“Send the report to me and I will be able to read it and contact the necessary people. If I don’t see the report, I cannot react to it in abstract. Send me the report if you want our reaction,” he said.

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that investigations were ongoing into the Paris Club scam.

He, however, said he did not know the specifics of the investigations.

“I can only confirm that there are investigations but I don’t have details,” Uwujaren said.

Copyright PUNCH.              

South Africa – Zuma appoints interim SABC board

News24

Zuma appoints interim SABC board

Kaveel Singh, News24

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has appointed an interim board for the SABC, the presidency said on Sunday.

The members appointed are Khanyisile Kweyama, John Matisson, Mathatha Tsedu, Febbe Portgieter-Gqubule and Krish Naidoo.

Kweyama and Tsedu was appointed as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the SABC Board respectively.

Zuma made the appointments in terms of section 15A (3) of the Broadcasting Act (Act 4 of 1999), and on the recommendation of the National Assembly. The interim membership will last six months.

“Millions of South Africans rely on the public broadcaster for news, information and entertainment. We wish Ms Kweyama and her team well as they begin the important task of leading and revitalising one of the most important national resources, the SABC,” said Zuma.

The public broadcaster has not been able to function properly due to several troubling issues.

The former management was accused of unnecessary expenditure, corruption, censorship and other allegations that crippled the organisation.

The Auditor-General’s report last year disclosed irregular expenditure at the SABC.

South Africa – Zuma comes out fighting at ANC NEC on land expropriation

The land move by Zuma smacks of Mugabe-style tactics when he resorted to land seizures to gain popularity in the face of growing threat of MDC. This is blatant populism and use of the land issue, which has been unresolved by the ANC for 23 years. Why now? Because a supposedly radical policy of seizures could boost Zuma’s flagging support. KS

City Press

2017-03-26

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma took a strong stand at this weekend’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Irene in Gauteng, defending his position on the issue of land expropriation without compensation, and challenging his critics to read the ANC’s 2012 conference resolutions if they disagreed with his views.

City Press heard that Zuma had “set the record straight” by “explaining where the policy comes from and calling those who have been criticising him in the media to order”.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize and head of the economic transformation subcommittee Enoch Godongwana were among those who had described recent talk of land expropriation without compensation as “populist” and “playing to the gallery”.

An NEC member sympathetic to Zuma said the president detailed the historical background of the land question, dating back to the time of the late ANC president, Oliver Tambo, “who said the core of our struggle was about land”.

Zuma concluded that “talk of populism was an indicator that the people do not read [ANC] conference resolutions, and that is why they do not implement them”.

A meeting of the ANC’s national working committee on Monday had also debated the land question, resulting in a decision that a special NEC gathering be called before the national policy conference, set to take place from June 30 to July 5, to thoroughly discuss the ANC’s position.

Those with knowledge of the Monday meeting described it as “tense and hot”.

The NEC this weekend agreed with the working committee on the importance of holding a special meeting to discuss land policy.

The NEC member who spoke to City Press said Zuma was “reminding people that the ANC’s own resolutions could not be called populist statements”.

“[Zuma] said he did not want to talk to people through the media. That is why he kept quiet and waited for the NEC platform to explain his position.

“He was asserting his authority, challenging those who say the policy does not belong to the ANC to explain its origin,” City Press heard.

“It cannot be that we spoke about this thing in 2012, and when we point out that we failed to implement it, you talk about rhetoric. Are you saying the branches of the ANC did not apply their minds correctly?” he quoted the president as saying.

There had also been a push for the NEC to discuss the validity of Andile Lungisa’s election as the party’s regional chairperson in Nelson Mandela Bay – which was expected to set up another showdown between Zuma and Mantashe.

“There is no crisis”

Mantashe insisted on Friday that the case of Lungisa was not on the NEC’s agenda, but those close to Lungisa said it would be discussed as part of the national working committee’s report.

Mantashe had objected to Lungisa’s decision to stand for the post, on the grounds that he was still a member of the ANC provincial executive in the Eastern Cape, and this prohibited him from contesting a seat in the regional structure.

Mantashe added that the ANC’s top six had nullified Lungisa’s election.

Zuma’s close allies told City Press that he had a mandate to go to the weekend meeting and “confirm that [Lungisa] is properly elected and is not going to resign”.

“There is no crisis. That guy has been elected by a constitutional structure of the ANC. He is the chairperson of the region. The bigger agenda is that we need young leaders in the ANC and [Lungisa] gave us an opportunity for the ANC to be reinvigorated.”

However, others inside the ANC said a decision in favour of Lungisa would mean that other instances where members had been stopped from contesting in regional structures, while they served in upper structures, would also have to be reviewed.

For instance, this would mean the eThekwini regional conference would have to be reopened to allow Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele, also a member of the ANC’s NEC, to stand after he was blocked by Mantashe in 2014.

Nullifying eThekwini would also mean dissolving the follow-up KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial conference, which saw Zuma’s supporters make a clean sweep by taking the top five positions in the province. The provincial conference was also the subject of an ongoing court case over allegations of election-rigging.

“It would also mean that the ANC in the Western Cape should be dissolved so that Rural Development and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha could contest for a position in the provincial executive, since he was also stopped,” said the insider.

Marius Fransman, a close Zuma ally, had won the position of chairperson at the Western Cape provincial conference, but he was later suspended on charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute following sexual harassment allegations.

Former ANC treasurer-general

said he expected that there should be consequences when ANC rules were not being followed.

“We have reached a critical point in the history of our country and movement, where the people of our country are fast losing confidence in us as we suffocate from one scandal to another. We have to restore the trust of our people as we reclaim our space,” said Phosa.

“We cannot continue to be seen as promoting a culture of immunity, with no consequences for wrongdoing. It is not going to be an easy road ahead.”

 

DR Congo – 40 policemen beheaded by local militia in Kasai conflict

BBC

UN vehicle in Tshimbulu, Kasai province, 20 March 2017Reuters  The UN mission in Kasai has reported 400 people killed since last August

Militia fighters in DR Congo have decapitated about 40 police officers in an ambush in the central province of Kasai, local officials say.

Fighters from the Kamwina Nsapu group attacked a police convoy.

Six policemen who spoke the local Tshiluba were freed, but the rest were killed, Kasai Assembly President Francois Kalamba said.

The unrest in Kasai began last August, when security forces killed the Kamwina Nsapu leader.

Friday’s attack targeted a police convoy travelling between Tshikapa and Kananga.

The state Governor Alexis Nkande Myopompa said an investigation had been launched into the killings.

The UN says 400 people have been killed and 200,000 displaced in the Kasai region since Jean-Pierre Pandi, the Kamwina Nsapu leader, was killed.

This came two months after Kamwina Nsapu launched a bid, in June 2016, for him to be officially recognised as a local chief and for state bodies to withdraw from the region.

Why have 10 mass graves been found in Kasai?

map

The UN says it has identified 10 mass graves where those killed in the unrest have been buried, as well as another seven suspected mass burial sites.

Two UN experts, an American and a Swede, were kidnapped in the area two weeks ago with four Congolese colleagues and are still missing.

DR Congo is in a state of increasing political uncertainty as President Joseph Kabila remains in power beyond the end of his mandate ,which expired last December.

Elections are now due to be held before the end of this year, but no firm date has been set.