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Egypt backs reunion of South Sudan's SPLM

Posted JOSEPH ODUHA

on  Wednesday, July 26   2017 at  12:53

Egypt will back efforts to reunite warring factions of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

Egyptian ambassador to South Sudan, Mr Ayman Elgamal said Cairo favoured the reunion of SPLM in order to achieve peace and stability in the war-torn country.

“Egypt will support the reunion of the SPLM and the revitalisation of the South Sudan Peace Agreement to end the war and the suffering of the people in South Sudan,” he said.

The party’s factions include SPLM-In Government, led by President Salva Kiir, SPLM-In Opposition, whose leader is former deputy president Riek Machar, and Former Detainees.

Mr Elgamal made the remarks while attending the National Day of the Arab Republic of Egypt held in Juba on Tuesday.

He also called for the full deployment of the 4,000-strong UN-backed Regional Protection Force to secure Juba.

Civil strife broke out in December 2013, two years after the country seceded from Sudan.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 led to the formation of a transitional unity government, but was thwarted after fresh fighting broke out in July 2016 in Juba.

New university

The Egyptian envoy also announced plans to open an Alexandria University campus in South Sudan's northwest town of Tonj in Bahr el Gazal as part of efforts to support the country's education sector.

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Mugabe’s wife complains about unruly sons

Posted KITSEPILE NYATHI

on  Wednesday, July 26   2017 at  09:58

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, has confessed that she is concerned about her sons’ wayward behaviour after they were evicted from a plush apartment in Johannesburg over wild parties.

According to a leading privately-owned Zimbabwean weekly paper, Robert Junior, 25, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, were caught in a vicious scuffle that involved a gun drama, forcing the landlord to kick them out last month.

“If I am to say women stand up to talk about your children, very few women can be brave enough to talk about that without breaking down,” she told relatives and friends at her sister’s birthday party on Sunday.

“Nowadays there are spirits attacking our children. The spirit of drinking, drug abuse and doing other abnormal things way beyond their age.

“I am telling you because the behaviour of the children does not matter if they are the president’s children or not. All children are mischievous,” she said.

The paper had reported that the First Lady flew to South Africa earlier this month to address the sons’ issue.

The two moved to South Africa this year after Robert Junior was forced to leave Dubai, where he was studying, over allegations of substance abuse. Bellarmine, who had been living in Harare, joined his brother in Johannesburg.

“I have seen parents wearing torn clothes because their kids are demanding top-end trending clothes. In schools and universities, children are competing on fashion and they do not pay heed to parental advice,” Mrs Mugabe said.

President Mugabe, 93, often complains about his two sons’ lack of seriousness but is always full of praise for his only daughter, Bona.

Mrs Bona Chikore, 27, holds a master’s degree in banking and finance and sits in boards of several state-run firms. In 2014, her parents showered with her with money and expensive gifts during her lavish wedding to Simba Chikore, now the chief operating officer of Air Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe has three children with his 52-year-old wife whom he married in 1996 after the death of his first wife, Sally Hayfron.

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Nigerian President Buhari says ‘making good progress’

Posted MOHAMMED MOMOH

on  Tuesday, July 25   2017 at  18:31

Nigeria’s ailing President Muhammadu Buhari has written to thank his Guinean counterpart Alpha Conde for nationwide prayers he organized in his country last week for his recovery.

In the letter dated July 24, 2017, President Buhari, said that Mr Conde’s action was “a gesture that I will forever cherish and treasure’’.

According to Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesperson, Mr Buhari had earlier phoned the Guinean leader and current chairman of the African Union on the subject.

Mr Buhari wrote than he was “making good progress” and “as soon as doctors advise, I shall return to my duties and continue serving the Nigerian people who elected me and are daily praying for my recovery."

In an earlier letter to Mr Conde, Mr Buhari had also accepted his nomination as the leader of the "2018 AU Theme on the Fight Against Corruption".

"I wish to express my readiness to accept this new important role and to reiterate my commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent,” the letter said, adding that “I look forward to working closely with you in the realisation of this objective."

President Buhari was nominated for the role during the AU Summit in Ethiopia on July 4.

The Nigerian leader has been receiving treatment for an unspecified illness in London since May.

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11 burnt beyond recognition in Zimbabwe crash

Posted KITSEPILE NYATHI

on  Tuesday, July 25   2017 at  15:36

Eleven people were burnt beyond recognition after two vehicles collided and burst into flames in Harare.

Fourteen others were seriously injured in the Monday accident involving a Nissan Caravan with 21 occupants and a Honda CRV with four people.

Zimbabwe police said the two vehicles burst into flames on impact killing seven passengers in the Nissan and all the Honda occupants.

A herdboy, who witnessed the incident along the Centenary-Mvurwi road, east of the capital, saved the survivors by dousing the flames with water, the police said.

“Both cars caught fire upon colliding and the accident happened at a bend,” police spokesperson Charity Charamba said on Tuesday.

Preliminary investigations indicate that both vehicles were speeding, she said, adding that the smaller car was being driven in the wrong lane.

“Of the 14 injured, five were transferred to Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare, while others are admitted at Mvurwi hospital. It is sad precious lives have been lost,” Ms Charamba said.

The accident is the latest in a series of horror crashes in the country.

Last month, 43 people were killed when a Zambia-bound bus's tyre burst, hit a tree and overturned.

The increasing fatal accidents on Zimbabwe’s roads have been blamed on the poorly maintained road network and unroadworthy vehicles.

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Uhuru Kenyatta skips Kenya’s poll debate, gives Raila Odinga the floor

Posted AFP

on  Tuesday, July 25   2017 at  13:24

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was a no-show Monday at a televised debate ahead of August 8 elections, leaving his main rival Raila Odinga alone to field questions.

Both candidates had initially pulled out of the final debate, but after a change in format Odinga agreed to take part and the moderators were left in suspense until the last minute over whether or not Kenyatta would show up.

This gave veteran opposition politician Odinga 90 minutes to field questions about his policies, attack Kenyatta's government and defend his record during his time as prime minister in a power-sharing government after disputed 2007 polls.

The solo debate comes as several pre-election polls show an extremely tight race between the historical rivals, and it was unclear if the lack of a proper presidential debate would sway voters.

Kenyatta "owed the country a duty to appear, a duty to account for his five years," said Miguna Miguna, a former advisor to Odinga and independent candidate for Nairobi governor, as part of the post-debate analysis.

"I think it was a mistake of monumental proportions. It was a miscalculation, a deliberate or naive misunderstanding of what the president means."
Other analysts said it was an "anti-climax" and agreed it was a boost for Odinga.

An official in Kenyatta's campaign team said: "We don't see value in this thing, it's a debate that will not translate to votes on August 8."

Kenya held its first ever televised presidential debate in 2013, which included both Kenyatta and Odinga.

Afterwards, Kenyatta complained that he had been unfairly targeted by moderators.

Odinga is leading a rare coalition of opposition heavyweights, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) in his fourth bid to be president.

"I lost once," he said as the audience laughed, in reference to his claim that elections in 2007 and 2013 were stolen from him.

Many observers agree with Odinga's view that the 2007 election was stolen from him, triggering widespread politically-motivated tribal violence which left more than 1,100 dead.

The violence of 2007 looms over Kenya's politics a decade on, and Odinga has already repeatedly claimed there are plans afoot to rig the election.

Another analyst on the post-debate panel said that seeing the two contenders on the same stage discussing issues could have reduced tensions ahead of the vote.

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Tanzania denies meddling in Kenya polls

Posted BERNARD NAMUNANE in Nairobi and THE CITIZEN

on  Tuesday, July 25   2017 at  11:48

Tanzanian government has denied that President John Magufuli is interfering in Kenya’s election by supporting National Super Alliance flagbearer Raila Odinga.

However, the Tanzanian opposition was yesterday adamant that Dr Magufuli was backing the Kenyans and accused Mr Odinga of supporting a “dictator”.

The controversy follows Tanzanian opposition fears, some reported in the Nation, that Dr Magufuli, a personal friend of Mr Odinga, is providing financial and strategy support for the Nasa campaign.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga told The Citizen, a Nation Media Group Publication, in Dar es Salaam that reports linking Tanzania with its neighbour’s elections which are 13 days away were “false”.

Dr Mahiga, a former diplomat, described the reports, some attributed to the ruling Jubilee Party, as false and “not based on truth”.

“Rival camps are, therefore, using every technique to outperform one another, but the Government of Tanzania is not siding with any of the two major camps,” he argued.

He said President Magufuli’s government believed it was the duty and democratic right of Kenyan voters alone, through the ballot paper, to choose their President.

However, the Tanzanian opposition said President Magufuli, who banned political activity and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders, is supporting Mr Odinga to return a favour.

On Monday, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe told the Nation that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader went against the relationship between his party and Chadema when he backed President Magufuli in the country’s 2015 elections.

'Dictator'

“It is obvious,” said Mr Mbowe by phone. “We had a relationship between ODM and Chadema in youth exchange programmes. Come the 2015 elections, Mr Raila came out openly in support of Magufuli.”

Mr Mbowe wondered why Mr Odinga, who professes to be a democrat, was working with a “dictator”.

“Our problem is not Mr Raila supporting President Magufuli if he were a democrat,” said Mr Mbowe. “He is a dictator who is jailing people everyday and we wonder why Mr Raila is supporting him.”

Chadema’s director of publicity John Mrema recalled that after the elections Mr Odinga flew to President Magufuli’s rural home and stayed for a week.

“Just the environment, the relationship between Raila and Magufuli, you don’t need to ask,” said Mr Mrema.

A few days ago, Tanzanian opposition leader Edward Lowassa endorsed President Uhuru Kenyatta for re-election and hit out at Mr Odinga for “betraying” his Chadema party.

In May, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale claimed President Magufuli had offered to host a parallel tallying centre for Nasa during the August 8 General Election.

Mr Mrema said Dar had remained silent on the issue. Mr Odinga denied the claim but defended the rationale.

Parallel tallying centre

“Jubilee had a parallel tallying centre which was at the Catholic University,” Mr Odinga was quoted as saying last month.

“They also had their server connected to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) server through Kencall.

“But because Nasa wants to do parallel tallying, it has suddenly become a crime and top Jubilee leaders are running all over the place trying to give it a bad name.”

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Controversial Mandela book pulled from shelves

Posted PETER DUBE in Pretoria 

on  Tuesday, July 25   2017 at  09:29

The publishers of the controversial book Mandela’s Last Years have pulled it from the shelves and immediately stopped issuing copies.

Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) confirmed the move saying it was done “out of respect for the late Mr Mandela's family.”

This comes after threats by the former president Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel to sue his doctor, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, who wrote the book.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) physician led the medical team treating Mandela in the months before his death.

His book details episodes of the end of the former statesman's life and bitter family squabbles related to his health.

Withdrawn

PRHSA explained that they accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author Dr Ramlakan advised them that he had been requested by his family to publish it.

“The book was meant to portray Nelson Mandela’s courage and strength until the very end of his life, and was in no way intended to be disrespectful. However, given the statements from family members, we have decided to withdraw the book,” PRHSA said in a statement.

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has condemned the author saying any patient-related information within the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct and must be respected even after death.

Doctor-patient relationship

“Irrespective of the contents of the book, all doctors are reminded of their ethical responsibilities to patients, regardless of who they are. The core ethical tenet of the doctor-patient relationship is the principle of confidentiality," said Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, chairperson of SAMA.

He added: “In the now no longer used Hippocratic Oath, it refers to secrets in the doctor-patient relationship as being ‘holy’. Perhaps of greater relevance the Geneva Declaration, used by most doctors in their oath taking, contains the line: "I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died’.’’

Dr Grootboom added that violating this principle undermines the trust the public has in their medical practitioners.

 

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UN interim force calls for restrain after Abyei attacks

Posted MOHAMMED AMIN in Khartoum

on  Monday, July 24   2017 at  17:59

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the disputed Abyei region - claimed by both Khartoum and Juba - has called for calm and restrain among rival communities following violent attacks on July 22 that left eight civilians dead.

In a press release Monday, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said it had conducted a search operation but failed to net the perpetrators.

"Our troops have searched the area and conducted investigations into the incident, but the perpetrators have proved elusive so far," said UNISFA.

Clashes

The Saturday clashes occured on the highway between Todach and Goli, some 27 kilometres from Abyei town. The highway leads to the

Amiet common market shared by the rival northern Sudanese tribe of Missyria and the Southern Sudanese Dinka Ngok.

‘’The attack took place four days after the reopening of the trading activities at the Amiet common market. Amiet common market has become a vital economic hub for the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities,’’ said UNISFA.  

Activities at the Amiet common market were suspended on July 10 following rising tension in the area. UNISFA facilitated talks between the two tribes in which conditions for engagement were laid down before the market was re-opened.

Security stepped up

The peacekeeping mission also announced it has stepped up its security detail on the highway.

The oil-rich Abyei region has been contested by Sudan and South Sudan since the two countries separated in 2011. Frequent clashes have erupted between the Missyria and the Dinka Ngok.

In 2013, the Dinka Ngok unliterary conducted a referendum, voting for annexing to South Sudan. However the vote failed to get international and local recognition.

 

 

 

 

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Cameroon dismisses Amnesty report on war crimes in fight against Boko Haram

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI

on  Monday, July 24   2017 at  14:36

Cameroon has dismissed a report by Amnesty International that accuses the country's army of torturing civilians in the fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, saying the London-based rights group is defending terrorists’ interest.

Cameroon communication minister and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary told a press conference in Yaounde late Friday that Amnesty International is on a campaign to destabilise the country by demoralising the defence and security forces.

“The accumulation of false and gross findings by Amnesty International prove that we are faced with a real destabilisation campaign whose objectives are clear,” Mr Tchiroma said at the press conference also attended by the spokesperson of the defence forces Col Didier Badjeck.

Smear campaign

He added: “Amnesty International is playing the role of an organisation defending terrorist interests with the aim of tarnishing the image of the defence and security forces in the eyes of international partners.”
In its report titled Cameroon's Secret Torture Chambers: Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in the Fight Against Boko Haram,” Amnesty International alleges that hundreds of people accused of supporting Boko Haram in Cameroon are being brutally tortured by security forces leading to dozens of death.

The advocacy group said it has documented 101 cases of arbitrary arrests and torture by Cameroonian forces between 2013 and 2017 in more than 20 sites.

But Mr Tchiroma argued that even when arrested with weapons in their hands, the army does not subject the “bloodthirsty Boko Haram criminals” to extra-judicial killings, and that the same security forces cannot be reduced to perpetrating atrocities against its own population.

“If our army carried out extra-judiciary killings as Amnesty International claims, would there be more than a thousand Boko Haram prisoners in our prisons treated humanely, as is the case today, in spite of the unspeakable atrocities committed by the militants against the civilian populations?” Issa Tchiroma questioned.

Court judgment
He said when arrested, suspected Boko Haram fighters are investigated and taken to a competent court for judgment, in accordance to the rules of the law, and that “significant financial resources” are made available for their care and rehabilitation while in detention.

Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009 aiming to create an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria, but has spread its mutiny to other countries of the Lake Chad Basin namely Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

A regional multinational joint taskforce comprising troops from the four countries has been fighting to bring the terrorist group to its knees since 2015.

According to Amnesty International, the insurgents have killed more than 1,500 civilians in Cameroon and abducted many others especially in the Far North region since 2014.
“We have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the atrocities and war crimes committed by Boko Haram in Cameroon,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty’s regional director for West and Central Africa.

He added: “But nothing could justify the callous and widespread practice of torture committed by the security forces against ordinary Cameroonians, who are often arrested without evidence and forced to endure unimaginable pain.

He called for an independent investigations saying that "these horrific violations amount to war crimes.”


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Central African Republic: UN peacekeeper killed in attack

Posted BBC

on  Monday, July 24   2017 at  14:13

Christian militia in the Central African Republic have attacked United Nations peacekeepers who were protecting a convoy of water trucks.

One Moroccan UN soldier was killed and three others injured.

The attack took place in the southern diamond-mining town of Bangassou.

Christian militia have been attempting to seize a cathedral housing hundreds of displaced Muslims, who have been sheltering in the compound since a wave of ethnic killings in May.

Bodies found

The Red Cross said it found 115 bodies in the town after those attacks, when the rival religious groups clashed.

"They died in various ways: from knives, from clubs and bullet wounds," a Red Cross representative told Reuters news agency at the time.

The wider conflict has killed thousands of people.

It broke out when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize four years ago, provoking a backlash from the Christian militias.