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Madagascar needs $20m to address cyclone aftermath

Posted RIVONALA RAZAFISON in Antananarivo

on  Friday, March 24   2017 at  13:51

Madagascar needs over $20 million urgently to address the devastating consequences of cyclone Enawo, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The cyclone hit the Indian Ocean island state between March 8 and 10.

The Category 4 Enawo caused extensive damage due to high winds and flooding in north-eastern parts of the country.

The storm’s wake

The powerful storm precipitated an arc, nearly the length of the island nation, occasioning heavy rainfall and flooding to the central and south-eastern areas.

Around 200,000 square kilometres, covering half of Madagascar’s 22 regions, were affected.

At least, 250,000 people in the worst-affected areas require urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection in the storm’s wake, according the UN agency.

The Malagasy government on March 14 declared a national emergency and requested the international community's support.

Up to 85 per cent of planted subsistence crops were lost in some areas, while more than 1,300 wells – the major source of household water – were flooded and contaminated.

More than 100 health centres and 3,300 classrooms were also damaged by Enawo.

More than 5,300 of the nearly 250,000 people who sought shelter in evacuation centres during the storm, have no homes to return to and remain in displacement sites, according to the UN agency.

The road in the capital Antananarivo that were damaged by Enawo, were yet to be fixed.

Replacing livestock

“The international community, the Malagasy people, the government and all stakeholders will overcome the challenges posed by Enawo,” said Mr Bary Rafatrolaza, the Malagasy Foreign Affairs deputy minister.

The $20 million aid is expected to fund food assistance for 170,000 people, and support more than 230,000 farmers in replanting crops and replacing livestock.

The money is also expected to help in providing water, sanitation and hygiene assistance for 168,000 people.

Some 20,000 families who lost their homes need emergency shelter and more than 100,000 children whose schooling has been disrupted need temporary learning spaces.

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Heavy rains kill 11 in Angola

Posted ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda

on  Friday, March 24   2017 at  12:55

At least 11 people have been killed as a result of heavy rains that have pounded Angolan capital Luanda since Tuesday.

Luanda’s Civil Protection and Firemen Services spokesman Faustino Minguês, told the media on Thursday that 6,000 houses had been flooded, rendering hundreds of families homeless.

Many of the victims died as a result of homes collapsing, others were swept away by floods while some were electrocuted by falling power cables. Several people have also been reported missing.

The heavy rains also flooded two schools, seven hospitals and one church at Cazenga, Cacuaco and Viana municipalities.

Largest port

Southern Africa has since the beginning of the year experienced a heavy seasonal rainfall.

Fatalities arising from the heavy downpour have been reported in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

Located to the west on Angola's Atlantic Ocean coast, Luanda is the country's largest port and is ranked the 22nd filthiest in the world.

During the rainy season, the streets of Luanda become flooded, forming stinking, black rivers that carry the decaying waste into stagnant ponds.

Expensive cities

Studies from several agencies, including Unicef and Oxfam, suggest that a large portion of the Luanda population lives in settlements called musseques, built on hardened waste. They do not have access to clean water.

The Luanda metropolis population is estimated at 6.5 million people.

Though ranked among the world’s most expensive cities, Luanda has for years been a chaotic urban mess.

The overwhelming majority of Luanda residents live in squalid shantytowns with no sanitation or electricity.

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Zambians debate ICC membership

Posted MICHAEL CHAWE in Lusaka and CHARLES OMONDI in Nairobi

on  Friday, March 24   2017 at  12:01

Zambia has opened public discussions on whether or not to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The Ministry of Justice has launched the consultative process on Zambia's position on the country's membership to the International Criminal Court -ICC," reported state TV.

The consultations, to be conducted in 30 districts, will start next Monday, it said.

The influence for Zambia to leave ICC could be coming from "outside" as the country had no formidable reason to campaign for its departure, analysts say

They believe the process was being politically driven.

Legally binding

African leaders have often accused the international court of targeting them unfairly, hence pushing for a mass withdrawal.

The African Union backed the push for a collective withdrawal but the decision, taken by African leaders during a closed door session at an AU summit in Ethiopia, was not legally binding.

The continent has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty which set up the court.

The debate on the ICC was hugely divisive on the question of whether this should be individual or collective withdrawal.

Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia applied to leave the court - but the case for the latter two seems to have hit a brick wall.

In the Gambian, new President Adama Barrow said he would reverse the decision by his predecessor Yahya Jammeh.

A High Court in Pretoria recently revoked the South African government's decision to pull out of ICC.

The process

The court ruled that government's notice of withdrawal was “unconstitutional and invalid”.

Last October, the Justice minister Michael Masutha announced that the country had initiated the process to pull out from the Hague-based court.

He said, at the time, that the South African government felt the ICC undermined its sovereignty and had previously shown bias against African nations.

Case petitioners

The move followed a dispute over the government’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015.

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in his country.

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, one of the case petitioners, argued that the government had failed to seek parliamentary approval before issuing the notice of withdrawal.

Several countries, led by Nigeria and Senegal,  strongly supported the court and argued for African countries to remain as members of the court.

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Uganda varsity withholds 14,000 transcripts over fake marks


on  Friday, March 24   2017 at  11:58

Uganda's pioneer Makerere University has withheld 14,895 transcripts for students who graduated in February until the institution completes cleaning up its results management after some staff infiltrated the system and falsified some marks.

The university Vice-Chancellor, Prof John Ssentamu Ddumba, Thursday asked the former students and the public to give them three to four weeks to investigate the matter and remove those who were illegally listed in the 67th graduation booklet.

“There is nothing the university can do. But students can give us three to four weeks to sort out the problem and we will start issuing transcripts again. We hadn’t started giving them out yet and I can’t give them when we know there is a problem,” Prof Ddumba told the Daily Monitor.

Their bosses

The university took the decision on March 9 after suspending four members of the Academic Registrar’s department on suspicion that they participated in altering students’ marks without permission from their bosses.

The suspects have since been arrested, with only one of them later released.

It was against that backdrop that the Academic Registrar, Mr Alfred Masikye Namoah, on March 20 wrote to the university staff, students and stakeholders indicating they had temporarily shut down the transcripts processing in order to clean up the mess.

The verification

“The Academic Registrar with the college registrars recalled and scrutinised the names of students on the 67th graduation list. During the verification, names of 58 students with altered marks were withdrawn. The university management discovered that there was alteration of marks,” Mr Namoah wrote almost a month after the February graduation ceremony.

It was not the first time that Makerere was withholding students’ transcripts after graduation. In 2015, a total of 13,776 students were affected as they waited for the university officials to verify their results.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance, said they regretted the inconvenience they had caused their clients, but appealed that the university be given an opportunity to clean up its system.

Was not secure

Prof Ddumba said the university had engaged its Senate IT team to clean up the system.

In 2008, the Senate at its 133rd meeting, noted with concern that the data they were storing on the Academic Records Information System (ARIS) was not secure and was not functioning as well as expected. It was also noted that some academic units had declined to use it and instead developed their own.

A committee was subsequently set up comprising Prof Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa, the former vice-chancellor in charge of Finance and former State minister for Higher Education, Dr Idris A Rai, Dr N Mulira and Dr L.K Atuhaire.

The team later recommended that the systems developed to handle examination results be equipped with alerts so that they could instantly notify the control centre of changes being made to marks indicating the location and user.

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Africa today at a glance

Posted AFRICAREVIEW.COM and Agencies

on  Friday, March 24   2017 at  11:21

Migrants' disaster

Search is on for more than 200 migrants feared dead in a boat sinking off the coast of Libya.

Reparations for Congolese

The International Criminal Court awards its first ever reparations, to more than 300 victims of ex-Congolese warlord Germain Katanga.

Farmajo in Kenya

Second day of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo's three-day first state visit to Kenya.

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Police break up Kenya opposition rallies

Posted LUCAS BARASA and FADHILI FREDRICK in Mombasa, Kenya

on  Thursday, March 23   2017 at  19:36

Police Thursday disrupted political rallies organised by embattled Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi in Kwale County at the Kenya coast.

The combined force of Regular and General Service Unit policemen first dispersed a crowd that had gathered at Kinango ready to be addressed by governors Joho and Kingi and other ODM party leaders.

The security personnel in full riot gear, lobbed tear gas canisters into the crowd, forcing them to scamper for safety.

Others were clobbered to leave the venue as Mr Joho’s chopper overflew the area.

Efforts by governors Joho and Kingi to later address the Orange Democratic Movement supporters, some wearing Orange T-shirts, were futile.

A medical camp

Police insisted they had not been notified of the event, and that another meeting had been planned at the Kinango market.

Area police chief Fredrick Lai's representative Lawrence Charo said the venue had been booked for a medical camp.

He said police were on the ground “to do their job” and that no arrests were made.

Mr Charo said the ODM leaders defied police orders to hold their rally at another venue.

Forced to run

ODM supporters were also forced to run before Mr Joho’s brigade arrived in MP Khatib Mwashetani Lunga Lunga constituency.

Mr Mwashetani, who was elected on a Ford-Kenya ticket, is allied to the ruling Jubilee coalition.

Mr Joho’s events in Matuga and Msambweni in the county that overwhelmingly voted for ODM in the 2013 polls were also cancelled.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has been trying to penetrate the county and got a boost following the defection of Governor Salim Mvurya, Woman Rep Zainab Chidzuga and Mr Mwashetani to the formation.

Give permits

Mr Mvurya refuted claims by ODM leaders that he was involved in the disruption of the rallies.

“I am not aware why the meeting was disrupted because I don’t give permits. There are procedures to be followed,” he said.

Mr Joho condemned the break-up of his meetings and accused the Jubilee government of being behind the scheme.

He said police were being used in Jubilee Party campaigns yet they had a responsibility to protect all Kenyans.

Well covered

The police action, said Mr Joho, would only embolden his move with Governors Kingi and John Mruttu to unite Coast residents and vote out the Jubilee administration in the August polls.

He said just as security was heightened during President Kenyatta and other Jubilee Party leaders rally in Tononoka two weeks, the ODM event should also have been well covered.

Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa, who had earlier warned Mr Joho to confine his meetings in Mombasa County, said he was not aware of the disruptions.

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The case for simultaneous polls in East Africa


on  Thursday, March 23   2017 at  18:43

Times have changed. East African countries are no longer able to help restore sanity among themselves, otherwise they would have sorted out Burundi and South Sudan long ago.

In 2007, partly to prevent unfair business practices, and leaks of regionally agreed policies, the East African Community states agreed to read their budgets at the same time.

This year, Kenya is reading its budget earlier, and for good reason. In June, it will be in the throes of the campaigns for the August General Election, and most critical business will have long closed.
Rwanda too will be going to the polls in August.

Nothing changes

It’s the first time in a very long period that two East African countries have voted days apart in the same month. Rwandans will do their thing on August 4, and Kenyans on August 8 – if nothing changes. Election dates in Kenya have a funny way of shifting.

This has happened by accident, but perhaps the EAC countries should take inspiration and deal with our elections the way they have tried to do with the budgets – hold them all in the same month.

There are reasons why that would be problematic, though, and the main one is that it is a bad way to manage regional election risk.

Especially in Uganda and Kenya, elections tend to be viciously fought and the fury of the politicians can be scary – often you have violence – so there is a real possibility that voting around the same time could leave the whole region in flames.

Warring factions

You need to have a country that is not in election convulsions so that, as happened with Kenya’s 2007/8 post-election violence, Tanzania could mediate between the warring factions.

Also, the faint of heart, expatriates, and such folks usually flee and become temporary election exiles in neighbouring countries. Early last year, Nairobi’s roads had many Ugandan registered cars of such exiles who had left, fearing election mayhem.

In 2013, you couldn’t spit in the eastern Uganda industrial town of Jinja without it landing on a Kenyan. They took over the place.

Are a nightmare

However, for businesses and other organisations that work regionally, East African elections are a nightmare. Because little happens and there is often a lot of uncertainty, such companies had to endure a slow 2015 in Tanzania.

The same thing would have happened in Uganda, in addition to losing half of 2016 because the president is only sworn in May; and immediately they would have to go into holding mode in Kenya. That’s effectively three years lost.

The Rwandese run a tight ship, so their elections don’t cause the same palpitations that they do in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

However, if we held all elections in the same month, and even allowing that hell would break loose, collectively the region would lose only one year, instead of three.

Violence breaks out

After all, times have changed. East African countries are no longer able to help restore sanity among themselves, otherwise they would have sorted out Burundi and South Sudan long ago.

It’s therefore probably less important today for Tanzania to be peaceful, so it can mediate if election violence breaks out in Kenya or Pierre Nkurunziza goes rogue in Burundi.

Wasn’t it Machiavelli who said that; “Cruel acts, though evil, may be justified when they are done all at once…” ?

Simultaneous elections may just be what the doctor ordered for the East African economy.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is publisher of data visualiser Africapaedia and Rogue Chiefs. Twitter@cobbo3

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Cholera kills two in Zimbabwe


on  Thursday, March 23   2017 at  17:47

Two people have died of cholera in Zimbabwe and several others have been hospitalised as the southern African country battles the aftermath of floods.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa said the cholera outbreak was detected at an area near the Mozambican border.

“The area where the cases have been reported is adjacent to the border where there is an influx of people coming from Mozambique,” Dr Parirenyatwa said on Thursday.

“There are cases of cholera that have been reported in Mozambique and in the adjacent province of Manica,” he added.

Died of typhoid

Meanwhile, one person has died of typhoid in Harare and six others were hospitalised on suspicion that they had contracted the water borne disease.

Harare City Council health director Dr Prosper Chonzi said six people were being treated for typhoid symptoms.

One person died of suspected cholera after travelling from a town east of Harare.

“I can confirm that we have two confirmed cases of typhoid,” Dr Chonzi said.

Kidney failure

“One person, a man aged 28, died at Harare Central Hospital of kidney failure, which we suspect was caused by delayed typhoid treatment.

“His relative, a 16-year-old girl is receiving treatment after testing positive,” he added.

He said council suspected that the victims were drinking water from unprotected sources.

However, Dr Chonzi said a typhoid outbreak in a crowded section of Harare that started last year had since been brought under control.

The heavy rains

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe launched a $200 million appeal for humanitarian assistance after thousands of people were displaced by heavy rains that began in December.

The government says the heavy rains killed 2,510 people and left about 2 000 displaced.

Cyclone-induced floods last month also caused heavy damage to infrastructure, with 72 dams destroyed and bridges on major roads damaged

United Nations resident representative Bishow Parajuli said one of the most urgent tasks for the government and humanitarian organisations was to contain the spread of infectious diseases.

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Boko Haram crisis cost Nigeria $2.6b

Posted MOHAMMED AMIN in Abuja

on  Thursday, March 23   2017 at  16:24

Nigeria spent more than $2.6 billion in 2016 to address the humanitarian challenges caused by the Boko Haram terrorists, official said.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, made the revelation at a meeting of the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

The Nigerian Foreign Affairs ministry released details of the meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

“After over $2.6 billion was spent by the Nigerian government to address humanitarian needs in 2016 – more needs were seen when areas were recovered from Boko Haram.

Global enemy

“Many in this room joined us in Oslo, Norway just last February to show support with Nigeria.

“Coalition is fundamental. We, therefore, commend Secretary Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump for remaining committed to fighting the global enemy of us all – terrorism,” Gen Olonisakin said.

He explained that Iraq’s story in the war against ISIS was similar to Nigeria’s tale in the fight against Boko Haram.

Steady progress

Gen Olonisakin explained that Nigeria was prepared to cooperate with others in the pursuit of the realisation of the aims of the global coalition.

He commended the steady progress made in Iraq and Syria in denying ISIS access to territories and closing up their supply routes.

Gen Olonisakin noted that it was imperative for global leaders to consider the timely sharing of information and best practices on addressing cross-border threats.

Violent extremist

He also emphasised the need for mobilisation of resources for confronting violent extremist organisations with the digital battle space.

The meeting was attended by ministers of Foreign Affairs and senior leaders of the 68 countries of the global coalition working to defeat ISIS.

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10 killed in Kenya cattle raid


on  Thursday, March 23   2017 at  15:20

Tension is high at Merti along the Samburu-Baringo border, northeast of Nairobi, after 10 people were on Wednesday night killed in a cattle raid.

More than 800 animals were also stolen.

Scores of other residents were left nursing serious gunshot injuries, according to relatives and police officers.

“The attack is believed to be a retaliatory attack and was executed by bandits from a neighbouring community,” said a police officer who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the police service.

Seriously injured

However, County Police Commander Alfred Ageng’o declined to comment on the deaths when contacted by Nation.co.ke, only confirming that more than four people had been seriously injured in the attack.

“I cannot confirm those killed for now but more than four people were seriously injured and are recuperating at the Samburu County Referral Hospital,” said Mr Ageng’o.

The Nation also established that one of those injured in the cattle raid, an elderly man, has a bullet lodged in his chest.

An operation

Most of those injured were women and children.

The bandits are said to have executed simultaneous attacks before they fled with the hundreds of cattle.

Police have since launched an operation to recover the stolen animals.

So far, 24 people have been killed in Samburu and Isiolo Counties in the last one week in conflicts linked to grazing land and cattle raids.

Bloody conflicts

This latest incident comes hardly two days after 10 herders were killed in a pasture row between two pastoralist communities at Kom, Isiolo County.

According to the police, the more than 100 armed bandits arrived in motorbikes and attacked Samburu herders over grazing land in the area.

Bloody conflicts have erupted in Isiolo and Samburu counties following movement of herders from neighbouring counties.