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Cameroonians remember Foe as they exit Russia tourney

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  18:49

Cameroon Monday marked 14 years since the death of the Indomitable Lions player Marc Vivien Foe.

The anniversary came only a day after the African soccer champions were knocked out of the Confederations Cup soccer tournament in Russia, thanks to a 3-1 loss to Germany.

After a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Chile in their opening game, the African champions grabbed their lone point of the global tournament following a 1-1 with Australia, but failed to secure a semi-final ticket after going down to world champions Germany in their last group game on Sunday.

Considered one of the continent’s finest midfielders, Marco as the 17-shirt player was fondly called, collapsed on the field during a Confederations Cup semi-final match between Cameroon and Colombia on June 26, 2003 and later died in France while defending his national colours, leaving the global football community in shock.

A first autopsy failed to establish the cause of the 28-year-old's death, but a second found he had been suffering from a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The Indomitable Lions were playing in the Confederations Cup this year for the first time since Foe’s shocking demise.

Foe 'was present' in Cameroon’s finest hour when they won their 5th continental title in Gabon earlier this year. A specially designed Lions jerseys, all bearing No. 17, were handy and the team members wore them immediately after they emerged champions as they enjoyed their title celebration and Confederations Cup ticket.

Foe had made 62 appearances with the Cameroon national team, scoring eight goals in 10 years. He was part of the squad that won the last African Cup of Nations (Afcon) crown in 2002 and also featured in the South Korea and Japan World Cup squad of same year.

Though no official event was organised in the country to mark 14 years of the demise of the soccer hero, former clubs, teammates and fans flooded the social media with tributes.

“Today we remember former Hammer, Marc-Vivien Foé, on the anniversary of his sad passing. Rest in Peace,” his former club, West Ham United‏ for which he made 38 appearances, twitted.

Foe left behind a widow and sons aged six and three, as well as a daughter of only two months old.

The player's generosity had been legendary, and there were reports that he dis not leave much money behind.

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Lobby group wants charges against Angola journalists dropped

Posted ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda

on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  17:42

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Angolan authorities to immediately drop all charges against journalists Rafael Marques de Morais and Mariano Bras Lourenco.

Mr Morais runs the anti-corruption website Maka Angola, while Mr Lourenco works for the weekly newspaper O Crime.

They face charges of "outrage to a body of sovereignty and injury against public authority," under Law on Crimes against State Security, according to the Maka Angola.

The charges--which, according to media reports, carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison--stem from an October 2016 Maka Angola article, republished in O Crime, that alleged that the attorney-general acquired land illegally.

His wrongdoing

"The Angolan attorney-general's use of state security legislation to charge journalists who published allegations of his wrongdoing is an absolute abuse of power, even for a government with little tolerance for dissent," CPJ quoted its Africa Programme Coordinator Angela Quintal as saying.

"Mr Rafael Marques de Morais and Mariano Bras Lourenco are not a threat to Angola's national security,” Ms Quintal was quoted saying.

The state filed the charges on May 12, on behalf of the Attorney-General, Mr João Maria de Sousa, and President José Eduardo dos Santos, but the accused only learnt of them on June 20, CPJ quoted media reports.

CPJ quoted Mr Morais saying the schedule gave them only five days to prepare for a hearing.

Conflict diamonds

The media lobby group said calls to the Office of the President and the attorney-general went unanswered.

The Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Director for Africa, Mr Dave Peterson, on Friday expressed concern about the charge against the journalists, adding that the group was closely monitoring the scenario.

Mr Morais, 46, is a winner of the the NED Democracy Award 2017.

The Angolan rights activist has also received several international awards for his reporting on conflict diamonds and government corruption. He started work as a journalist in 1992 at the state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola.

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Kenya bridge collapses days after president's inspection

Posted GAITANO PESSA in Kisumu, Kenya

on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  15:32

A bridge in Kenya's Budalang'i Constituency near the border with Uganda has collapsed a fortnight after President Uhuru Kenyatta inspected it.

The $12 million (Sh1.2 billion) Sigiri Bridge, in Budalang'i Constituency, Busia County, was being constructed by the Chinese Overseas Construction and Engineering Company.

The cause of the collapse was yet to be known, though it was suspected the construction was hurriedly done ahead of the president’s visit.

Concrete slab

During the inspection, Project Manager Jerome Xzue Hua said they were focusing their attention on the concrete slab and embankment.

“We did not focus much on road construction on the northern side because the most critical point of construction is the bridge’s slab.

"We expect to complete the bitumen work at the end of June for the entire 3 kilometres for both the northern and southern parts,” he had said.

Killing everyone

The project was expected to be completed by end of July.

The bridge is to link Bunyala North and South wards across River Nzoia.

On August 30, 2014, 11 people perished after a boat they had boarded capsized, killing everyone on board as they attempted to cross the river.

Was a blessing

Among those who perished was Brian Juma, a Form Three student whose burial, among other victims, was attended by President Kenyatta who promised that a bridge would be constructed to avert such deaths.

During President Kenyatta's tour, area MP Ababu Namwamba said the bridge was a blessing to residents since it would significantly reduce deaths and make it easier for people to access markets, schools and hospitals on either side.

Mr Namwamba has been using the bridge as a campaign tool for his re-election for a third term and even broke ranks with opposition chief Raila Odinga to join forces with President Kenyatta through his Labour Party of Kenya.

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Mozambican troops to leave opposition hideout

Posted ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda

on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  14:28

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has ordered the withdrawal of troops from Gorongosa hill, believed to be the hideout of the main opposition Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

O País newspaper quoted President Nyusi saying the troops would pull out of the nine remaining positions they were occupying in the central Sofala Province.

He made the announcement on Sunday as Mozambique marked 42 years of independence.

“As a way of keeping a mutual confidence environment between the two sides, we will once again instruct the withdrawal of the DSF (Defence and Security Forces) in more positions by the end of the day on Monday,” the president was quoted saying.

Had complained

Mr Dhlakama had complained about the delayed DSF withdrawal from Gorongosa hill.

President Nyusi also said the Mozambique economy was back on the growth trajectory, adding that the trend was one of the fruits of independence.

“The foreign and national productive investments macroeconomics perspectives are strong and firm,” said the president.

“The country is still poor, but I believe it will see a lot of improvements,” O País quoted the optimistic President Nyusi saying.

One million lives

Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975 then descended into over a decade of civil war.

Renamo waged a 16-year war against the ruling Frelimo that ended in 1992, having claimed an estimated one million lives.

Mozambique is today one of the world's poorest countries, with more than half of its 24 million population living below the poverty line.

Frelimo and Renamo have so far failed to resolve the post-October 2014 electoral disagreements, further destabilising the country.

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South Africa church locks out black pair


on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  12:45

South Africa's Afrikaanse Protestante Kerk church in Orania Sunday barred two black journalists from attending a service.

An official told the journalists “the church is only for whites”.

Orania is an Afrikaans-only South African town located along the banks of the Orange River, in the arid Karoo region of the Northern Cape Province.

The journalists were on an assignment and decided to attend a Sunday service before returning to Pretoria. They were intercepted by a church leader, identified as Mr Theunis Oukamp, at the door.

Mr Oukamp said allowing black people into an all-white church would be violating the “rights of Afrikaans people”.

Protect the rights

“I am now in a difficult situation. You know that Orania is only for white people, this is why we are here. You must understand I know you want to serve God and everything but I have to protect the rights of Afrikaans people. So I cannot let you in, you guys can go to any other church, but this one is only for white people,” Mr Oukamp said.

Mr Langton Ndlovu, a Christian, described the move as 'diabolical'.

“This is demonic, in this day and age, I never thought this was real. That's unacceptable. I wonder how they read the scripture that says “there is neither Greek nor Jew” but we're one in Christ,” said Mr Ndlovu.

The president of the South Africa Union Council of Independent Churches, Archbishop Modiri Patrick Shole, expressed shock that there was still segregation in the body of Christ, 23 years after apartheid ended.

Have discrimination

“We don't discriminate in church because before God we are one – whether white or black. I find it weird that we still have discrimination in the church,” he said.
A member of the church, Mr Sarel Roets, slammed Mr Oukamp saying turning away black people from church was “not the Christian way”.

“I'm very upset that my church did this, it's not right. I've already sent the Reverend a message. From me, I’m sorry, it's completely unacceptable. We still have problems in Orania, this is one of the problems,” he said.

The church’s spokesperson, Mr James Kemp, said the leader acted out of line with the church's policy. He said an internal process would take place.

“The sensitivity of the Orania church is that over the last few years they have had six journalists visiting the congregation and it had a negative impact in the media. It was mainly European publications,” Mr Kemp said.

Afrikaans culture

He added that there was a need to educate congregants on how visitors should be treated.

Orania Movement leader Carel Boshoff Junior, said there were still people who were in the small town for the “wrong reasons”.

Mr Boshoff's father was pioneer to the idea of an independent Afrikaner homeland to preserve the Afrikaans culture.

“I’ve heard about the incident and I am disappointed, it is contrary to our policy. It's not the church's policy, neither is it an Orania policy, but it is an individual that decided to act in that manner,” Mr Boshoff Junior said.

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Unicef fears for 5.6m Lake Chad basin children

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  11:29

Millions of children across the conflict-hit Lake Chad region were at increased risk of contracting waterborne diseases, the United Nations has warned.

Children's agency Unicef said in a statement that more than 5.6 million children in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria were facing the disease threat as the rainy season begins.

Many of the vulnerable children have been displaced by insecurity, Unicef said.

The children's agency further said that flooding and muddy roads were expected to severely limit humanitarian access to remote areas for several weeks, just as the needs of families rose sharply because of heightened insecurity across the region.

Made vulnerable

“The rains will further complicate what is already a dire humanitarian situation, as millions of children made vulnerable by conflict are now facing the potential spread of diseases,” Unicef Regional Director for West and Central Africa Marie Pierre Poirier said in the statement.

“Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene conditions can lead to cholera outbreaks and to hepatitis E, a deadly disease for pregnant women and their babies, while standing water pools can attract malaria-carrying mosquitos. Staving off disease is our top priority,” the Unicef regional director said further.

According to the UN children’s agency, security concerns had made it difficult to preposition supplies in Nigeria ahead of the rains and the availability of clean water for large numbers of people returning from Cameroon was another concern.

Poor governance

In Niger’s Diffa region that hosts about 250,000 displaced Nigeriens and Nigerian refugees; “living in makeshift shelters”, an outbreak of hepatitis E has killed at least 33 pregnant women so far this year, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

The Boko Haram insurgency, famine, climate change and poor governance have collided to create one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, affecting over 20 million people across Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

According to Unicef, the 5.6 million children in need in the four countries were in varied living conditions from host communities to camps for the internally displaced and refugees.

The children’s agency said it was working with partners in communities at higher risk of cholera outbreaks to teach families about the effects of the disease and practical steps like hand washing, to help avoid infection.

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Africa today at a glance


on  Monday, June 26   2017 at  10:26

Madagascar turns 57

Madagascar marks the 57th Independence Day fete amid tight security. Last year, a bomb blast at the Mahamasina stadium where a military parade was mounted, killed three people and and injured over 90 others.

Morocco in diplomatic row

Morocco and The Netherlands are locked in a diplomatic row after the former summoned its ambassador home following the extradition of an alleged drug trafficker.

Mozambique peace stride

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi orders the Defence Forces to abandon the nine remaining positions they have been occupying on the Gorongosa hill, believed to be the hideout of the main opposition Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

SA farmers' trial

Two white South African farmers charged with kidnap and murder go on trial after being accused of pushing a black man into a coffin and threatening to burn him alive.

Kenya election campaigns

Campaigns continue for Kenya's General Election scheduled for August 8 amid controversy over the printing of ballot papers.

Mali referendum drive

Campaigning for Mali's constitutional referendum, which aims to fully integrate key elements of a 2015 peace accord and create a senate in parliament.

African champs hit

African champions Cameroon's Fifa Confederations Cup adventure in Russia is over after a 3-1 defeat to Germany in their final Group B game on Sunday.

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Magufuli ban on pregnant schoolgirls


on  Sunday, June 25   2017 at  18:58

Comment on Tanzanian President John Magufuli banning girls who get pregnant from school

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Eight killed in Uganda road crash

Posted SADAT MBOGO in Kampala

on  Sunday, June 25   2017 at  17:54

Eight people were confirmed dead and several others seriously injured following a road accident in central Uganda's Mpigi District on Sunday.

The accident involved a Toyota saloon car which collided with a minibus.

Police said the number of the dead could rise because some of the injured were in critical condition.

Opposite direction

Eye witnesses told police that the accident happened at Kalandazzi swamp between Buwama town council and Kyabaaza trading centre.

The minibus was travelling from Masaka to Kampala, with the saloon car heading the opposite direction.

All the five occupants of the saloon car, including a toddler, perished in the accident while three of the deceased were minibus passengers.

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Buhari's Idd message to Nigerians

Posted MOHAMMED MOMOH in Abuja

on  Sunday, June 25   2017 at  17:09

Nigerian government seized the opportunity of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival to release President Muhammadu Buhari’s voice goodwill message to Muslims to debunk reports that he was suffering from speech impairment.

Amid rumours that President Buhari was dead, many other reports have flooded the social media claiming that he was suffering from speech impairment and memory loss.

However, in the recording aired on Sunday by some radio stations, including the BBC, the president was heard thanking Nigerians for their consistent prayers for his well-being.

“I am immensely grateful to God for His mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadhan fast.

Hate speech

“My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brothers Christians on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr," the president is heard saying.

The president also urged all citizens to always avoid hate speech and divisive tendencies.

He also prayed for good harvest as farmers embarked on various activities occasioned by the commencement of rainfalls across the country.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu had on Saturday, in a statement, issued a similar print message.

Getting better

A presidential source on Saturday confirmed that “the president is getting better and will return to Nigeria very soon”.

President Buhari left Abuja for London on May 7 for follow-up medical checks.

He urged all citizens to live in peace and avoid making reckless statements.

President Buhari's wife Aisha, urged Nigerians to be more patriotic and prayerful in the interest of peace and development.

Mrs Buhari expressed the sentiments in a goodwill message read by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr Hajo Sani, in Abuja on Sunday.

Continue to pray

“I appeal to all Nigerians to show true sense of patriotism for national cohesion to ensure that Nigeria attains the greatness for which it was destined,” she said.

She also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the president’s well-being.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, advised the Federal Government to probe the sources of weapons used by herdsmen accused of attacking Nigerian communities.

He said on Sunday: " Real herdsmen do not carry guns; they only move with their cows and sticks.’’

“There could be bad eggs among the Fulani, but those carrying arms and perpetrating heinous killings are not herdsmen. Those carrying arms are criminals and should be treated as such.