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Archive for May 23rd, 2008

Grand opposition in Kenya will not be formed – the cabinet has cornered the MPs

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

Rebel MPs cornered

By Standard TeamPARTY rebels agitating for a grand coalition appeared cornered after President Kibaki swiftly moved to give effect to a law that would see MPs who defect to other parties lose their seats.

In a seemingly orchestrated move, the Grand Coalition Cabinet on its second meeting decisively laid down strategy that would scuttle the proposed grand opposition.

They also seemed to narrow in on how to tackle the thorny issue of amnesty for suspects of post-election crimes.

Cabinet, which exactly a week ago appeared split on the issue of the formation of an opposition, on Thursday resolved in unison to flatly reject it as President Kibaki went a step further to place an insurmountable hurdle to such an outfit.

The President, soon after the Cabinet meeting, which he chaired, gazetted July 1 as the commencement date for the Political Parties Act which will among other things make it impossible for MPs to defect to other parties without relinquishing their seats.

This will make the proponents of the grand opposition think twice, even when they disagree with the Cabinet stand.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga affirmed the stand by Cabinet soon after the meeting, expressing his exception to the proposed opposition.

“A ruling political party cannot also be in the opposition. You are either in Government or out of Government. The role of the backbench is to check the front bench, said Raila in an interview with KTN.

And on the divisive issue of amnesty, Cabinet moved away from taking extreme positions and resolved to call in the police to categorise crimes in terms of gravity, institute investigations and refer back to Cabinet for further consideration.

Cabinet Ministers from PNU have been facing off with their colleagues in ODM with the latter calling for amnesty and the former calling for prosecution of suspects.

But on Thursday, the two sides appeared to move towards the middle after a police memorandum was handed to the Cabinet from the office of Police Commissioner detailing crimes committed in post-election violence.

The meeting resolved to fast track a proposed Commission of Inquiry into post-election violence, which will tackle most outstanding contentions.

Soon after the meeting, President Kibaki moved swiftly to appoint members to the Commission.

They include Mr Philip Waki, Judge of Court of Appeal as chairman, Mr Gavin Alistair McFadyen, Mr Pascal K. Kambale as commissioners, Mr George Mongare Kegoro as secretary and David Shikomera Majanja as counsel to the commission.

A dispatch by the Presidential Press Service said the ministers decided that the due process of the law be followed in the amnesty issue and that there be total impartiality in regard to investigations and prosecutions.

Raila, who had at the weekend called for amnesty, ruled out blanket pardon, especially for serious crimes like murder and rape.

He, however, said youths arrested on flimsy charges should be forgiven and that thorough investigations by an independent body be carried out on serious crimes.

ODM meeting

The Cabinet meeting, which lasted between mid-morning and late afternoon, appeared to realise the hostility that its decisions would attract from MPs from both ODM and PNU and called on party chiefs to urgently caucus with their respective groups to explain the stand.

ODM, majority of whose MPs have been pushing for a grand opposition, will this morning hold a joint National Executive Council and Parliamentary Group meeting in Nairobi, with part of the agenda being to bridge the gap between Cabinet ministers and rebel legislators.

ODM Secretary-General Prof Anyang Nyongo confirmed the meeting on Thursday night, which had been arranged earlier, but which would now play part of the Cabinet agenda to try and quell the quest for an opposition by MPs.

Sources in PNU also indicated that an urgent PG was being planned to carry the Cabinet agenda to the MPs who have been pushing for an opposition.

But if the rebel MPs will not drop their quest for an opposition against the Government, the coming into law of the Political Parties Act in slightly over a months time will make it almost impossible to form an opposition.

The Political Parties Bill, passed by Parliament in September before the Ninth House was dissolved, and assented to by the President, would tighten the space enjoyed by all political parties, let alone formation of new ones.

The more than 300 registered political parties would be brought under close check by the Act, with majority being left with the option of closing shop.

Under the Act, all political parties would now have to be registered by the Electoral Commission of Kenya and not the Registrar of Societies.

The Act would also institutionalise parties, and curb freestyle defections by making it mandatory for an MP to lose a seat if they enjoy the benefits of another party, like Cabinet appointments.

Parties without MPs and Civic members would be deregistered.

The Act spells out that all political parties would henceforth get funding from Treasury. It bars all foreign funding, which has been the lifeline of some main parties.

Government funding of the parties would be in proportion to the number of votes cast for a particular party at Parliamentary and Civic elections, and representation in Parliament and local authorities.

The new law sets the maximum amount of money an individual can contribute to a party annually at Sh5 million. It further stipulates that parties must comply with the requirements of the Act within six months or be deregistered.

Former Kabete MP, Mr Paul Muite, last night hailed Kibaki for gazetting the Act.

“It has been lapsing on the agenda of the House for long. It will bring discipline to parties and curb defections and entrench multiparty democracy,” Muite said.

-Reports By David Ohito and Joseph Murimi

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On Mr Kabuga: Letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, The Republic of Rwanda

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Flicien KabugaMr Flicien Kabuga (right) Since publishing the first story on Mr Flicien Kabuga and his intended surrender to the government of Rwanda, API has been bombarded by many media outlets interested in the story

Today, a letter has been dispatched to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Rwanda Mr. Mr Tharcisse Karugarama. The letter has been channeled through the Rwandese Ambassador in Brusssels.

To make it easier for those who are following thecase, API has decided to make public the letter to the minister. When the government of Rwanda receives the letter and shows interest in getting the confidential document detailing Mr Kabuga’s intentions, API will be able to comment on the contents of thedocument. API will retain the document until such time that the Government of Rwanda gives the green light for delivery.

This is a big test for the Government of Rwanda who must also consider how the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will react if any talks between the government and Mr Kabuga takes place.

On the other hand, Mr Kabuga has indicated he is impatient and hopes the government takes a decision to hold talks sooner rather than later.

Being tried in Rwanda
According to the Monitor newspaper the Rwandan government minister of Justice was quoted in February by The Monitor newspaper of UGanda saying it is better for people like Kabuga to be tried in Rwanda.
Read the Monitor’s story below:
“Rwanda government supports former minister’s arrest

ROBERT MUKOMBOZI

KIGALI

THE Rwanda government has welcomed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)’s crackdown on a former minister wanted on genocide crimes.
The fact that ICTR has managed to arrest him shows a lot of efforts put in by this court to bring all the culprits to justice,” the Rwandan Justice Minister, Mr Tharcisse Karugarama told journalists in an interview on Thursday.

Mr Karugarama said the arrest of this top genocide fugitive brings hope that many other genocide suspects around the world would pay for their evil deeds.

Mr Callixte Nzabonimana, who served as minister of youth and sports in Rwanda’s interim government in 1994, was arrested last Tuesday in the Tanzanian town of Kigoma.

Mr Nzabonimana, 55, is facing six charges, including counts of genocide, public incitements and conspiracy to commit genocide. The indictment against the former minister said he conspired with others to devise a plan to exterminate Rwanda’s civilian Tutsi and eliminate members of the political opposition.

Mr Nzabonimana is jointly charged with six others: Mr Augustin Bizimana, Mr Edouard Karemera, Mr Andre Rwamakuba, Mr Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Mr Joseph Nzirorera and Mr Felicien Kabuga.

Mr Nzabonimana on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty before ICTR to eleven counts of genocide. Mr Karugarama said it would be better for such top genocide fugitives to be tried at home.”

So Mr Kabuga is merely heeding the Justice minister’s call to be tried at home.

Here below it the communication to the Embassy:

*********

The email to the Ambassador:

Original message—–

From: “African Press International (API)” <africanpress@getmail.no>
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:01 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Felicen Kabuga’s intent for negotiated surrender to the Rwandese government

To the Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda
Brussels


Re: Attached letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
Rwanda, on Mr Flicien Kabuga


Your urgent action in the matter will be appreciated. We are hopeful that
the minister will get the letter within a couple of days. Please let me know
when the letter has been dispatched and received by the minister.

Yours Sincerely,

K. Korir
Chief Editor
African Press International – API

The letter to the Minister:

To The Minister of Justice and Attorney General

The Government of Rwanda

Through

The Ambassador

Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda

Brussels

Re: Mr Flicien Kabugas intended surrender to your government

Now that Mr Kabuga has taken a decision to face justice in his home country on terms to be agreed upon, It is my believe that the government will seize the opportunity, one that will give both parties an opportunity to put things right once for all and heal some of the wounds due to the tragedy of 1994.

Mr Kabuga has entrusted unto me, a document that has to be delivered to you directly. The presentation can either be done in person or by email.

If it is agreed that the delivery is by email, it will be important to have a telephone conversation between us in an effort to agree on how to do it so that it does not end up in wrong hands.

It has to be made clear that Mr Kabuga is not asking for amnesty, but an opportunity to clear his name and assist the government to get answers so that the right culprits of the genocide are made to answer for their crimes.

At this day, we do not have the right to disclose the contents of the document, but can confirm to you that the information therein is very relevant and useful for the purposes of clarifying many issues that has tortured the minds of many good people of Rwanda. This document, if its contents is taken seriously, may bring to a close the suffering of many who will get answers to questions that still bother them on a daily basis since 1994 until this day.

I look forward for an answer as soon as your government finds time to agree on what step to take in the matter. It is understandable that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda may find it difficult to accept Mr Kabugas proposals in the document, and may try to block any talks between Mr Kabuga and your government. And yet again, his proposals might solve so many outstanding cases that the government and the people of Rwanda would like to see getting answers. Owing to this point, the government may have to give a priority to the people who want to know the truth at this moment, now that such opportunity is at hand..

I remain in readiness to hear from you,

Sincerely yours,

K. Korir

Chief Editor/ African Press International API

Telephone: 0047 932 92280 or 0047 932 99739

Oslo Norway 23.may 2008

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African Press International – API

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Marketed by Pan-African Books

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Welcome to reading season.

Godfrey Mwakikagile:

Black Conservatives in The United States, Second Edition, 364 pages, New Africa Press, $15.56.
ISBN-10: 0980258707
ISBN-13: 978-0980258707


South Africa in Contemporary Times, 260 pages, New Africa Press, $14.00.
ISBN 10: 0-9802587-3-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9802587-3-8

Africa and America in The Sixties: A Decade That Changed The Nation and The Destiny of A Continent, First Edition, 736 pages, with photos, New Africa Press, $25.04.
ISBN-10: 098025342X
ISBN-13: 978-0980253429

Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Third Edition, 720 pages, with photos, New Africa Press, $25.04.
ISBN-10: 0980253411
ISBN-13: 978-0980253412

Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities, Second Edition, 450 pages, New Africa Press, $18.68.
ISBN-10: 0980253454
ISBN-13: 978-0980253450

Relations Between Africans, African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans: Tensions, Indifference and Harmony, 150 pages, New Africa Press, $11.01.
ISBN-10: 098025874X
ISBN-13: 978-0980258745

Investment Opportunities and Private Sector Growth in Africa, 348 pages, New Africa Press, $15.56.
ISBN-10: 0980258774.
ISBN-13: 978-0980258776.

Kenya: Identity of A Nation, 240 pages, New Africa Press, $12.21.
ISBN-10: 0980258790.
ISBN-13: 978-0980258790.

Life under Nyerere, 168 pages, New Africa Press, $11.86.
ISBN-10: 0980258723
ISBN-13: 978-0980258721

Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman, Second Edition, 220 pages, New Africa Press, $11.66.
ISBN-10: 0980253497
ISBN-13: 978-0980253498

Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done, Second Edition, 176 pages, New Africa Press, $11.86.
ISBN-10: 0980253470
ISBN-13: 978-0980253474

Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood with Photos, 232 pages, Continental Press, $13.22.
ISBN-10: 0620355409
ISBN-13: 978-0620355407

African Countries: An Introduction with Maps Vol. I, 140 pages, Continental Press, $11.86.
ISBN-10: 0620348151
ISBN-13: 978-0620348157

Life in Tanganyika in the Fifties, Second Edition, 428 pages, Continetal Press, $15.95.
ISBN-10: 0620359811
ISBN-13: 978-0620359818
*******************************

John Ndembwike:

Tanzania: The Land and Its People, Second Edition, 150 pages, New Africa Press, $10.36.
ISBN 10: 0980253446
ISBN-13: 978-0980253443
********************************
Willie Seth:

South Africa: The Land, Its People and History
, New Africa Press, available in November 2008.
ISBN: 978-0-9802587-5-8

*********************************

Regards,

Carol Brown
Pan-African Books

——————–
African Press international – api

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Africa at large: Not yet out (commentary)

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Mail&Guardian (South Africa), by Melanie Judge, Anthony Manion and Shaun de Waal

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (Ilga) reports that 38 African countries still criminalise consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults and there have been many cases of victimisation across the continent, with new laws passed to limit gay and lesbian activity.

In line with its Constitution South Africa passed the Civil Union Act in 2006, making it possible for gay and lesbian couples to marry. In 2007 gay and lesbian activists met in Johannesburg, under the aegis of Ilga and local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed (LGBTI) organisations, to discuss lesbian and gay rights and activism in Africa. The editors of a new book, To Have and to Hold: The Making of Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa, interviewed several activists about rights in their countries. These are excerpts from their responses.

What is the situation for lesbian and gay people in your country?
David Kato, Uganda (organisation: Integrity, a faith-based member of Sexual Minorities Uganda): The authorities are still harassing us and arresting us. But we are encouraging and sensitising the LGBTI people in our country not to give in to blackmail from the police, but rather to take the case to court so that we can ask the government why Uganda is not acting in accordance with the international covenants it signed. Uganda is one of the signatories of many international covenants that talk about non-discrimination.

But when they come back from signing, the Constitution is not changed. One of the objectives of Integrity [and Sexual Minorities Uganda] is to fight the legal system and the discriminatory laws. We try to advocate and lobby organisations and decision-makers to fight these laws. We need to remove the idea our leaders have that this is a white thing.

Linda Baumann, Namibia (The Rainbow Project): Namibia?s population is 1,8-million, which is about the same size as that of Soweto. But the level of homophobia is high. I live in a township where I still face homophobia. I am told to be careful ? ?Jy moet oppas, ons gaan jou kry [You must watch out, we?re going to get you]?. The hate crimes are also high. Last year The Rainbow Project started documenting some of the hate crimes, including two gay men who were killed. We also have a lot of lesbians and gay men who experience ?correctional rape?. But people do not speak about it.

There is no law in Namibia that explicitly says homosexuality is illegal. Chapter 3 of the Namibian Constitution speaks about fundamental human rights and that gives LGBTI people some room to manoeuvre ? Most of our politicians do not really want to sit down with the LGBTI community and talk about their issues. It is often said that homosexuality is unAfrican. Lourence Misedah, Kenya (Ishtar MSM): Currently it is illegal to be gay or lesbian in Kenya. There are some gays and lesbians who are publicly out in Kenya.But this involves risks ? We [are] tired of politicians in Kenya saying that we do not exist and that homosexuality is unAfrican.

Naome Ruzindana, Rwanda (Horizon Community Association): It says in the penal code of Rwanda that whoever is found guilty of homosexuality is to be put in prison. A while back they announced they are going to change the penal code. We are waiting for that to be finalised.

Reverend Rowland Jide Macauley, Nigeria (House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church): Same-sex relationships are prohibited [in Nigeria] ? This law was inherited from the colonial era and it has remained on Nigeria?s statute books up to today. In 2006 the Nigerian government introduced the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill. The Bill is an attempt to ban homosexuality and gay marriage and it seeks to push away the issue of homosexuality or any association with it ? including gathering literature, attending lectures or anything to do with same-sex relationships. There is homophobia on every street in Nigeria.

If you are gay and it becomes public knowledge, people taunt you, they verbally abuse you ? people have suffered homophobic attacks and violence.

What are the possibilities for law reform in your country?
Kato: If we begin asking for marriage now our mission will backfire. They will think we?re just looking for sex. What we need is to be tolerated and to have the same rights as other people ? to break down discriminatory laws. Baumann: One of the challenges that we face is that people are afraid to be seen. You can count on your hands the strong gay activists in Namibia who are out and proud and able to speak.

Ruzindana: Rwanda is a sensitive country. This is true even of the human rights defenders who are there. They fear the government and they have not helped us at all. Is there potential for these kinds of changes in Rwanda? Maybe in 10 years!

How do you feel about the fact that same-sex couples can now get married in South Africa? Kato: Since Integrity is a Christian organisation, love has no barriers for us. Some people think marriage is just about getting children out of it. But not all heterosexual couples produce children. They forget that marriage is also about companionship and love for each other.
Baumann: I am proud that at least one African country has achieved this. South Africa is setting an example for the whole African continent.
Misedah: The situation we have right now in Kenya is that we first still need to be recognised before we can reach that point.
For example, I can be chased out of school because of my sexual orientation, or thrown out by landlords. This is what we want to address first before we start talking about marriage.
Ruzindana: I was listening to the radio when I heard about the same-sex marriage law being passed in South Africa. The listeners said that this news should not even be announced on the radio in Rwanda! I know that same-sex marriage is difficult for some to understand, but there are people who got the message.

*To Have and to Hold: The Making of Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa is edited by Melanie Judge, Anthony Manion and Shaun de Waal, and published by Fanele. It will be launched at the Apartheid Museum on May 24. For more information on LGBTI rights in Africa, go to http://www.mask.org.za
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API

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Africa at large: Business schools set skills agenda

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Business Daily (Kenya), by Mwaura Kimani

Business schools in Africa are expected to play a bigger role in promoting economic growth in future by expanding opportunities for learning good management practices, the institutions? association has said.

This will largely be through development of programmes, which are relevant to countries? development and business agenda, with the view of making graduates globally competitive, said officials of the Association of African Business Schools, made up of 17 leading business schools. Prof Erasmus Kaijage, the chairman of AABS, said governments are beginning to rely more on business schools and other institutions of higher learning as think-tanks in policy formulation.

However, some of the schools? programmes are far from the development strategies being pursued by countries, rendering them less competitive. To narrow this training gap and produce experts who can push the wheels of growth, one of AABS? agenda is an exchange programme. ?If we are able to grow a highly-skilled human resource base, this boosts prospects of faster economic growth in our respective countries,? said Prof Kaijage, who is also the dean, School of Finance and Banking, in Rwanda.

While Africa is said to be lagging behind other regions in business education, AABS is seeking to raise standards in the continent by linking schools so they can exchange staff, students and ideas towards the all-important international accreditation.Such an initiative is expected to boost the 17 schools? onslaught to enter new markets and play a bigger role in economic development. ?Schools must endeavour to offer students better insight into the challenges of management based on the business environment that they are bound to face in their working life,? said Kenya Commercial Bank CEO, Mr Martin Oduor-Otieno.

Established in 2005, the association seeks to improve the capacity of members to ?deliver high quality management education.? While demand for executive training is booming, informed by global trends and need for top-notch skills as competition among companies heightens, local and African business schools have been angling to have their presence felt both locally and internationally.

George Njenga, the Dean of Strathmore Business School, said with expanded economies, business schools could get a stronger feel in the training market, taking advantage of expanding income streams as companies spend millions of shillings to train staff. Strathmore Business School, University of Nairobi?s School of Business, Catholic University of Eastern Africa and United States International Universities are the only Kenyan institutions that have registered with AABS. For investors, Kenya is particularly viewed as strategic because of its unique geographical advantages and well developed business hub.

During its annual general meeting last week in Nairobi, the association announced plans to admit more schools. ?Business schools and private sector players must also develop wider links to boost skills development, which remain the biggest challenge threatening Africa?s growth,? said Mr Mugo Kibati, the managing director of East African Cables, who was the chief guest at the function.

According to AABS, challenges facing African economies as they move to compete with Asia are high costs of telecoms, rigid labour markets, gaps in public-private partnerships, and political uncertainty, among others. Some African business schools have been recognised; for example, the University of Cape Town?s MBA ranked 66th on the Financial Times? 2006 global rankings, the only African school in the top 100.

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API

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Zimbabwe: Rights group asks AU to dispatch monitors

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Zimonline, by Cuthbert Nzou

Harare ? Human Rights Watch has written to the African Union (AU) to immediately dispatch human rights monitors to Zimbabwe to help deter political violence that has killed at least 43 opposition supporters and displaced thousands others since March.

The international human rights watchdog also urged the AU to publicly demand that President Robert Mugabe acts to end violence that is blamed on the army and his supporters and which analysts say is set to worsen as a June run-off presidential election draws closer. ?The African Union should publicly demand that the Zimbabwean government halts its campaign of violence, torture and intimidation,? wrote Georgette Gagnon, the New York-based HRW?s director for Africa.

?Unless the current situation is reversed, more civilians will be brutalised and die. The African Union?s immediate deployment of human rights monitors and observers throughout the country can help deter further abuses and save lives,? Gagnon said in the Monday letter to AU Commission chairman Jean Ping. The rights group urged Ping to authorise AU monitors to probe gross human rights violations it said were committed by members of the army and ruling ZANU PF party militia against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The group said its researchers in Zimbabwe had documented widespread and systematic violence by soldiers and supporters of Mugabe in the provinces of Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland West, East and Central. It said: ?ZANU PF officials, the military and local chiefs and headmen are inciting and organising the violence around the country by holding daily ?re-education? meetings involving beatings and torture to deter people from supporting or voting for the MDC.?

However government Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga rejected charges that the government and its supporters were involved in violence and also maintained that Harare would accept only observers it invited and not those coming at the instigation of groups such as HWR. Matonga said: ?We have already invited observers and monitors. Organisations like Human Rights Watch have no duty to ask the AU to send observers and monitors, it is the prerogative of our government to invite them if we want.?

Zimbabwe holds a second presidential election on June 27 after electoral authorities said opposition MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote required to takeover the presidency. The MDC ? which claims that the army is plotting to assassinate Tsvangirai ? has accused Mugabe of unleashing state security forces and ZANU PF militias to wage violence against the opposition party?s supporters and structures in an attempt to regain the upper hand in the second ballot.

A leading international political think tank said on Wednesday that worsening political violence in Zimbabwe precluded a free and fair second presidential poll.
The Brussels based International Crisis Group said the best way to resolve the Zimbabwe?s election crisis was through African mediation leading to a national unity government led by Tsvangirai, adding that an opposition victory in the run-off poll could easily lead to a military coup by hardliners in the army unwilling to give up control. ? ZimOnline.

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API

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Zambia: Inmates plead for deliverance

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

publisher.korir africanpress@getmail.no source.Inter Press Service (IPS), by Newton Sibanda

Lusaka (Zambia) – The common prayer of those on Zambia?s jam-packed death row is for divine intervention to end their hell on earth and let the waiting hangman carry out his job speedily, according to a recently released inmate.

“It is so painful to be in suspense, we would pray to be hanged,” Churchill Malama, 33, recounted to IPS. Malama spent three years on death row in the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison, located in the central town of Kabwe. His death sentence for murder was overturned by the Supreme Court last March. The “torment and trauma” of life on death row were relieved only by worship and the exchange of words between inmates. “There are no activities there to relax your mind,” Malama said.

He described as “painful and degrading” the living conditions for the condemned, crammed into the 48 cells on death row: “Each cell — measuring just two-and-a-half metres by two metres — is supposed to have just one or two inmates, but there were five or six of us with two mattresses to share.” There was no sanitation or ventilation. “We improvised chambers (toilets) by cutting up five or two-and-a-half litre plastic containers for human waste. It was traumatic,” Malama said.

During the day, death row inmates — totalling 306 at the time of his release — were let out of their cells. But the space where they could circulate was only three metres wide and 30 metres long, he said.
Malama recalled the traumatic day, Feb 10, 2005, when he was condemned to death by the High Court in the capital, Lusaka, after being held for four years as a remand prisoner. He had been accused of murder and robbery after being attacked by an armed gang while guarding a city electricity sub-station with six colleagues from the Zambia National Service, a military wing that carries out civilian projects. Two officers died in the attack.

“I reported the case to the police. But the police turned against me. The judge convicting me called me a conspirator, but I was innocent. I never expected that pronouncement, ‘You are sentenced to hang until pronounced dead.’ I felt the world had closed in on me. I blacked out.” From that moment on the formerly friendly prison staff treated him as a dangerous criminal. Malama was loaded onto a truck with five other inmates condemned that day and taken at high speed to Kabwe. “Instead of the normal two hours to reach Kabwe, the truck took just over an hour,” he recalled.

Twice in the years afterwards he attended Supreme Court appeal hearings. But his case was adjourned each time. On the third occasion, this year, the court set him free. “I couldn?t hold back my tears. I couldn?t believe I was out of hell,” Malama said. “When I arrived home there was disbelief. It was like I had been resurrected. The whole family, including my father and my mother, were in tears.” Malama now intends to join the country?s anti-death penalty campaign.

Campaigners interviewed by IPS expressed scepticism that Zambia would soon abolish the death penalty. The majority of the petitioners reporting to the recent Mung?omba Constitutional Review Commission were in favour of retaining the death penalty in the country?s new constitution, Kelvin Hang?andu, a prominent lawyer, told IPS. “I can confidently say that the new constitution will have the death penalty as a legal form of punishment,” he said.

Leonard Kalinde, also a prominent lawyer and anti-death penalty activist, said this situation reflected on those lobbying for capital punishment to be banned: “As campaigners, we have not done enough to communicate the message. We need more education on the death penalty. As a civilised nation, we should have abolished the death penalty and should now be focusing on (penal) reform.”

Bishop Enocent Silwamba, executive director of the Prison Fellowship of Zambia, strongly criticised Zambia?s failure to do away with the death penalty. “With our imperfect criminal justice system, not everyone sentenced to death has committed a crime,” he told IPS. A visiting delegation from the African Union?s Commission on Human and People?s Rights recently called on Zambia to abolish capital punishment; however, commissioner Pansy Tlakula also noted, Apr 18, that the delegation was encouraged by the fact that the country had not executed any prisoners in recent years (the most recent execution took place in 1997).

In response, Mike Mulongoti, minister for information and broadcasting, said it was the National Constitutional Conference that would finally decide the matter. Since Zambia?s independence in 1964, 53 people are believed to have been executed by hanging. In 2004, President Levy Mwanawasa promised not to sign any death warrants while in office; he was re-elected last year for another six-year term.

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API

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Sierra Leone: Why presidential contender conceded defeat

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Concord Times (Sierra Leone), by Alhaji Jalloh

Leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party has broken silence saying he conceded defeat after the September 8, 2007 elections because he never wanted violence in a country that has suffered for far too long.

In an exclusive interview with journalist Alhaji Jalloh, now Information Attach designate to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Solomon Ekuma Berewa said: “I think it was necessary because Sierra Leone is just coming out of war. The tendency for violence to prevail was very great. I did not want people to die so I was quick to concede defeat as soon as the results were announced by the Electoral Commissioner.

How do you feel when the results were announced on that Monday morning?
Naturally, I was extremely disappointed. I did not expect it to happen that way (ehmm) but of course I had no control over the matter. We tried to pursue legal matters but it did not go through, and the results were announced prematurely I would say, earlier than we expected.

What do you think militated against SLPP’s chances of winning the elections?
Well, a number of factors you know, I mean, we did our work, we campaigned extensively, we spoke about the issues but there were quite lots of threats and violence in some areas. More so, the way the Electoral Commission nullified some votes, 477 polling stations, the votes in those stations were all cancelled, they were not counted and of course those cancellations were in SLPP strongholds.
If those votes were taken on board (ehmm), victory should have been on our side. But they were just cancelled without good reason being given to us, at least proven to us the reason which the Electoral Commission proffered was not good enough.

How popular were you and your running mate Mr.Momodu Koroma?
Well, I mean I leave this to you to find out from the People, but on all accounts I know I was very popular. I mean if you look it from the rallies we had, the people we met, the extensive campaigning we put on board, and of course, I have been in this country for some time and I think from my track record, I would say, I was popular with the people.

Don’t you think that the formation of the PMDC by Mr. Charles Margai is another factor that divided the SLPP votes in the Southern and Eastern Regions?
Well obviously they might have affected the votes in the Southern Region particularly (Ehmm) the formation of the PMDC, I mean if he gets votes at all as he did in the Southern Region, those were votes which naturally would have gone to the SLPP. So that affected the SLPP’s performance in the Southern Region particularly in Bo District.

Were you also disappointed that the SLPP never clinched a single seat in the Western Area?
(Ehmm) I was disappointed, amazed and astonished (uhmm). It was unthinkable that the SLPP could not secure a single seat in the Western Area, and the reasons for that we still don’t know (uhmm).

Mr. Berewa, what have you been doing since you left office?
Well, you came and met me writing (uhmm). This is what I’ve been on (writing). I have been out of the country for some time. I went to Britain and I’m trying to put my thoughts together, put my experience together, and put together an account of the performance of the SLPP government since 1996, and if possible compare it to other governments before our time going back to as far as 1991. If I can recollect what I know happened, what I have participated in, I believe this is the best time for me to put them down, so I am engaged in that, and of course, trying to settle myself.

There was local newspaper report that you were to take over as Attorney General in the ECOWAS Court. Can you confirm or deny that?
I don’t know about that. I mean nobody consulted me on that publication and I had no idea of the position of Attorney General in the ECOWAS Court. So really it was just one of those things you see in our papers which are tall stories you can just dismiss them.

It was also rumoured that you were invited to lecture in the University of Bradford in the UK. Is that true?
Well, I went to Bradford. I was invited by the University of Bradford. They gave me a (pause) . for 3 months. I did some work there. And I had come back. I can go back anytime I want to, but 3 months at the time was enough for me. I have not made up my mind whether and when I may go back again. That was in the University of Bradford.

Sierra Leoneans here and in the Diaspora may want to know whether you intend going back into politics?
Well once you have been in politics as I said in other occasions, you are always in politics. You can’t really wash your hands off clean of it. The only thing I said I can’t do again is to go for an elective office. But I will remain a member of my party, the SLPP and then stay with them and do what I do to encourage them and then I know the party is strong. I know it is a very powerful party and I will continue to encourage other members to continue doing the same.

What do you make of President Koroma’s reconciliatory moves by including some SLPP members in some of his overseas trips?
I won’t comment on that. I wish you ask them. I can’t make an opinion that you have to ask those ones who went with him and what were the results and how reconciliatory that was? (uhmm) It is not for me to comment on that.

In your opinion, how do you assess President Koroma’s eight months in office?
Solo – Well, it’s unusual for an outgoing government to begin to assess the performance of am incoming government. The tradition I know is that, when you are out of government, you take the back seat and watch.
This is what we are doing. As I said again on other occasions, the only aspect of it again that I’m really concerned about is, the massive sacking of people whom they considered as being sympathizers of the SLPP. I thought that was not a very good step because, those people have gained a lot of experience which will benefit this nation besides their own personal discomfort and sufferings. Their families will suffer. The nation also is deprived of their experience. I mean they have acquired quite a lot over the years and some of them have had an exemplary performance in their offices. The APC government may argue that some of these appointments were political and working with them may create room for disloyalty. Well people are not really to be loyal to political parties. They should be loyal to the nation.

If their performances benefit the nation, the coloration of their political colour should not make the nation be deprived of their services. After all, the APC will not appoint people who are not sympathizers to the APC (uhmm). This is small country, there is hardly an opportunity accessing employment and we are talking of inclusion. If we are talking of inclusion, we cannot be drawing a line, talking this, taking those, which are (ehmm) the little thing that I am concerned with.

Have you ever faced any kind of embarrassment since you left office? I’m compelled to ask this question because there are reports that some former government officials sometimes do face embarrassment when travelling out of the country. No! I have not (ehmm) faced any embarrassment whatsoever. I travelled out, I let the I.G. know, I let the Vice President know, and I travelled out freely. I was not molested or embarrassed. I came back. I’ve gone out again; there has been no embarrassment what so ever.

If you were President, how would you have tackled the current rising cost of basic commodities in the country?

I don’t want to be very hypothetical. I’m not the President; I wouldn’t be elected President as I have not had the opportunity to study that particular programme and to see what solution I could have brought in. But I feel the problem is global. We all know that and the government would be tested on the methods it will take to mitigate the adverse effect on the population. How they do that I think as a government, they would have to sit down and think it out. But I wouldn’t really like to be involved in hypothetical questions.

It is rumoured within the corridors of power that the Ernest Koroma led- government wants to offer you a job. If so, will you accept it?
You see, these are rumours. I mean, I wouldn’t comment on these things. These types of things I’m not commenting on them. I mean the President and I are in very good terms, we talk freely (ehmm), but obviously I am in semi retirement. I really don’t think (ehhh) I will be fit for a job now. I want to go back into my private life. I was a private practitioner and on the process I was doing my farming. I’m going back to farming and doing other private things. I think I will also like to contribute to the nation by doing that (uhmm).

Before I ask you my final question, people may be happy to hear that you are in good relations with President Ernest Koroma; people may like to know whether you are also in good terms with former President Kabbah. Well, I mean I have no quarrel with him. If we have any issue at all, is a party issue which we might take to the party, but I have no reason to quarrel with him. He is a man that I served for eleven years.
We had no quarrel what so ever. If at the end of the day there are some certain things which we need to clear between ourselves, I wouldn’t call that being in bad situation. There are party matters which the party can take care of which might be very well be solved in the party. It is not a matter for the nation.

Since results were announced, do you sometimes call him or does he call you?
Let’s leave that. Those are personal matters; let’s don’t go into that. He calling me or me calling him is not a matter of public interest which we can talk about.

Ok! Do you have anything to say to the people of Sierra Leone that I’ve not asked you in this interview?
Well, there are so many things I would love to say to the people of Sierra Leone. Whatever we do, we should maintain the peace, and we should not do anything which would disturb the peace. In my own little way, I laboured a lot for us to have peace. We should avoid measures that will disturb the peace either because of our relationship with one another or because of our conduct. We should do things which will always enhance the stability of the peace in this country, which is very crucial. If there is no peace, of course, we may not have development. Development of the country is not a political issue, it is something that will benefit us now and our generations yet unborn. And, of course, there are certain things which have no political banners, so we should go for those things – the things that unite us, our friends that we’ve had, we maintain them. Whatever we disagree in politics; they can’t discourage us to move on. So that is the type of life I want us to live as Sierra Leoneans.

Thank you Mr. Berewa.

It’s a pleasure Mr. Jalloh.

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API

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Senegal: Entrepreneurs chosen for unique award

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.allAfrica.com, by W. Hassan Marsh

Dakar (Senegal) – Thirty African social entrepreneurs have been selected by a U.S.-based organization for an ambitious program designed to help them achieve their desired social yields.

At a recent ceremony in Dakar, the entrepreneurs were officially inducted as ?Ashoka Fellows? who will receive a full living stipend and logistical support for three years, enabling them to focus on their individual projects. Ashoka is an international organization based in Arlington, Virginia, which takes the principles of venture capital and applies them to social improvement. Said Coumba Tour, the director of Ashoka Sahel: ?Each one in their field and in their methods of work, contain an enormous potential and enormous promise? That?s why Ashoka invests in them.?

Ashoka works on three basic premises. According to Diana Wells, the organization?s president, it identifies and supports innovative social entrepreneurs when they need it most, grants them access to an international network of social agents, and finally establishes new ways in which citizens interact with business and government. Tour told AllAfrica in an interview: ?What we search [for] in the social entrepreneurs is that their work will go further and have an even larger social impact, going to much higher levels and touching more people. We want people who can make radical change. We want systematic change.?

Ashoka aims to develop what it calls ?the social sector? ? a term it prefers to use instead of ?nongovernmental? or ?nonprofit? sector. It says on its website: ?Citizens?people who care and take action to serve others and cause needed change?are the essence of the sector?We believe that when one or several people get together to cause positive social change, they instantly become citizens in the fullest sense of the word.?

Ashoka works to develop the social sector by supporting individual social entrepreneurs, promoting group entrepreneurship and establishing sector infrastructure. A large part of its work is popularizing its way of looking at the field of social entrepreneurship. Joseph Sekiku, a community radio operator from Tanzania who works to make information and technology give farmers an advantage in markets, was one of those named as a fellow.

He sees the concept of social entrepreneurship as fundamentally an African idea. ?I am because we are,? he said, quoting from theologian John Mbiti?s seminal work, African Religions and Philosophy. ?I think social entrepreneurship tries to bring this essential African element of I am a human being because of other human beings.? For Pat Pillai, a South African fellow, the meaning of social entrepreneurship was not so apparent at first. But after being educated in Ashoka?s philosophy, he said he is energized to work within a larger context.

?I didn?t know that I was a social entrepreneur until Ashoka came along,? said the former teacher and business entrepreneur. ?We were just going along doing something. Ashoka has got us to understand what that is and how we need to continue doing what we are doing in order to create more social entrepreneurs. That?s the power of the network.? Pillai?s program, Life College, is a 10-year-old effort to change what he calls the psychosocial education of failure among South Africa?s township youth into a champion mentality.

He has already cultivated relationships with Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and businessman and inspirational speaker Stedman Graham to mentor youth in his program.
Life College works with five schools in South Africa and Pillai, since working with another Ashoka fellow, is looking to expand to Uganda. He already sees the returns of the Ashoka investment. ?We believe that the investment in Life College is going to change lives significantly? We?ve calculated that the economic prospects of a child in our programs increase eight-fold. Invariably, they go on to lead others and they then install those principles and values in their organizations, teams and companies.?

Even to be considered for a fellowship, aspirants must have five attributes: a pattern-changing new idea, creativity, entrepreneurial quality, social impact, and ethical fiber. Once nominated, typically anonymously, candidates go through an extensive multi-step process that includes two separate reviews, a selection panel and final approval by the Ashoka board. But finding fellows is not difficult. ?Social entrepreneurs are more numerous then you think,? Tour said. ?Wherever there is a problem, there are people who search and find solutions.?

One of Ashoka?s previous fellows is Senegal?s Binta Sarr, founder of the Association pour la Promotion des Femmes Sngalaises. Since she was selected in 1992, more than 70,000 women have benefited from the organization?s micro-finance program. Legislation has also been passed to criminalize violence against women. ?Since Ashoka covered my living expenses, I was able to focus all my efforts on my projects,? Sarr said in a telephone interview.

Her 15 years of being a social entrepreneur has taught her the importance of determination and constant innovation. She hopes that the new fellows will start out with this in mind. ?I think what is important is engagement,? she said. ?Innovation is a continual process; it?s never finished.? Ashoka has supported the work of around 2,000 social entrepreneurs in 60 countries. According to recent Ashoka-sponsored studies, more than 90 percent of fellows continue their social work after their term and just over half of all social enterprises impact legislation.

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API

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Uganda: Media crackdown taskforce set up

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Monitor (Uganda), by Mercy Nalugo and Risdel Kasasira

Kampala (Uganda) – The Cabinet yesterday constituted a powerful special sub-committee to investigate radios and newspapers accused of giving bad publicity to the ruling NRM government.

The ad hoc committee, to be chaired by Second Deputy Prime Minister Henry Muganwa Kajura, has been tasked to explore how such media organisations, acting as a ?mouthpiece? for the opposition, can be whipped to toe a line more favourable to the government. They will also review the existing laws and inquire into the workings of certain sections of the media that ?incite? violence.

Information and National Guidance Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, Security Minister Amama Mbabazi, Attorney General Kiddhu Makubuya, Internal Affairs State Minister Matia Kasaijja and Dr James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of state for Ethics and his ICT counterpart Ham Mulira, are the other members. ?The committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations to Cabinet after a month,? a source who chose anonymity because he is not authorised to speak about the closed-door meeting, said.

Another source said Mr Kivejinja, who will address the press about resolutions of yesterday?s meeting, submitted a paper outlining strong actions on errant media houses. To this end, the Cabinet that met at the Statistics House in Kampala mandated the committee to revisit the media laws and propose tougher amendments that will corner journalists, media managers and owners. ?The Cabinet agreed that some sections of the media, especially the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) incite violence. The opposition [politicians] uses CBS to fight the government and we want to see how we can urgently [tame] them through the law,? the source said.

In December last year, President Museveni warned Buganda Kingdom that owns shares in CBS FM radio not to let government critics have a free rein to use the station to malign NRM party and fan tribal sentiments.
At yesterday?s meeting, the laws lined out for comprehensive review included the Penal Code Act, the Access to Information Act and other electronic media laws. Daily Monitor has learnt that the committee shall write a paper for the Cabinet and the NRM Caucus before new laws are debated.

The committee?s work will also base on reports that have been compiled by security agencies on broadcast and print publications and the daily briefs that are submitted to the President. ?The ministers jointly agreed that strong measures be taken immediately on the media because the government has tolerated them for a long time,? the source said. The Cabinet retreat on the media comes on the heels of grave concerns that the government is directly infringing on the rights and freedom of journalists. According to the December 2007 report by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, media freedom in Uganda is threatened by legal restrictions, economic, political pressures and poor working conditions for journalists.

The report maintains that following media liberalisation in the 1990s, there has been an increase in state interference, with arbitrary closures of media houses, dictation of content, self-censorship by journalists and loss of editorial independence. At least a dozen journalists are currently facing prosecutions over stories that the state deems are either seditious or defamatory. It emerged yesterday that some liberal ministers sought to understand the intricacies of media operations and come up ?with measures on how the press can partner with the government?.

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API

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Guinea: New threat to stability with dismissal of PM

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher:Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.irin

Conakry (Guinea) – In a move which could potentially plunge Guinea into political and social turmoil, President Lansana Cont sacked his internationally-backed prime minister Lansana Kouyat on 20 May, replacing him with long-time ally Ahmed Tidjane Souar.

The change over was ordered by presidential decree and announced on the state-run television’s evening news. Disturbances and protests followed in the town of Kankan in the east of Guinea, which is dominated by people from Kouyat ethnic group. Violent protests were reported in Conakry’s Madina and Matoto neighbourhoods but they were quashed by police and no deaths have so far been reported.

Observers had expected President Cont to keep Kouyat at least until legislative elections in December 2008. “There had been rumours in the newspapers that this might happen but it is still a surprise,” opposition politician Mohamad Diane told IRIN. “It is unclear if it will lead to further crisis,” he added. The day after the announcement, on 21 May, shops and businesses were open in Conakry and other urban centres, except Kankan were locals reported that shops were closed and the atmosphere tense.

Kouyat, a former international diplomat, had been appointed prime minister in February 2007 as part of an ECOWAS-brokered deal to end weeks of bloody protests and strikes over the cost of living, which then turned into a call for President Cont to end his 24-year rule. Mobilised by powerful trade unions and opposition leaders, Guineans took to the streets five times between 2006 and 2007 although there were no protests in 2008 despite even greater rises in the cost of living.

“The trade union movement is now weak and factionalised,” said an analyst who did not want to be named, “and it has been partly co-opted by the government”. A key leader trade union leader, Hadja Rabiatou Srah Diallo, declined to give a comment to IRIN but said the unions would make a formal statement “once a new government has been formed”. People have expressed disappointment in Kouyat. “After 15 months in power he didn’t really make much difference,” said Alpha Oumar Sy Savan, an international business consultant.

“True, he did improve relations with the Bretton Woods institutions but things like water and electricity are in the same state as before, or even worse,” he said. “And the cost of living got a lot worse.”
Oumou Barry, a civil servant, agreed and said it was time to find a new approach. Many people believe that Cont’s decision was the right one, he said. A Western diplomat in Conakry who did not want to be named said, “People are in a watch-and-wait mode”.

Foreign donors had started increasing funding to the country, with further aid contingent on the success and transparency of legislative elections in December. The representative of one European donor country in Guinea said it is too early to say what the impact of the dismissal will be. “Donors are consulting each other and will coordinate over the next few days to decide the next steps,” the official said.

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API

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South Africa: Scarcity sets fire to SA?s xenophobic tinderbox

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

publisher.korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.Business Day (South Africa), by Romi Fuller and Nahla Valji

In January, acts of violence and intimidation were perpetrated against foreigners in Soshanguve. In March, foreigners? home-based businesses were vandalised and items stolen in Atteridgeville West.

In April, South African nationals looted the shops and burned the homes of foreigners in Mamelodi East. And just this week, South African nationals beat, raped and looted the homes of foreigners in Alexandra and elsewhere in Gauteng.

Those towards whom the violence is directed are black foreigners, mostly from Zimbabwe but also from Mozambique and Malawi, on the pretext that these foreigners commit violent crime and take jobs meant for South Africans. Xenophobia is not unique to SA ? discrimination against foreigners takes place in many societies, in particular those experiencing political or economic upheaval. It is a convenient scapegoating
of those at the margins of society for the ills being experienced. Its draw card is that while it is often informed by misguided perceptions, it is rooted in people?s realities ? that of increased hardship.

The most recent spate of violence is clearly linked to SA?s worsening economic situation. Increasing prices of everyday essentials such as food, fuel and electricity, and rising unemployment are leading to a politics of scarcity amongst those hardest hit. This has likely been made worse by the numbers ? or perception of numbers ? of Zimbabweans entering SA.

Disadvantaged groups perceive their share of resources reducing in proportion to the number of foreigners entering the country. The targeting of African foreigners is a product of proximity ? they reside in areas where both poverty and frustration with a lack of government response to the economic situation is at its highest among South Africans. They are also those individuals who take jobs ? out of necessity ? that are at the lowest end of the pay scale, placing them in direct competition with the large numbers of unemployed.

Discrimination is fuelled by uncertainty, and there is general confusion over the status of foreigners in SA. Whether documented or undocumented, legal or illegal, refugees, migrants, immigrants or asylum seekers, foreigners are often lumped together as ?illegal aliens?. This facilitates xenophobic attitudes and encourages hostility, conflict and violence. The racist undercurrents of xenophobia are vividly demonstrated by the numerous instances
of South African citizens being wrongfully detained by police for being ?too black?.

While recent reports highlight foreigners? experiences of individual incidents of violent xenophobia, these incidents also take place within a context of more general violence experienced by this group of people. In a country where high levels of violent crime affect all, African foreigners are often worst affected as they occupy spaces where levels of violence are at their highest.

This is compounded by the fact that they are not afforded the same protection by the state, either because of their status or because of similarly xenophobic attitudes among officials. Previous research conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and other organisations documents the complicity of some officials in corruption, intimidation and abuse of foreigners. Foreigners state that they are reluctant to report violent crimes because police neglect to follow up cases, commonly interrogate and victimise the complainant, and, most importantly, because they risk being detained themselves, regardless of the validity of their documentation.

The current situation is not helped by the government?s response to the crisis in Zimbabwe. President Thabo Mbeki?s statement that there is ?no crisis? across our border paints those fleeing the violence and repression as purely economic migrants with no ?real? reason for fleeing to SA.

As the economic situation worsens, violence against foreigners is likely to continue. Recent news of a potential ?third force? in operation is disturbing and needs to be examined thoroughly. However, this focus cannot detract from the fact that if a match has been lit, it has set fire to an existing tinderbox ? SA has long been identified as one of the most xenophobic societies globally. Previous incidents have simply been ignored or dismissed as isolated, including horrific incidents such as the setting of dogs on Mozambican migrants by members of the South African Police Service in 1998 and the throwing of foreigners from a train in the same year. To focus on a potential third force does not account for the history of these incidents, or the large numbers of South Africans who appear to be joining in the current violence.

What is needed urgently is clear and
co-ordinated action to stop the violence in the short term and serious efforts at mediating the situation. In the long term, only education of those who resort to such actions can address the context that has allowed the current violence to proliferate.

*Fuller is a project manager at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Valji is the centre?s senior project manager.

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API

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South Africa: Calm returns to Ramaphosa settlement after clashes

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2008

Publisher.Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.SABC

An eerie calm has returned to the Ramaphosa informal settlement on Gauteng’s East Rand where some of the worst attacks have taken place since the xenophobic related violence broke out about two weeks ago. However, there is still a visible police presence in the area where four people were killed this week.

Meanwhile, Garankuwa police, north of Pretoria, have confirmed that unknown people have been distributing pamphlets instructing foreigners to get out of the township by tomorrow. The pamphlets read “If you are an illegal immigrant staying in Garankuwa, make sure that you are out of this place by 23rd May 2008, especially business people”.

There is no mention of what will happen if the foreigners do not comply. Police spokesperson Matthews Nkoadi says they are investigating the origin of the pamphlet. Xenophobia task team
An inter-departmental task team, probing the root causes of the recent xenophobic-related attacks in many Gauteng townships, is fully operational. The team held its first meeting on Tuesday.

The task team is headed by Home Affairs Minister, Nosiviwe-Mapisa Nqakula, and includes representatives from Safety and Security, Social Development, Education, Health and the Department of Local and Provincial Government. Last week Cabinet announced that it would set up a team to investigate the attacks and also make recommendations to prevent a recurrence. The Chief Director of Home Affairs, Chevon McCarthy, says a communication’s task team has also been set up.

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API

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