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Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’

Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

Posted by African Press International on December 17, 2013

Op-ed by WaterAid: Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Op-ed by Lindlyn Moma, Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa (

Africa’s leaders have in their hands a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the international development agenda, not just for their continent but for the whole globe.

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

The continent’s leaders are in the midst of negotiating the Africa Common Position (ACP) on what the UN framework for development will look like after 2015. The outcome will be hugely influential.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has pointed out that we are the first generation that has the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty. We must ensure that no one is left behind.

As we debate how to achieve this, we must not forget about the work yet to be completed on the UN Millennium Development Goals. These eight ambitious goals, set in 2000 to address hunger, extreme poverty and other issues crippling the developing world, run out in 2015.

Sanitation is the most off track of all of these goals. UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation, while over a quarter — nearly 230 million people — practise open defecation.

This has devastating consequences for the continent. Over a thousand African children under the age of five die every day because of this lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation.

Last month, Secretary-General Ban called upon the world to “urgently step up” its efforts and put sanitation at the heart of post-2015 development.

Failing to do so will carry measurable financial costs.

UN estimates suggest about 5% of the continent’s wealth is being lost from this lack of access to water and sanitation. If everyone had access to these services, it would add $33 billion US a year to the continent’s economies, according to a conservative 2012 estimate by economists at the World Health Organisation.

Ghana alone, for instance, according to a World Bank assessment, loses $290 million US each year to a lack of sanitation services. Kenya loses $324 million, Nigeria a staggering $3 billion.

Making access to sanitation and safe water a top priority in the African Common Position presents an opportunity for Africa’s children, and for economic growth. This is also in line with the Africa Water Vision 2025.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with the UN-established High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, has already called for a new UN development goal of universal access to water and sanitation. In following that lead, African leaders can be seen to be listening to the voices of its citizens, including women and girls, who are calling for the prioritisation of water and sanitation post-2015.

As we now mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of justice for the African people, we also remember his calls for an African Renaissance.

Safe water and better sanitation can help address so many of the challenges Africa faces today, from reducing the HIV transmission rate to improving child health and school attendance. As Mandela himself said: “Water is central in the social, economic and political affairs of the African continent.”

By prioritising safe water and sanitation, Africa’s leaders can also ensure the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals is dealt with strategically. Africa’s leaders can set the continent onto a trajectory so that by 2030, everyone has access to this basic right to sanitation.

If we miss this opportunity, we risk leaving hundreds of millions of people on the continent behind, stranding them far from that promise of an African Renaissance.





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AfricaLive 06/12/2013; Nelson Mandela’s death touches many

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

AfricaLive 06/12/2013 Nelson Mandela‘s death touches many


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Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

NEW YORK, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gérard Araud ( France):

The members of the Security Council are profoundly saddened to hear of the death of President Nelson Mandela. He was an inspirational leader who transformed the lives of millions of people around the world. The members of the Security Council extend their deepest condolences to his family and to the Government and people of South Africa at this time.

The members of the Security Council express their deepest admiration for the outstanding qualities of moral and political leadership displayed by Nelson Mandela throughout his lifetime. His lifelong fight against racial oppression and his decisive role in shaping the peaceful transition to a united and democratic South Africa are a lasting legacy to his country and to the world.

The members of the Security Council commend the adoption in 2009 of Nelson Mandela International Day, the first ever international day in honour of an individual. The members of the Security Council consider this to be a reflection of the magnitude of Nelson Mandela’s contribution to freedom and justice. Nelson Mandela Day is a celebration of the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact, just as Nelson Mandela did himself.

The members of the Security Council express their solidarity with the people of South Africa at this sad time. President Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as someone who gave up so much of his life in the struggle for freedom, so that millions could have a brighter future.





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Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

VATICAN, Holy See, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence to Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, on the death of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela yesterday.

In the text, the Pope extended his condolences to the Mandela family, members of government, and all South Africans. Pope Francis recalled “the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation, and truth.”

“I pray,” the message continues, “that the late president’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments,” the telegram concludes, “I invoke upon all the people of South Africa the divine gifts of peace and prosperity.”



Vatican Information Service (VIS)


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Statement by the US Vice President on the Death of Nelson Mandela

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Nelson Mandela once said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Mandela’s wisdom and compassion were formidable enough to change the world. First his courage and then his forgiveness inspired us all, and challenged us to do better. In the words of the South African poet Peter Horn, he “dreamed the world another way.”

I saw his world the way it used to be when I visited South Africa as a 34 year old Senator. When I exited the plane I was directed to one side of the tarmac, while the African American congressmen traveling with me were sent to the other side. I refused to break off, and the officials finally relented.

When I tried to enter Soweto township with Congressmen Andrew Young of Atlanta and Charles Diggs of Detroit, I remember their tears of anger and sadness. Because of Nelson Mandela’s courage, and compassion, that world has been transformed. One of my favorite Irish poets, Seamus Heaney once wrote: “History says, don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up, and hope and history rhyme.” In the hands of Nelson Mandela, hope and history rhymed. This is a better world because Nelson Mandela was in it. He was a good man.



The White House


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Nelson Mandela is not dead: Gracious God has taken him to rest in peace in his eternal Kingdom

Posted by African Press International on December 6, 2013

Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela has been Graciously taken home by the Lord. His spirit lives on within those who loved him.

This was a man whose great wisdom brought peace amongst the White and Black South Africans. His light was shining throughout the world. People celebrated his life. Mandela was 95 years old. He will be buried in Eastern Cape – his hometown.

May his soul rest in eternal Peace and may our condolences give peace to his family.


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Are these Nelson Mandela’s last days? His life is weakening – In hospital being treated for serious lung infection

Posted by African Press International on June 13, 2013

Former  South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela is said to be responding to treatment in hospital, according to the government.

President Jacob Zuma has been quoted saying the former president is positive to treatment. He told parliament that he was glad when he got the progress report on the health of the former leader owing to the fact that Mandela has had difficult days in the start of treatment. Mandela is now 94 years, with lung infection on his sixth day in a Pretoria hospital.

His health worries his wife Graca Machel, his daughter and two granddaughters. The family reportedly has sent out a statement saying they are deeply touched by the concern people are showing for Mandela during this trying moments.

Mandela spent 27 years in jail fighting the then apartheid regime. He was elected president in 1994 and he chose to remain president for only one term.

API feels with his family and hope all goes well with the hero of South Africa.




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Somali women parliamentarians – the predicament of finding a voice

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2013

  •   By Farhia Ali Abdi.

 “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” Nelson Mandela.

Parliamentary democracy is described as a political system based on the idea that parliament is supreme or “sovereign”. This means that parliamentary democracy is one in which the people choose representatives at regular elections and are responsible for the following:  the formation of  government, the passage of legislation by majority vote of the parliament, the scrutiny and monitoring of the executive government and the public service and other authorities and institutions created by parliament. Most importantly, this scrutiny extends to monitoring the expenditure of public money.

The general belief is that Somalia has never had a free parliamentarian election; in fact Somalia did have its first and the last civilian parliamentary public election in 1960 following the country’s independence. Somali Youth League (SYL) won the majority of the seats by 69 of the 123 seats.






Somali Youth League





Somali National Congress





Somali Democratic Union





Somali Independent Constitutional Party





United Somali Party





Giovani S Partito Liberale





Somali National League





Somali African National Union





Other parties










Source: Nohlen et al.







Current Somalia Parliament:

Inaugurated in August 2012, the Federal Parliament of Somalia and in particular its Lower House composed of 275 clan-based representatives included only fourteen percent (14%) female parliamentarians ended the Transitional Road Map. In September, the same year, Parliament elected a new President of Somalia and adopted the Somali Provisional Constitution. On October 2012, the President nominated the new Prime Minister and in November 2012, Parliament formally endorsed the Council of Ministers as selected by the Prime Minister. Understandably the country has undertaken a historical process of change and has moved forward towards peace and stability after decades of violent conflict that ravaged the country and resulted in widespread suffering to its people. Rebuilding Somalia’s withered institutions with a stable government and a parliament representing the will of its citizens will take a lot more effort and strength, and it is the key to building the country into a peaceful and prosperous nation.

The Voice of Somali Women

“I don’t mind being a symbol, but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings, and I’ve seen what the pigeons do to them” Tommy Douglas.

As mentioned above, Somali women’s hold about 14% of the seats in parliament is an achievement and does represent progress, compared to the country’s past regimes; civilian or military administrations alike. However, the failure in 2012 to meet the stated commitment on 30% reserved seats for women in the Federal Parliament was largely due to the lack of agreement between the clans which govern the country to allocate an adequate number of seats to female representation. Putting the faith of women in the hands of elderly men in a patriarchal society was misguided ideology. Nevertheless, some regions fared better than others, i.e. Puntland, which is one of the largest regions in the country in terms of land and population, only returned two existed seats occupied by female parliamentarians to the Parliament and failed to fulfil the new 30% seats allocated for women pledge; providing a glimpse into the depth of culturally embedded gender inferiority and biases in the country.

Somali women are not, however, unaccustomed to the idea of pursuing equality. They started the women’s movement during the 40s and 50s, against all odds, to become the beacon of Somali’s hope for independence from the British and Italians. If there is one thing that all generations of Somali women share, it is the desire to keep their country together. They have put this notion of  “country” at the forefront, even at the expense of their own gender equality aspirations, whether they are fighting for freedom from colonization or picking up the pieces in the aftermath of civil war. It was women, for example, in the country’s countless peace accords, noticeably in Arta, Djibouti in 2000, who challenged the delegates to think beyond clan boundaries in drafting a resolution to end the deadlock of indecisiveness.

In the more recent Parliamentary elections, women’s networks within the country and the diaspora took a stand and campaigned and advocated for greater women’s involvement in the political arena and the protection of their human rights. This outpouring of support and advocacy from women inside and out of the country was focused on achieving adequate representation of women in the national recovery process and to obtain political rights in order to gain positions, both in the government and in the parliament. Despite, these strong efforts, the engagement of the current women members of parliament  remains very low and very disappointing, particularly in their silence on the issues of widespread and epidemic sexual violence in the country. While the country and the international community were outraged by the deplorable action of the rape and the arrest of Somali woman and the reporter who accused government soldiers of rape, the women MPs remained quiet.

For the underlining causes of their silence, one can hypothesize that Somali women MPs are perhaps, intimidated by structural obstacles that may be looming behind the male-dominated parliament. Perhaps they are inexperienced and ill-equipped in dealing with the nation’s affairs; or maybe they don’t know what their specific roles and responsibilities are; or conceivably, the media ignores their place and doesn’t draw any attention to the voice of women and their agenda, effectively keeping “women’s” issues from the public eye?

Whatever the causes; these are questions percolating in the minds of all the Somali women who have fought, or have observed the fight, for women’s rights to be productive members of parliament. These women deserve adequate representation and to hear the voices from their members of parliament. Parliaments are not gender-neutral institutions; they have their own cultural norms and rules and there is no illusion that women’s increased representation in parliament will necessarily lead to a quick fix or change; however, for any changes to occur it will require on the part of the women MPs a great deal of effort and time. 

Suggestion for women MPs to move forward:

In this context, increased women’s involvement in Somali political institutions is crucial. Women constitute over 50 percent of the Somali population, and they should be proportionally represented in all legislatures and decision-making bodies. The general belief is that women’s presence in parliament will broaden priorities on the political agenda to include a range of previously important, but unconsidered issues. For Somali women MPs, it’s paramount that the issues of childcare, women’s health, sexual and physical violence against women, gender discrimination, and women’s education, to name but a few, are given far greater prominence. The current Minister for Human Development & Public Services in the Federal Republic of Somalia, Dr. Maryan Qasim gave an interview to IRIN news in 2000; then as a new Member of Parliament and was asked if there are women issues, they (women MPs) would focus on specifically. She responded as follows: “Yes, there are certain issues we would like to focus on – women’s issues, if you would like to call them that. First of all, we would like to strengthen the role of women to the government. Secondly, we would like to draw attention to those issues which affect women and children, such as health care and income generation for women. We would like to address women’s education and schools catering for the education of women and girls. And we want to make sure that women realize that this is their government, not one just for men”.

These are the issues (and there are many more) that are shared by most Somali women. Both the women MPs, and the female Cabinet Ministers, including the author of the above quote have a common responsibility to address all areas relevant to the promotion of gen­der equality and the empowerment of women. Women MPs need to continuously enhance and push forward a Somali women’s political agenda by:

  1. Identifying opportunities to develop equita­ble legislation and gender-sensitive programs that are conducive to change.
  2. Increasing the visibility and influence of women MPs
  3. Establishing a formal mechanism or committee structure through which women MPs can meet and present its work and recommendations to the government.
  4. Advocating the principle of equality and gender sensitivity within the government
  5. Creating comprehensive strategies to develop sustainable programs on women’s issues, and in particular, a strategy to remedy the current gender imbalance in political participation and representation in parliamentary seats.

Somalia government and support for women’s capacity building.

  1. Government has to assist in building women’s confidence and to strengthen their capacity to fulfil their mandates appropriately; which is a crucial ingredient for both government and society at large.
  2. Government has to facilitate an environment in which women feel comfortable to exchange information and to bring forward proposed legislative changes fairly and freely.
  3. Government needs to assist women legislators in addressing specific national gender priorities and to provide all the necessary assistance required to achieve this objective.
  4. Government has to support women parliamentarians by establishing an alliance between women and men in favor of gender equality, thus avoiding the marginalization of gender issues.

Researchers have confirmed, time and time again, that there are differences in gender styles between men and women with respect to leadership and conflict resolution. Women tend to be more participatory and tend to work in a less hierarchical and more collaborative manner than their male counterparts. Somalia’s road to justice and sustainable development cannot be paved with a half measured; it requires sound investments and a resolute commitment to equal liberty, and good governance.

Somali women parliamentarians today, and hopefully more so in the future, have an opportunity to guide the country towards a right and just direction that will benefit all citizens; a direction that will not be buckled down with tired cultural segregation and subordination. Somali women MPs need to speak up and make their voices heard. Lofty ambitions, good intentions and nice words will not produce a progressive Somali society. A gender-balanced approach to politics is required; one that will truly protect Somalia’s future, anything less than that will only amount to a democratic deficit.



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African Hero Nelson Mandela ageing well.

Posted by African Press International on April 30, 2013

Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years by the apartheid regime of South Africa. He survived the prison life. On his release, he was elected the country’s president. He ruled for one term and retired. His life history is amazing.

Now at 94 years old, he has been admitted to hospital a number of times this year. He is now back home from the hospital. He is still receiving medical attention.

Born in 1918, Mandela is a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. The first black African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representive, multiracial election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically a democratic socialist, he served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the Afrikaner nationalists of the National Party came to power in 1948 and began implementing the policy of apartheid, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was elected President of the Transvaal ANC Branch and oversaw the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961 but was found not guilty. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the South African Communist Party he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, leading a bombing campaign against government targets. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robin, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990. Becoming ANC President, Mandela published his autobiography and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish Multi-racial elections in 1994 in which he led the ANC to victory. He was elected President and formed a Governemnt of Natonal Unity. As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses, while introducing policies to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy Thabo Mbeki, subsequently becoming an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Controversial for much of his life, right-wing critics denounced Mandela as a terrorist and communist sympathiser. He has nevertheless received international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Federation and the Soviet Order of Lenin. He is held in deep respect within South Africa as the “Father of the Nation” and is often known under his Xhosa clan name of Madiba.


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Nelson Mandela still hospitalised

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela’s wife has told the media that her husband, the 94-year-old icon is reponding well to treatment and that his health is improving after he was taken to hospital for treatment due to pneumonia more than a week ago.

She stateed, “He is in hospital simply because the doctors want to be absolutely sure that he is strong enough to go home and nothing is going to recur.”

This was the  third time to be hospitalised since December last year.




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Mandela still in hospital, but reportedly responding well to treatment

Posted by African Press International on March 30, 2013

Nelson Mandela is reportedly comfortable and breathing without any difficulty. He is being treated for pneumonia, the presidency has told the media today Saturday. This is his 3rd day in hospital.

Mandela who is now 94 years old had fluid removed from his chest and is said it “has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty,” President Jacob Zuma‘s office said.




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