Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bodies of Tanzanian UN Peacekeepers to Be Repatriated This Week
2017-12-10 15:39

Nairobi - The bodies of 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be repatriated in the coming days, the Tanzanian army said on Sunday.

The soldiers were all members of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces participating in a UN peacekeeping operation in the conflict-torn eastern region of the country.

Their base in North Kivu province came under attack by suspected Ugandan rebels on Thursday.

"We are working with the United Nations on this. The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday December 12 and Wednesday December 13," Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, told reporters.

The UN has put the death toll from the attack at 15, with 53 wounded. But Tanzania's government continues to speak of 14 deaths, the original figure released by the UN.

Mwakibolwa said the soldiers were killed after 13 hours of clashes with fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces who attacked their positions.

The ADF is a shadowy rebel group dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims and opposed to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years.

The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.

DR Congo's huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.

The UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a "heinous" act.
Sonangol's Former Leader Prepares New Oil Plans After Losing Post in Angola
By AHMED FETEHA, TAMIM ELYAN AND HENRIQUE ALMEIDA
12/8/2017

CAIRO and LISBON (Bloomberg) -- Less than a month after being fired as head of Angola’s state-owned oil company, Isabel dos Santos says she is studying new deals.

Dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, said two major Angolan banks she has links to are preparing to sell shares as part of plans to strengthen their operations at home and abroad. She also said Friday she remains committed to her investments in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia SGPS SA and cable operator NOS SGPS SA.

The daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the 44-year-old has an estimated wealth of $2.5 billion. Joao Lourenco, who became head of state in September, fired Dos Santos from her position as chair of Sonangol last month. He has vowed to end monopolies and tackle corruption and poverty in a country where the former leader’s family and their allies control large sectors of the economy. Dos Santos said her dismissal was “normal” in the context of the change in political control.

“I think there was a change in vision in terms of where to take the company,” Dos Santos said in an interview during a conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. On speculation about the decision, she said: “I’m not a politician and my focus is on business, on building businesses.”

Banco de Fomento Angola, the oil-rich country’s second-biggest bank, may sell a stake of as much as 25% in an initial public offering in the first quarter of 2019, said Dos Santos, who is vice president of the lender. The bank is controlled by Unitel, Angola’s largest telecommunications company, of which Dos Santos owns a 25% stake.

New shareholders

There are also plans to sell a stake in Luanda-based Banco BIC through a private placement of shares, said Dos Santos. A roadshow to market Angola’s fourth-biggest lender to potential investors will take place in the first quarter of 2018, said Dos Santos, who owns a 43% stake in Banco BIC and sits on the board.

“These banks have gone from strength to strength and I think it’s time now to open their capital and receive new shareholders,” Dos Santos said. Unitel owns 51.9% in Banco de Fomento Angola, while Lisbon-based Banco BPI, controlled by Spain’s CaixaBank SA, holds the rest.

“We’re still discussing whether London or Lisbon would be a better place,” she said. “But we’ve already made our intention clear to Angola’s central bank and their view was positive.”

'Aggressive plan'

While the size of the possible sale of shares in Banco BIC hasn’t been decided, it has put together a team to study the share offering and has also picked financial advisers for the sale.

Banco BIC, which has operations in Angola, Namibia, Cape Verde and Portugal, would use funds raised from a share sale to fund expansion, and is looking for opportunities in Africa and Asia, said Dos Santos. “We’re looking at mergers, we’re looking at acquisitions. We have quite an aggressive acquisition and licensing plan.” Banco BIC is discussing an opportunity in South Africa, she said, without elaborating.

Her dismissal as chair of Sonangol shouldn’t affect her investment in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia, where she holds an indirect stake, along with Sonangol and the heirs of Portuguese investor Americo Amorim of 33.4%, Dos Santos said.

“These are two different things,” she said. “The Galp investment is a very old investment, it dates back to 2008. It’s a stable investment.”

Dos Santos said she remains happy with her investment in Portuguese cable operator NOS, which is controlled by a joint venture Dos Santos owns with Sonaecom SGPS SA.

“The position in NOS is one to maintain and to keep,” said Dos Santos. “I like to think that our investment in NOS is an investment that will allow it to generate further growth and to look at the possibility of NOS growing in other areas, both inside and outside Portugal.”
Declare DRC Rebels Terrorists: Kabila 
December 10 2017 10:54 PM
GULF TIMES
Agencies/Goma

The leaders of three African nations have called on the international community to classify as a terrorist group the Congolese rebel group responsible for one of the worst attacks on peacekeepers.

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and heads of state from neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville and Angola want the international community to respond to attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group as terrorist attacks.

Kabila, Angola’s President Joao Lourenco and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso released a statement on Saturday while attending a summit with leaders from Africa’s central Great Lakes region, held in the city of Brazzaville over the weekend.

At least 15 UN peacekeepers were killed on Thursday by rebels in an attack on a base in Congo’s North Kivu region, the UN said. A further 53 others were wounded.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “this is the worst attack on UN peacekeepers in the organisation’s recent history”.

Most of the peacekeepers killed were Tanzanian nationals.

Tanzania’s ambassador to the Congo and UN representatives arrived in the town of Beni yesterday to assess the situation.

The three presidents also want the Lord’s Resistance Army, the rebel group led Joseph Kony, to be declared a terrorist group.

Both groups operate between the porous borders of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighbouring East African states.

The bodies of 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be repatriated in the coming days, the Tanzanian army said yesterday.

The soldiers were all members of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces participating in a UN peacekeeping operation in the conflict-torn eastern region of the country.

Their base in North Kivu province came under attack by suspected Ugandan rebels on Thursday.

“We are working with the United Nations on this.

The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday December 12 and Wednesday December 13,” Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, told reporters.

The UN has put the death toll from the attack at 15, with 53 wounded.

But Tanzania’s government continues to speak of 14 deaths, the original figure released by the UN.
Mwakibolwa said the soldiers were killed after 13 hours of clashes with fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces who attacked their positions.

The ADF is a shadowy rebel group dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims and opposed to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years.

The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.

DR Congo’s huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.

UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a “heinous” act.
SWAPO Elects New Politburo
December 4, 2017
Albertina Nakale
New Era

Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has urged the newly elected members of Swapo’s politburo, who will serve for the next five years, to carefully study and familiarise themselves with the oath they took when they were sworn into their new roles over the weekend.

Eighteen members of the Swapo politburo – the first nine from the male list and another nine from the female list as elected – were sworn in on Saturday.

“Comrades, you have been charged. You took your oath. Go and re-read that oath and what it means. Very soon we will start with our job as people have assigned us to do,” Geingob advised the elected members.

The politburo consists of 24 members: 18 are elected and two are nominees of the party president. The top four: party president Geingob, vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, secretary general Sophia Shaningwa and deputy secretary general Marco Hausiku, are automatically included.

President Hage Geingob is yet to nominate his two candidates to the new politburo.

Voting and counting in the election of the new politburo members started on Saturday morning and the result was announced after lunchtime. Commissioner of Oath Sisa Namandje, who announced the new members at a swearing-in ceremony that took place at Parliament building on Saturday afternoon, said a total of 711 votes were cast during the election process.

Founding President Sam Nujoma also graced the election and swearing-in of the new members of the politburo.

At the same event, Geingob appointed his six members to the party’s central committee. They are Calle Schlettwein, Erkki Nghimtina, Penda Ya Ndokolo, Christina Hoebes, Jennely Matundu, chief liaison officer for Opuwo Town Council, and Collien Van Wyk, a retired teacher from Rehoboth.

Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila topped the female list with 66 votes, while Nangolo Mbumba received 62 votes to top the male list.

“These lists I have signed off. Every time there is a vacancy you look who is going out. If it’s a representative of NUNW [National Union of Namibian Workers], you don’t have to look at my list. You have to ask them to provide you with a list.

“If it comes from the 57 central committee members and there is a vacancy then should you replace through the 57 voted at congress. If it’s politburo and the vacancy is among the 18 voted today, then you come back to my list. If it’s among the two presidential nominees, then the president will nominate,” he said.

Female list with number of votes obtained:
Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadilha 66
Laura McLeod-Katjirua 63
Doreen Sioka 59
Katrina Hanse-Himarwa 55
Magareth Mensah-Williams 52
Hilma Nicanor 52
Lucia Ipumbu 44
Sirka Ausiku 42
Lucia Witbooi 39
Kornelia Shilunga 36
Christina Hoebes 35
Eunice Iipinge 35
Maria Jagger 31
Eveline Nawases-Taeyele 27
Loide Kasingo 25
Anna Shiweda 19
Lempy Lucas 15
Ida Hoffman 8
Coleen van Wyk 8

Male List with number of votes obtained:
Nangolo Mbumba 62
Albert Kawana 51
John Mutorwa 47
Pohamba Shifeta 47
Peter Katjavivi 35
Alpheus !Naruseb 34
Calle Schlettwein 33
Tobie Aupindi 31
Bernard Esau 30
Veikko Nekundi 29
Utoni Nujoma 29
Penda ya Ndakolo 29
Erkki Nghimtina 26
Peya Mushelenga 23
Erastus Uutoni 21
Sacky Shangala 19
Charles Namoloh 18
Tjekero Tweya 18
Uahekua Herunga 17
Asser Kapere 17
Clemens Kashuupulwa 15
Elia Kaiyamo 13
Leon Jooste 12
Festus Ueitele 12
Erginus Endjala 10
Mukwaita Shanyengana 9
Tommy Nambahu 8
Petrus Nevonga 7
Usko Nghaamwa 7
Modestus Amutse 6
Royal /Ui/o/oo 5
Team Swapo Disbands, Calls for Unity
November 28, 2017
Selma Ikela
New Era

Windhoek-Home Affairs Minister Pendukeni Iivula–Ithana, who contested for the party’s vice-presidency in the just-ended Swapo elective congress, has saids her campaign group, dubbed ‘Team Swapo’, is henceforth disbanded, as it no longer serves any purpose.

Iivula-Ithana implored those who supported her bid for the vice-presidency to accept the outcome, saying she believed the voting process was free, fair and transparent.

Iivula-Ithana lost with 194 votes to Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, who scored 552 votes. Helmut Kangulohi Angula, who was in the same category only garnered 20 votes.

Iivula-Ithana and fellow team members spoke at the announcement of the congress results in early hours of Monday morning, saying they accepted the results and that the process was democratic, free and fair.

“I have accepted the results wholeheartedly and call upon those who supported my candidature to accept what I am saying here: that we now all belong to one team that is Swapo,” Iivula-Ithana said.

“Prior to this historic congress, we had our election campaign. Before I move on, I would like to tell this congress that Team Swapo is disbanded, because its purpose has come to an end. All of us are Swapo Party members and must continue to work for our party. I would like to congratulate the party president and your team for being elected,” she said.

The defeated group vowed to rally behind the victors and offered their support. This chimes with President Hage Geingob’s call last week at the opening of congress for members to support those candidates who emerge as winners in the inner-party election.

The now disbanded Team Swapo was led by seven candidates, namely Jerry Ekandjo and Nahas Angula who both vied for the Swapo party presidency. They both lost convincingly to Hage Geingob.

In the race for the position of party secretary general, Team Swapo member Armas Amukwiyu lost to Sophia Shaningwa, while for the position of Swapo Party deputy secretary general both Petrina Haingura and Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun lost out to Marco Hausiku.

Iivula Ithana said as the campaign has ended all Swapo party members should rally around he leadership and continue to work for the party.

In her special message to Nandi-Ndaitwah, who she said was her age mate, and participated alongside her in the liberation struggle, she said Nandi-Ndaitwah’s election had been her own achievement.
“I would like to assure you comrade Ndaitwah, that where you feel I have a contribution to make, don’t hesitate,” she said.

Amukwiyu added that the party’s victory is the party members’ victory. He told Shaningwa that he remains the Oshikoto regional party coordinator and she is his immediate supervisor and therefore pledged his support.

“The party leadership and structures in Oshikoto Region will march towards the support of your leadership,” Amukwiyu stated.

Nahas Angula, who also accepted the loss, said delegates spoke through their votes and their voice needed to be respected. “I am at your command, when you need my energy and intellectual capacity in order to make Namibia a place to live for all our people,” he said to Swapo president Geingob. Jerry Ekandjo said it was history in the making and that unlike in many other countries people came out more united than before.

“Everything has a beginning and an end. I am saying this, some of us have been leading the Namibian revolution for 21 years before independence and 27 years after independence, altogether 48 years, meaning that there will be a time when everything comes to the end and new generation will take over,” he said.

Helmut Angula said the delegates had spoken and they will abide by the democratic process. He jokingly said he might return to being a bishop and looking after his church.

Petrina Haingura said she was glad the party adhered to the 50/50 gender representation system. She added that there may be a next time to compete again.

Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun said in Swapo there are no losers or winners. Namundjebo-Tilahun, a prominent businesswoman, said she would dedicate her time to the party and support the Swapo leadership.

Local political analyst Dr Hoze Riruako said the country witnessed a great spectacle of political maturity and everybody this time around appreciated the fact that they had won or lost fairly and their action will not destroy the party. He said this was instrumental to the future of the party. Riruako noted that past congress elections saw the birth of opposition political parties, such as the Congress of Democrats (CoD) and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), as the candidates were completely bruised and bitter.

“This time around I am seeing a different Swapo and it started before the counting of congress votes, were I saw both comrades from two teams kissing and hugging each other. Now that is one surprise we saw; things were different this time around.”

Riruako said this moment in the party’s history should be celebrated because for the first time both groups decided to do what is good for the party. He also brushed aside suggestions that those defeated may create their own political parties, saying age is not on the side of some candidates age: if they couldn’t win within the party, how can they win on their own?

“That is why it was a smart move to get together,” he said.
Namibia Women-centric Policy and Boardroom Diversity Needed
December 8, 2017
Alisa Amupolo
New Era

Boardroom gender diversity is increasing and as a female C-suite leader [chief executive] I have more appreciation for that by virtue of my own presence in the boardroom, in a typically male dominated industry that is passive infrastructures in the telecommunications industry, traditionally run by electronic engineers.

However, reality dedicate on the one hand that women are still under-represented in the boardroom not only across millennial black women like myself, but across race, age groups, across industries and continents of the world, making it a cross cutting issue.

Only 15 percent of the world’s corporations, including America’s Fortune 1000 companies, are run by women and as of 2017 there are only 32 female CEOs on that list.

On a lighter note countries like Norway, Sweden and France are pioneers well on their way to reach the equilibrium with 40.1, 33.7 and 33.5 percent representation, respectively. Whilst Africa has made progress on gender equality, only 5 percent of women are CEOs in Africa, according to McKinsey and Co.

These statistics are alarming and should not serve as reasons to justify the norm but to challenge the status quo and be intentional as Namibians and Africans about being world leader in gender diversity in the corporates. We need not to wait for USA to first reach the equilibrium then we follow.

The Namibian lawmakers have set themselves apart by adopting a 50/50 representation, also referred to as ‘the Zebra style’, and the impact was unparalleled, an effort worth emulating.

However corporate Namibia is still playing catch up. We know for a fact companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent. We need to go beyond simply having women in leadership position compared to just 7.4 percent for those without. If you have gender diversity on the board, you can expect greater profits even greater CEO pay and enhanced problems solving.

I firmly believe the only way we can make the most of opportunity to achieve gender diversity is by being intentional about it in our corporate policies. We have to seek alignment with national objectives and put in practice the tone of gender equality that has already been set by lawmakers.

In my previous role as a strategy and management consultant, I have had the privilege of developing corporate policies that creates the culture and environment for the entity to thrive and yield sustainable results that are value adding and aligned to national objectives.

I found that the easiest place to measure the gender equity appetite of any company is through the corporate policies.

You can easily deduce that women were missing at the table and there was simply no one to echo their voice in shaping or counter those policies. When present, they are often in support functions rather than in the core business functions, where key decisions are made, let alone at the helm of the company.

A conversation needs to happen when designing corporate policies that are women centric. There must be threshold levels for achieving gender diversity, and incentive to attract and retain more women in the corporate boardroom where key decisions are made. There must then be penalties for not achieving that, apart from the obvious low profits.

I have observed companies both that have and those that do not have progressive policies that embrace female employees. I have had experiences where corporate policies, at design stage, did not foresee women in the c-suite and were caught off guard when a maternity case arose, because men had predominantly run the company.

We have heard companies that would not interview pregnant woman as a thumb rule, and it is retarded. Similarly, we have heard companies where people, including women, get agitated if a new female employee, no matter at what level, is fall pregnant within the first months of employment. Whereas having a family is a human right.

This is not to suggest that women find new jobs just to pop babies whilst enjoying the employment security without being productive at work or adding value to the bottom line.

We have heard of companies that rub it in expectant mothers’ faces that the current labor law does not require companies to pay the gap for women above the N$13,000 social security threshold. Corporates should be interested in protecting their females’ employees from significant income loss or forced annual leaves for expectant women without being ask by lawmakers to do so.

We should be celebrating a progressive corporate culture that is not to the detriment of our male counterpart but to collective effort towards prosperity for all that does not discriminate based on gender. None of us had the privilege to choose our gender at birth.

All in all, we need to be deliberate about our corporate policies, and move away from women being understudies or deputies to men, and normalize men being deputies to women, serving under women leadership. We should embrace women’s powerful emotions, sense of care and selflessness, transparency and integrity as an asset to our boardroom that has tangible value.

Happy Women’s Day and Human Right’s Day beloved Namibia!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Egypt’s Coptic Church Chief Cancels Meeting With US Vice President Over Quds
Sat Dec 9, 2017 03:22PM
presstv.ir

The file photo shows the leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians, Pope Tawadros II. (Photo by AFP)

The head of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, has called off a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence scheduled to be held in the capital Cairo later this month in protest at Washington's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's capital.

US President Donald Trump's decision "did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people," Egypt's Coptic Church said in a statement on Saturday.

"The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church declines to receive American Vice President Mike Pence," the statement added.

The church said it would pray for "wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East."

The announcement comes a day after the head of Egypt's al-Azhar, the country’s top Muslim authority, Ahmed al-Tayeb, also refused to meet Pence.

Egyptian Coptic Christians are considered the largest religious minority in the region.

Meanwhile, Majdi Khaldi, a diplomatic adviser to the Palestinian president, confirmed Saturday that Mahmoud Abbas won't meet Pence "because the US has crossed red lines" on Jerusalem al-Quds.

On Wednesday, Trump announced that he formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and ordered the start of a process for moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.

The declaration sent shock waves throughout the Muslim world, and even prompted warnings from Washington’s allies in the West that it would bring more chaos to the region.

On Thursday, Palestinian officials said they would not meet with Pence during his visit to Israel later this month to protest against Trump’s decision, saying the US official was unwelcome in Palestine.

Palestinian leaders declared Friday as the “day of rage” against Israel and the US.

Clashes broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, al-Khalil -- also known as Hebron-- , Bethlehem and Nablus in the occupied West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip. At least two Palestinians were killed and about 770 others were injured during the unrest on Friday.

Also on Saturday, twenty Palestinians were injured during continued clashes with Israeli forces in Bethlehem after the forces began targeting the crowd with rubber-coated bullets and fired tear gas to disperse protesters.

Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.
Palestine to Ask the UN to Issue a Resolution on Trump’s al-Quds Decision: Palestinian FM
Sat Dec 9, 2017 05:55PM
presstv.ir

Palestinian National Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki speaks during a news conference at the Palestine Embassy, in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says he will seek the United Nations Security Council’s resolution over US President Donald Trump’s recent provocative decision on recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

“The United States’ decision is illegal and illegitimate. It shows how biased and hostile it is and that it has positioned itself as a party to the conflict rather than as a mediator,” the Palestinian top diplomat told a news conference held ahead of the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Trump announced his contentious decision and ordered that work on the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds begin.

The provocative declaration sent shockwaves throughout the Muslim world, and even prompted stern warnings from Washington’s allies in the West that it would bring more chaos to the already tense region.

Maliki further said Washington had decided to isolate itself from the international community and had moved to be part of the rogue minority side by side with the occupation entity of Israel.

"We came today to attend the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers at the joint request of Jordan and Palestine to discuss this issue and will issue a set of resolutions on this matter after the meeting of the Arab League,” he added.

Thousands of mourners hold funeral processions for four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
Tel Aviv lays claim to the entire city as its “capital,” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of their future state.

In reaction to the announcement, Palestinians have staged rallies across the West Bank, Jerusalem al-Quds and Gaza during the past few days.

Several people have already lost their lives as Israel security forces attacked Palestinians’ protesting gatherings. At least 20 Palestinians sustained injuries during heavy clashes between Israeli forces and protesters rallying in the occupied West Bank on Saturday.
US VP Pence Unwanted in Palestine: Fatah
Fri Dec 8, 2017 08:03AM
presstv.ir

Palestinian officials have called off a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence to protest Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

Secretary General of the West Bank-based Palestinian Fatah party, Jibril Rajoub, said Thursday that Pence, who is scheduled to visit the occupied West Bank to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas later this month, was “unwanted in Palestine.”

He said that no official from the Palestinian government, including President Abbas, would meet with Pence during his visit to the region.

“In the name of Fatah, I say we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in Palestinian territory,” Rajoub said. 

The Palestinian official said that Pence had requested to meet with Abbas in Bethlehem on December 19, adding that a “meeting like this won’t happen.”

However, a White House aide said Pence “still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled” and “believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting.”

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defied global warnings and said the US formally recognizes Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel, and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.

The announcement has triggered a chorus of condemnations from around the world.

Late on Wednesday, Deputy Palestinian UN envoy Feda Abdelhady-Nasser said in a letter to the UN Security Council that Trump’s move violates numerous resolutions that prohibit changes to the status of Jerusalem al-Quds.

She warned that the provocative move would only aggravate the already-heightened tensions, and could lead to “a never-ending religious war.”

The diplomat warned that the provocative move would only “aggravate the already-heightened tensions” in the region.

The letter also warned that “extremists” would exploit the situation to their own benefit.

The Security Council is scheduled to meet later on Friday to discuss Trump’s announcement.

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has called for a new intifada against Israel, calling Friday “day of rage” across the Palestinian occupied territories.

The entire Jerusalem al-Quds is currently under Israel’s control, while the regime also claims the city’s eastern part, which hosts the third holiest Muslim site.

The city has been designated as “occupied” under international law since the 1967 Arab War, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

Trump had vowed during his presidential campaign that he would relocate the US embassy in order to court pro-Israel voters.

Palestinians have repeatedly warned Trump against such an action, saying it would deliver a death blow to any prospects of the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and fuel extremism in the region.
Al-Quds Will Turn Into Zionist Regime's Graveyard: IRGC Commander
Sat Dec 9, 2017 05:04PM
presstv.ir

The chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari (File photo)

The chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Jerusalem al-Quds will turn into a graveyard for the Israeli regime.

Speaking at a meeting with a number of IRGC personnel in Tehran on Saturday, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said a recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” was aimed at destroying al-Aqsa Mosque.

"The US and the Zionist regime [of Israel] have committed their most historic folly vis-à-vis al-Quds, and with the grace of God, al-Quds will become a graveyard for the fake regime of Israel," he added.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei says the Muslim world will stand against a US plot to declare Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

Jafari urged Muslims to immediately stand up against the "vicious plot” or it would be too late. 

"We are informed that this decision was the outcome of [the US] behind-the-scenes consultations, agreements and coordination with some Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, and that they had been aware of the issue since a few months ago," the senior IRGC commander said.

A commentator says Trump's al-Quds move has unveiled Washington’s true face that it is not a peacemaker but rather stands solely by the Zionist entity.

Jafari added that the Saudi regime is making efforts to limit the Muslim nations' stance against the new US crime to just words and statements and said Riyadh had agreed with Israel and the US to prevent any "practical move" aimed at safeguarding al-Quds.

However, Muslims would once again thwart the enemies' plots, he emphasized.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with the visiting British foreign secretary, Shamkhani said the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” would once again turn the Palestinian issue into the main focus of the Muslim world.

Trump's move was an "unwitting service to the Muslim world" which would lead to further unity among Muslims to counter the Israeli regime and defend the Palestinians' rights, Shamkhani told Boris Johnson in Tehran.

The US president on Wednesday defied global warnings and said Washington formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.

Trump's declaration has sent shock waves throughout the Muslim world, and even prompted warnings from Washington’s allies in the West that it would bring more chaos to the region.

The Iranian Army on Friday denounced the recent "foolish" US move and said the United States and Israel were responsible for escalating tensions in the Middle East.
Dozens Killed in Saudi Airstrikes on Northwest Yemen
Fri Dec 8, 2017 10:38AM
presstv.ir

Yemenis check the aftermath of a Saudi-led airstrike on the town of Sahar in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, November 1, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

As many as 23 people have lost their lives in Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes against Sa’ada Province in Yemen’s extreme northwest.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported on Friday that 15 Yemenis had died in the Saudi-led aerial attacks against Sha’ban District in the province’s Razeh City.

Eight more were killed in airstrikes that targeted the Bani Ma’adh District in the town of Sahar there, the network added.

More than 12,000 people have died since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia began leading a number of its vassal states in an invasion of Yemen.

Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has been defending the nation against the invaders.

Saudi Arabia seeks to restore power to a former regime that was Riyadh-friendly.
Saudi Arabia Bombards Yemeni TV Station, Kills 4
Sat Dec 9, 2017 10:07AM
presstv.ir

The photo, taken on November 16, 2015, shows a Saudi F-15 fighter jet landing at the Khamis Mushait military airbase, in southwest Saudi Arabia. (By AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen has attacked the headquarters of the Yemen al-Youm TV channel in the capital, Sana’a, killing four people and injuring five others.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported that in addition to the casualties, the Friday Saudi air raids caused serious damage to the building of the TV station and its equipment.

The building of the Yemen al-Youm TV channel had been targeted twice by Saudi jets over the last week.

The TV station was affiliated with the General People’s Congress (GPC) of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed on Monday.

Yemen’s Interior Ministry says former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in Sana'a clashes.
Houthi fighters took over the TV station following clashes with the supporters of Saleh, who broke ranks with the Houthis in favor of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi regime and its allies have been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall a former regime that was staunchly allied with Riyadh. But the coalition has achieved neither of its goals.

The Saudi war, which has been accompanied by a land, naval, and aerial blockade of Yemen, has so far killed over 12,000 people and caused one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent history.

The Saudi-led coalition has intensified its airstrikes on Yemen after Saleh’s death.
Fresh Saudi Airstrikes Leave Six Civilians Dead in Yemen
Sat Dec 9, 2017 03:44PM
presstv.ir

Yemeni men look at the damage in the aftermath of a Saudi airstrike on Yemen Today TV station in the capital Sana’a on December 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

At least six civilians have been killed and several others injured when Saudi military aircraft carried out separate airstrikes against residential areas across Yemen as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its atrocious bombardment campaign against its southern neighbor.

Saudi fighter jets conducted five aerial assaults against Khalfah outdoor market in the Nihm district of the capital province of Sana’a on Saturday, leaving five people dead and three vehicles destroyed, an unnamed local official told Saba news agency.

The official added that the airstrikes also caused considerable damage to the commercial district.

Separately, one person lost his life and four others sustained injuries when Saudi warplanes launched aerial attacks against Shaje'a market in the Zabid district of Yemen's western coastal province of Hudaydah.

The development came as Saudi jets targeted the building of the Yemen Today satellite news channel in Sana'a, killing four citizens.

The head guard, himself wounded in the attack, told reporters at the scene that the strike had hit his staff's sleeping quarters.

“This is not a military post and there are no weapons here. This is just the house where we security guards live,” he said outside the heavily damaged building.

The Yemen Today television network was affiliated with the General People’s Congress (GPC) of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed on Monday during clashes with Houthi Ansarullah fighters.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate Hadi, a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.

More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign more than two and a half years ago. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

The Saudi-led war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.

According to the World Health Organization’s latest count, the cholera outbreak has killed 2,167 people since the end of April and is suspected to have infected 841,906.

On November 26, the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) said that more than 11 million children in Yemen were in acute need of aid, stressing that it was estimated that every 10 minutes a child died of a preventable disease there.

Additionally, the UN has described the current level of hunger in Yemen as “unprecedented,” emphasizing that 17 million people are now food insecure in the country.

It added that 6.8 million, meaning almost one in four people, do not have enough food and rely entirely on external assistance.

A recent survey showed that almost one third of families had gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consumed foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat.

More than 3 million pregnant and nursing women and children under 5 also need support to prevent or cure malnutrition.
ED Appoints New CIO Boss
December 9, 2017
News Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Ambassador Isaac Moyo to the position of Director- General of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) with immediate effect.

He takes over from Retired Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe who recently became Zimbabwe’s shortest-serving Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

Cde Aaron Nhepera had been Acting Director-General since Maj-Gen Bonyongwe’s departure.

The appointment of Ambassador Moyo was confirmed by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda in a statement last night.

“In terms of Section 226, subsection (1) of the Constitution, His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa has appointed Ambassador Isaac Moyo to the position of Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) with immediate effect.

Ambassador Moyo was serving as Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa and United Kingdom of Lesotho,” read the Statement.

Ambassador Moyo has a glittering curriculum vitae in the intelligence services, having served as the Executive Secretary of the African Union Committee of Intelligence and Security Service in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before he was appointed Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa replacing Cde Phelekezela Mphoko who, until recently, was the country’s vice president. Cde Mphoko has since been expelled from zanu-pf.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chair Pressured to Resign
 SUNDAY MAIL REPORTER

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau could have resigned due to mounting political pressure over her multiple roles, The Sunday Mail has gathered.

Justice Makarau resigned last Thursday without stating reasons after leading Zec since 2013.

On top of heading the Commission, she was a Supreme Court judge and Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission.

She resigns less than a year before Zimbabwe holds harmonised elections and her deputy, Mr Emmanuel Magade, takes over in acting capacity.

Justice Makarau could not be reached for comment on her mobile phone.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza told The Sunday Mail, “She gave no reasons for her resignation. My assumption is that it was because of the pressure that was coming from Parliament where there was a lot of debate around her roles at the Judicial Service Commission, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Supreme Court.

“The ministry and herself were regularly called upon to justify her roles in these institutions and she may have decided that it was in the best interest that she resigns.

“The minister has already notified the President of the resignation and, of course, the vacancy. What happens now, in terms of the Constitution, is that the President will appoint a new Chairperson after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. In the meantime, the Deputy Chair of the Commission is the acting head.”

Chairperson of Zec’s media committee, Commissioner Joyce Kazembe, said: “She communicated her resignation to the Commission via email, stating that she was stepping down. She did not give any reasons why she was stepping aside.

“I cannot speculate on why she decided to leave because that would be misleading. But as a Commission, we were really hurt and devastated by the news because we were doing very good work as a team and with the elections just around the corner, it just makes it very difficult to accept.”

Another Commissioner, Dr Qhubani Moyo, added: “She communicated her decision on Thursday but did not give any reasons why she was stepping down.

‘‘However, I cannot speculate on why she decided to leave. Try to get hold of her and she will give you her reasons.”

Commissioners are appointed for a maximum of two six-year terms. None maybe appointed after having been a member for one or more periods, whether continuous or not, amounting to 12 years.

The Constitution says the Zec Chair should be a judge or former judge, or a person qualified for appointment as a judge.

He/she is appointed in terms of Section 238(1)(a) of the Constitution, which reads:

“There is a Commission to be known as Zimbabwe Electoral Commission consisting of (a) a chairperson appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”
Zimbabwe Ministers Sweat Over ED Deadline
 KUDA BWITITI
Chief Reporter
Sunday Mail

Cabinet ministers are putting in extra hours every day to meet targets set by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a new work ethic takes root in Government.

The Sunday Mail understands most ministers have cancelled 2017 festive season travel and have awakened their respective teams to the imperative of delivering key outcomes.

President Mnangagwa is himself spending much time at work, and he spent the greater part of Saturday at Munhumutapa Building, the seat of Government.

The approach is in keeping with his vision to turnaround Zimbabwe’s economy and improve livelihoods within the shortest possible time.

President Mnangagwa has tasked every minister to come up with at least three target-driven economic projects with a 100-day turnaround period.

The project proposals are due this week.

Cabinet chief whip Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who is Minister State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring of Government Programmes, will superintend project implementation.

Ministers who spoke to The Sunday Mail confirmed shelving their annual vacation in favour of working towards economic transformation.

Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said, “We have resolved that we are going to be working like we are on steroids in our ministry. We have a number of key projects that we believe we can push for implementation in line with the target.

“Our quest, as a ministry, is to focus on projects that will change people’s lives for the better. Top of the priority list is the need to expand network coverage to enhance people’s communication. We are also looking at rapid implementation of tower construction projects and enhanced infrastructure-sharing.”

Minister Mandiwanzira said his ministry wants to help deal with cash shortages via platforms for digital payments and mobile money transactions.

“You will understand that mobile money payments are the in-thing these days and it is the only plausible solution to cash shortages.

“Therefore, immediate network expansion will have a positive impact on digital payments and mobile money, particularly for people in rural areas.

“We are also looking at enhancing internet connectivity by deploying fibre optic cables in constituencies across the nation. Every household must have internet access through fibre optic cables that are connected to it.

“Fibre does not only bring bandwidth for Internet, it also allows for many products to ride on the infrastructure that includes e-entertain, e-education and e-health that will lead to accessing of Government services directly from your home. In addition, we are looking at fast-tracking implementation of community information centres.”

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said his immediate priority was enhancing production, reopening mines and job-creation.

“We are geared towards working hard, as a ministry, to achieve our goals in line with our vision. There is need to increase mining production for employment. Mining has to contribute to creation of jobs.

“There is also need for mining to increase its contribution to the national balance sheet through exports while also attracting capital. Mining production should increase so that the country gets additional foreign currency and the national fiscus gets increased revenue.

“The immediate priority is to enhance investor-confidence, with the objective of attracting capital. This will be done in order to increase capacity utilisation in current mining operations and secondly, for new production.”

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha added: “Our targets as a ministry have not changed, but now we are focusing on performance so that we deliver results in line with the President’s vision.

“We are also setting priorities so that we focus on achieving quick results for the identified priority areas.”

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said his ministry was prioritising the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway project.

“We are making significant progress and I will advise Cabinet (this week) on what we have achieved,” he said.
Zimbabwe President to Make VPs Decision
KUDA BWITITI
Zimbabwe Sunday Mai

Zanu-PF’s Extraordinary Congress in Harare this week will not elect leaders, but largely endorse Central Committee resolutions passed on November 19, 2017.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be endorsed as party President and First Secretary and 2018 presidential candidate, and he will use his discretion whether or not to appoint his deputies and a National Chair then as Zanu-PF gears for the 2018 harmonised elections.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo said, “This is an Extraordinary Congress and as such, it will discuss only that business for which it has been convened.

“There are basically three issues that will be on the table. The first one is to confirm our President and First Secretary of the party. The second one is to endorse His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as our candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections. The third aspect is to endorse Central Committee resolutions that were made by the last committee which met on November 19.”

Ambassador Khaya Moyo said President Mnangagwa would appoint his deputies and a National Chair at his discretion.

“What is also important to note is that we are not going to have thematic committees. There will also be no elections at the Congress. In general, it is a non-elective Congress. However, there are vacancies in the party, which are that of the two Vice-Presidents and the National Chairperson.

“The President of the party may decide to appoint these during the Congress, but he is not obliged to. He can choose to announce the appointment at the Congress or at another stage.

“There are also other vacancies that have arisen in the Politburo, so the President may also decide to appoint them, but it is all up to him.”

On the one centre of power concept, he said: “That is not an item on its own. It was one of the resolutions of the last Central Committee, so the Congress will decide whether to pass it or not.

“…Congress will just set the tone for the elections. Then after Congress, we will go ahead to officially start our preparations for the elections.”

Ambassador Khaya Moyo said the Congress would start a Politburo meeting on Tuesday, followed by a Central Committee meeting the next day. The main indaba will be on Friday.

“All preparations for the Congress are going on well. The sub-committees are going at full throttle to ensure that the Congress starts and ends well as per schedule.

“Currently, accreditation is going on in all provinces, and other delegates who are not from the provinces will be accredited at party headquarters.

“Dates for the Congress are December 12th to 16th. On the 12th, there is going to be a Politburo meeting while the Central Committee meeting will be on the 13th. The 14th is reserved for the arrival of guests. Congress proper will take place on the 15th, and on the 16th the delegates will depart.

“Sub-committees are working flat out on their areas of responsibility. They will report their progress to the Politburo, which will then report to the Central Committee.”

The number of days for Congress and budget were cut in keeping with President Mnangagwa’s vision to commit more time to real work while limiting expenditure.

The budget was slashed from US$8 million to US$3 million.

About 6 000 delegates drawn from the Central Com­mittee, National Consultative Assem­bly, National Council of the Women’s League, National Council of the Youth League, Provincial Executive Coun­cils and the main, women’s and youth wings will attend.

The Central Committee meeting of November 19 recalled former President Robert Mugabe, and expelled G40 cabal members ex-First Lady Grace Mugabe, Phelekezela Mphoko, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Ignatius Chombo, Walter Mzembi, Kudzanai Chipanga, Mandi Chimene and Letina Undenge, among others.

It decided against Central Committee elections, meaning the present committee will provide delegates to the Extraordinary Congress.

Further, the meeting resolved to improve the standing of war veterans and reinstate District Co-ordinating Committees which had been abolished.
A Culture Change in Zanu-PF
OPINION & ANALYSIS CONTRIBUTOR 2 HOURS AGO
Cde Victor Matemadanda

I take over the Zanu-PF Commissariat at a difficult time when the ruling party has been torn apart.

For a long time, there hasn’t been meaningful organisation in terms of checking structures. This is the department which was spearheading factional fights that nearly destroyed Zanu-PF.

Nevertheless, it’s an honour to have been appointed to head this department. It is an honour because the President and entire party have shown confidence in me; that under the circumstances I will contribute positively to the reorganisation, refocusing and rejuvenation of the party, restoring its normal place in Zimbabwe’s body politic.

It is quite a challenge, but we will be equal to the task. Of course, many things need to be redone; some require Central Committee approval and consultations with the leadership. We want to change many things as a party, especially the culture.

The party becomes alive when it is structured properly, and structuring does not necessarily translate to leadership changes.

My view is that you maintain the same web from the lowest to the highest organ, refocusing the party to the policy of democratic centralism where every level has a constitutional and rightful function that must be fulfilled. But most importantly, I talk of a structure like a web, a honeycomb, for example, where cells made by bees are useless without honey.

So, the combination of bees at work develops them. A young bee stores food while the other stores honey, etcetera.

Basically, when people sing “Musangano kumacell”, what they mean is that the cell, the inter-connectedness of the cells, should be as solid as possible. This should be the case so that the party cannot be broken and can be traced from the lowest to the topmost cell.

That is the cell in the sense of moving from the village, branch, district, National Consultative Assembly, Central Committee, People’s Conference and Congress.

All these should have an unbreakable link either going up or down. Concerns of the smallest organ should be sent systematically to the topmost organ and the response should again be transmitted systematically. This should be done with every structure being allowed to accomplish its constitutional obligations.

That culture has not been followed, and we will make sure that it is followed going forward. There is also the issue of reinvigorating the party. The party has been focusing on petty factional battles; it now needs to be redirected to actual business of a political party.

Ideology and policy must be made clear and here we must show renewed purpose that translates into strong and solid structures; pure party structures. People with vested interests or bias should not be allowed to structure Zanu-PF in accordance with their personal interests.

The party must be structured in accordance with its constitution. The leadership that we hope to have, which the President has shown, is tolerant servant-leadership.

Bossing people around should not be tolerated as a culture as every leader should be a servant of those he/she leads by serving them faithfully.

We must also show commitment to peace, security and development, all of which President Mnangagwa has already put forward.

For the party to be reinvigorated, the leadership should be accountable and responsible.

The age of party leaders who only become visible at conferences and congresses is over! Everyone should justify why they occupy a certain position; they must be answerable to the people and have a programme for the people who chose them.

Zanu-PF party programmes are people’s programmes, and everything done by a Zanu-PF Government should be based on people’s wishes.

The party leadership is continuously informed and the leadership should, in turn, inform Government regarding what the people want so that the web I referred to earlier is not broken.

Further, the Commissariat has the task of healing the party and the people in general by way of re-orientation programmes that identify, for instance, one who can be termed an enemy.

We believe a political opponent is not necessarily an enemy; he/she is a person you compete with for political office.

So, we are redirecting even our language, especially concerning people whose views differ with ours.

Government must also have a clear mission, vision and team-work in order to create people-centred programmes.

Ultimately, we aim to achieve economic revival and growth so that our people enjoy prosperity and an inclusive society; a society that can live together in harmony despite divergent opinion.

The party has to verify some of the decisions, but this is what we hope to achieve.

We have the vanguard force – the war veterans, collaborators and ex-detainees – by our side, and this constituency comprises running machines that can move programmes.

We will not leave any stone unturned; we will tap every talent.

You have heard the President say he is going to work with everybody, including those who might have been expelled or – because of misunderstandings – had chosen to leave the party.

The march organised by war veterans showed that many communities are prepared to work for Zimbabwe, but there has been an exclusionist approach of sorts.

So, we are going to engage all of them, including the white, coloured, Indian communities; all citizens of Zimbabwe.

We want to hear their views on how they want the party and Government run.

I say party and Government because Government is formed by a political party and policies of the political party carry the day. The party is to blame if Government performs dismally.

We are not going to label people, but engage them no matter how diverse or opposed they maybe. This is not an attempt to lure them all to Zanu-PF – although they are all welcome.

The idea is to find common ground as a people.

In addition, the Commissariat is concerned about the Diaspora, which to us is the 11th province. We are going to engage them to hear what they can offer.

We know they have acquired various experiences that can benefit the party, Government and the generality of Zimbabweans.

No one will be expelled. I believe what caused expulsions in the immediate-past was the lack of proper orientation, in-depth knowledge of party ethics.

People made mistakes on what was required of them.

Deviating from constitutionalism also caused a lot of problems and we are going to make sure the constitution is followed to the book.

The party has war veterans, collaborators, ex-detainees, youths, women, workers, peasants and professionals who all have roles to play.

We will engage them in their capacities to determine what they can contribute.

I am convinced that those who dislike Zanu-PF have a reason for their disposition.

They are probably seeing certain wrongs and we want to sit down with them to understand their concerns.

Zanu-PF has contributed much to Zimbabwe; I don’t believe some people can just hate it for no reason.

So, everybody with either a positive or negative mind will be engaged.

Cde Victor Matemadanda is the Zanu-PF National Political Commissar. He was speaking to The Sunday Mail’s Senior Reporter Lincoln Towindo in Harare last week
Burundi Refugees Refuse 'Biometric' Registration in DRC
2017-12-07 20:45

Bukavu - More than 2 000 Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in Democratic Republic of Congo are resisting plans to register them on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion.

They belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya and claim to have fled their homeland due to religious persecution.

"2167 refugees are resisting the identification scheme despite several efforts" by refugee agencies, including the UN, local NGO worker Augustin Bulimuntu told AFP in the South Kivu region which borders Burundi.

Bulimuntu said guidelines in DRC mandate that refugees register on a biometric database that includes fingerprints and iris scans.

Most of those currently housed at the camp in the border town of Kamanyola are followers of Zebiya who claims to have had several visions of the Virgin Mary in north Burundi.

They fled there with the prophetess in 2015, accusing the Burundian police of religious persecution.

"We refused this biometric registration because our faith forbids it," group spokesperson Dionise Nyandwi told AFP, without explaining why.

In September, at least 36 Burundian refugees were killed by Congolese soldiers during a protest at Kamanyola camp which is administered by the UN's mission in DRC.

Most of them were members of the Zebiya, witnesses told AFP.

At the time, Kinshasa insisted it was dealing with an "armed group" which had infiltrated the refugees.

In 2013, nearly 200 Zebiya were jailed for five years in Burundi for "civil disobedience" but they claim to have targeted due to their beliefs.
Rebels Kill 15 Peacekeepers in Congo in Worst Attack on U.N. in Recent History
Fiston Mahamba

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Suspected Ugandan rebels killed at least 15 Tanzanian U.N. peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in a raid on a base in Congo that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called the worst attack on the organization in recent history.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said he was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths, which come amid rising violence against civilians, the army and U.N. troops in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern borderlands.

The U.N. chief said the attack constituted a war crime and called on Congolese authorities to investigate and “swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice”.

“I want to express my outrage and utter heartbreak at last night’s attack,” Guterres told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York. “There must be no impunity for such assaults, here or anywhere else.”

The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack on Friday and held a moment of silence for the victims.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wrote on Twitter that the United States was “appalled by the horrific attack”.

U.N. troops were still searching for three peacekeepers who went missing during the more than three-hour firefight that broke out at dusk on Thursday evening, Ian Sinclair, the director of the U.N. Operations and Crisis Centre, said.

U.N. officials said they suspected militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) staged the assault on the base in the town of Semuliki in North Kivu’s Beni territory.

The ADF is an Islamist rebel group that has been active in the area. Congo’s U.N. mission, MONUSCO, said it was coordinating a joint response with the Congolese army and evacuating wounded from the base.

Five Congolese soldiers were also killed in the raid, MONUSCO said in a statement. Congo’s army said only one of its soldiers was missing, however, while another had been injured, adding that 72 militants had been killed.

‘THEY DON‘T WANT US THERE’

Rival militia groups control parts of mineral-rich eastern Congo nearly a decade and a half after the official end of a 1998-2003 war in which millions of people died, mostly from hunger and disease.

The area has been the scene of repeated massacres and at least 26 people died in an ambush in October.

The government and U.N. mission have blamed almost all the violence on the ADF but U.N. experts and independent analysts say other militia and elements of Congo’s own army have also been involved.

In response to the growing unrest, and in an effort to protect civilians, the U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix said MONUSCO had stepped up its activities in the area.

“They don’t want us there. And I think this attack is a response ... to our increasingly robust posture in that region,” he told reporters.

Thursday’s raid was the third attack on a U.N. base in eastern Congo in recent months.

Increased militia activity in the east and center of the country has added to insecurity in Congo this year amid political tensions linked to President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down when his mandate expired last December.

An election to replace Kabila, who has ruled Congo since his father’s assassination in 2001, has been repeatedly delayed and is now scheduled for December 2018.

Established in 2010, MONUSCO is the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission and had recorded 93 fatalities of military, police and civilian personnel.

Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Aaron Ross in Dakar and Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala in Dar es Salaam; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Catherine Evans and James Dalgleish
At Least 14 UN Peacekeepers, 5 DR Congo Soldiers Killed in Attack
Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-09 00:46:56|Editor: Lifang

GOMA, DR Congo, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 14 peacekeepers were killed on Thursday night in an attack by suspected ADF rebels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations mission in the DRC said Friday.

Five DRC soldiers were also killed and 53 other peacekeepers wounded in the attack in North Kivu province, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) said in a statement.

"Suspected ADF elements conducted an attack against a MONUSCO Company Operating Base at Force at Semuliki in Beni territory, North Kivu. This resulted in protracted fighting between suspected ADF elements and MONUSCO and FARDC Forces," the statement said, referring to the armed forces of the DRC.

"Initial reports indicate that 14 MONUSCO peacekeepers and five FARDC soldiers were killed. An additional 53 MONUSCO peacekeepers were wounded in this incident.

At the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "unequivocally" condemned the "worst attack" on UN peacekeepers in recent history.

"These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime," Guterres said.

Maman Sidikou, Guterres' special representative in the DRC and head of MONUSCO, also condemned "in the strongest terms" the deadly attack.

"Attacks against those who are working in the service of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are cowardly and constitute serious violations," Sidikou was quoted as saying in the MONUSCO statement.

"I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of peacekeepers and FARDC soldiers who lost their lives, or were injured in the service of peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last hours," he said.

"MONUSCO will take all actions to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable and brought to justice," Sidikou said.
Mumia Abu Jamal: 35 Years of Unjust Incarceration in the United States
Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African-American journalist, received the death penalty in 1982 at the end of a rushed and racist trial, a wrongdoing that was denounced at the time by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International and the European Parliament Accused of killing a policeman, a crime for which he has always claimed his innocence, this activist, formerly a member of the Black Panther Party, has been in prison for the last 35 years, 30 of them on death row in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to international pressure, his death penalty was commuted to a life sentence in 2011.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an emblematic figure in the fight for the universal abolition of the death penalty and his situation has given rise to worldwide outrage.

Now 63 years old, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health is of increasing concern. He contracted hepatitis C and suffers serious side effects from the disease, yet Pennsylvania prison authorities have refused to provide him with access to appropriate care. The situation, deemed by a federal judge to be "cruel and inhumane" and violating the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution, is not improving. Some 120 French and European members of parliament have recently advocated on behalf of his serious health condition to the Governor of Pennsylvania and called on him to ensure that Mumia receives treatment, out of respect for human rights and human dignity.

For more information see

Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, President of the Fondation Frantz Fanon and member of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, returned on 12 September 2016 to the Frackville Prison (Pennsylvania, USA) to meet with the incarcerated Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Report

12 September 2016 - Here I am once again at the Frackville Prison where Mumia Abu-Jamal has been imprisoned since his release from death row1 in the maximum security prison in Greene. These two prisons are in the state of Pennsylvania. I must wait 30 minutes for his arrival.

His physical appearance is nothing like it was a few months ago. He has put on weight; he is no longer ashen, and his skin is no longer itchy. Even though some things have improved for Mumia, he still lives under a dark cloud. Because the hepatitis C was not treated properly, there is a chance it could soon turn into cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.

He is very careful about what he eats, but prison food is not good for this type of disease which requires an approach to health that is impossible to follow in such an environment, especially when the guards do all they can to make life impossible and unstable.

Moreover, the medical follow-up provided by the prison is far from being adequate or competent. Hepatitis C is not regarded as very serious in most American prisons2. The close to 7,000 Pennsylvanian prisoners affected by the disease are treated with drugs that are mostly ineffective, while there is perfectly suitable treatment available for the disease which strikes more than 53,000 people in Philadelphia alone (over 250,000 in Pennsylvania).

An antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc. laboratories34 has a 95% cure rate. But it is not available to prisoners, let alone Mumia Abu-Jamal. The prison refuses to pay between $83,000 and $95,000 for a single course of treatment. Isn't this applying, without shame, a torture-like inhumane treatment which does not respect a person's dignity, even if the person is behind bars? Senseless suffering and certain death are inflicted on these prisoners while they could easily be treated. A way of having them die more quickly -- true institutional cynicism.

Mumia's lawyers have filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Federal District Court. The lack of attention given to his life-threatening disease violates the American Constitution's 8th amendment5 and does not comply with Judge Mariani's ruling 6] which stated that hepatitis C should be treated with anti-viral drugs such as Harvoni or Sovaldi.

On the basis of this ruling, the lawyers were expecting a decision that would force the prison administration to provide adequate treatment. But to no avail. The judge justified his silence about the prison authorities by stating that the medical committee members were not specifically named in the appeal! This was fine with the administration which decided to distribute this effective treatment to only 24 prisoners out of the some 7,000 in need, chosen because they were near to being terminally ill.

Last September 30th, one of Mumia's lawyers, Bret Grote6, re-introduced an appeal to obtain an injunction to have prison authorities comply with Judge Mariani's ruling without discrimination.

This is not the only decision that has not been followed up in Pennsylvania. Last July, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf - a member of the Democratic Party - signed a law obliging prisons to have the means to test for Hepatitis C in all prisoners born between 1945 and 1965 who are seen by a physician or are receiving regular treatments.

There has been no allotment for this in the budget; prison authorities seem to be using the excuse of lack of funds in order not to address the issue. Then again, there is the cynicism of a system which not only resorts to mass incarceration of its citizens, but also, for economic reasons, refuses to make such testing available, while lives could be saved and the spread of this rampant disease could be considerably reduced. The majority of victims are African-Americans.

Last May, the state's Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee recommended cutting back on the use of antiviral drugs; fortunately for now, the Secretary of Human Services for Pennsylvania, Ted Dallas, turned this down.

Mumia's health, and the health of thousands of prisoners in Pennsylvania are at the centre of a sordid calculation. What it says, is that the lives of these men and women are not valued as much as those of others.

Yet, the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution stipulates equal protection of the law, and the Declaration of Independence of the United States stipulates that everyone is equal. Hence, there is every reason to question the constitutionality of some of the verdicts.

This is what the justice system understood when it finally admitted that this type of discrimination against the right to life and treatment was truly unconstitutional.

There is an American power play at work regarding this question of the right to life and human dignity, as it deems its laws to be above all others. It is only their laws that are important, enacted by them, and only for a certain segment of their population.

Never mind international law and its mandatory standards, never mind fundamental rights, never mind the recommendations made in 2014 by the CERD or by various independent experts[^8].

It is safe to say that in the United States, the system of justice exists to maintain social order, irrespective of justice and the rule of law. Yet, this country prides itself on being a model of law and does not hesitate to impose it now on a quarter of its population that live in almost the same conditions as those that existed during the civil rights movement, and by imposing through force its imperialistic views to the rest of the world.

But there is a ray of hope in this dark and difficult context, such as in 2011, when after years of fighting and mobilisation, two female lawyers succeeded in having Mumia released from death row.

The same lawyers, Judith Ritter and Christina Swarns, have just filed an appeal for a retrial of the 1982 trial which had handed down the death sentence.

Indeed, the United States Supreme Court recently overruled a decision by Judge Ronald D. Castille, who had sentenced Terrance Williams to death7. Not only had the death sentence for the young Williams been signed by the judge while acting as district prosecutor, but this same Judge Castille presided in the appeal case introduced by Terrance Williams' lawyers. The Supreme Court has just changed its position and requested a new trial, after having paid no attention to this kind of conflict of interest.

Mumia found himself in the same predicament and with the same judge; presented before Ronald D. Castille who was prosecutor at the time, he found himself before him again when the latter became a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Using this jurisprudence, the lawyers asked for a retrial of the one which at the time was tainted with racism and wrongdoing.

7 December 2011, the United States Supreme Court, judging Mumia's death sentence as unconstitutional, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.  ↩

For more information, see article "New Hepatitis C Drugs Are Very Costly and Unavailable to Many State Prisoners".  ↩

Biopharmaceutical firm conducting research and development of innovative drugs for very "juicy" profits.  ↩

There are more than 3 million people in the United States living with hepatitis C, sometimes unaware they have it. The disease rate is increasing slowly, and has serious consequences. In 2013, the number one infectious disease responsible for mortality in Americans was hepatitis C. ↩

"There cannot be (…) nor inflict cruel and unusual punishment".  ↩

Abolitionist Law Center.  ↩

African-American, born in 1968 in Pennsylvania, sentenced to death for the murder of two men who had abused him sexually for several years. ↩
Israeli Air Strike, Artillery Shells Hit Gaza, 25 Injured
Fri Dec 8, 2017 06:42PM
presstv.ir

Over two dozen Palestinians have been injured in Israeli artillery and air strikes against the besieged Gaza Strip, amid escalating tensions in the occupied territories in the wake of the US president's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital.

Israeli forces fired artillery shells at a checkpoint belonging to Palestinian resistance forces in the northeast of the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, on Friday night.

An Israeli jet also targeted a group of resistance fighters in the east of Beit Hanoun, the Palestinian Information Center said, adding that they survived the air strike.

Palestinian sources said Israel also carried out an air strike on the town of Beit Lahia.

Three Israeli rockets were fired at Shaikh Zayed area in northern Gaza.

Reuters cited the Palestinian Health Ministry a saying that 25 Palestinians, including six children, were injured in the attacks.

Tel Aviv claimed that Palestinian resistance forces had fired a number of rockets at an Israeli military position.

On Friday, clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting against the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel despite widespread international opposition to the measure. Trump announced his decision on Wednesday. He said Washington would relocate the US embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

In reaction to the announcement, Palestinians staged rallies across the West Bank, Jerusalem al-Quds, and Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Mahmoud al-Masri, 30, was shot to death by Israeli forces in Gaza's southern city of Khan Yunis on Friday.

On Thursday, the Israeli military said an aircraft and a tank had targeted two security posts in Gaza. The attack in the late hours of the day had no casualties.

Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US Isolated at UNSC as Allies Condemn Trump's al-Quds Decision
Fri Dec 8, 2017 11:04PM
presstv.ir

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley attends the Security Council's emergency meeting on the situation in Palestine in New York on December 8, 2017. (AFP photo)

The US has become isolated at the UN Security Council as Washington's traditional allies condemn President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

The Security Council convened an emergency meeting with regard to Palestine on Friday upon the request of Britain, France, Sweden, Bolivia, Uruguay, Italy, Senegal and Egypt.

Following the session, the US' traditional Western allies -- Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Italy -- issued a joint statement, denouncing Trump's decision as "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

"We stand ready to contribute to all credible efforts to restart the peace process, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, leading to a two-state solution," they said.

"We encourage the US administration to now bring forward detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian settlement," the statement added.

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned the Security Council against the risk of violent escalation, saying, "There is a serious risk today that we may see a chain of unilateral actions, which can only push us further away from achieving our shared goal of peace."

In response, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused the international organization of undermining the peace prospects by "bullying" Israel.

"Israel will never be, and should never be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations, or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel's security," Haley said.

She claimed that the US has not adopted any stance on Jerusalem al-Qud's boundaries, and that it is not advocating any changes to the arrangements at the holy sites.

Trump on Wednesday defied global warnings and said the US formally recognizes Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.

'US not mediator anymore'

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the emergency meeting that Washington's new decision "undermines and essentially disqualifies its leadership role to seek peace in the region."

He argued that the US cannot continue to monopolize the peace process as Washington is biased in favor of Israel and urged the Security Council to denounce what he described as an "irresponsible" US decision.

Mansour called on the Security Council to reject any violation of its position that the status of Jerusalem al-Quds is unresolved and it should be negotiated based on the so-called two-state solution.

The Palestinian envoy warned that the existing conflict can turn "into a never-ending religious war that will only be exploited by extremists, fueling more radicalism, violence and strife in the region and elsewhere."

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Palestinian leaders declared Friday as the “day of rage” against Israel and the US.

Clashes broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip. At least two Palestinians were killed and about 770 others were injured during the unrest.

Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.