Daily Archives: November 16, 2017

AFRICAN LEADERS CALLS FOR REFORM OF UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN AFRICA

DAKAR (SENEGAL), African leaders has called for an overhaul in the way peacekeeping missions are handled on the continent, as the United Nations itself reconsiders its deployments in an age of cross-border terrorism.

Eight of the UN's 15 peacekeeping missions are based in Africa, and several are beset by problems relating to insufficient equipment and mandates ill-suited to the countries in which they operate, while some are accused of abuses against the local population.

These UN deployments are involved in some of the world's most entrenched conflicts, from rebel groups fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo to jihadists roaming northern Mali, to South Sudan, where a civil war has created more than a million refugees.

The leaders of Mali, Senegal and Rwanda gathered with military officials and experts this week for the annual Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security, in which a strong desire for reform was apparent throughout the speeches and debates.

"We cannot maintain peace where it does not exist, in those areas we must re-establish it," noted Senegalese President Macky Sall, whose nation is due to send 1,500 police and troops to troubled neighbour Mali at the end of the year.

Mali is beset by jihadist violence and banditry in its north and centre, despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping mission for four years and a French counter-terror force.

"Faced with asymmetrical violence, peacekeeping missions experience difficulties, to the point that they are sometimes forced to dedicate their resources to their own security," African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat noted at the forum.

The UN's Mali mission is the world's most dangerous active deployment, with more than 140 peacekeepers killed since its launch, 89 of them by enemy action.

It faces a lack of helicopters to monitor the harsh terrain of Mali's desert, and is constantly targeted at its bases and on patrol by rocket attacks and gunfire.

"We don't need a peacekeeping mission, we need a peace imposition mission," quipped Marcel Alain de Souza, President of the Commission of West African regional body ECOWAS.

The UN's Mali mission chief, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said it also had responsibilities in the sectors of justice, human rights and implementing a stall peace process. "Terrorism stops us from doing our job, that's where we must find the solution," he said.

Elsewhere, the United Nations has opened an independent investigation to determine whether UN peacekeepers responded appropriately to an outbreak of violence between May and August this year in the Central African Republic.

The mission known as MINUSCA deployed in 2014 with a strong mandate to protect civilians, but beyond the current enquiry it has also been hit by a string of sex abuse allegations against its peacekeepers.

MONUSCO, the UN stabilisation mission deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been accused of inefficiency, despite the world body intervening repeatedly in the country since 2003.

Rights monitors have repeatedly voiced concern over killings and rape in troubled parts of DR Congo, notably in the Kasai region and North Kivu, and about harassment of journalists and political opponents.

These glaring gaps are all the more pressing at a moment when the United States has called for streamlining missions, becoming the driving force behind a $600-million cut to the UN peacekeeping budget this year.

Ministers are meeting under the UN umbrella in Canada's Vancouver on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss potential reforms to peacekeeping missions.

"Certain UN peacekeeping mission have been successful, such as in Ivory Coast and Liberia, while others have problems," said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN's peacekeeping chief.

"Several of our operations are based where politics moves slowly and in increasingly perilous security situations," he added.

The solution, Lacroix said, was "adapting, having the best possible equipment to lessen vulnerability to attack, and to be more mobile".

The future would likely evolve in the direction of the Sahel currently, where the French-backed G5 Sahel force, an anti-jihadist military initiative with troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, has just completed its first operation.

"Peacekeeping forces and the anti-terror fight will be complementary," Lacroix said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Minister Mbalula welcomes new developments of arrests made on ...

Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula yesterday got a brief on the general crime in Marikana, as well as 11 people who died on the 29th of September 2017.

Following the release of crime statistics, which alluded alcohol as a major contributor in murders, the Police in Philippi East searched 337 unlicensed liquor premises.

Since the redeployment of the new station commander Colonel Mtakati, there has been 4 murder arrest, 4 carjacking, 7 house robberies, 9 business robbery, 24 assault GBH as well as 6 arrest on rape. These are regarded as serious crimes. I am happy with the work done, there has been progress in fighting crime in Phillipi. I am more than confident that we will win the war against criminals. Mbalula said.

In what can be described as a web of criminality, police arrested four of the five suspects believed to be behind the 11 murders that occurred in Marikana on 29 September 2017. With the last suspect still outstanding, SAPS Western Cape are confident they have broken the back of the group behind the senseless murders in the area. All four suspects can each be linked to more than one case. This is a clear indication that those who are doing crime in our communities are few, we must tighten the criminal justice system to ensure we don't have repeating offenders who terrorize communities. I must applaud the intelligence lead operation and our detectives for a job well done. Mbalula added.

There has been criticism in the past, in terms of the slow progress the SAPS has made in finalising the cases. Minister Mbalula urges our people to appreciate the complexity of cases that are being investigated. The following developments have been made thus far with regard to Marikana killings:

19 year old suspect arrested � Linked to Philippi East Murder. Firearm - retrieved and linked ballistic, arrested in Queenstown and appeared in Wynberg Court. The suspect was positively linked by means of ballistic evidence to 11 Marikana murders. The suspect is currently in Polsmoor.

Two brothers aged 23 and 24 arrested on Monday 13 November 2017 for murder, on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 they were positively linked. A relative of the two brothers aged 27 was arrested on Saturday, 11 November 2017 for an armed robbery case, he was also positively linked to the Marikana killings.

The last outstanding suspect is a 26 year old male. Police are following up all leads and an arrest is expected soon.

Prior to the 11 Marikana murders, 3 burned bodies were found and murder case was registered and investigated. Through an intelligence led operation, three suspects have been arrested

The following 3 suspects have been arrested. Most of the suspects that were arrested, can be linked to more than 1 serious case.

We must applaud the work done by our Police, but as a nation we must pause and reflect on the future of our Country, majority of these suspects are below the ages of 30. Communities are being tormented by the youth. Mbalula added.

The crime in the area has relatively dropped. This can be attributed to a number of interventions. Key among those, is community participation. I would like to applaud the efforts of the Phillipi East station management under the leadership of Colonel Bongani Mtakati who mobilised the community into neighborhood watches. About 500 of them will be inducted soon. They are already embarking on operations with the police in Phillipi East.

Minister Mbalula further urged communities to work close with the Police in fighting crime.

Source: South African Police Service

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE TO BE BRIEFED BY PARLIAMENT’S ACTING ...

The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament will this afternoon be briefed by the Acting Secretary to Parliament, Ms Baby Tyawa, on Parliament's performance and expenditure mid-term report for 2017/18 financial year.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Secretary Tillerson Hosts the Ministerial on Trade, Security, and ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host discussions with foreign ministers or their representatives from the African continent, including the African Union Commission Chairman, in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2017. The discussions will be based on three themes: trade and investment, security, and good governance. This meeting will advance the U.S. agenda, working with African partners, to promote a shared commitment to open markets; free and fair trade; democracy and the rule of law; and effective responses to global terrorist threats. This meeting also builds on President Trump's working lunch with African leaders in September at the UN General Assembly.

The opening session and the family photo session will be open to the press.

For Opening Remarks at 9:45 am in the Loy Henderson Conference Room: Pre-set time for cameras: 8:30 am from the 23rd Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills: 9:15 am from the 23rd Street entrance.

For the Family Photo at 11:30 am in the Dean Acheson Auditorium: Pre-set time for cameras: 10:45 am from the 23rd Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills: 11:15 am from the 23rd Street entrance.

Media representatives may attend these events upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued photo media credential (e.g., Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), or (2) an official photo identification card issued by their news organization, or (3) a letter from their employer on official letterhead verifying their current employment as a journalist.

Additionally, they must present an official government photo identification card (i.e., U.S. driver's license or passport).

Source: U.S Department of State

Doing Nothing, Trump May Witness US Goal in Mugabe’s Ouster

WASHINGTON Without lifting a finger, the Trump administration may be witnessing the culmination of nearly two decades of U.S. efforts to pry Zimbabwe from the powerful grasp of its authoritarian President Robert Mugabe.

Yet with Mugabe's fate and Zimbabwe's political future in limbo, neither Trump nor previous administrations can claim credit or celebrate.

The past three American leaders have actively and outspokenly sought to isolate Mugabe and his ruling clique for human rights abuses, hoping to encourage a democratic transition. Since January, however, it's been virtual crickets.

Now the 93-year-old is under house arrest with his rule nearing an end, a victim not of U.S. and Western pressure but of domestic infighting.

After staying silent through the first day of Zimbabwe's possible coup with the exception of warning American citizens there, Trump's State Department weighed in Wednesday by voicing concern about the military's actions.

The department urged Zimbabwe's leaders "to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law and uphold the constitutionally-protected rights of all citizens." It encouraged leaders "to quickly resolve differences to allow for a rapid return to normalcy." The U.S. does not take sides in Zimbabwe's internal politics, it said, while stressing that it also "does not condone military intervention in political processes."

Clarity 'very shortly'

Mugabe on Thursday was meeting a South African delegation at the state house as negotiations continued for a resolution to the political turmoil. South Africa President Jacob Zuma, speaking in parliament, said the political situation "very shortly will be becoming clear."

If that indeed translates into Mugabe's ouster, it's a result the United States has long hoped for.

Washington started acting against Zimbabwe toward the end of President Bill Clinton's administration in 2000, condemning Mugabe's moves to consolidate power by suppressing dissident voices, often violently, and implementing controversial seizures of white-owned land. The U.S. then began restricting aid, international loans and weapons sales, eventually cutting off virtually all nonhumanitarian assistance to the country.

In 2003, then-President George W. Bush declared a national state of emergency with respect to Zimbabwe and signed the first of three executive orders he would issue while in office, authorizing sanctions against senior Zimbabwean officials deemed to be undermining democracy.

Following national elections in 2008 that Bush called "a sham," the U.S. took a lead in encouraging a power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe and Zimbabwe's main opposition leader. When that failed, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was "well past time" for Mugabe to leave power.

Former President Barack Obama maintained the pressure, annually extending the Bush-era state of emergency authorizing sanctions. When elections in 2013 saw Mugabe re-elected, Obama's administration pronounced them "deeply flawed" and the U.S. president himself said he was "heartbroken" at deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.

Obama's two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and U.N. ambassadors, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, all delivered speeches that scathingly criticized Mugabe.

No apparent action

But for the past 10 months, top U.S. officials have spoken nary a word about Zimbabwe. They've imposed no new sanctions. They've engaged in no known, behind-the-scenes efforts to escalate pressure on Mugabe or his government.

At a lunch for African leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, Trump mentioned by name Ivory Coast, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda. He didn't mention Zimbabwe.

In fact, until Thursday, the only times the words "Zimbabwe" or "Mugabe" appear to have been used by senior Trump administration officials were in April and in June.

The first time was when the State Department released a three-sentence written statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson congratulating the Zimbabwean people on the country's April 18 independence day. The second was when U.N. envoy Nikki Haley mentioned Zimbabwe and Mugabe in a speech that excoriated the U.N. Human Rights Council for failing to address despotic regimes.

The Trump White House doesn't seem to have mentioned the country at all in 2017.

The only White House mention of Zimbabwe in 2017 was in the waning days of Obama's presidency, when he extended the Bush-era state of emergency and sanctions for another year. That decision enabled the U.S. to impose further penalties on Zimbabwe's leadership.

The only action by Trump's Treasury Department, however, has been to remove two retired officials from the sanctions list.

Source: Voice of America

Calm Prevails in Zimbabwe; Mugabe Urged to Go Peacefully

HARARE, ZIMBABWE Zimbabweans faced another day of uncertainty amid quiet talks to resolve the country's political turmoil and the likely end of President Robert Mugabe's decades-long rule.

Mugabe has been in military custody, reportedly with his wife, and there was no sign of the recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week.

The military remained in the streets of the capital, Harare. Southern African regional officials were meeting on the crisis in neighboring Botswana, and South African ministers had arrived in Harare for talks with the military and Mugabe.

A joint statement by more than 100 civil society groups urged Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, to peacefully step aside and asked the military to quickly restore order and respect the constitution. A joint statement by churches also appealed for calm.

Amid the political limbo, Zimbabweans were enjoying freedoms they haven't had in years. The shift to military control brought a kind of fresh air.

For once, Zimbabweans weren't contending with bribe-seeking police officers who mounted roadblocks every few miles (kilometers).

Soldiers manning the few checkpoints on roads leading into downtown Harare greeted motorists with a smile, searching cars without hostilities and wishing motorists a safe journey.

Street vendors who endured police raids after Mugabe ordered their removal were working without hassles. Trade unions urged workers to go about their business.

The situation is quite OK because they are now returning to their jobs, said one Harare resident, Clinton Mandioper.

Human rights groups urged respect for rights as the drama played out.

Amid questions about the whereabouts of first lady Grace Mugabe, one Namibian newspaper, the New Era, reported that the country's foreign minister denied she had fled there.

Source: Voice of America

Run, walk for Madiba

The 2017 Mandela Remembrance Walk and Run, in its fourth year of existence, will take place on Sunday, 10 December 2017.

The run, launched yesterday by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), the Gauteng provincial government and the City of Tshwane, will kick off the South African commemoration programme which will ensure that the legacy and heritage of the late former President Nelson Mandela are appropriately celebrated.

NMF trustee Tokyo Sexwale said the walk � and now run � symbolises a commitment to Madiba's beliefs and ideals. There comes a time, as a country, when we have to walk, and a time when we have to run, he said.

Sexwale said this year's theme of Remembering Madiba: Deepening democracy and building an inclusive society was chosen as a reminder for all to reflect on the society and the world Madiba dreamt of.

He made reference to the activities of walking and running as a symbol of what all South Africans should do to catch up with the world. We are behind and must walk faster and run to address some of the promises that were made to the people.

This call is a reminder to continue to fight injustice whenever it shows itself, and to build a country that matches Mandela's dreams.

Speaking on behalf of Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Ivor Hoff, Chief Director in the Gauteng Department of Sport and Recreation, announced the introduction of a 10km run to prelude the 2018 centenary celebrations marking the 1918 birth of the late former President.

Hoff encouraged everyone to come out and take part in the remembrance walk and run activities, and help to remember the sacrifice, courage and patriotism that Madiba dedicated to his country.

The race will start from the Union Buildings in Tshwane and the route goes past five heritage sites, presenting the perfect opportunity for participants to familiarise themselves with the country's rich history.

This year also sees the introduction of a market, where runners and families can mingle and enjoy themselves in the spirit of Madiba.

About 15 000 participants took part in the 2016 event, while entries for 2017 have been capped at 20 000 participants.

Those interested in participating can get more information on early bird specials and entry fees at https://www.mandelawalkandrun.com/.

All proceeds raised from the entry fees are donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to continue the work the foundation does to preserve and promote the legacy of Madiba.

Source: South African Government News Agency

MEC Gwen Ramokgopa receives Confocal Corneal Camera machine from Novo ...

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital to receive high-tech machine

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital's Diabetic clinic will receive a shot-in-the-arm today when the Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa receives a Confocal Corneal Camera machine from multinational healthcare company Novo Nordisk.

The machine, which is a first of its kind in the Gauteng province and one of only two in the country, will be used for renal failure and nerve damage diagnoses amongst others. Furthermore, this machine will assist in reducing waiting times for treatment of diabetic related conditions.

Source: Government of South Africa