Daily News Brief on ICGLR Member States compiled by LMRC (25th February 2020)

1.    ANGOLA

a)    Angola Press Agency: President gets message from Mozambican counterpart

Luanda - Angolan president, João Lourenço, Monday received a letter from his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, which deals with strengthening cooperation ties between the two Portuguese-speaking countries.

The message was delivered by the Mozambican Interior Minister, Amade Miquidade, as special envoy of Mozambique President, who was received in an audience by the Angolan Head of State.

Speaking to the press, Amade Miquidade said that his arrival in Angola is part of the intended strengthened solidarity and fraternity between the two peoples.

The Mozambican official explained that relation between Angola and Mozambique are quite good and that his country proposes to strengthen cooperation in the defense and security forces, for the exchange of information, admitting the possibility of an Angolan delegation to travel to Mozambique in the coming days.

Amadeu Miquidade also spoke of the situation in Cabo Delgado province, which as he said, is worrying because it is being conducted by unidentified individuals, who kill innocent people for no apparent reason, chopping up victims, burning villages and attacking health centres and other institutions.

However, the Mozambican official denies that the situation, which has already caused more than 350 deaths and thousands of displaced people, is out of control, recognizing only that the armed groups act with sophisticated means.

He also admitted the possibility of the involvement of individuals of other nationalities, with external financing for the actions of instability.

The Mozambican President appealed on February, in a meeting with diplomatic body, to international partners to put into practice the support they have promised to put an end to the armed violence in the centre and north of the country.

Filipe Nyusi denounced the involvement of foreigners in the conflict and warned of the risk of widespread attacks in other Southern African countries.

b)    Angola Press Agency: Angolan judge defends search for social peace

Algiers - The search for social peace should be a concern of public authorities of all African countries, defended Monday in Algiers the chairperson of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions on Africa (CJCA), Angolan Manuel Miguel da Costa Aragão.

The presiding judge of the Angolan Constitutional Court defended the stance, while addressing at a Round Table on the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Constitutional Council of Algeria.

The Angolan judge also spoke of the need for good relation between individual and collective people and public authorities so as to security peace in the society.

In the specific case of Angola, added Manuel Aragão, the quest for the pacification of social relations is needed due to the fact that the country has experienced a long period of armed conflict.

Manuel Aragão underscored that the African constitutional courts can contribute to pacify the public space and establish a lasting social peace environment.

According to Manuel Aragão, the Conference of African Constitutional Jurisdictions will have an important role to play in bringing the Courts and Constitutional Councils together.

c)    Angola Press Agency: Angola says no more to corruption

Luanda - Several marches to repudiate the practices of corruption and impunity, called by the MPLA, took place this Saturday in 17 of the country's 18 provinces.

The demonstrations took place at a time when the government, supported by the MPLA, intensified the fight against monopoly groups and against bad managers of public assets, in fulfilment of its electoral programme.

The marches took place in the provinces of Luanda, Namibe, Zaire, Bié, Benguela, Lunda Sul, Huíla, Moxico, Cuanza Norte, Bengo, Cuando Cubango, Lunda Norte, Malanje, Cunene, Cuanza Sul, Huambo and Uíge.

In the capital of the country, at least three thousand citizens took part in a march, which started at the Luanda Provincial Committee of the MPLA and ended up in the Largo das Escolas site, near the Independence Square, promoting messages of encouragement for the government to continue the fight against corruption.

In the end of the act, the MPLA's first provincial secretary, Sérgio Luther Rescova, stated that the fight against corruption is a commitment that everyone has to support.

The politician reiterated his support for the measures implemented by the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, since he took power on September 26, 2017.

The fight against corruption, impunity, embezzlement and money laundering are among the main actions of the government, led by the MPLA.

Within the framework of these measures, carried out by the judicial authorities, the country has recovered several assets built with public funds, which were under the management of private entities, and improved the management of public affairs.

In the same context, Angolan government and judicial authorities are working hard to end monopoly groups that hinder free competition and undermine the business environment.

To this end, the government has since 2017 used new strategies to combat harmful practices that, for more than 40 years, have widened social inequalities.

Since 2018, several personalities that were part of the government and public managers have been investigated by the Attorney General's Office (PGR), some of whom have already been tried and convicted.

2.    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

a)    Daily Mail: UN chief welcomes peace progress in Central African Republic

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming slow but steady progress toward implementing a peace agreement signed a year ago by Central African Republic´s government and rebel groups, but he is "seriously concerned" about continuing hostilities and violence.

The U.N. chief said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that "peace and stability in the Central African Republic remain fragile" and "the period ahead will indeed be challenging."

The international community and the impoverished country´s people "can and must" continue to move toward peace, Guterres said.

Mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly inter-religious and inter-communal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the capital, Bangui. Mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias fought back, resulting in the killing of thousands and the displacement of thousands.

The country saw a period of relative peace in late 2015 and 2016, but violence intensified and spread afterward.

In February 2019, the government signed a peace agreement with 14 armed groups, and Guterres said "violence has decreased overall" since then.

But he said intermittent serious incidents of violence and human rights violations have continued.

He noted a "persistent lack of good faith among the signatories," including the three main ex-Seleka armed groups and anti-Balaka groups. He also pointed to "the nominal commitment" to the peace agreement, especially by government forces, which have contributed to delays in the deal's implementation.

Guterres also cited the national government´s failure to meet the Jan. 31 deadline to conclude the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation of rebel groups, adding that some armed groups continue to conduct illegal activities.

"The risk of fueling yet another cycle of conflict is too high and the implications too great for the people, the country and the region," Guterres said. "The population has already borne the brunt of the conflict and the implications of a delayed peace."

The U.N. envoy for Central African Republic, Mankeur Ndiaye, told the Security Council on Thursday that this year is an important "turning point" for the country, which is to hold elections for a new government in December.

Since the peace agreement was signed, Ndiaye said, violence has not only decreased significantly but the authority of the state has been "progressively and continuously extended." Armed forces have been deployed to new areas and there has been progress in combating impunity and promoting justice, he said.

Ndiaye noted the Feb. 7 sentencing of 28 members of the anti-Balaka militia for the murder of civilians and 10 U.N. peacekeepers in 2017 in Bangassou and other communities in the country's southeast.

He said new laws are awaited, especially on establishing a Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. Victims want their voices to be heard and to receive "reparations for harm," he said.

"The peace agreement is not yet peace," Ndiaye stressed. "It is a step forward, a long process."

Key challenges include persistent violations by some armed groups that have collected illegal taxes and expanded their areas of operation and clashes between armed groups fighting over territory and resources, he said.

Ndiaye urged the Security Council to examine "robust measures," which usually means sanctions, against all those who hamper implementation of the peace agreement.

In January, two former presidents returned to Central African Republic - Francois Bozize, who came to power in a coup and ruled for a decade, and Michel Djotodia, the Seleka rebel leader who overthrew him in 2013.

"Both of them have affirmed and reaffirmed their desire to contribute to the peace and stability of the country and to contribute to peaceful elections - and this is something we can welcome," Ndiaye said.

He commended current President Faustin-Archange Touadera for his openness in consulting the ex-presidents "in order to guarantee a peaceful political environment."

Ndiaye said it´s crucial that elections are inclusive, stressing that refugees must be allowed to vote and there must be women candidates.

3.    KENYA

a)    Standard Digital: Uhuru says State will implement sugar report

The Government will implement fully recommendations made by the sugar taskforce, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Speaking yesterday after receiving the taskforce report in Nairobi, Uhuru said the Government is keen to ensure Kenyan sugarcane farmers earn decent incomes from their crop.

The taskforce co-chaired by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has proposed the re-introduction of the sugar levy.

It has also proposed the re-introduction of the sugar levy, privatisation of public sugar mills to enhance their efficiency and the enactment of the Sugar Act.

“As leaders, ours is to ensure farmers get maximum returns from their sweat,” the President said.

The sugar levy will be charged on consumers so as to raise the revenue needed to assist farmers to develop their sugarcane.

Other proposed reforms include the gazettement of the sugar sector regulations including import rules, amendment of the AFA Act and Crops Act inline with the 2010 Constitution, and a review of the taxation regime in the sector to enhance investor incentives.

The taskforce also proposed strict compliance with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) regulations and outlined a raft of reforms needed to increase the sugar sector’s productivity.

On privatisation, President Kenyatta said the Government doesn’t need to engage in business since its role is in facilitating farmers to get the best seed, fertiliser and other farm implements.

 “The private sector will do business while ours will be to support farmers interests,” Uhuru said.

Mr Oparanya said the taskforce is convinced that with the implementation of the report, the country will be able to revive its ailing sugar sector.

He thanked the President for his commitment to the revival of the sugar sector.

Cabinet Secretaries Munya and Ukur Yattani (Treasury) and governors Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) are members of the taskforce.

4.    RWANDA

a)    The New Times: Museveni still lying about the root cause of the Uganda-Rwanda crisis

Museveni has been on a two-decades long campaign to openly recruit Rwandan officials in the hope the leadership would become divided and crumble.

After the Gatuna Quadripartite Summit on Friday, February 21, President Museveni met with a thin crowd of Ugandan border residents who had been pressuring him all along to take the Angola MoU seriously so that the common border with Rwanda could be opened and their economy and livelihoods - which have been devastated as a consequence of Uganda’s decision to work with groups bent on destabilizing Rwanda - back on their feet. Rather than tell them the truth that delays on his part in implementing the MoU is the reason border operations remain moribund, Museveni, as usual, chose to distort and deflect.

Such distortion of facts is extremely unhelpful. It is diversionary and only continues to fuel the problem. His false claims also fail completely to address his role in continuing to fuel the crisis, showing that he is unready to do his part to resolve it.

“The origin of the problem is that these people we helped when they had problems, once they returned home they started to have divisions within them. Others fled to South Africa and Rwanda thinks they are in Uganda,” he told the small crowd that seemed unimpressed with his distortions of fact, with analysis that selectively and conveniently starts the Rwanda-Uganda story from the middle rather than from its very beginning in Luwero and the shoulders by which he was carried to power. It is the sort of selective memory and the deliberate overlooking of what Museveni's government is right now doing to ordinary innocent Rwandans that is certainly unbefitting of a head of state.

But Museveni wasn’t done with his characteristic dishonesty, “My sympathies go out to the citizens of Uganda and Rwanda that have been affected by the closure of the Katuna border. I call upon you to be patient as we pursue a lasting solution. I am very optimistic that the truth will come out because the NRM government stands for the truth,” he later claimed on Twitter, with the unbelievable pretence, given the kind of abuse his security agents are right now inflicting on Rwandans unfortunate enough to fall into their hands, that he cares about Rwandans' well-being. In fact, Museveni hoped - as he has always dreamt - to draw a wedge between Rwandans and their leadership through such fake sympathy. Rwandans do not need Museveni’s sympathy; they are doing just fine going about their daily lives and focussed on building their country. It also unbelievable that the man whose security agents are abducting, illegally jailing and horribly torturing innocent Rwandans in his secret detention centres - many into insanity and death, or cruelly separating nursing mothers from their infants should pretend to care for Rwandans outside his circle of would-be quislings and the genocidaire remnants coordinated on his behalf by his Minister for Rwanda destabilisation campaign, Phillemon Msteke. Museveni should speak only for Ugandans and leave the welfare of Rwandans to their own leadership. His seeming inability to recognise this is in itself part of the problem. 

5.    SOUTH SUDAN

a)    Radio Tamazuj: Transitional justice resource center opened in Yei

A leading civil society group in South Sudan has launched a transitional justice resource center in Yei River County.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, Jacob Thon, the conflict mediation manager for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said the center will take the lead in helping to restore peace among communities in Yei River County and beyond.

“It will act as a research center for victims of violence and capacity building. Transitional justice is all about issues of accountability and reconciliation in order to avoid future conflicts. We also want to see that perpetrators tried in court and the center will help the commission for truth, healing and reconciliation in gathering information on what happened in Yei during the conflict period,” he explained.

The 2018 peace agreement says that the transitional government will establish three new institutions to help bring justice to South Sudan. These institutions are the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the Hybrid Court, and the Compensation and Reparation Authority.

Jacob Thon further pointed out that similar resource centers are due to be launched in Juba, Bor, Wau and Yambio counties.

Mary Sadia, a resident of Yei town, welcomed the opening of the center saying it will enable communities to access justice. “I lost my movable and fixed properties during the conflict. My son was killed and all my seven houses destroyed. With the coming of peace and opening of the resource center, I am very happy.  We are ready for peace and reconciliation with everybody,” she said.

Arthur Beingana, the UNMISS human rights officer in Yei, said the UN body is ready to support CEPO’s activities in promoting human rights and access to justice  in Yei River County.

“As UNMISS, we believe human rights violations must be addressed through justice, bearing in mind that South Sudan has been involved in a number of conflicts. We must undertake these transitional justice mechanisms for us to redress the various abuses that have been taking place for us to move forward,” he explained.

Felix Amule, the Secretary General of the defunct Yei River State, said the unity government is committed to work with partners in promoting access to justice. “We don’t want to see people being raped and killed. People should respect the law, know their rights and it is our responsibility to become the real stakeholders in this change,” he said.

b)    Radio Tamazuj: Holdout group calls for constructive talks with unity government

The holdout group South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) on Monday called on the unity government to engage in constructive talks with them to achieve peace in the country.

This comes two days after President Salva Kiir dissolved the previous government and appointed his vice presidents as part of the revitalized peace deal.

“We encourage the new transitional government, RTGoNU to use this opportunity to engage in real and substantive negotiations on the way forward to achieve peace in South Sudan,” SSOMA said in a statement extended to Radio Tamazuj.

The coalition underscored the need for a sustainable and just peace in South Sudan, stressing that sustainable peace cannot be achieved without resolving the root causes of the conflict in the country.

The opposition group reaffirmed its commitment to the peace process by the Community of Sant’Egidio to achieve sustainable peace in South Sudan.

 “The Rome Declaration on Peace in South Sudan of 12th January 2020 and the Rome Resolution on the Monitoring and Verification of the CoHA 2017 of 14th February 2020 under the mediation of the Community of Sant’Egidio provide a solid base for genuine and credible negotiation to achieve sustainable peace through addressing the root causes of the conflict in the country,” SSOMA said.

The holdout group appreciated the unwavering support for the quest for sustainable peace in South Sudan by the international community.

The SSOMA group includes National Salvation Front (NAS), South Sudan United Front (SSUF),  the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM), the United Democratic Revolutionary Movement, National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF), and South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC).

6.    UGANDA

a)    The Star: One person dead as Ugandan police tear-gas Bobi Wine's event

Ugandan police and opposition politician Robert Kyangulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, have given conflicting accounts over the death of a woman in the capital, Kampala, during a confrontation.

Bobi Wine was scheduled to hold a consultative meeting on Monday, but which police blocked saying he had not met requirements agreed by the electoral commission and the police.

Supporters demonstrated after being barred from accessing the venue and police dispersed them with teargas and live bullets, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper.

A supporter, Ritah Nabukenya, was reported to have been knocked down by a police vehicle while riding on a motorcycle taxi, according to The Observer newspaper.

Bobi Wine has accused the police of causing the accident while police said they had nothing to with it.

Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesman, Luke Owoyesigyire, said that the woman was seriously injured after falling off a boda boda.

He said that a police vehicle took her to the hospital where she died while receiving treatment.

Bobi Wine's event was to take place at the Pope Paul Memorial Community Centre in Kampala. It was to act as a start of his consultative meeting.

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