Daily News Brief on ICGLR Member States compiled by LMRC (22nd October 2019)

1.    ANGOLA

a)    Angola Press Agency: Angolan President to Travel to Russia Tuesday

Luanda — The Angolan President, João Lourenço, is to leave this Tuesday for Sochi, Russia, to attend the Russia-Africa Summit that is scheduled to happen from the 23rd to 24th of this month.

According to a note from the President's Institutional Communication and Press Affairs Office, the Head of State will address the opening session of the event (Wednesday, Oct 23), reserved for the speeches of the invited leaders.

On the next day, he has scheduled a formal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to assess the state of bilateral relations and considerations on contemporary issues.

On the sidelines of the event, João Lourenço has audiences for influential figures of the political, social and economic universe of this European country, including officials from banks, industrial and agricultural companies and producers of precious minerals such as diamonds.

The presidential mission to the Russian territory includes the signing of bilateral agreements in various fields, such as training of cadres and the implementation of a fertilizer industry in Angola.

The Ministers of Economy and Planning, Foreign relations, Agriculture and Forests, Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation and Mineral and Oil Resources, as well as aides will accompany the President of the Republic.

The Russia-Africa Summit aims, among other purposes, to highlight the expansion of political, economic, technical and cultural cooperation between Africa and Russia.

On the sidelines of this event, an Economic Forum will be held with the presence of African and Russian leaders and representatives of large companies, which will include the signing of trade, economic and investment agreements.

2.    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

a)    Russia News Agency: Russia and Republic of the Congo to develop energy cooperation — ambassador

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Projects in the sphere of energy and oil production are the key areas of prospective cooperation between Russia and the Republic of the Congo, Russian Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo Georgy Chepik told TASS on Monday in the run-up to the Russia-Africa Summit.

"The most promising area of cooperation is energy and hydrocarbons production. First and foremost, this includes the participation of PJSC Lukoil in the development of a major hydrocarbons field on the continental shelf of the Republic of the Congo and the construction of an oil-products pipeline Pointe-Noire-Loutete-Maluko-Tresho." We can expect rapid development of these projects," he said.

He recalled that the USSR provided considerable support to Brazzaville, which can have a positive influence on current cooperation prospects. "In the Soviet period, the Republic of the Congo was among the African states that proclaimed the socialist path of development. Due to this, we provided significant support to Brazzaville. The Congolese are thankful for that time, valuing the contribution of our country to the establishment of their economy. They reaffirm their commitment to enhance multifaceted cooperation with Russia under new conditions," Chepik said.

The ambassador recalled that Russian-African relations "have longstanding historic roots, and Russia has played a key role in supporting the fight of the African people for independence, providing multifaceted aid that facilitated the social-economic development of young African states." "Currently, the spirit of understanding and trust forms the basis for expanding cooperation under new conditions. During the post-Soviet period, we have been constantly looking for new forms of cooperation, and I think that we have managed to create the prerequisites for the return of our country to the region," Chepik noted.

The upcoming Russia-Africa Summit should take stock of the efforts carried out by Russia in recent years. "The summit’s aim is to create an algorithm of joint actions in the future and to map out objectives. Undoubtedly, it will be a success, especially because such a format has been used effectively for a long time by other leading partners of Africa, such as China, the European Union and Japan," the ambassador noted.

The Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by the Russian and Egyptian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, will be held in Russia’s resort city of Sochi on October 23 and 24. Leaders of all the 54 countries of the African continent have been invited to the forum, with over 40 having confirmed their participation. Concurrently, an economic forum will take place, which is expected to be attended by heads of state and representatives of state structures, business and integration associations of the continent.

b)    Anadolu Agency: DR Congo Ebola death toll climbs to 2,150: African Union

The death toll from the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 2,150 as of Oct. 13, according to a new African Union report.

That figure is up from 2,133 earlier this month, the AU-affiliated Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said, reported the Premium Times Nigeria website Monday.

The updated figures show a total of 3,220 Ebola cases recorded in the period, with 29 new cases beyond the 3,191 announced as of Sept. 29.

Separately, a high-level ministerial meeting in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the situation Monday saw a draft framework on "cross-border collaboration on Ebola and other diseases," the Africa CDC tweeted.

Ebola -- a tropical fever which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Congo -- can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.

It caused global alarm in 2014 when the world's worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

3.    KENYA

a)    Daily Nation: Uhuru, Raila hint at referendum as Ruto evades BBI debate

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on Sunday gave the clearest indication yet that Kenyans should prepare for a referendum to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Speaking during the Mashujaa Day celebrations at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa, they made their positions on the BBI known as speculation mounts on the contents of the report by the 14-member team gazetted in May last year.

Commenting on his ‘handshake’ with Mr Odinga last year, President Kenyatta said: “Heroism, patriotism and love for our country exhibited by our independence era evaders persist to this day as embodied in the historic handshake through which political divides were breached for the sake of peace and a better Kenya.”

Mr Odinga said the handshake was meant to improve the country’s leadership by bringing unity, fighting corruption, ethnicity and political division.

“It is for that reason that the BBI is coming. How many of us are supporting it?” Mr Odinga posed amid cheers from the expectant crowd.

He defended his directive stopping the dredging at the port to allow for the recovery of a car that had plunged into the Indian Ocean with a mother and her daughter inside, saying he issued the order “as a Kenyan”.

He was responding to Deputy President William Ruto’s allies, who had claimed he lacked powers to issue such an order.

As the President and Mr Odinga embraced the BBI, Dr Ruto gave it a wide berth even after being prompted by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho to support it as he invited him to the podium.

Dr Ruto avoided the topic and instead urged Kenyans to remain united and shun divisive politics.

“I want to ask all of us to refuse to be drawn into politics of ethnicity, hatred, division and political deceit. We should stand firm behind Uhuru Kenyatta to unify this country and concentrate on the transformation of Kenya,” said Dr Ruto.

Dr Ruto recently said via his Twitter account that the outcome of the BBI must be subjected to public participation.

Meanwhile, BBI’s joint secretaries Paul Mwangi and Martin Kimani have dismissed a document doing the rounds on social media being passed off as a product of the team.

“That’s speculation as nobody knows the contents of the report,” Mr Mwangi said, while Mr Kimani termed the document and the attendant newspaper stories as “fake news”.

It was widely believed that the document was to be launched on Mashujaa Day. The team is still working on the report, said Mr Mwangi. “We are awaiting to be advised on the delivery protocols,” he said.

The document shared on social media claims that the team wants a powerful prime minister, a seven-year single term for the president as well as a reduction in the number of constituencies and counties.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati claimed the document was the work of individuals opposed to the BBI.

“We know them. They want to give the BBI team a bad name in advance so as to prepare the minds of Kenyans to reject the document over claims that it will reduce the number of MPs and counties. They will not succeed,” Mr Arati said.

4.    RWANDA

a)    The New Times: UN police course opens in Musanze

A cohort of 25 police officers from the Rwanda National Police on Monday started a three-week United Nations (UN) Individual Police Officers Course at the Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze District.

The course is being conducted under the auspices of the UN through its Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

The course, according to officials, seeks to prepare and equip officers with relevant knowledge and skills that will enable them to perform the requisite police duties once deployed to UN missions as individual police officers.

While officially opening the training, Col. Jill Rutaremara, the Director of Rwanda Peace Academy, revealed that some of the UN mission areas are characterised by a breakdown in law and order, which require individual police officers to possess certain competencies for them to help bring back peace and security.

Some UN mission areas, Rutaremara added, are challenged by weak and ineffective institutions.

“Under such operational environment, you will be required to make significant contribution to building and or mentoring local police personnel,” he told the course participants.   

“You will also be required to search for and arrest criminal suspects some of whom may be hiding among the population. This may apply to human beings, illicit arms, materials and substances under the custody of criminal elements.”

Rutaremara added that participants that they will be required to contribute to road safety and to collaborate with the local community and other security agencies in preventing and fighting crime.

“Needless to mention, you will also prepare and submit written reports and also communicate verbally to your superiors, stakeholders and partners.”

Rutaremara went on to say that while in peacekeeping missions, the individual police officers might encounter situations where they will have to navigate their way.

Trainees welcomed the course, saying they were confident of representing their country well when assigned to participate in any UN peacekeeping mission.

b)    The New Times: Luanda MoU: Rwanda dispels reports about Kampala meeting

Nearly a week after the date when senior Rwandan and Ugandan officials were due to reconvene for a follow-up meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, by invitation of the latter, no official invitation is known in Kigali but confusing pronouncements are appearing the Ugandan newspapers.

When Rwandan and Ugandan officials met in Kigali last month on September 16, both parties agreed that a follow-up meeting, to iron out the differences between both countries would happen 30 days later in Kampala.

When those 30 days elapsed last week, no invitation from Kampala had come through. It still has not materialized.

But, over the weekend, a Ugandan newspaper published a report alleging that Kampala dispatched an invite to Kigali for their next meeting set for November 13.

In Kigali, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) on Monday confirmed it still has not heard, officially, from Kampala.

Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, said: “MINAFFET was not consulted on any date and we are yet to receive any invitation. We have learned about this meeting on Twitter, like anyone else.”

The September 16 meeting ended without a major breakthrough.

But the parties agreed to meet in Kampala after 30 days to review progress on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Luanda, Angola, a month earlier.

Last month, the Rwandan delegation served their Ugandan counterparts with a list of Rwandan nationals who are illegally held in Uganda.

At the time, Nduhungirehe told the delegates at the joint Ad hoc Commission meeting that persistent arbitrary detention and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda was one of the issues that have undermined bilateral relations between the two neighbors.

In March, Kigali issued an advisory on Uganda travel saying it could not guarantee its citizens’ safety there.

Among others, it was expected that the second meeting would discuss issues of mutual concern such as the free movement of persons, goods, and services across the common border.

Last month, Uganda promised to verify information related to the Rwandans detained there.

Kigali among others accuses Uganda of aiding armed elements that seek to destabilize Rwanda.

A UN report released in December 2018 confirmed that Uganda was a major source of recruits for Rwandan rebel outfits based in eastern DR Congo.

Two senior leaders of the FDLR militia arrested by Congolese authorities last year and transferred to Kigali confessed in court that they were seized as they returned from a meeting with Ugandan and RNC officials in Kampala.

Last month, the two delegations agreed on a number of issues of mutual concern, including Rwanda providing Uganda with a list of its nationals believed to be detained in Uganda and the latter committed to verify the information.

Sources then said the list contained 209 Rwandan nationals.

The verification would allow for due process including releasing those against whom no evidence of criminal conduct will have been found, officials said at the time.

Both parties also agreed that due process will be followed in dealing with each other’s citizens and they reiterated their commitment to refraining from any acts of destabilization against each other.

Kigali also accuses Kampala of being involved in “acts of economic sabotage” against Rwanda and called for “full and meaningful implementation of the Luanda MoU.

c)    The New Times: Kagame launches $35m dry port in Kigali

President Paul Kagame on Monday presided over the inauguration of the Kigali Logistics Platform, a state-of-the-art facility that is expected to give a significant boost to international trade.

The platform which is operated by the United Arab Emirates logistics firm, DP World, is a dry port that is located in Masaka, a Kigali suburb and it is expected to ease trade not only in Rwanda, but also in the neighbouring markets.

It is the first of its kind in this region.

This is the country’s largest inland cargo handling facility and it became operational in June 2019 and it came into being courtesy of a 25-year concessional agreement that was signed between Rwanda and UAE in 2016.

President Kagame, who toured the facility prior to the launch, said he was impressed with the high level of technology that was being used at the platform, which he said is a key catalyst for trade.

The head of state said that the KLP is part of the efforts by Rwanda to ready herself ahead of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which slated for July next year.

“That trading (under AfCFTA) would not be possible without the infrastructure and through facilities like this, as Rwanda we are doing our part,” President Kagame said.

Speaking at the launch, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said that this facility, whose first phase cost USD35 million, will be used as a gateway to the African market.

“We see Rwanda as a gateway to the heart of Africa. We want to use this gateway and we are happy because we have an efficient partner in the Government of Rwanda,” Sulayem said, adding that very soon they would embark on works to expand it.

He said that when they were first approached to set up the platform in Rwanda, they were not convinced of viability because, mainly, they were looking at the size of the market the country offered.

“We however followed the vision as presented to us by President Kagame and on touring the facility, I noticed the cargo was being processed for other countries and I must say it is impressive,” he said.

With a capacity to a capacity of 198 trucks, 20,000 square metres of bonded warehouse storage and a container of 50,000 TEUs per year, the launch of this dry port will enable traders within and outside the country to save time while conducting business.

5.    SOUTH SUDAN

a)    Nyamilepedia: Kiir leaves Juba for Afro-Russian summit

October 22nd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has left the capital Juba heading for Sochi, Russia, to attend the Afro-Russian summit, the Presidency said in a statement.

He was accompanied by senior government officials including the Minister in the Office of the President Mayiik Ayii Deng.

“The President of the Republic, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and his accompanying delegation left Juba this morning for the Russia–Africa Economic Forum in Sochi, Russia that will take place from 23-24 Oct. 2019,” the statement said.

Kiir who is expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will attend – along with other African head of states – the two-day forum which would “serve as a platform for the development and strengthening of trade and investment relations between Africa and Russia.”

“President Salva Kiir is expected to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Forum is expected to be attended by Heads of State, representatives of Russian, African and international businesses, and government agencies as well as of international organizations.

“The Issues to be discussed include market opportunities, investment incentives, policies and regulations, trade as well as trade and investment financing windows for the African countries.”

The statement further said the South Sudanese leader “hold sideline meetings with other heads of State who are attending the Russia-Africa Forum.”

b)    UN News: UN Security Council calls for South Sudan leaders to speed up action on peace deal

The 15 ambassadors arrived in the capital, Juba, on Sunday, describing their visit as an opportunity to secure lasting peace in the country as it came just three weeks before a unified transitional government is due to be formed.

“There is an opportunity for the leaders of South Sudan to make political compromise and move forward to the next phase of the peace process in a credible, transparent and accountable manner,” said Kelly Craft, United States ambassador to the UN.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s youngest country. The fledgling nation erupted in chaos less than three years later following fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and supporters of his former deputy, Riek Machar.

It is hoped that a revitalized peace deal signed last September will bring an end to the violence.  

The Security Council delegation acknowledged that progress has been made since then, with a ceasefire significantly improving the security situation.

“We noted the reduction of political violence which has contributed to the return of 594,000 displaced people, increased food production, enhanced humanitarian access, and increased commerce among communities,” said Jerry Matthews Matjila, the South African ambassador to the UN and Council president for October.

However, key outstanding issues remain which are having an impact on the progression of the peace process.  They include decisions on states and boundaries, as well as the reunification of security forces.

Members held lengthy meetings with President Kiir, Mr. Machar and other signatories to the peace agreement, urging them to expedite its implementation and meet the November 12 deadline for forming a unified transitional government.

Mr. Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In-Opposition, expressed concern about the failure to reunify security forces.  He added that his party would not join the government until this issue was resolved.

“Yes, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development stated that by the 12th of November there should be a new government… but the aspects that are needed for establishing the government are not there”, he said. “Suppose we force it on the 12th, we know what will happen the ceasefire that we have been enjoying will be in jeopardy.”

Council members expressed their strong disappointment at this statement.  They urged the sides to compromise and show strong leadership to chart a way forward.

6.    SUDAN

a)    The National: Thousands protest in Sudan to call for disbanding of former ruling party

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Sudan on Monday to call for the disbanding of former President Omar Al Bashir's party, the political organ he used to control the country during his 30 years of rule before being ousted in April.

Separately, Sudan's transitional government and a main rebel faction signed a political declaration amid peace negotiations that began last week, taking a new step towards ending the country's yearslong civil wars. The two sides also renewed a nationwide ceasefire for three months.

The protests in Khartoum and other parts of the country coincided with the anniversary of an uprising in 1964. That push ended six years of military rule in Sudan after a wave of riots and strikes.

Sudan's current transitional government came to power after a similar campaign of mass unrest, which eventually led the military to overthrow Al Bashir. The country is now ruled by a joint military-civilian administration, which must navigate a delicate path towards eventual democratic elections in just over three years.

There were no reports of any clashes with police or casualties during Monday's protests. The marches renewed demands for independent investigation into the deadly break-up of a protest camp by security forces in June.

Police blocked off main streets Monday leading to the presidential palace and the military's headquarters in Khartoum — the site of June's deadly dispersal — said Asil Abdu, an activist.

A statement by the police warned against "creating a state of chaos," which it said could lead to "unfavourable consequences."

Videos circulated online showed protesters marching in the capital and other cities such as Atbara, a northern transport hub where the uprising began in December.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok gave a televised speech marking the 1964 uprising, saying: "The revolution needs greater efforts to be completed and achieve its goals." The appointment of Mr Hamdok, a respected economist, as Sudan's top civilian leader in August helped lessen fears the military would attempt to cling to power. Last week, he sacked several top bureaucrats, which pleased protest leaders who want the remnants of Mr Al Bashir's regime purged from all state institutions.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which led the recent uprising, has called for the appointment of regional governors and the formation of a legislative body. Creating an interim parliament was part of a power-sharing agreement signed in August between pro-democracy protesters and the country's powerful military.

The transitional government previously said it won't appoint governors or the legislative body until it makes peace with the country's rebel groups. That would be a crucial step, since the transitional government is looking to slash military spending in order to revive the battered economy. The uprising against Mr Al Bashir initially began against economic issues, but escalated into calls for his downfall.

Mohammed Hassan Al Taishi, a member of the Sovereign Council and a government negotiator, said on Monday that they had agreed on the agenda for the negotiations with the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of rebel groups from the western Darfur region.

"There is a new political will from all sides … to reach permanent and comprehensive peace," SRF leader Yasser Arman told The Associated Press by phone.

He said this was the first joint ceasefire agreement in five years. In another first, he said the government agreed to allow humanitarian aid deliveries into conflict-affected areas, both from inside and from outside Sudan.

The talks are taking place in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, which itself gained independence from the north in 2011 after years of fighting.

The transitional authorities have set a six-month deadline for making peace with the rebel groups.

A report on Monday by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said achieving peace requires "careful consideration of the accommodations that the rebels are seeking". The rebels have for years complained of neglect by the central government in Khartoum.

The report identified important steps the government should take, including "reverse the imposition of Islamic law on religious minorities, separate religion and state, and provide for a fairer distribution of power and resources to areas in the periphery".

b)    Daily News Egypt: Sudan government, opposition sign political roadmap, cessation of hostilities

South Sudan President Salva Kiir who has been mediating the peace process since Oct. 14, lauded both parties for reaching the agreement and disclosed that peace and stability in Sudan also translates into stability of Juba which is seeking recovery from five years of conflict.

Sudan’s transitional government and various opposition groups under the Sudan Revolutionary Front umbrella on Monday signed the political roadmap and Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreements seen as a major breakthrough in the ongoing peace negotiations to end decades of conflict.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir who has been mediating the peace process since Oct. 14, lauded both parties for reaching the agreement and disclosed that peace and stability in Sudan also translates into stability of Juba which is seeking recovery from five years of conflict.

“I want to thank the new leaders of Sudan for their straightforwardness that they would want to solve all the problems. The problem in Sudan, if it is not solved, will always spill into South Sudan and the opposite is also the same,” said Kiir in Juba after witnessing the signing ceremony.

“I want the two countries to move out of this crisis and so that they concentrate only on development for the people of Sudan and South Sudan,” he added.

The political declaration sets out critical issues to guide the talks and the CoH will open up humanitarian corridors in conflict-prone regions of Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur where the Sudan government has been battling rebels for decades.

Mohamed Hamdan Daqlu, deputy head of the ruling Sudan Sovereign Council, a coalition of the Transitional Military Council and opposition Forces of Freedom and Change, congratulated the opposition groups for signing the deal.

“We are partners and not enemies in this peace process. I reaffirm the commitment of the Sudanese government to continue negotiating with the opposition,” said Daqlu.

He appealed to the international community to support the peace initiative, adding that without their needed support the peace process will not succeed.

El Hadi Idris, leader of SRF and Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council said the deal reached between both sides demonstrates political will and commitment by the parties to end the conflict.

“During these few days we have spent with members of the Sudan Sovereign Council we have observed that they are serious and we are also serious about peace negotiations. The political will on both sides is assured. It is very rare to see conflicting parties fully cooperate,” said Idris.

He disclosed that the latest development marks a departure from past deals where the government signed a unilateral ceasefire with separate rebel groups.

“The other document on CoH is the first of its kind because we used to sign unilateral Cessation of Hostilities. This is the first time that all parties decided to join to sign the cessation of hostilities,” he added.

Idris urged the African Union Peace and Security Council as well as United Nations Security Council to support the effort and initiative led by South Sudan and to do whatever possible to issue a mandate that can accelerate the peace process.

The opposition groups under the SRF grouping include the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /Army-Northern sector led by Malik Agar, Justice Equality Movement under Jibril Ibrahim, Democratic Union party led by Eltom Hajou and the Sudan Liberation Movement under Minni Minnawi and others.

These groups had fought against former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and are now seeking to be included in the transitional government in Khartoum.

7.    TANZANIA

a)    The Citizen: Opposition Rejects Voter Statistics Ahead of Tanzania Local Govt Polls

Dodoma/Dar — Leaders of opposition political parties yesterday expressed their doubts over released number of voters registered for civic polls slated for November 24.

This comes after the minister of state in the President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), Mr Selemani Jafo, told reporters in Dodoma that 19.6 million Tanzanians have registered for the forthcoming civic elections.

However, leaders of opposition find the number unrealistic considering low citizen turnouts during the registration process, forcing the government to extend the exercise that started on October 8, 2019 to October 17 instead of October 14.

However, in a quick rejoinder, Mr Jafo insisted that released figures were authentic and were collected from registration stations.

Speaking to The Citizen, the Chadema secretary general, Dr Vincent Mashinji, said the released figures are questionable when considering the low turn out during the registration window.

"The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has 22 million eligible voters, the number that can hardly be reached by PO-RALG. May be they are joking or they intend to spoil this year's local government elections," he said.

CUF director of communications and publicity Abdul Kambaya said it was difficult to trust the figures because opposition party agents were denied access at registration stations.

"The actual situation was clear at the registration stations, forcing the government to extend the exercise by three more days," he said.

For his part, Chauma national vice chairman Kayombo Kabutale called on the citizens to vie for various positions during the civic polls, noting that liberation starts with the civic polls.

"CCM is used at cooking data, but we are aware that the exercise was marred by a low turnout, forcing registration clerks to register people at their respective homes," he said. The National League for Democracy (NLD) chairman, Mr Tozi Matangwa, said there was a slight increase of registered voters after the government forced public servants to register.

"Government executives were also warned to face the music over registration below average in their areas of jurisdiction. Likewise, public servants were ordered to register in the document," he said.

"The government should avoid forcing people to cast their ballots because Tanzania is a democratic country and that the move will adversely affect turnout during the election day." Chadema director of Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs John Mrema called on the government to disclose names of registered citizens in respective stations and issue clarification on how data was tallied under poor communications infrastructure in most parts of the country. For her part, the CCM member of the national executive committee (NEC), Ms Angela Akilimali defended released data.

"We have made a huge progress to register 85 percent of 22 million people as compared to 2014 when only 65 per cent were registered," she said.

8.    UGANDA

a)    New Vision: Uganda to sign new pact with Russia

Uganda’s bilateral trade with Russia has doubled over the last ten years, from $30m (sh112b) in 2009 to over $74m (sh270b) by the end of 2018, much of it in mining and ICTs.

President Yoweri Museveni and Russian President, Vladimir Putin are scheduled to sign new cooperation agreements during the first-ever Africa-Russia summit which opens Wednesday.

At least 35 African countries are expected to attend the two-day summit to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Foreign affairs state minister, Henry Okello Oryem confirmed Uganda’s participation in the summit that seeks to bolster Russia’s ties with Africa.

“Uganda is going to send a very powerful delegation. We have very close relations with Russia. They are our historical friends since the 1970s and 80s,” the minister told New Vision on Friday.

Last week, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described Africa as ‘a very important continent’ and said Russia was eager to build mutually beneficial cooperation with African countries.

According to Oryem, Moscow has played a crucial role in Uganda and many African countries have kept close ties with Russia since the pre-independence struggles.

“During the East-West tensions of the cold war, Uganda sided with Russia. They gave us weapons, intelligence and supported the fight against apartheid,” Oryem disclosed.

Uganda maintains a long history of cooperation with Russia in the fields of defence, education, energy, culture, trade and investment.

In recent years, Russia has conducted training for Ugandan troops and provided military equipment, including six Sukhoi fighter jets purchased from Russia in 2011.

Uganda’s bilateral trade with Russia has doubled over the last ten years, from $30m (sh112b) in 2009 to over $74m (sh270b) by the end of 2018, much of it in mining and ICTs.

Uganda is expected to sign cooperation agreements with Russia covering such fields as atomic energy for peaceful purposes and space research.

A comprehensive Uganda-Russia cooperation framework is expected to be unveiled during the forum, with a focus on science and education support.

The two countries are finalizing agreements to broaden cooperation in strategic areas including cybersecurity, minerals, agriculture, housing, health, tourism and vocational training.

Since the 1960s, Russia has offered scholarships to more than 4,000 Ugandans, helping to build Uganda’s human resources, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

President Yoweri Museveni has made official visits to Russia, in August 2009 and December 2012 and together with Russia’s president Vladimir set up a Joint Permanent Commission.

Russia has pledged to support Uganda to build a national space technology research centre in Uganda to provide solutions to challenges in agriculture, wildlife, border security, among others.

Russia is the latest major power to establish a formal summit for African leaders, after China, India and Japan, which hold periodic summits to discuss development cooperation.

9.    ZAMBIA

a)    Lusaka Times: The Media and Other Stake Holders Must Take Interest in Mr. Hichilema’s Loose Talk about Sanction’s Against Our Country

  1. Reference is made to a recent widely circulated media report wherein the undersigned was misquoted as having “challenged” the US Embassy to clarify UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s claims about “refusing sanctions” against Zambia.
  2. The “report” was an unfortunate and sensational misrepresentation, of this author’s statement, because as far as we know, it would be untenable and indeed unthinkable to “challenge” the US Embassy in Zambia in this regard, as the organisation that invited Mr. Hichilema cannot speak on behalf of the US Federal Government.
  3. However in terms of “challenging” and without downplaying the “sanctions” talk, we find it quite difficult to provide the sort of answers the media and other stakeholders are seeking, unless they can ask Mr. Hichilema himself or send their queries about “sanctions” to the US Embassy, as it is the only place where correct answers could be elicited.
  4. The statement by the undersigned was therefore aimed at galvanising the media and other stakeholders such as the church and civil society, to “challenge” and interrogate among other things, how a seemingly innocuous private meeting discussing “investment” and other “business issues”, went on to discuss “sanctions against Zambia”- which HH “reportedly” “refused to support”. Why would an Opposition leader talk about sanctions that are non-existent?

Sunday Chilufya Chanda

Patriotic Front Media Director

Party Headquarters, Lusaka

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