Daily News Brief on ICGLR Member States compiled by LMRC (4th November 2019)

1.     ANGOLA

a)    Angola Press Agency: Angola's vice president back home

Luanda - Angolan Vice president of Republic Bornito de Sousa arrived on Saturday afternoon in Luanda after attending in Gaberone, Botswana, the inauguration of the President-elect Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi on Friday.

Bornito de Sousa was received at 4 de Fevereiro International Airport by Minister of State and Chief of the President’ Civil Affairs, Frederico Cardoso, and by senior officials of his Office.

The Vice President attended the event along with the presidents of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi, Zambia Edgar Lungo, and Zimbabwe Emerson Manangagwa.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, the Vice President delivered a message from President João Lourenço to Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi.

At the end of the audience, held at the Botswana International Convention Center, Bornito de Sousa told the press that Botswan’s statesman reiterated the existing friendship with the people of Angola.

He said that Angola's presence at the presidential inauguration ceremony may reflect the deepening of cooperation relations between the two member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

During his stay in Gaberone, the Vice President, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Téte António, visited Angola's diplomatic representation in Botswana.

Political-diplomatic relations between Angola and Botswana date back to 18 February 1976.

2.     CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

a)    Daily Mail: Clarification: Central African Republic-UN-Sex Abuse Report

The United Nations botched its investigation into accusations of sexual abuse in Central African Republic, letting down victims, according to a draft report.

The report, written in 2017 but not yet made public, was leaked to The New Humanitarian and seen by The Associated Press.

An Associated Press investigative series in 2017 uncovered roughly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers around the world over a 12-year period.

The roughly 11,000 peacekeepers in Central African Republic had the most sexual misconduct allegations - 52- of any U.N. peacekeeping mission in 2016.

"The leaked review ... gives a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the U.N. system investigates claims of sexual abuse and exploitation by its own peacekeepers - and shows why it often fails the victims it is supposed to serve," according to the New Humanitarian.

The failed investigation into the allegations in the Central African Republic cost the U.N. more than $480,000.

Inadequate storage ruined DNA samples that had been collected to connect victims to their alleged perpetrators, according to the report.

"Most were already rotten. It is therefore hardly surprising that positive results could not (be) obtained," the report said of the DNA samples. Many of the samples were taken from March to May 2016, and then they were stored in Bangui for months and were not delivered to the Nairobi office for the investigation until April 2017.

The report noted the importance of the role of DNA evidence in linking a possible perpetrator to a victim. "It was noted that none of the DNA samples collected was deemed usable by labs retained for that purpose," said the report.

The lack of action on the investigation left victims feeling abandoned and without any recourse for the sexual exploitation they say they experienced at the hands of the Burundi and Gabonese troops, according to the New Humanitarian who spoke with victims.

In December 2016, the U.N. announced that OIOS had completed an internal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Burundian and Gabonese peacekeepers deployed in Dekoa in Kemo prefecture, Central African Republic.

OIOS interviewed 139 people, investigated their accounts and identified 16 possible perpetrators from Gabon and 25 from Burundi through photos and corroborating evidence, the U.N. said. Of the 139 victims, 25 were minors who asserted that they were sexually assaulted and eight paternity claims were filed, the U.N. said.

Ben Swanson, the director of the U.N. investigations division OIOS, agreed with the report's findings that there were problems with the way the interviews and investigations were carried out, according to The New Humanitarian.

"We took swabs from around 20 victims and their children," Swanson said, and the laboratory used to do the DNA testing was unable to extract any DNA samples from two or three of the swabs which may have been the result of operator error, poor storage techniques or the laboratory.

"Because the victims were adamant as to the identity of the fathers and we didn't want to miss any evidential opportunities we repeated the entire exercise," Swanson said.

The U.N. relies on the country contributing peacekeepers to deal with allegations of misconduct and to determine possible punishments. According to the report, Burundi investigators who went to conduct interviews in 2016 did not have the necessary skills and experience. The interviews seemed to look to discredit witnesses, it said, and interpreters also lacked the needed skills.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the information appears to be from a draft of a report ordered by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the U.N.'s internal watchdog, to see how the U.N. can improve its management of cases of sexual abuse and exploitation in different parts of the world.

"We've never really had to deploy so many investigators to countries with very austere, very difficult working conditions, and so we ourselves have been reviewing this," Haq said.

The U.N. has vowed to end impunity for sexual misconduct and to work with countries supplying peacekeepers to do more to combat the abuses.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken strides to improve the world body's response to sexual abuse and exploitation, appointing the U.N.'s first-ever victims' rights advocate, banning alcohol and fraternization for troops, convening high-level meetings on sexual abuse and exploitation and establishing a trust fund for victims.

The U.N. received 259 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse last year, according to The New Humanitarian, a major increase from the two previous years.

3.     DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

a)    ABC News: Congolese journalist who helped raise awareness of Ebola killed in attack, officials say

A Congolese journalist who had been helping to shed light on the deadly Ebola outbreak in his community was killed on Sunday night, officials said.

The unnamed journalist, who was also serving as a community health worker, was attacked at his home in the northeast town of Lwemba in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His wife was left critically injured "with multiple wounds," according to a joint press release from Congolese health officials and their partners from the United Nations.

The motive behind the attack was unknown.

The reporter worked for the local radio station in Lwemba and was "involved in raising the awareness of his community regarding the country's tenth Ebola outbreak," according to the press release.

Authorities have launched an investigation into his murder and "whether it is connection to the ongoing Ebola response." Two suspects have been apprehended, according to the press release.

The Congolese government and the United Nations condemned the attack, saying, "any act of violence against individuals involved with the response is unacceptable and compromises the ability of health workers to provide assistance to communities impacted by the devastating effects of Ebola."

This is the 10th Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe there since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River. It's also the second-largest, second-deadliest on record anywhere.

A total of 3,274 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's eastern provinces of North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu since Aug. 1 of last year, according to Congolese health officials, and 3,157 of those individuals have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, which is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person and causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever.

There have been 2,185 deaths so far, including 2,068 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are considered probable cases. Just over a thousand people sickened with the virus have recovered, according to Congolese health officials.

4.     KENYA

a)    BNN Bloomberg: Kenyan Population Grows 26% Over Decade, Adding Budget Pressures

Kenya’s population grew by one quarter over the past decade, adding pressure to the government as it tries to balance boosting provision of social services with managing its debt.

The number of people in East Africa’s largest economy increased to 47.6 million from a revised 37.7 million, the National Bureau of Statistics Director-General Zachary Mwangi said Monday, citing a census report. Females make up 50.5% of the population, he said. Kenya’s capital, Nairobi has 4.4 million people.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is struggling to fund his so-called Big Four Agenda to increase the stock of affordable housing, and improve healthcare, farming and manufacturing. Revenue collection has been below target and forced his administration to increase its 2019-20 budget-gap forecast to 6.2% of gross domestic product.

The five most populous counties are Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kakamega and Bungoma, while Lamu, Isiolo, Samburu, Tana River and Taita Taveta are the least populated, the data shows.

b)    KDR TV: Mt Kenya, Western Kenya Most Populous Regions

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has released the results for the 2019 census at State House Nairobi. Kenya’s population is currently 47,564,296. We have 24 million women in Kenya and 23 million men.

According to the report, released to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kakamega and Bungoma are the most populated counties in Kenya.

From the population breakdown per county; we can confirm that Mt Kenya is the most populated region followed by Western Kenya.

The five Mt Kenya counties; Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Murang’a have a told population of 5,482,239 people. However, Kiambu is considered a cosmopolitan county meaning it is a diverse county.

In Western Kenyan, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Vihiga Counties have a total population of  5,021,843 people. Despite being in the Rift Valley, Trans Nzoia is dominated by the Luhya Community and has a population of 990,341 people.

The 13 Rift Valley Counties have a total population of 12.7 million. Anyone one trying to find the population of the Kalenjin community must factor in the fact that Nakuru and Laikipia are an extension of Mt Kenya while Narok and Kajiado are Maasai Counties.

In Nyanza, the four Luo counties of Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya, and Migori have a total population of 4,397, 143 people. The Kisii Community who are slightly more than 1.8 million in number dominates Kisii and Nyamira.

The three Ukambani Counties of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni have approximately 3.4 million people.

President Kenyatta said the census report will be used in guiding successive planning for the benefit of Mwananchi.

“We direct all ministries, departments and government agencies to utilize #Census2019 results in their planning processes. I also urge county governments, stakeholders and development partners to do the same,” Uhuru said.

But a section of Kenyans believes these numbers will be spun by politicians ahead of the 2022 general elections.

5.     RWANDA

a)    Euro News: 'Waiting for justice': Families await start of Rwanda genocide trial in Belgium

The trial of a former high-ranking Rwandan official accused of crimes of genocide is due to begin in Belgium on Monday.

For victims and their families, the case is a culmination of a decades-long fight for justice since the 1994 genocide which killed nearly a million people.

One of those family members is Martine Beckers. She lost her sister, brother-in-law, and niece to the Rwandan genocide. Today, as the person accused of being complicit in those murders stands trial, Beckers says it will represent a major milestone in her quest for the truth.

"I'm waiting but without believing the man responsible for the killings will finally face up to what's he's done. I'm waiting to understand. I'm waiting for justice," she said.

While this trial will focus on one person, Beckers says he is not the only one responsible for the death of her family members. She also wants UN peacekeepers who lived 500 metres from her sister's house to step up. She blames Belgian authorities for failing to protect them.

"My sister was very very scared. She hoped that the soldiers who were stationed near her home, the Belgian UN forces, would come and save her; that the embassy or consulate would intervene. But they did nothing," she said.

Between April and July 1994, the Rwandan genocide killed nearly 800,000 people according to the UN.

6.     SOUTH SUDAN

a)    Radio Tamaji: Kiir and Machar expected to meet in Kampala tomorrow

The Sudanese People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has announced that its leader Riek Machar will attend a meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Tuesday.

Manawa Peter Gatkouth, the deputy spokesman for the SPLM-IO told Radio Tamazuj on Monday that the meeting is expected to discuss outstanding issues before the formation of a transitional government on November 12.

“The Kampala meeting will be attended by President Salva Kiir, President of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and opposition leader Riek Machar,” he said.

This would be the third face-to-face meeting between the two principals since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018.

The meeting also precedes an upcoming IGAD meeting on the 8th of this month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, to discuss outstanding issues in the implementation of the peace agreement.

Manawa further said other parties to the agreement will not participate in the meeting since they hold the same position as the government on the formation of a unity government on November 12.

However, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Radio Tamazuj today that there was no official confirmation of President Kiir’s participation in the Kampala meeting.

Last week President Kiir's adviser Tut Galuak Manime said Kiir and Machar will meet with Ugandan president and Sudanese leaders to discuss controversial issues in the implementation of the peace agreement.

The parties are under growing pressure to form a unity government by November 12, although Machar and the National Democratic Movement led by Lam Akol have clearly stated that until security arrangements are implemented and parties reach an agreement on the number of states and their boundaries, they will not be part of that government.

b)    IOL: South Sudan faces crisis as country struggles to form new coalition government

Nairobi — War-torn South Sudan is "barreling toward a crisis" and could slide back into fighting, warned the International Crisis Group on Monday.

The new report said the country's warring parties aren't ready to form a coalition government on November 12th, when opposition leader Riek Machar is planned to return and once again serve as President Salva Kiir's deputy, as part of a power sharing agreement to pull the country out of a five-year civil war that killed almost 400 000 people.

"A unity government formed next week would be at immediate risk of bloody collapse," Alan Boswell senior analyst for the International Crisis group told The Associated Press. Diplomats should focus their pressure on resolving the remaining issues needed to create a viable government, he said.

The fragile peace deal signed more than one year ago has been marked by delays, a lack of funding and questionable political will. Key issues including security arrangements and the number of states in the country have yet to be resolved and fighting continues in parts of the country. Last week three volunteer aid workers were killed and one went missing when clashes broke out between armed groups in Central Equatoria state.

Machar has said he won't return for the formation of the government next week. During a visit to the capital, Juba, in October, he called for the formation of the new government to be delayed for months until resolutions can be found to outstanding issues, specifically security arrangements. The opposition said the peace deal would be violated if the government moved ahead without Machar.

"If President Salva Kiir goes ahead and forms the government unilaterally, then it will not be a unity government, it would essentially be a new, illegal regime," said Mabior Garang de Mabior spokesman for the opposition.

In order for the new government to be formed at least 41 500 soldiers from both the government army and opposition rebels must be housed in barracks, trained and unified into one national army, including a 3 000-member VIP protection force. The number of states in South Sudan must be agreed upon.

But the government said a delay, such as urged by Machar, is unlikely. "We are implementing the peace agreement and if we're implementing the peace agreement all the international actors should be working toward making the formation of the government possible, not by trying to project a situation that would aggravate things," said spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.

The international community is also pushing for the November deadline. On a visit to Juba last month by the UN Security Council, South Africa's ambassador to the U.N., Jerry Matthew Matjila, said any outstanding issues can be resolved by the new coalition government. The United States has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if the deadline isn't met.

The International Crisis Group is cautioning against pushing parties to come together before they're ready, or risk a repeat of 2016 when the first peace deal collapsed, fighting erupted in Juba and Machar fled the country on foot.

"The demand that Kiir and Machar form a government, come what may, is perilous," said the report. Even if the leaders agree to share power, ongoing disputes over security arrangements and state boundaries would poison the new administration, potentially leading to its collapse, it said. The group is urging for immediate high-level mediation ahead of next week's deadline.

The East African regional bloc mediating the peace deal has invited parties to Ethiopia on November 8th to try to find a way forward, said a statement by the opposition on Saturday.

At least one South Sudan expert thinks the agreement might be too late to salvage.

The failure to form a unity government would be the "final wake-up call" that a power-sharing deal will never bring peace to South Sudan, said Payton Knopf, senior adviser to the United States Institute of Peace.

"The U.S. and its western partners should then take concrete steps to stand with the South Sudanese people in recognizing what they have known for a long time: Salva Kiir and his regime are not legitimate and neither he nor Riek Machar will ever be part of any viable political settlement," he said.

7.     SUDAN

a)    Radio Tamazuj: Juba mediation discusses Sudan’s peace process in Khartoum

South Sudan’s peace mediation team on Sunday met with the Sudanese government and discussed the upcoming round of talks with Sudanese armed groups in Juba.

The team led by President Salva Kiir’s security advisor Tut Galuak Manime, announced last month that a third round of talks will commence on 21st November 2019.

South Sudan’s Minister of Energy and Dams, Dhieu Mathok Diing told the press after the meeting that the next round of negotiations will tackle issues agreed upon by the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and the SPLM-North of Abdul Aziz Al-Hilu.

"I think the next round will provide the political will we have sought from all parties, namely the Revolutionary Front, the SPLM-N, and the Sudanese government," he added.

Mathok explained that the next round is important in the peace process and is expected to be a decisive round in resolving many issues.

The Sudanese government and the rebel umbrella Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) signed a political accord on 21 October, paving the way for the launch of negotiations and a ceasefire agreement for humanitarian purposes.

8.     ZAMBIA

a)    Lusaka Times: HH condems the teargassing of Democracy Party President Harry Kalaba in Samfya

UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema has condemned the teargassing of Democracy Party President Harry Kalaba in Samfya over the weekend by the police.

Mr Hichilema has described the act as undemocratic and a sign of dictatorship in Zambia under the PF regime.

He has charged that the PF are undeniably cowards who have no plan and Zambians deserve better.

Mr Hichilema wondered why the police have continued using the police to harass and intimidate innocent politicians who want to meet and talk to their members.

“Why continue fighting unarmed people who do not threaten the lives of the people and fail to deal with violent cadres. This must must come to an end”, he said.

Mr Hichilema has since advised Zambians to vote the PF out in 2021 in order to bring sanity especially in the Zambia Police Service who have forgotten to promote law and order for Zambians.

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