Daily News Brief on ICGLR Member States compiled by LMRC (5th November 2019)

1.     ANGOLA

a)    Prensa Latina: Angolan diamond industry reports increased sales

Luanda, Nov 5 (Prensa Latina) The Angolan diamond industry reported an increase of 9.3% in sales from January to September, compared to the same period last year, executives reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, gross revenues rose 6.5% in the same period, according to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Oil's (MIREMPET) national diamond market and trade promotion Director, Gaspar Sermao.

Sermao explained that sales in the first nine months of 2019 exceeded 6.4 million karats, at an average price per unit of 139.09 dollars, representing gross revenues of more than 897 million dollars.

The presentation of the report to national and international media took place at the MIREMPET headquarters, with the participation of State Secretary for Geology and Mines Janio da Rosa Correa Victor, and top executives from the main sector companies.

According to the source, sales in the third trimester of 2019 exceeded 2.284 million karats, 46% more than the same period in 2018.

Although sales rose substantially, the average price of a karat in the trimester was 137.42 dollars, representing a fall of 18.5% compared to the same previous period.

Gross revenues in the third trimester of 2019 totaled more than 294.8 billion dollars, an increase of 11.7%, the report noted.

b)    Angola Press Agency: Angola and Zambia address common border security

Luanda - The Secretary of State for National Defense Policy, José Maria de Lima, said Monday in Luanda the need for Angola and Zambia to reinforce security at the common border to combat illegal practices.

José Maria de Lima, who was speaking at the opening of the expert meeting of the 32nd Session of the Angola - Zambia Permanent Joint Committee, underlined that the exchange of experiences in this area aims to prevent destabilizing and harmful situations to the population of these states.

He considered it imperative that countries, through close cooperation, improve mechanisms to neutralize organized crime.

"We need to show the criminals that we are more organized than they are," said the secretary of state.

On the occasion, the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) Chief of Staff, Egidio de Sousa Santos, said that combating cross-border crime is intrinsic to maintaining security conditions along the common border.

He said that preserving peace and stability were priorities of the Angola - Zambia Joint Permanent Commission.

2.     BURUNDI

a)    Russian News Agency: Russia interested in enhancing cooperation with Burundi

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Russia is interested in developing cooperation with Burundi and hopes that the visit of Burundian Foreign Minister Ezechiel Nibigira to Moscow will boost cooperation in various spheres, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday in the run-up to the talks with his Burundian colleague.

"This is your first visit to Moscow, we hope it will be successful," the Russian top diplomat addressed Nibigira. "We have a good opportunity to discuss the whole range of our relations. They are actively developing in the trade-economic and humanitarian spheres, as well as in the sphere of education. There are good prospects, and we expect that your visit, the talks within the foreign ministry and other bodies will help outline those prospects clearly."

Lavrov expressed hope that the sides would be able to "have a detailed discussion on international cooperation." "We closely coordinate our approaches to key issues that we discuss within the UN and other international organizations," he added. "We are especially interested in hearing your opinion on the state of conflict regulation on the African continent."

For his part, the Burundian diplomat has conveyed cordial greetings from President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

3.     DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

a)    New Vision: Uganda to hold first-ever business forum with DRC

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi will preside over the forum scheduled to take place on November 9 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will on Tuesday launch the first Uganda-DRC Joint Business Forum to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi will preside over the forum scheduled to take place on November 9 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The business forum is organised by the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of trade, industry, and cooperatives, ministry of finance and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).

According to an advisory from the foreign affairs ministry, the forum will be held to promote bilateral trade, investment, and connectivity for mutual peace and prosperity.

“The objective of the business forum is to share experience, identify opportunities, create business networks and solutions to identify challenges, the ministry said in a statement.

It will be the second high-level business forum between Uganda and her regional neighbours, following Uganda-Tanzania Business Forum held in Daresalaam in September.

During the two-day forum held at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre, Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli committed to ending trade barriers.

The two principals agreed to step joint investments in infrastructure aimed at boosting regional trade and ease transport along the central corridor.

The two countries are finalizing plans for a joint 1,410km oil pipeline project linking Uganda’s Albertine Graben to Tanzania’s Tanga port at the Indian Ocean.

Several other bilateral projects in energy, aviation, water transport, and telecommunications have been initiated in recent years as the close neighbours seek to grow trade and investment volumes.

DRC is one of Uganda’s largest export markets worth $398m (about sh1.47 trillion) in 2016, among them cement, sugar, rice, beer, wheat flour, biscuits and beauty, and make-up products.

Last year, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed a memorandum of understanding to promote trade, harmonise immigration formalities and ease cross-border trade.

Under the MOU, the two countries are to facilitate investment in manufacturing, exchange information and statistics and generally foster cooperation between their private sectors.

The two countries also promised to harmonise their visa fees. Currently, Uganda charges $50 while DRC charges $100.

Ministers from both sides agreed to undertake joint infrastructure projects along the northern trade corridor, linking the DRC town of Kisangani to Kampala and the Mombasa in Kenya.

Ugandan technocrats have also been rooting for the fast-tracking of licenses for Ugandan private aviation operators to fly people and goods between Uganda and Kisangani.

4.     KENYA

a)    Standard Digital: Mumias Sugar Company fires all employees

All Mumias Sugar Company employees have been sacked just over a month after the firm went into receivership under KCB.

In a letter dated November 5, 2019, the company said, "Consequent to the company being placed in receivership, all employees contracts stand terminated from the date of receiveship i.e 20th September, 2019."

Mumias Sugar however said the affected employees will be lawfully compensated.

"Any payment to the affected employees shall be dealt with in accordance with the provision of the law," read the letter in part.

New staff will be hired on temporary basis to keep the company running and priority will be given to the now former staff, who have just been fired.

"Accordingly, the Receiver shall engage the services of any employee on a temporary basis on mutually agreeable terms until the time when the operations resume. Priority will however be given to the past employees while recruiting the staff on temporary basis until the time when the company's operations are revived," ended the letter.

5.     RWANDA

a)    The New Times: Rwanda appoints new foreign minister, internal security minister

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has appointed a new foreign affairs minister in a cabinet reshuffle, a statement read on state broadcaster Radio Rwanda late on Monday said.

The central African country’s new top diplomat, veteran politician Vincent Biruta, will replace Richard Sezibera who has not been seen in public for months.

Sezibera’s absence from public view has fuelled speculation that he could have fallen ill.

Calls by Reuters on Tuesday to the president’s office and other government officials for comment on the reshuffle were not answered.

Biruta has been serving as Rwanda’s minister for environment since August 2017 but held other roles including head of the senate between 2003 to 2011.

He is also the head of Social Democratic Party (SDP) which is in a coalition with the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) party headed by Kagame.

Other changes in the reshuffle included Patrick Nyamvumba who was appointed minister of internal security. He has been working as chief of defence forces.

6.     SOUTH SUDAN

a)    Radio Tamazuj: Kiir to attend Kampala meeting, Presidency says

The presidency has confirmed that President Salva Kiir Mayardit will attend a meeting to be held in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday.

Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar will meet in the presence of the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the president of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. The meeting was supposed to take place today, but it has been delayed.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Radio Tamazuj today that the meeting was postponed due to the president’s busy schedule.

"The meeting has been postponed because the president is busy holding consultations with the peace signatories in Juba, but the president will travel to Kampala on Thursday," he assured.

The meeting, which will be the third face-to-face meeting between the two principal leaders, is expected to discuss outstanding issues in the implementation of the peace agreement before the expected formation of a transitional government on November 12.

The opposition SPLM/A-IO on Tuesday said they received a formal notification postponing the meeting due to ’administrative reasons’.

The key outstanding issues include the creation of unified forces, deployment of soldiers meant to protect top government officials, agreeing on the number of states and drawing internal boundaries.

7.     SUDAN

a)    Middle East Monitor: Sudan’s opposition forces support Bashir’s extradition to ICC

Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which led the protests that toppled former President Omar Al-Bashir, announced that they have agreed to extradite the former leader to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We have no objection in handing over Al-Bashir to the ICC. All the members of the Forces of Freedom and Change agree on that,” said Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, a leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, t on Sunday.

“If Al-Bashir escapes prosecution at home for the crimes he committed, he will be punished in the ICC abroad,” he added.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Al-Bashir, who was ousted by the Sudanese army in April following months of anti- government protests, denies the charges against him.

b)    Devex: Sudanese women urge gender balance in country's peace process

UNITED NATIONS — Sudanese women were influential in the widespread protests that led to the military overthrow of the country’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in April. Six months later, they find themselves once again sidelined from their country’s peace process, according to female civil society organizers.

“It was disappointing. This is a continuation of the old government, which said they would give women opportunities. But during the negotiations between the transitional army and the transitional government there was only one woman,” said Safaa Elagib Adam Ayoub, secretary-general of the Khartoum-based nonprofit Community Development Association.

Ayoub and other colleagues from Sudan placed the spotlight on ongoing women, peace, and security challenges during a recent session of the United Nations Security Council. On Wednesday, the council reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the landmark 1325 resolution that calls for the inclusion of women in peace negotiations, among other areas.

Almost 20 years after the Security Council approved 1325, progress on the women, peace, and security agenda has not materialized as quickly, or comprehensively, as hoped, according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

Sudan offers one example of a country that has yet to adopt a national action plan for implementing 1325. Other conflict- and post-conflict countries have also seen a backsliding of women’s role in peacemaking in recent years. In Colombia, the murder of female human rights defenders has been on the rise since the government and armed groups brokered a peace agreement in 2016.

In addition, in Sudan, only one woman participated in the talks in April between the military and the umbrella protest movement Forces of Freedom for Change.

“A national action plan was prepared and put forward by the previous administration, but because there is no political will… It is not a priority for the government,” Ayoub told Devex.

University student Alaa Salah, who became a symbol of the protests after a photo of her addressing a crowd from atop a car went viral, addressed the Security Council on Wednesday.

“Women led resistance committees and sit-ins, planned protest routes and disobeyed curfews, even in the midst of a declared state of emergency that left them vulnerable to security forces. Many were teargassed, threatened, assaulted, and thrown in jail without any charge or due process,” Salah told member states at the Security Council meeting.

8.     UGANDA

a)    The Citizen: Uganda opposition leader Besigye arrested for defying orders – Police

An unspecified number of Uganda opposition supporters are in police custody following a scuffle with police in the capital Kampala on Monday morning.

Trouble started after security personnel blocked a planned assembly of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole.

Heavily armed police and military officers cordoned off the stadium prompting the angered FDC party members to march to their party headquarters down the busy Kampala-Jinja highway.

To break up the crowds, police used tear gas, water cannon and live bullets resulting to running battles.

The melee saw Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda arrested but he vanished.

Dr Kizza Besigye, the former FDC party president, continued waving to the crowd atop his sunroof before police blocked his car and later towed it to Naggalama Police Station.

However, some of the chains used to tow Besigye’s car broke as the crowd cheered the four-time presidential candidate.

The police then used a water cannon to force Besigye out of his car and bundled him into a police van, which sped off to Naggalama.

In a statement, police said on Monday afternoon that FDC informed them about the intended assembly and advised venue change but they ignored the directive.

“FDC informed us about the intended celebration and were wrote back to them advising that they should shift the venue but they ignored our directive. Besigye defied police orders and parked his vehicle in the middle of the road, blocking and inconveniencing other road users. The car was towed away and he was taken to Naggalama Police Station. At the moment no charges have been preferred against him but investigators are still gathering evidence,” Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Mr Patrick Onyango said.

He also refuted reports a woman was shot dead by police during the chaos.

"There's a photograph circulating on social media purporting that a woman was shot and killed today in Kireka Trading centre. This is not true. No death has been registered in this operation," Mr Onyango added.

As the 2021 electoral year nears, opposition political parties and pressure groups are struggling to lay strategies to confront Museveni.

However, police have repeatedly broken their meetings citing failure to comply with the Public Order Management Act.

Recently, Besigye and a number of his supporters launched a civil disobedience campaign dubbed ‘Tubalemese’, saying it will help the opposition to achieve their goals.

9.     ZAMBIA

a)    Lusaka Times: Nevers Mumba is the legitimate President of MMD, Lusaka High Court Rules

Lusaka High Court Judge Sharon Newa has declared that Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba is the President of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

This was in the case in which Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Acting National Secretary Winnie Zaloumis took Felix Mutati, Raphael Nakachinda, George Kangwa and Mwansa Mbulakulima to Court to find out who gave them authority to organise the MMD Convention of 2016.

Judge Newa in her Ruling this morning said that the MMD Constitution only mandates the National Executive Committee (NEC) to call for a Convention.

“According to the MMD Constitution, only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Party can call for a Convention. Furthermore, the resources of organizing the NEC are supposed to be organized by the Party Treasurer”, Judge Newa said.

“The NEC that sat in 2016 voted unanimous to have the party convention in 2017 and not 2016. And the party treasurer Hon. Elizabeth Chitika didn’t even use one ngwee to organise the 2016 Convention”, Judge Newa.

Judge Newa then declared the 2016 MMD Convention illegal and the election of Felix Mutati as Party President null and void.

“After considering the testimony by both the plaintiffs and defendants, I hereby declare the 2016 MMD Convention null and Void. I further declare all the elections that took place there including the election of Felix Mutati as Party President as null and void. The MMD President is Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba,” Judge Newa.

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