Daily Archives: January 27, 2018

US PRES TRUMP SENDS ‘WARMEST REGARDS’ TO AFRICAN LEADERS AFTER REPORTED SLUR

DAVOS (Switzerland), US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his “warmest regards” to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans.

The outspoken US leader congratulated Rwandan President Paul Kagame on taking over as chair of the African bloc, which Trump said was a “great honour”.

“I know you’re going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards,” Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The US president ignored questions shouted by journalists about his reported dismissal this month of African nations as “shithole countries”, during a meeting on immigration with congressional leaders.

The reported remark drew outrage around the world and prompted several African governments to demand explanations from their US ambassadors.

The 55-nation African Union chaired by Kagame demanded an apology, although Trump has denied making the remark as relayed by US lawmakers who were present at the meeting.

Trump said he had “tremendous discussions” in Davos with Kagame, who for his part said they had “good discussions” about the economy and trade.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

UN Chief Warns African Bloc Against Conflicts of Interests in South Sudan

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned countries of the regional bloc of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) against taking sides in the internal affairs of South Sudan.

In a speech Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a consultative meeting on South Sudan, with representatives from the United Nations, IGAD and the African Union, Guterres said there were contradictions and conflicts of interest among IGAD countries.

“It is in my opinion absolutely essential … to make sure that any contradictions that might exist among the neighbors of South Sudan are not translated into an influence in the internal situation of South Sudan,” the secretary-general said.

He added that the implementation of the cease-fire agreement reached between South Sudanese parties in December 2017 would require strong action from U.N. member states.

“I don’t think those tougher measures can be originated outside in the context of the United Nations or the Security Council. I think they need to be originated in the region, and I think that the leadership of IGAD is absolutely essential, together with the African Union,” said Guterres.

Call for leadership

He called on the South Sudanese leaders to show leadership by ending the violence in their country.

“First of all, it is clear to me, and I’m sorry to say so, but I’ve never seen a political elite with so little interest in the well-being of its own people,” said Guterres.

The U.N.’s top diplomat said the lack of commitment from South Sudanese leaders was “creating the need for a continued pressure of all of us in order to make sure that they [South Sudanese leaders] assume their responsibilities as leaders of their own people, instead of prolonging the conflict to the detriment of the enormously suffering South Sudanese people.”

Guterres promised to support any decisions reached by the group to hold accountable those who violate cease-fires or international humanitarian law.

“You can fully count on my commitment to support your initiative,” he said. “We will do our best with the difficulties we have to make UNMISS [U.N. Mission in South Sudan] as effective as possible in support of the stability of the country. We are fully engaged with the regional protective force.

“I would like to congratulate the IGAD Council of Ministers and the Special Envoy for, first of all, the High Level Revitalization Forum [the forum created last year to revive the 2015 peace accord] and, second, the immediate results that were obtained with the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, protection of civilians and humanitarian access,” Guterres said.

He also thanked the international community for succeeding in averting hunger from spreading across South Sudan.

Source: Voice of America

CORRUPTION MAJOR HURDLE FOR AFRICA INDEPENDENCE, SAYS AU’S MAHAMAT

ADDIS ABABA, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat says if African States manage to stop corruption, there would be no need for external assistance.

The figures in different reports of experts show that the resources deviated from Africa through corruption, if they were to be invested in development, would avert and avoid us relying on external assistance said Mahamat.

Mahamat was speaking at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, which kicked-off on Thursday. It is a precursor to the 30th AU Summit scheduled for Jan 28-29.

The Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council took place under the theme ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’.

According to the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, $50 billion a year is lost to corruption, accompanied by illicit financial flows.

Bearing the theme in mind, the AU Chairperson said Member States can still win the fight against corruption.

Mahamat encouraged AU members to look towards self-financing.

He commended the quality work done by the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC), with a view to establish appropriate conditions conducive to the success of this the Ordinary Session.

He commended the encouraging level of contribution to the Peace Fund aimed at consolidating peace efforts within the continent.

If we maintain this trend of increasing interest by the Member States willing to contribute substantively to peace keeping in Africa, by 2020, the AU will be able to finance itself 100%, said Mahamat.

He stressed that it is an issue of dignity and decision making sovereignty.

Without its independence, Africa is nothing. With its independence, it can be everything said Mahamat.

The Chairperson of the Executive Council, the Republic of Guinea’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mamadi Toure, backed Mahamat on the need for the AU to be self-reliant. He stressed the need for the council to accelerate the implementation of the AU financing and the Continental Free Trade Area.

In closing off the session, the Mahamat announced three strategic flagship projects will be launched during the Summit.

These are: The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); The Free Movement of Persons and Goods; and Single Market and Liberalisation of Air Transport in Africa.

He said that all these projects call for political mobilisation, expertise, talent, intelligence and motivation.

In its deliberations over the coming two days, the Executive Council is expected to discuss the AU budget, review various reports, consider the draft decisions of the Assembly as well as prepare the agenda of the Assembly among other matters.

The Executive Council’s adoption of the various decisions and declarations would be forwarded to the AU Assembly of the Heads of State.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

President Zuma to host the Nelson Mandela Centenary Dinner on the margins of the AU Summit in Ethiopia

President Jacob Zuma will today, 27 January 2018 host a Dinner to commemorate the Centenary celebrations of President Nelson Mandela on the sidelines of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) scheduled to take place from 28-29 January 2018.

The Year 2018 marks the Centenary of former President of the ANC, first President of the Democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela. This year South Africa and the entire globe is organising a range of activities to celebrate and honour the former Statesman. Former President Nelson Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013 and on 18 July 2018 he would have turned 100 years.

During the 2018 January Statement of the African National Congress, the AU Summit was identified as a critical platform to launch the Celebrations.

Madiba is global icon and revered worldwide as a Champion of Human Rights, non-racism and non-sexism who played a critical role in unifying South Africans and inspiring democratic unity across Africa and the globe.

The Dinner is expected to be attended by all Heads of State and Government at the Summit.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: FREE STATE GOVT COMMITS TO COOPERATE WITH THE HAWKS

PRETORIA, South Africa’s Free State Provincial Government has committed to fully cooperate with the Hawks as they investigate matters relating to allegations of impropriety at Vrede Dairy Farm.

The Hawks are South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) which targets organized crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime referred to it by the President or the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The commitment comes as search and seizure operations by the Hawks are currently underway at the offices of the Premier.

We wish to assure the public that we will cooperate with all law enforcement authorities doing investigations on this matter. It is, in fact, in our interest that this matter is brought to its finality to allow the Free State Provincial Government to continue its work of changing the lives of the people for the better, said the Director General in the office of the Premier, Kopung Ralikontsane.

The Hawks confirmed that they are currently conducting search and seizure operations at both the office of Free State Premier Ace Magashule and the provincial office of the Department of Agriculture in Bloemfontein.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that the raids are related to the Vrede Dairy matter, which is at the centre of the R220 million allegedly paid to the controversial Gupta family and companies linked to their businesses.

Last week, the Bloemfontein High Court granted an order to freeze assets amounting to R220 million, including the Krynaauwslust Farm in Vrede in the Free State.

According to court papers filed by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit last week in support of a preservation order, allegations were that the project channelled money to the Gupta family and a host of other individuals.

We wish to thank the members of the public for their patience on the matter, and we wish to commit that we will regularly update them on this matter as well as on all our activities which are implemented in line with our mandate, said the office the Free State Premier on Friday.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK