Daily Archives: January 28, 2018


DURBAN, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has promised police officers that he will see to it that there will be legislation that protects police officers if they defend themselves against criminals.

He has urged police officers not to die with a firearm in their hand, but to shoot until all their ammunition is spent.

Mbalula says members of the South African Police Service face danger every day.

In 2017, 40 officers died in the line of duty.

The minister has labelled criminals who kill police officers as being worse than dogs.

However, allegations of high-level corruption, state capture and the misuse of state institutions for political ends cast a shadow over the celebrations.

Speaker in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Meshack Radebe has told police officers they are the thin blue line that prevents South Africa from becoming a banana republic.

Radebe says, Don’t be captured. Do your work without being influenced by politicians. Do your work as the police without being influenced. We are facing a crisis in this country. We don’t know who’s captured and not captured. Don’t allow yourself to be captured by politicians. Do your work.

In reaction, Mbalula has called on police officers to do their work without fear or favour, and leave politics to the politicians.

He nevertheless urged newly-appointed Police Chief Khehla Sithole not to be afraid of having politicians arrested if they break the law.

Mbalula has also told members of the South African Police Service to focus on their work and not be caught up in politics.

He was addressing thousands of people in Durban’s Mpumalanga township during the celebration of National Police Day.

This as allegations of state capture and the misuse of state institutions for political ends have been in the news almost every day of late.


Trump Lauds US Economic Performance

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump touted the continued growth of the U.S. economy on Sunday, saying it is “better than it has been in many decades.”

“Businesses are coming back to America like never before,” Trump said in a Twitter remark, a likely theme of his State of the Union address on Tuesday. “Unemployment is nearing record lows. We are on the right track!”

He said, “Chrysler, as an example, is leaving Mexico and coming back to the USA,” an exaggeration of Chrysler’s expansion plans. Fiat Chrysler, the world’s eighth biggest auto manufacturer, says it is investing $1 billion to manufacture its profitable Ram pickup trucks in the midwestern state of Michigan, shifting the production from Mexico, but at the same time is not cutting any of its vehicle manufacturing jobs in Mexico.

The U.S. jobless rate has held steady at 4.1 percent for the last three months, the lowest figure in 17 years. The U.S. economy, the world’s largest, advanced at a 2.3 percent pace last year, Trump’s first year in office, up from 1.5 percent in 2016.

The U.S. economy, however, slowed in the last three months of 2017, expanding at a 2.6 percent annual rate, down from the 3.2 percent figure in the July-to-September period.

Attack on Jay-Z

In praising the U.S. economic performance, Trump also attacked Jay-Z, after the rap musician had assailed Trump in a Saturday news talk show over the president’s recent reported vulgar descriptions of people from Haiti and Africa as he seeks to block their immigration to the United States.

“Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” Trump said. The black unemployment rate in the U.S. has fallen to 6.8 percent, which is still higher than the 3.7 percent figure for whites.

Jay-Z told CNN interviewer Van Jones that economic advances for blacks do not outweigh Trump’s attacks on predominantly black countries.

“Everyone feels anger, but after the anger, it’s really hurtful because he’s looking down on a whole population of people. And he’s so misinformed because these places have beautiful people,” Jay-Z said, adding, “It’s not about money at the end of the day. Money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point.

“You treat people like human beings,” he said.

Source: Voice of America

Burkina Faso Music Honored at Grammys, but Artists Cry Foul

For musicians from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, a nomination for a Grammy Award should have been the crowning achievement of a musical career.

Instead, musicians based in Bobo-Dioulasso, whose work is featured on the three-disk compilation Bobo Yeye, didn’t even know they had been nominated or that the album even existed.

As a musician, I am totally disappointed to learn that we have spent time moaning, suffering and that someone else can just make a compilation of our music and that it is going for an award, musician Stanislas Sore told VOA French to Africa Service on Friday.

Sore is a member of the Volta Jazz group, whose songs are part of the album titled Bobo Yeye, Belle epoque in Upper Volta, which is nominated for two Grammy Awards.

It is a compilation of recordings in the 1970s in Bobo, second-largest city of Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta.

The news of the Grammy nomination surprised the musicians, who wondered how their music was put on CDs and distributed worldwide without their knowledge or consent. It turns out French music producer Florent Mazzoleni made the compilation produced by The Numero Group, a Chicago-based production company.

These are artists that I have always admired and I wrote about 20 books on African music, including a book in 2015 called ‘Burkina Faso Modern Music Voltaic,’ Mazzoleni said in a phone interview.

Mazzoleni said he wanted to pay tribute to all those people in the shadows, who made the culture of Bobo-Dioulasso.

At the time, he said, Upper Volta was a poor country with limited ability for people to communicate with the outside world or record music. People recorded with what they could get and yet they managed to create one of the most fascinating modern music of the continent,” Mazzoleni said.

Disagreement over book, compilation

But the artists themselves are not happy, saying he has been unfair to them. They pointed out that when they met him, he talked only about a book project.

All I know, there was this white guy who came here; he tried to get information on what life was like in the orchestras of the old days. We understood he was going to make a book of the history of our music. But when it comes to producing a compilation or stuff like that, we’ve never talked about that, never, never, ever, Sore, of Volta Jazz, said.

His account was backed up by Nouhoun Traore Banakourou, saxophonist and guitarist of the group Echo Del Africa, who acknowledged that he worked with Mazzoleni on a book project, but not a compilation.

What he is doing now is not what he offered me. When he came for the book, my son asked him for a gift for me. He gave me 200,000 CFA francs (around $380) that day, Nouhoun Traore recalls.

He took a recording of our boss, Tanou Bassoumalo, an old recording, and told me he would see if he can recover the tracks and fix them. He left and never came back. Nor did he call me, or say anything else,” Traore said.

The French producer denies these allegations. He claims to have followed all the necessary steps. I have all the permissions, all the contracts, he told VOA.

I met the founders of the group, the people who had the contracts at the time, what more do you want me to tell you? Obviously, I cannot meet everyone. Obviously, when you have a project like this that comes to fruition, people talk about it and the fact that it is nominated for the Grammy Awards, it attracts the interest of some people, Mazzoleni said.

Whatever the outcome at the award ceremony on Sunday in Madison Square Garden, Burkinabe musicians and citizens see it as an honor for their music and culture, which is getting world exposure, despite the controversy.

Source: Voice of America

At African Union Summit, Guterres lauds strong AU-UN partnership, outlines areas for more cooperation

Hailing the partnership between Africa and the United Nations as solid, and grounded on sound principles of human rights and good governance, Secretary General, Antonio Guterres told leaders gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the African Union Summit, that with Africa in the lead, we can and will do more to bolster successful cooperation throughout the continent.

I stand here on behalf of the United Nations system and reaffirm our strong commitment to the member states and the people of Africa, Mr. Guterres told the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) on Sunday, adding: I strongly believe Africa is one of the greatest forces for good in our world.

The UN chief said that in just his first year in office, the Organization has entered a new era of partnership with the AU, recalling the holding of the first UN-AU Annual Conference at the summit level, as well as the signing of two landmark framework agreements, respectively on enhanced partnership in peace and security, and, just yesterday, on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Spotlighting these and other initiatives as key examples of the successful work the two organizations are carrying out across the continent, Mr. Guterres said this partnership could be further strengthened in five key areas: addressing corruption; cooperation in peace and security; inclusive and sustainable development; climate change; and international migration.

Combatting the far-reaching and devastating impact of corruption, tax evasion and illicit financial flows, a main theme of this year’s AU Summit, requires an unimpeachable commitment to transparency and accountability, he said, commending the decision to highlight this scourge, and offering the strong support of the UN. He also welcomed the designation of 2018 as African Anti-Corruption Year.

Specifically on international migration, the UN chief expressed that the global phenomenon not only powers economic growth, reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies but also help ride the demographic waves of population growth and decline

We must maximize the benefits of orderly migration, while stamping out abuses and prejudice, he said, highlighting the benefits of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration for all countries.

I urge you to bring your moral leadership and unique experience to this important collective priority for 2018, added Mr. Guterres.

On the peace and security sector, the UN chief expressed his appreciation to African governments for contributing troops and police to UN peacekeeping operations to help save lives and keep the peace around the world.

He, however, noted that UN peacekeeping is not the solution to all crisis situations, and said that partnership with the African Union and sub-regional organizations can be the means to address the varied contexts which necessitate peacekeeping, including peace enforcement and counter-terrorist operations.

On inclusive and sustainable development, Secretary-General Guterres expressed that the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union’s Agenda 2063 are mutually reinforcing, and underscored the need to ensure sufficient means of implementation to ensure sustainable development.

But he acknowledged that while poverty elimination is a shared priority across the tow agendas, significant gaps persist, particularly with regard to industrialization, water, energy, infrastructure and the environment. We must place quality education within the reach of all, he underscored.

In that context, he urged all UN Member States to uphold their commitments to official development assistance ODA), outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development

Mr. Guterres also said the international community has a role to play in combating tax evasion, money laundering and the elimination of illicit financial flows that deprive Africa of its essential resources.

The UN chief also stressed that women and young people must lead the development agenda, stressing that: Women’s full participation makes economies stronger and peace processes more successful.

He said that around the world, there is skepticism about multilateralism. But he strongly believed that moving forward together, the United Nations and the African Union can show that multilateralism is our best and only hope.

Source: UN News Centre

At African Union Summit, Guterres outlines UN-AU approach to combatting terrorism

No single nation, institution, or organization can defeat terrorism in Africa or anywhere else, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a special meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday, as he called for a sustained, cooperative and coordinated approach in tackling this complex, ever-evolving menace.

The African Union (AU) is a vital partner in confronting the global challenge posed by terrorist groups, said Mr. Guterres, adding that he had been calling for a higher platform of cooperation with the AU, and he is proud the two organizations are indeed building that platform across the range of challenges and opportunities confronting the continent.

He recalled that in April 2017, the two organizations signed the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, which includes cooperation in the field of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.

I believe this work can be strengthened even further with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out a road map for future collaboration and capacity-building support on countering terrorism within the context of that Framework, he explained.

One of the first reforms Mr. Guterres instituted as Secretary-General was the creation of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, which, he told the African leaders, has worked closely with the AU and other partners to develop regional strategies and national action plans for the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism in the Horn of Africa and Africa, as well as central and southern Africa.

Looking ahead, the UN chief said he believed a comprehensive approach to combatting the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa can be developed around four key priorities:

By addressing the deficit in international counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels. Mr. Guterres will in June convene the first-ever UN Summit of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies to build on Member States’ priorities and his discussion today;

Enhanced ratification of existing legal counter-terrorism instruments, conventions and protocols;

Tackling the root causes and underlying conditions, including the lack of economic opportunities, extreme poverty, marginalization, exclusion and discrimination; and

Placing a special focus on expanding opportunities for young people � especially since youth under the age of 25 form the largest demographic group in most developing countries and they are often the ones most at risk of being recruited and radicalized by terrorists.

Underscoring that terrorism is not only a threat to peace and security but also to sustainable development, Mr. Guterres called on the international community to mobilize resources in support of African countries as they strive to balance security and development.

We face a serious challenge � but I believe it is one that we can meet with solidarity, common action and a shared resolve, he said.

Source: UN News Centre