Daily Archives: February 22, 2019

Senegal’s President Macky Sall Seeks 2nd Term

DAKAR, SENEGAL Senegal’s President Macky Sall is counting on the success of his economic record to propel him to win a second term in Sunday’s elections.

Sall boasted he will win in the first round, without a runoff vote, though some critics say the two biggest threats to his re-election were barred from running.

This stable West African democracy has long been praised for its peaceful transfers of power, a rarity in a region better known for its history of coups and dictators.

Sall, who was elected in 2012, is running as “the builder of modern Senegal.” One billboard notes the 221 kilometers (137 miles) of roads created in his first term. A long-awaited gleaming international airport has opened under his watch that eventually will be connected to Dakar by high speed train.

Sall’s campaign caravan wove through the congested streets of Dakar as crowds lined the capital’s streets to greet his tour bus on Thursday. In the Medina neighborhood, a tailor furiously sewed up last minute dresses with fabric emblazoned with the president’s face. Music blared as the smell of meat wafted over the crowds from a nearby djibiterie, a traditional grill restaurant.

“He’s done a lot for Senegal, especially for the young people,” said Khady Mbaye, 49, dressed from head to toe in the Macky Sall fabric. “The water flows normally we don’t have the outages like we used to.”

Mbaye says more of her relatives are working now than seven years ago and that’s what the president is hoping will allow him to win a second term Sunday without a runoff. If re-elected he will serve five years because the term has been shortened under the law.

Sall, 57, has claimed credit for creating some 491,000 jobs during his first term and is vowing to add 1 million more if elected to another term. The country’s annual GDP growth was 7.2 percent in 2017.

The opposition candidate seen as his biggest challenger, though, says too many Senegalese remain mired in poverty despite those gains. An untold number of young Senegalese men still seek economic migration to Europe and North Africa, often risking their lives in rickety boats across the sea or in sweltering trucks across the Sahara and never coming home.

“In the seven years of Macky Sall’s leadership, poverty has grown in Senegal,” Idriss Seck, a 59-year-old former prime minister, told supporters this week. He is widely believed to pose the greatest challenge to the incumbent though he has run for president twice before and only garnered 8 percent of the vote last time in the first round.

A potential wildcard candidate is Ousmane Sonko, a 44-year-old former tax official who has galvanized young people with his promises of making government more accountable and transparent.

Makha Mbengue, 33, says he voted for Macky Sall in 2012 but would be casting his ballot for Idrissa Seck this time. Over the last seven years, Mbengue has married and now has a baby on the way. Still, he says he’s no better off than when Sall was elected he’s still self-employed, running an upholstery cleaning business.

“The first time we had hope for him. He was going to change Senegal but once elected he was a disappointment,” Mbengue said.

Dakar, Senegal’s seaside capital, is home to U.N. offices, 4G internet and luxury beach hotels while much of rural Senegal is without electricity and travel is often by horse-drawn cart. Only 38.3 percent had access to electricity in rural areas as of 2016, according to World Bank statistics.

Whether the opposition can force Macky Sall into a second round will also depend on whether the four challengers can draw votes from the supporters of the two eliminated opposition figures.

Senegal’s constitutional council rejected the candidacy of Dakar’s popular former mayor Khalifa Sall, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence on charges of misusing public funds. He and his supporters have called those charges politically motivated, designed to keep him from seeking the presidency.

Karim Wade, the son of Senegal’s former president whom Macky Sall defeated in 2012, also was blocked from running because the court said he wasn’t a registered voter. The younger Wade has been in self-imposed exile in Qatar since he was released from jail in 2016 after serving three years on corruption charges. He had been widely expected to run under the banner of his father Abdoulaye Wade’s party, which in the end did not field a candidate. The elder Wade has called for a boycott of the election, though his influence has waned since leaving office in April 2012.

Seyni Mbengue, 43, was a supporter of Khalifa Sall and now is backing Idrissa Seck or “Idy.” She blames the president for keeping her candidate out of the race and hopes he will be defeated.

“Macky Sall has dug his own grave because the opposition has regrouped against him,” she said.

Source: Voice of America

Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana: Ministry of Communications engagement with creative industry

Remarks by Deputy Minister of Communications Pinky Kekana at the Ministry of Communications engagement with creative industry

Ladies and Gentlemen

Distinguished Guests

Members of the Media

The Leadership of the various collecting societies

Minister responsible for the Department of Small Business Development Ms Lindiwe Zulu

And of course my own Minister Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams

Avuxeni, Ndi matseloni, DumAlang Mmorong, Mmorong, Molweni, Sanibonani, Kusile, Goeie More, Good Morning

Program Director, I am not greeting in most of the official languages to pass time or expose my proficiency in these languages. I’m using these languages upfront because I think languages say a lot about who we are as a nation. Languages carry our cultures and values. Our diversity is best exposed when one delves into the different languages that are spoken in this great nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this industry carries the mirror which allows, society not only see itself, but also reflect upon itself what type of people we want to be. The creative arts industry for all intents and purposes is like a canvas upon which practitioners like yourselves conjure up an interpretation of your lived experience to which some amongst us in society can relate to.

Minister Zulu, I have no doubt will tell us how important the creative industry is from a job creation and business development perspective. After all, this industry is critical part of the modern economy where critical information is produced and distributed through industrial means, applying the creativity of individuals and groups to the generation of original cultural products, which may have commercial value either through direct sale to consumers or as intellectual property.

My Minister will on amongst others : focus on convergent digital technologies its challenges and opportunities.

Program director, the discussion we are going to embark on today is not new per se. Across the world it can be traced back to the 1940s, it was in the 1990s and 2000s. All of these periods coincide with technological advancements.

I therefore urge you to dissect and discuss the policy strategies we have developed of the years which seek to promote creative industries , expand the markets and strengthen the development of intellectual property.

In that vain, let me acknowledge with deep sincerity that the challenges faced by the public broadcaster and collecting societies are known to us and we will ensure that the SABC must prioritize its resolution.

Secondly, I am aware that at times, as practitioners in the industry government appears to be fragmented in its approach to this sector, that too is being addressed.

Let me conclude the same way I started, each of us seated here may identify as Venda, Ndebele and Tsonga or any of the official languages as our mother tongues. Despite this plurality what we acknowledge first and foremost is that together we make a great nation.

The same applies to governments approach, some departments come from the perspective of commerce and opportunities, some come with platforms and regulations but all of us have one thing in mind and that is how do we ensure that this sector leverages the opportunities that come with the fourth industrial revolution.

Let us use this platform to formulate stronger partnership and develop implementable solutions.

I thank you

Source: Government of South Africa

South Africa: National Assembly to dissolve to pave way for May elections

PRETORIA, South Africa’s National Assembly has adopted a resolution to dissolve the Fifth Parliament, whose five-year term ends on May 10.

This is in line with section 50 of the Constitution, which deals specifically with the dissolution of National Assembly before the expiry of its term.

By law, elections cannot be held during the term of office of the current Parliament.

The dissolution of the House before the expiry of its term, which is 10 May 2019, was made necessary because the date of the election has been set for 8 May. This is two days before the term of the current National Assembly ends, Parliament said in a statement.

With the National Assembly having resolved to dissolve itself, President Cyril Ramaphosa will now dissolve the National Assembly in terms of his powers provided for in the Constitution.

The decision to dissolve the House will also allow President Ramaphosa to proclaim the date of the elections, which is May 8, as announced during the State of the Nation Address.

The House remains competent to function from the time it is dissolved until the day before the first day of polling for the next National Assembly.

The House also agreed to suspend Rules 333(2) and 351(2), which would have resulted in Bills and other business lapsing when the House is dissolved.

Members of the National Council of Provinces, on the other hand, will rise on March 28.

However, they will remain in office until after the scheduled elections, until the day of the first sitting of the Provincial Legislatures.


Angola and Congo Republic discuss strengthening of oil cooperation

BRAZZAVILLE, Angola’s ambassador to Republic of Congo, Vicente Muanda, discussed, in Brazzaville, during an audience with Congolese minister of Hydrocarbons, Jean Marc Thystere Tchicaya, the mechanism to strengthen oil cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting analysed the state of the Lianzi Joint-Utilisdation Commission, which conducts the exploitation process of the oil and gas in the common maritime border.

In the meantime, both governments’ representatives admitted that the way the two countries share the oil resource in the Lianzi cross-border zone is an exemplar agreement.

However, the Angolan diplomat also spoke of the reform process underway in Angola’s oil sector, highlights to the new laws on the oil and gas segment, development of new fields to attract new instruments and the restructuring of the State-owned oil firm Sonangol.

In his turn, the Congolese official underscored the need to increase the exchange of experience between the two countries’ oil sector technicians in the training of new personnel in this field.

The Lianzi field output results from an agreement between Angola and Congo signed in 2002, whose aim is to jointly exploit the cross-bordering geological structures namely the block 14 (Angola) and high sea (Congo).

The Angolan Oil minister along with Hydrocarbons minister of Congo the Sonangol CEO and the National Petroleum Company of the Congo are members of this inter-state management body, which has a rotating presidency of one year term.


Nairobi attack highlights ‘new generation’ of Shabaab recruits

NAIROBI, Profiles of key suspects in January’s terror attack in Nairobi point to the worrying rise of a new generation of Kenyan jihadists, analysts say.

Police are hunting Ali Salim Gichunge, the suspected mastermind of the Jan 15 attack on the Dusit hotel and office complex that left 21 dead, and Violet Kemunto Omwoyo, described as a Christian convert to Islam.

Their background and ethnic origins are starkly different from that of typical Kenyan members recruited in the past by Al-Shabaab.

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda affiliate has mainly used recruits from Kenya’s ethnic Somali community or coastal Muslim communities.

In addition, Shabaab’s major previous attacks in Kenya, against the Westgate shopping mall in 2013, which left 67 dead, and the University of Garissa in 2015 in which 148 people died, were planned in Somalia.

Unlike previous attacks that had aspects of external planning and involvement, this particular incident points to local planning, and includes converts from Christianity, a senior police officer said.

Gichunge, believed to be aged about 23, is from central Isiolo and is the son of a Kenyan soldier. His name is from the country’s largest ethnic group, the Kikuyu.

Omwoyo, aged in her late twenties, is believed to be from Kisii in western Kenya.

The pair shared a home in Ruaka, northwest of the capital, where police say they found guns stashed in a hole in one of the rooms.

Police found the hideout after Gichunge was identified as the owner of a vehicle which transported the attackers to the hotel and office complex.

He was initially thought to be among those killed.

But it emerged both he and Omwoyo were on the run at the time of the operation, and had put household items up for sale in the days before the attack.

The five Dusit attackers were all killed during the attack, and at least three of them were from Kenya’s ethnic Somali community, one came from the coastal region and another has yet to be identified.

The weapons they used were transported from Somalia via Lamu county where the group has long held a strong presence in the Boni forest, or via the Mandera town border with Somalia, according to police sources.

Investigators say that Gichunge spent time training in Somalia.

In 2015, Sahan think-tank warned that to escape scrutiny, the jihadists had shifted their recruiting drive in Kenya away from the big cities of Nairobi and Mombasa to new areas, including the Rift Valley and the west of the country.

The report also noted the increasing recruitment of Christian converts, notably due to the granting of bursaries for Islamic Studies, and of girls and young women.

The new jihadists are radicalised in areas which are not closely watched and they use hideouts in places where the police will not expect them, the source said.