Friday, September 22, 2017

Zimbabwe President Hits Out At Trump
By Munyaradzi Huni
Herald

President Mugabe has said the world is "embarrassed, if not frightened" by what appears to be a return of the biblical Goliath in reference to US President Donald Trump, whose speech at the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly seemed to threaten other nations.

In his speech, Mr Trump threatened to obliterate North Korea and attacked Iran in a manner condemned by many delegates.

President Mugabe urged Mr Trump to blow his trumpet in a way that brings unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness and dialogue to the world.

He said all countries should respect the provisions of the UN Charter to bring peace and development to the world.

He said Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular had defeated imperialism and so "bring us whatever monster by whatever name and it will suffer the same defeat".

"Are we having the return of Goliath?" asked the President in reference to Mr Trump.

President Mugabe said each nation should build on its strength and that there should be respect for each nation's independence and sovereignty.

He also called on the US government to tackle serious issues to do with climate change saying "let's work together, climate change is real".

President Mugabe then expressed his condolences to the people of Puerto Rico and other nations devastated by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

While urging nations that can assist to chip in with a helping hand to those affected, the President said the world at the moment "demands more, not less, solidarity".

The President said Zimbabwe supported Africa's position regarding reforms of the UN Security Council saying the process was moving too slowly.

He said this raised suspicion that those benefiting from the current set up could be derailing the discussions.

He said the current set up of the UN perpetuates a historical injustice, adding the gap between poor and rich nations continued to widen.

He said the world should not expect to reap peace when it is investing in war, which led to greater human misery and the mass movement of people fleeing war and conflict.

"A different, better world is possible," said the President.

He said each country should have a right to its resources and to decide its destiny, citing Western Sahara and Palestine as countries that were being denied the right to self determination.

He called on the UN Security Council to demonstrate its authority in Western Sahara and Palestine by working with the African Union to solve the problems in the two countries.

The President said Zimbabwe remained committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

He said Zimbabwe respects the sovereignty of other nations.

Throughout his speech, President Mugabe received wild applause from several delegates who seemed relieved that at last someone was bold enough to take on the bullish Mr Trump.

The afternoon session when President Mugabe delivered his address was chaired by Zimbabwe's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Fredrick Shava.
The COSATU National Strike Is About Pushing Back Against Kleptocracy and Neopatrimonialism
The preparations for the upcoming COSATU led National strike on the 27 September 2017 are in full swing and the workers are making it very clear that they are tired of State Capture and Corruption. They are clear that these twin evils lead to economic decay and job losses.

Workers and ready and willing to fight the immoral and criminal phenomenon of State Capture and the cancer of Corruption, which robs them of their livelihoods, steal their resources, causes job losses and perpetuate poverty.

South Africa is struggling with the real unemployment rate of 38%, with close to 10 million people struggling to get jobs and over 17 million people on welfare.

This is happening while South Africa is losing roughly R147 billion from the money that is illegally taken out of the country per year. This is the money that will allow South Africa to accommodate all South African students at a university level for free. According to Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Corruption costs the SA gross domestic product (GDP) at least R27bn annually as well as the loss of 76 000 jobs that would otherwise have been created.

The recent data by Statistics South Africa report that shows that out of a population of 56 million, around 13,8 million people are now living below the food poverty line of R17.38 per person per day .It also shows that more than 30 million people out of 56 million are poor.

This is happening at the same time that the U N Conference on Trade and Development released last year in July showed that mining companies hid more than R1 trillion of tax invoices to avoid taxes between 200-2014.

Millions of South Africans are struggling to buy and build homes for their families, while the notorious GUPTA Family has managed to steal more than R10 billion rand from the country and have bought mansions costing up to R450 million in Dubai. Out of 1,4 million public servants, over 900 000 of them do not have houses.

What makes this possible is the fact that our government has been captured. Our government has adopted policies that benefit the private sector and the tiny elite. The Public Protector report showed us that the president sold our mandate that we gave to the ANC to the Gupta Family and their network of corrupt individuals.

It is obviously clear now that the President, some Ministers and some Premiers are not working for the people anymore but they are working for the Gupta family. Members of the predatory elite have infiltrated government, state institutions, and state owned enterprises like Eskom, Transnet, and Denel, private businesses, security agencies, family networks and the governing party.

They have taken our taxpayers money and gave it to the Gupta network and now they want to take our retirement savings and hand them over to the Guptas.

State capture has destroyed public trust in the state and its organs. It has, and continues to, amongst other things , eat away at confidence in South Africa's economy; erode revenue collection; stifle investment and reinvestment in productive parts of the economy; promote a culture of corruption; and, result in the failure to uncover additional corruption in other tiers of government and the private sector.

The majority of South Africans bear the brunt of corruption and state capture. If state capture is allowed to continue, it will not be possible to achieve the transformative objectives of the state that serve to improve the socio-economic predicament of the poor and working class.

The latest scandal involving the disgraced auditing and consultancy firm KPMG is a stark reminder of the collusion between the private and public sector in swindling South Africans and destroying our economy and jobs.

Thousands of jobs of KPMG employees are now at stake because of the corrupt and greedy tendencies of those who are at the top. The rot that we see in both the public and private sector is being hidden , abetted and endorsed by firms like KPMG. This shows that we have become a kleptocracy and that there are no angels in both the public and private sector.

COSATU has noted that some employers, who want to maintain the status quo are trying to intimidate workers from participating in the upcoming strike by circulating memos that are about intimidating workers. The federation wants to make it very clear that we will not allow the intimidation and victimisation of workers who want to join the strike on the 27th of September 2017.

Workers should know that all South African workers from all the sectors of the economy are protected to go on strike as Nedlac has issued COSATU with a certificate in terms of Section 77 of the LRA.

Workers should push government to stop serving the interests of White Monopoly Capital and the politically connected individuals. The COSATU National Strike is about reclaiming the mandate that was given to the ANC by the voters that was sold to the Guptas and the private sector.

Let us reclaim our SOE's!

Let us reclaim our economy!

Let us reclaim our country!

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
ANC Humbled by Overwhelming Support in Cape Town Ward By-election
21 September 2017

The African National Congress is humbled by the overwhelming support received from the people of Ward 37 in Nyanga, Cape Town in yesterday's by-election. 71% of all votes cast demonstrated our people's confidence in their movement, the African National Congress with the closest party following the ANC, the Pan African Congress (PAC), receiving 18% of the vote.

The ANC does not take this support for granted and remains committed to ensuring that the City of Cape Town delivers against the aspirations of the people of Nyanga and the black (African, Coloured and Indian) communities of Cape Town in general. We will use this victory to give further impetus to our campaign to reclaim the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape province.

We thank our volunteers, members and supporters of the ANC for tireless work which resulted to this victory for the people's movement. We equally, thank all the voters who cast their votes in these elections.

We congratulate the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for continuously delivering the credible, free and fair by-elections.

Issued by the African National Congress
Enquiries
Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager
ANC Statement: Mining Authorities Must Step Up Efforts at Mine Safety
20 September 2017

The African National Congress has noted with grave concern reports of the death of two miners at the Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg in the North West province yesterday, 19 September 2017. This tragic incident follows the death of five mine workers at Kusasalethu mine in Carltonville earlier this month and the growing number of workers losing their lives in our country’s mines. It cannot be that our mines have become death traps for workers and a job in the mining industry carries with it major risk on the worker’s life.

The mining industry remains a dominant and very important sector of our economy, built - as it is - on the back of the working class who for decades have endured dangerous and exploitative conditions. It has been and remains an unambiguous objective of the ANC that we create safe and decent working conditions for mine workers. The avoidable deaths reported in the industry fly in the face of this objective and require drastic action by all stakeholders to eliminate fatalities and injuries.

Accordingly, the ANC calls on mining authorities and other stakeholders to employ all measures necessary to decisively deal with the safety challenges in the mining industry. Government is further called upon to use all means at its disposal to pressure the industry to correct the defects and adopt all necessary safeguards deal to these senseless deaths. Fatalities and injuries must be eliminated within the timeframes agreed by the industry; one death of a mine worker is one death too many.

The African National Congress expresses its sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones from these tragic incidents in our mines. Government, the mining companies concerned and the industry as a whole, are expected to give support and comfort to the bereaved families during these difficult times.

Issued by the African National Congress

Enquiries

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson

Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager
ANC Condemns Arson Attacks on CPUT
20 September 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) condemns in the harshest possible terms the torching of several buildings at the Cape Town University of Technology’s (CPUT) campuses in Bellville and Mowbray, Cape Town. These criminal acts must be punished using the full might of our law enforcement system as they can never be a justification for any grievance anyone may have had.

In 2016, the Department of Higher Education and Training estimated the cost of damage to universities as a result of protests at approximately R459 million. This is money that would be most optimally used to fund the shortages and challenges in our higher education system rather than addressing unnecessary damages. Behavior such as burning university buildings is short-sighted and devoid of any appreciation of the dire need faced by students and our institutions of higher education.

The ANC calls upon any person with information in relation to these unlawful acts to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

University management and the student body at large must close rank to expose and isolate these agent provocateurs should they be within their ranks.

All stakeholders are further called upon to redouble their efforts to find amicable and lasting solutions to disputes and the restoration of the academic programme.

Issued by the African National Congress

Enquiries

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson

Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager
SISULU: WHY DOES ANC REFUSE TO HOLD CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE?
Ahead of a special meeting on Friday morning, Lindiwe Sisulu says she hopes the NEC will discuss why the party's leaders rejected a request to hold a consultative conference.

FILE: Lindiwe Sisulu, who’s an ANC presidential candidate, was open about her decision to accept the nomination. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - As the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) prepares for a special meeting on Friday morning, presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has raised questions over why the party refuses to hold a consultative conference.

The party’s leadership is expected to take a final decision on whether to appeal a court ruling declaring the ANC KwaZulu-Natal's 2015 elective conference unlawful.

Sisulu says she hopes the NEC will discuss why the party's leaders rejected a request by the stalwarts to hold a consultative conference.

“A consultative conference is not one where we talk about policies going forward, it is one where we talk about the here and now. What is the health status of our organisation?”

When asked if she thinks Friday's meeting must discuss another motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, she said: “What would the difference be between now and before?”

Meanwhile, Cosatu has called for the special meeting to discuss the possible reinstatement of criminal charges against Zuma and take bold decisions about what it calls his lack of leadership capabilities.
SISULU: ANC NEEDS PEOPLE LIKE MAKHOSI KHOZA
Khoza has been vocal in her belief that President Jacob Zuma should be removed from office.

FILE: ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu at an event in Kliptown on 22 July 2017. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says that she is saddened by Makhosi Khoza's resignation because the African National Congress (ANC) needs people of courage like her.

Khoza announced that she's quitting the party on Thursday during an emotional speech, where she hit out at ANC leaders and warned that the party is beyond saving.

Khoza has been vocal in her belief that President Jacob Zuma should be removed from office.

Sisulu says that the news that Khoza has resigned has saddened her.

“I’m really saddened by it because I think we need people of courage to stand up and say: this far and no further.”

She says the party needs people like Khoza.

“The ANC needs people of courage because it is them who are able to tell us when we go wrong and got the ANC to where we are.”

The Minister says that just like Chris Hani was critical of the ANC and helped put the party on a good path, Khoza should have also been given the space to speak out against the wrongs in the organisation.
SISULU: WHY HAS DISCIPLINARY ACTION NOT BEEN TAKEN AGAINST ZUMA?
Lindiwe Sisulu revealed that she’s been pushing for the President to be disciplined.

FILE: Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN.

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) presidential candidate Lindiwe Sisulu has told Eyewitness News she doesn't understand why President Jacob Zuma still hasn't been taken through the party's disciplinary processes for bringing the party into disrepute.

During a sit-down interview with EWN, Sisulu revealed that she’s been pushing for the President to be disciplined.

She says a diagnostic report presented by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at the party's policy conference earlier this year, confirmed that scandals involving Zuma had caused unhappiness and cost the party.

Sisulu has taken issue with the fact that President Zuma still hasn't appeared before a disciplinary committee.

“I have been insisting that there must be a disciplinary process so that if there is an interpretation that if you put the ANC into disrepute, that is an offence.”

She says this worries her.

“If we all agreed at the policy conference that that is what happened to the president, why was he not taken through a disciplinary process? We have an integrity committee [and if they fail] they should take the matter to the disciplinary committee.”

Sisulu says the president must go through a disciplinary committee and be suspended if found to have brought the party into disrepute.
Helen Zille: Conservative South African Opposition Party Responds to the Cape Water Crisis
By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News

How far would you go to save water?

Well, for the head of a provincial government in South Africa, it seems there is no sacrifice too big.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has revealed that she only showers every third day.

But it seems that what may appear at first to be a drastic, and somewhat smelly, move is, in fact, a noble one.

The Western Cape - famed for its winelands, mountains and beaches - has been experiencing severe water shortages which have worsened in the last year due to a drought in the region.

"I shower briefly‚ once every three days‚ and for the rest wash in the hand basin. I used to wash my hair every day‚ but now only when I shower‚ with visibly negative consequences," Ms Zille wrote in a column.

"However‚ I regard oily hair in a drought to be as much of a status symbol as a dusty car."

Still, Ms Zille, the founder of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), has shocked many with the revelations of her showering schedule.

Ms Zille is no stranger to controversy. She caused a storm recently after posting a tweet in which she suggested there were some positive aspects of colonialism.

Of course, for some South Africans, sacrificing your shower time might seem to be a middle-class problem.

Those living in Cape Town's informal settlements have to rely on a communal tap for water and bath out of a basin, while low-income households would usually have running water in the house and a bath.

So how did we end up knowing about the hygiene habits of one of South Africa's best-known politicians?

Well, Ms Zille was rebuffing a recent article by TimesLive which raised questions about the provincial department's use of tax-papers money to install a water purification system at her official residence in Cape Town.

Desperate to show that she takes the water crisis seriously, she said: "As for my husband and I‚ we try to use so little water‚ that I sometimes get worried about the hygienic and aesthetic consequences."

The news might have provided some light relief on social media but for residents of the province, the water shortages are no laughing matter.

The average water level of dams across the Western Cape is 35%‚ a significant drop from the 61% at the same time last year, according to the province's water affairs department.

As a result, what is known as "level five restrictions" on water use are now in place - with each of its six million residents allowed to use no more than 87 litres a day.

The average eight-minute shower uses 62 litres, according to a 2011 study - 70% of each person's daily allowance.

Those who use too much face the possibility of a fine, with harsher measures bought in against certain businesses.

But water use is difficult to keep tabs on, and so residents have been implored to "self-police".

It doesn't appear to be working.

Authorities say residents and businesses simply haven't been doing enough to adhere to the new rules.

The province is now looking at investing in alternative methods of water supply, including recycling and extraction of ground water.
Ruling Reveals a Court Beset by Disagreements
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 2017
Kenya Daily Nation

In Summary
The dissenting judges accused their colleagues of being obsessed with processes at the expense of the material import of the election.

But Justice Njoki Ndung’u sought to dismantle all these assertions in a 440-page ruling she read in full for four hours.

The Majority ruling had said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission failed to conduct the election in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws.

By JULIUS SIGEI

The sharply divergent decisions of the September 1 ruling, which were expounded on Wednesday, have offered a glimpse into a deeply divided court.

The judges were clearly worlds apart in their philosophical orientation.

Supreme Court judges Njoki Ndung’u and Jackton Ojwang faulted their colleagues Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justices Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola for nullifying President Kenyatta’s win in the August 8 poll on.

The dissenting judges accused their colleagues of being obsessed with processes at the expense of the material import of the election.

The Majority ruling had said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission failed to conduct the election in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws.

PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS

The judges said IEBC did not transmit presidential results (or forms 34A) from polling stations nor provide all forms 34A as a means to verify forms 34B which contain constituency tallies.

The majority ruling also cited a number of anomalies which include the lack of security features on some forms 34, and the commission’s refusal to comply with the Court’s ruling to provide access to their server and access logs.

It further ruled that the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) — which is used to identify voters and transmit results — was modified without reference to all the candidates.

But Justice Njoki Ndung’u sought to dismantle all these assertions in a 440-page ruling she read in full for four hours.

She said she had conducted an analysis of the 291 forms 34B — 290 constituencies and one from the diaspora — and the disputed forms 34A and found that they were okay.

AFFIDAVITS

She also insisted that affidavits from the respondents had addressed all the questions raised and that in any event any anomalies which could have occurred were not enough to upset the results to justify the landmark ruling.

The import of IEBC vs Maina Kiai and others’ Appellate Court ruling in June which made votes counted at the polling station final is another point of departure between the two sides.

While the majority ruling argued that the precedent did not absolve IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati from the duty of verifying the results by counterchecking results in forms 34A, the dissenting judges agreed with the respondents that the presidential returning officer could not do much.

The majority and dissenting judges also differed sharply on the doctrine of precedent which broadly urges judges to pay proper respect to past judicial decisions.

“Although the doctrine of precedent does not stand in the way of progressive interpretation of the law, this power must be used in a sparing and cautious manner to guarantee continuity, certainty and adaptability,” Justice Ndung’u ruled.

BURDEN OF PROOF

The Supreme Court was departing from its 2013 decision in which it had established that the burden of proof in an election petition lies with the petitioner.

This is in line with the general rule in civil cases.

The court, however, appeared to have been alive to the fact that the IEBC was the custodian of all relevant records relating to the election and agreed with the petitioner that the commission had something to hide by disobeying a court order requiring them to open ups its systems for scrutiny.

Even on this Justice Ndung’u differed saying “the court did not give orders for the petitioner to access the first respondent’s servers but only access the read-only copy information since the commission’s integrity had to be protected.”

And while the September 1 ruling has been roundly termed as daring seeing as it is only the fourth such decision in the world, Justice Ndung’u appears to have been keen on the wider ramifications of any adverse ruling on the stability of the State.

CONSTITUTION

“Every arm of Government has the unique role of defending the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the sovereignty of the people.

‘‘The essence of a system of checks and balances is to ensure that when one constitutional branch threatens the entire schematic ordering of the Constitution and the State, the other is ready to check these actions,” she ruled.

She warned that having been part of the inaugural Supreme Court and “having steadily and consistently settled the law on elections, the interpretation of Section 83 by the Majority will unleash jurisprudential confusion never before witnessed.”

Questions have, however, arisen as to at what point Justice Ndung’u scrutinised the contentious documents to which she gave a clean bill of health, and why she did not call her colleagues’ attention to them.
Forms 34A, 34B Were in Order: Ndung’u
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 2017
 Kenya Daily Nation

Lady Justice Njoki Ndung'u at the Supreme Court before delivering a full judgment on reasons for nullification of President Kenyatta's re-election. Justice Ndungu ruled that forms 34A and 34B were in order. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary

The judge, who was the last to deliver her ruling, said the court should have real grounds for concluding that the election results were not credible.

She faulted her colleagues for not using the certified forms filed in court by the commission to verify the claims made by Nasa presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

She also faulted her colleagues “for deliberately overturning a previous decision of the court on section 83 of the Elections Act to favour a finding of nullity”.

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI

Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndung’u Wednesday tore into key parts of the evidence which informed the ruling that annulled the August 8 presidential election.

Justice Ndung’u said the disputed Forms 34A used to declare the election outcome were proper in form and content.

The judge, who was the last to deliver her ruling, said the court should have real grounds for concluding that the election results were not credible.

Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and justices Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola had earlier upheld arguments by the National Super Alliance in the petition.

FORMS 34A

They ruled that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission failed to verify the numbers before declaring the election winner and that Nasa had shown that the declaration of the results was made before all the 40,883 Forms 34A had been received.

The court also said a random scrutiny of Forms 34A showed there were discrepancies. Justice Ndung’u, however, said she conducted an analysis of the 291 Forms 34B — 290 constituencies and one from the diaspora — and the disputed Forms 34A and noted they were okay.

She faulted her colleagues for not using the certified forms filed in court by the commission to verify the claims made by Nasa presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

The judge added that her colleagues invalidated proper documents on the basis of an exercise whose findings were not in conformity with the forms presented by IEBC in court.

PAPER TRAIL

Where there were omissions, they could not affect the result of the election, and the court had the powers to inspect other materials to verify the integrity of the poll, she said.

Justice Ndung’u added that there was a verifiable paper trail which the court could use. She cited various institutions which could verify the claims, including the commission itself, observers, the media, the public and any court hearing petitions.

“The lack of security features or signatures from agents as cited by Nasa, was not by itself a reason to invalidate the election,” she said.

The judge added that the majority opinion did not have a reason to overturn the election of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as president.

INSPECTION

Justice Ndung’u argued that elections were “rights-centric” and not “form-centric”, insisting that where the court was in doubt, inspection of the ballot materials was essential.

The result of the election, she said, was never an issue and was not shown to have been affected by the alleged irregularities or illegalities as cited by other judges, she insisted.

According to Justice Ndung’u, there was no basis to reverse the will of voters and in the absence of evidence, “a court must not interfere with people’s choice”. She also said the assumption that more votes cast in favour of the President compared to governors and MPs meant IEBC interfered with the result of the poll was wrong.

“The law allows a voter to cast one ballot so long as the unused ballots are  kept aside in tamper proof envelopes,” Justice Ndung’u said, adding that nobody was under any obligation to vote in the other five elections.

PREVIOUS DECISION

She also faulted her colleagues “for deliberately overturning a previous decision of the court on section 83 of the Elections Act to favour a finding of nullity”.

“Elections belong to everybody and it is everyone’s responsibility to protect them,” the judge said.

On the electronic transmission of results, Justice Ndung’u disagreed with the other judges who said IEBC disobeyed an order to provide access to ICT logs and servers.

The judges said the commission’s failure to open the servers for scrutiny was proof that it was hiding much.

CLEAR ORDERS

But Justice Ndung’u said the orders were clear and distinct that IEBC was to provide a read-only copy of the logs in the servers.

“The court did not give orders for the petitioner to access the first respondent’s servers but only access the read-only copy information since the commission’s integrity had to be protected,” she said.

In polling stations not covered by 3G and 4G mobile phone networks, manual transmission of results was the proper alternative, she said.

“A legislative reconsideration of the electoral law to clarify that technology is secondary to the manual transmission system should be made,” the judge said.

“Our electoral process is not purely electronic. It comprises both manual and electronic systems. It is largely manual.”
Key Points in Supreme Court Presidential Petition Judgement
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 2017
Kenya Daily Nation

Supreme Court judges on September 20, 2017 when they delivered a detailed judgement laying out their reasons for annulling the August 8 presidential election. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
The court acknowledged the fact that no election is perfect and that the law recognises this reality.
The Judges wondered why the manually transmitted forms arrived faster than the electronic ones.
They said there was no evidence of misconduct on the part of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

By SAM KIPLAGAT

The Supreme Court Wednesday delivered its full judgment on the nullification of the August 8 presidential election.

In a majority decision, the apex court chaired by Chief Justice David Maraga explained that it quashed President Uhuru Kenya’s re-election because, among other reasons, the National Returning Officer Wafula Chebukati did not verify the results before declaring the winner.

The following are some of the key points from the judges’ decision:

A ballot paper is counted as a vote if it is filled in accordance with the set procedure. The court observed that a rejected vote— a vote which is void, a vote that accords no advantage to any candidate— cannot be used in determining the 50-percent- plus-one threshold set in the Constitution for winning Kenya's presidential poll.

The court acknowledged the fact that no election is perfect and that the law recognises this reality. That said, it is difficult to categorise the violations of the law as “minor inadvertent errors”. In their view, IEBC behaved as though the provisions of Sections 39, 44 and 44A of the Constitution did not exist.

That elections are not only about numbers. That, to arrive at a mathematical solution, as taught in school, there is always a computational path. That one has to prove that the process indeed gives rise to the stated solution. In short, the apex court said elections are not events but processes.

IEBC and its Chairman Wafula Chebukati failed to offer any plausible response to the question on whether all Forms 34A had been electronically transmitted to the national tallying centre as required by Section 39 (1C) of the Elections Act.

That IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba admitted on August 14, three days after the declaration of results, that they were not in a position to supply the petitioner with all Forms 34A.

The judges rejected the explanation on failure of technology in the transmission of the presidential results and argued that this failure was, in their view, a clear violation of the law.

The electoral commission failed to grant access to two critical areas of their servers— its logs, which would have proved or disproved the petitioners’ claim of hacking, and its servers that contained Forms 34A and 34B.

IEBC’s disobedience of the court’s order left the judges with no option but to accept Mr Raila Odinga’s claims that either the commission's IT system was infiltrated and data doctored or IEBC’s officials themselves interfered with the data.

The judges wondered why the manually transmitted forms arrived faster than the electronic ones.

IEBC declared President Kenyatta the winner solely on the basis of Forms 34B, some of which were of dubious authenticity.

Nobody disputes the fact that on August 8,  Kenyans turned out in large numbers, endured long hours in queues and peacefully cast their votes. However, the system thereafter went opaquely awry and whether President Kenyatta got a large number of votes becomes irrelevant.

That there was no convincing evidence to the effect that President Kenyatta acted in any inappropriate manner by releasing funds to people uprooted from their homes during 2007/08 post-poll chaos in Kisii and Nyamira.

That the illegalities and irregularities committed were of such a substantial nature that no court properly applying its mind to the evidence and the law could declare that they did not matter.

Mr Odinga claimed that various electoral offences were committed by IEBC officials but no evidence was placed before the court to prove the allegation. The judges, however, noted a systemic institutional problem but could not point “specific finger prints of individuals” who may have played a role in the mess.

That the judges were unable to impute any criminal culpability to IEBC, Mr Chebukati, commissioners or any member of IEBC.

That there was no evidence of misconduct on the part of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya Opposition Claims Broad and Vague, Says Justice Ojwang
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 2017
Kenya Daily Nation

A National Super Alliance supporter (left) shouts at a Jubilee supporter near the Supreme Court of Kenya premises on September 20, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
The judge, in his full ruling read in court Wednesday, argued that Nasa’s arguments were anchored on generalities and not factual evidence and hence failed the test of burden of proof.

To him, it was the respondents, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and its chairman, Wafula Chebukati — who were enjoined in the case as the first and second respondents — who provided better evidence to justify the credibility of the elections.

The judge noted that it was, therefore, prudent for the majority judges who ruled against the respondents to have asked for a recount of the votes before annulment.

By SILAS APOLLO
By SAM KIPLAGAT

Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang’, in his dissenting opinion on the election petition, said Nasa leader Raila Odinga failed to prove his case after making broad and vague claims.

The judge, in his full ruling read in court Wednesday, argued that Nasa’s arguments were anchored on generalities and not factual evidence and hence failed the test of burden of proof.

Justice Ojwang’ noted that while the weight of the petitioner’s case lay on credibility, transparency and credibility of the results relaying process, Nasa largely made broad claims on alleged wrongdoing on the part of the electoral commission.

The petitioner, he argued, instead invited the court to ascertain the scope of its evidence.

To him, it was the respondents, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and its chairman, Wafula Chebukati — who were enjoined in the case as the first and second respondents — who provided better evidence to justify the credibility of the elections.

FACTS

He noted that however profound a legal argument might be before the court, it must be anchored on the facts of the case. The evidence need to be credible, not objective unless it is from an expert witness, he added.

“The Constitution of Kenya safeguards the rule of law, democracy and the will of the people,” said Justice Ojwang’. “It is clear to me, beyond peradventure, that there is not an iota of merit in invalidating the clear expression of the Kenyan people’s democratic will.”

He went on: “I cannot but therefore conclude that the facts based on the evidence of the petitioner’s case are more than weak. The Constitution states that justice shall be served without undue regard to procedural technicalities.”

Nasa had pegged its petition on the credibility, transparency and the integrity of the results relaying process from polling stations to the national tallying centre. The coalition relied on the authenticity of Forms 34A and 34B to argue that the results that IEBC was streaming were unverified and therefore, illegal.

BURDEN OF PROOF

And on whether the election was compromised by intimidation and the compromise of voters as argued by Nasa, Justice Ojwang’ opined that the petitioner failed to accompany satisfying evidence, and in essence, undermined the discharge of burden of proof.

The respondent, the judge said, did not contravene any provision of the Constitution or any other statutes of law. He said the IEBC conducted the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner, including consultation of parties, secret voting, as well as the counting of results in the presence of all agents as required by law.

The judge noted that it was, therefore, prudent for the majority judges who ruled against the respondents to have asked for a recount of the votes before annulment.

The voter, he argued, had no problem marking the ballot, which was secure, transparent and accountable.           

“The majority judges appear to have taken leave from their juristic obligation to interpret the constitutional provisions cited by the petitioner,” said Justice Ojwang’.

EVIDENCE

The judge said the majority judges had the greater burden to prove whether the petitioner had a case that would warrant a nullification of the results based on evidence prepared.

He said the top court, through the Constitution, was given the interpretative mandate, and as such, ought to have applied the burden of proof to the case presented by Nasa.

The respondents, said Justice Ojwang’, satisfying all the constitutional requirements in carrying out its mandate to preside over a free and fair elections and the claims of non-compliance did not add up.

It was his view that specific and credible evidence on the case, which were relied on in court with regard to the August elections, were all provided by the respondent, as opposed to the petitioner.
Judges Ignored Crucial Evidence, Says Kenyan President Kenyatta
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 2017
Daily Nation

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto address the nation on the Supreme Court ruling at State House, Nairobi on September 21, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu, Justice Smokin Wanjala and Justice Isaac Lenaola in their ruling upheld arguments by National Super Alliance in the election petition.

Justice Ndung’u faulted her colleagues for not using the certified forms filed in court by the commission to verify the claims made by Nasa presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

The IEBC changed the date from October 17 to 26 to allow it more time to prepare for the poll.

 The cabinet has also approved a supplementary budget that shall be forwarded to the National Assembly next week for the purposes of the fresh election.

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday accused the Supreme Court of subverting the will of Kenyans who voted on August 8 by failing to consider all the evidence adduced by the electoral commission.

He said it was incomprehensible how a bench of four judges could nullify a decision by more than eight million Kenyans who voted for him without due regard to evidence presented before them.

The President, who was with his deputy William Ruto, spoke a day after Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u in her dissenting opinion poked holes in the majority ruling, arguing that her colleagues had failed to verify the result forms on whose basis they annulled the presidential election.

In an address to the nation from State House, Nairobi, a day after the judges read their full judgments, the Head of State said the apex court handled the presidential petition poorly and was misguided in its majority ruling.

VERIFIED DOCUMENTS

He said had the court verified documents and forms supplied by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the unstamped, unsigned and serialised forms upon which his election was nullified would have been proven to have been falsified.

“The presidential election was not nullified on the assumption that there were irregularities in the election result forms. It is now manifestly clear that despite the fact that relevant forms had already been deposited in court by IEBC, no proper scrutiny or verification ever took place, which would have otherwise brought the court to the inescapable conclusion that the election result of the August 8 election was indeed valid,” he said, adding that the repeat poll must have held within the 60 days as provided for by the Constitution.

Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu, Justice Smokin Wanjala and Justice Isaac Lenaola in their ruling upheld arguments by National Super Alliance in the election petition.

“How a decision of that magnitude was made without examination of some of the most crucial documents is, indeed, incredibly startling,” the President said, adding that the court owes Kenyans an explanation as to how the “monstrous injustice” took place, cautioning it could plunge the country into judicial chaos.

DISPUTED FORMS

His speech appeared to borrow from the ruling of Justice Ndung’u who said the disputed Forms 34A used to declare the outcome were proper in form and content.

Justice Ndung’u faulted her colleagues for not using the certified forms filed in court by the commission to verify the claims made by Nasa presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

The judge said she conducted an analysis of the 291 Forms 34B — 290 constituencies and one from the diaspora — and the disputed Forms 34A and concluded they were proper and therefore ruled that the court should have had real grounds for concluding that the results were not credible.

“What then happens to this judgment made on the basis of falsified documents?” the President questioned and noted that since no one had questioned or contested the number of votes he garnered and the fact that he was exonerated by the same court from any irregularities and illegalities, the judges had no valid reason to cancel his victory.

Mr Kenyatta argued that the court’s decision confirmed that the voting, counting and tallying of results was done in accordance with the law.

EXUDED CONFIDENCE

While reiterating that he would comply with the ruling, the President exuded confidence of a larger win in the October 26 repeat election, just five days to the lapse of the 60-day period allowed by the Constitution.

The IEBC changed the date from October 17 to 26 to allow it more time to prepare for the poll.

 The cabinet has also approved a supplementary budget that shall be forwarded to the National Assembly next week for the purposes of the fresh election.

“There shall and must be an election within that constitutionally stipulated period. As Jubilee, we now go back to our people with our vision of unity and transformation agenda that will guarantee a free, equitable, stable, inclusive and prosperous nation,” he added.

“The people of Kenya will speak again, and this time, their voice will and must be heard,” he said and directed police across the country to remain alert and provide security to Kenyans and their property.
Be Vigilant During Repeat Poll, Raila Tells Observers
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 2017
Kenya Daily Nation

In Summary
In the August poll, the Carter Centre had sent former US Secretary of State John Kerry to lead a team of other observers.
Mr Kerry heaped praises at IEBC for conducting a free and fair elections despite the concerns raised by the opposition.

By SAMWEL OWINO

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has told the observer mission in the country that they have a second chance to effectively play their role in the coming fresh presidential poll scheduled for October 26.

In a statement to newsrooms after meeting with representatives of two election observation missions on Thursday – the National Democratic Institute and the The Carter Centre on the preparations of the new elections – Mr Odinga told the observers to be vigilant in the coming fresh poll and pay keen attention to what the Supreme Court found to have gone wrong in the August poll.

“We believe in election observation and see it as a critical part of ensuring free and fair polls if the observers focus on the right things,” Mr Odinga told the Carter Centre delegation.

In the August poll, the Carter Centre had sent former US Secretary of State John Kerry to lead a team of other observers.

Mr Kerry heaped praises at IEBC for conducting a free and fair elections despite the concerns raised by the opposition.

Mr Odinga said the endorsement of the August poll by Carter Centre which has since been nullified by the Supreme Court is now water under the bridge and the focus should be on the coming fresh poll.

“In the glowing complements to the IEBC and talking of how Kenya is leading the continent in the path to democratisation despite our protests, the Carter Centre went too far. But to err is human. We just hope it does not happen again,” Mr Odinga said.

In the meeting that was also attended by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the opposition leaders stuck to their guns that all the major concerns they raised on IEBC must be addressed before they can participate in the repeat presidential election.

ROLE OF OBSERVERS

The meeting largely focused on the role of observers which came under sharp criticism by the opposition in the August elections.

The opposition also reiterated their earlier position that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should now begin investigating IEBC officials who bungled the August elections failure to which Nasa will begin private prosecutions.

“We believe IEBC officials are culpable. The Supreme Court spoke of illegalities and irregularities in the polls. Somebody must be punished for it,” Mr Odinga said.

On Wednesday night, Nasa lead counsel and Siaya Senator James Orengo told senior IEBC officials that they are not yet off the hook despite the Supreme Court finding that none of them committed an election offence.

“The court found that there were illegalities and irregularities on how the election was managed. It is now upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to act on the individuals that committed them,” Mr Orengo said.
Kenya’s Repeat Election Postponed by Nine Days
by John Aglionby
Financial Times

Kenya’s electoral commission has postponed the repeat presidential election by nine days to October 26, citing the need to “meet the standards set out by the supreme court” in its judgement that nullified last month’s ballot.

The court voided the result of the August 8 vote on September 1, citing “irregularities and illegalities” after Raila Odinga, the defeated opposition leader, appealed against the re-election of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

On Wednesday the judges gave their full ruling, with a majority blaming the electoral commission for “systematic” errors in the transmission of returns from the polling station to the constituency and national tallying centres.

They told the electoral commission to “go back to the drawing board” to prepare for the repeat election or risk that being annulled too.

OT-Morpho, the French company that provided the equipment delivering the electronic voter list and results transmission system, said earlier this week it would not be able to prepare everything in time for October 17, the date the commission originally set for the repeat vote but could meet a deadline of later in the month.

Under Kenya’s constitution the repeat election has to be held within 60 days of the original vote being annulled.

Mr Kenyatta, who beat Mr Odinga by 54 per cent to 45 per cent, said on Thursday he respected the supreme court ruling but strongly disagreed with it. He said the judges had “subverted the will of the people”.
Brexit Is Not Expected to Negatively Impact Mozambique’s Trade Relations
21 September 2017

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is an opportunity to make more investments in Mozambique and will not have a negative impact on bilateral trade relations, the British Minister for International Trade said on Wednesday in Maputo.

Minister Liam Fox, who travelled to Mozambique as part of a tour of some southern African countries, said that what worries potential British investors is the guarantee of macroeconomic stability and a stable legal framework.

The SADC Sugar Producers Federation last week in Maputo expressed concern about losing the main sugar market in the European Union after Brexit as the United Kingdom absorbs more than half of the output of the countries in the region.

to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias, the minister reassured the countries in the region that his country will maintain the existing business relationship, despite being subject to further negotiations.

Fox said the UK was willing to support Mozambique in the investigation of undisclosed debts amounting to US$2 billion taken on by three public enterprises with the support of the State and that are the basis for the freezing of international aid to Mozambique by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Group of 14 donor countries.

Fox visited Maputo where he met with the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi and the Minister of Trade, Max Tonela, to review of trade agreements between the two countries, due to the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. (macauhub)
Mozambique Hopes to Raise $500 Million for Renewable Energy Projects
MAPUTO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Mozambique offered a portfolio of small renewable energy projects to foreign investors on Tuesday which it hopes will attract $500 million in investment and give everyone in the southern African country electricity by 2030.

Around 60 percent of people living in Mozambique, which is highly indebted, have no access to electricity.

"The initiative is intended to ensure that within a 15 year horizon the Mozambican population has access to electricity outside the national power grid, thanks to small autonomous systems," the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy said.

The portfolio has identified potential sites for projects using solar, hydro or a combination and could attract an estimated investment of $500 million, it said
Angola: Physicians Told to Consult Rural Areas - Administrator
Luanda — The newly entry physicians are expected to conduct periodic ambulatory consultations in the outlying and rural areas of the municipality of Viana, said the municipal administrator, Jeremias Dumbo Tchilelevika.

Jeremias Dumbo Tchilelevika, who addressed 15 physicians recently hired in the municipality of Viana, said that a working system will be created so that doctors do not wait for patients in the hospital.

This system, he added, will also help, in addition to the consultations, diagnose some common diseases in certain areas, also indicating what is necessary for prevention.

On behalf of the doctors, Osmar José Mário pledged to give his best and recalled that they are distributed in several hospital units of the municipality with the aim of contributing to a better health care for the residents.
South Africa Returns MiG-21 Fighter Jet to Angola
Written by Dean Wingrin
Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Angolan MiG-21 being removed from the SAAF Musuem.Under a cloak of secrecy, the South African government has returned to Angola a MiG-21 fighter jet that it acquired during the Border War conflict in 1988.

A prized possession of the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum and placed on display at Air Force Base Zwartkop, the MiG-21bis Fishbed with serial C340 of the Força Aérea Popular de Angola (FAPA, the Angolan Air Force) was acquired in December 1988 when the jet landed in northern South West Africa (now Namibia) after becoming lost and running low on fuel.

General Francisco Afonso, Commander of the Angolan Air Force, announced on Angolan National Radio (RNA) that the MiG-21 was returned to Angola on Sunday 17 September. This was, he is quoted as saying, a goodwill gesture by South African President Jacob Zuma to mark the official opening that day of the Cuito Cuanavale monument.

The fighter was quietly removed from the SAAF Museum’s display hall where it was exhibited next to a Mirage F1CZ, its SAAF adversary during the Border War, on Friday 15 September before being transported to the nearby AFB Waterkloof. It was then flown to Angola inside an Angolan Air Force Ilyushin IL-76TD Candid (serial T-911) transport aircraft.

It is not known if Angola specially requested the return of the aircraft, but Angola has many old MiG-21 aircraft available locally for display purposes.

The news has not been met with enthusiasm by South African military historians and aviation enthusiasts. The aircraft had pride of place at the SAAF Museum and was an important exhibit, drawing many local and foreign visitors to view and take photos of the two old adversaries standing next to each other.

The fighter was acquired by South Africa during the Border War, when on 14 December 1988 FAPA pilot Lt Vinez took-off from the airfield at Lubango for a routine ferry flight to Menongue airfield. However, he became lost after entering cloud and decided to divert to the airfield at Cuito Cuanavale.

Flying in a south-easterly direction, but west of the planned route, he became low on fuel and executed a near perfect landing in an open field outside Tsumeb in the then South West Africa (now Namibia). The aircraft sustained minor damage to the underside.

An ex-SAAF officer, who requested not to be identified and was present at the time, says that contrary to popular belief, Lt Vinez had no intention to defect. During discussions at the accident site with him, his greatest concern was that he was in UNITA occupied territory. “It took some time to convince him otherwise,” the officer remarked.

As there was no formal request at the time for the return of the aircraft, it was repaired to display condition for the SAAF Museum by Atlas Aviation’s Apprentice School and first put on display in 1991. It had subsequently been repainted by the SAAF Museum.

Numerous requests to the SAAF and SAAF Museum for comment over the past two days were not responded to.
Pope Francis Congratulates Angolan President-Elect
Lunada — Pope Francis sent on Wednesday a message to the Angolan President-elect, João Lourenço, congratulating him on his election and hoping that the new Head of State will have success and prosperity in the destiny of the Angola.

According to the message, the Holy Father also wishes to strengthen ties of fraternal coexistence, a future of peace and blessings.

As President-elect, João Lourenço has already been congratulated, among others, by the US State Department, the presidents of Russia, China, Portugal, France, Brazil, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Botswana and Togo.

He also received congratulatory messages from the Angolan embassies in Mexico, Ghana, China, Canada and the Pan-African Parliament.

João Lourenço will be inaugurated on September 23.
Glencore Strikes Multi-Year Purchase Deal With Angola LNG
By REUTERS
SEPT. 20, 2017, 7:24 A.M. E.D.T.

LONDON — Trading house Glencore is to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from Angola LNG over a multi-year period, adding to similar recent deals between the producer and traders including Vitol [VITOLV.UL].

Angola LNG on Wednesday said the deal was another step towards building its sales book with the most important players in the LNG market.

Last month it sold LNG to Vitol over a multi-year period and also entered a sales deal with the trading arm of Germany's RWE.

Until recently, Angola has been selling all of its LNG via competitive tenders in the spot market, partly because a previous plan to ship LNG to the United States fell through because of the U.S. shale gas boom.

Concerns over the Angola LNG plant's reliability as well as limitations on feed gas supplies from offshore fields also prevented the Chevron-led project from previously locking in an LNG sales deal.

(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by David Goodman)
Congo Refugees Pour Over Border to Angola
Stephen Eisenhammer

DUNDO, Angola (Reuters) - Captured by militia and accused of being married to a Congolese government official, Kimpanga Caro could smell the fire she was told would be used to burn her decapitated head to ash.

Caro, whose husband is a pastor not an official, was freed when one of the militiamen recognized her. She raced back home to find her husband in their ransacked village. They fled south, on foot with their five children, towards a country they heard was safe: Angola.

Thirty thousand of her compatriots have made the same journey so far, among 1.4 million people driven from their homes in a year of violence in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are signs that the refugee crisis is causing Angola -- a powerful regional ally that helped sustain Congolese President Joseph Kabila and his father in power for two decades -- to question its support for the leader of its volatile neighbor.

At least 3,300 people have been killed in Kasai since the Kamuina Nsapu militia launched an insurrection to force a military withdrawal from the area. Refugees say villages have been destroyed and women have been raped both by the militiamen and by soldiers who have fought them.

Their flight into the Angolan province of Lunda Norte has brought an international relief effort to the area for the first time since Angola’s own 27-year civil war ended in 2002.

A cooling in Angola’s support for Kabila would leave the Congolese president more isolated than ever and make it even harder for him to hang on to power beyond the end of this year, when he has pledged to hold an election already a year late.

Angola, with the third largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the region’s strongest militaries, has twice in the past sent troops to prop up Kabila. Now, its soldiers are trying to contain the violence on the frontier.

Luanda has doubled its troops and police on the border, according to Marcelino Caetano, provincial director of the Service for Migration and Foreigners, responsible for Lunda Norte province’s 770-kilometre border with the DRC.

“We will maintain this level of control for as long as we have to,” he said in his cramped, well-guarded offices in Dundo, an old diamond mining town just 9 kilometers from the border, declining to give exact numbers for Angolan troops in the area.

Angola had pushed Kinshasa to allow U.N. officials into Kasai to help, but the Congolese have declined, he said.

Since March, two Angolan border guards and one immigration official have been killed in attacks by Congolese militia on four separate border posts, said Inacio Feliciano, a senior police commander. Aid agencies suspect Angolan forces are patrolling inside Congo, though Caetano denied this.

NEW LEADER

The unrest is not the only change that could alter Angola’s policy of supporting Kabila: in Luanda, a new president is about to take power after 38 years of rule by Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

João Lourenço, a military man and former defense minister, lacks dos Santos’s historic ties with Kabila and his father Laurent, who took power in Congo in 1997 and was killed in 2001.

Lourenço regards Kabila as an increasingly destabilizing force, according to a diplomat familiar with his thinking, although the diplomat said military intervention against Kabila remains unlikely as it would probably make things worse.

Angola has worried about the 2,600-kilometre border it shares with the DRC for decades. During Angola’s civil war, enemies of the ruling MPLA party hid, trained and armed in the former Zaire. Unrest in the vast, mineral rich Congo has had a tendency to draw its neighbors into regional conflict.

With the victims of the Kasai violence now crossing into Angola and the threat of militia groups moving across the border too, the benefit of keeping Kabila as an ally is less obvious.

At the Chissanda crossing last week, located just north of Dundo, two officials said the border was closed. Guards sat around chatting and watching the sun set. Authorities say they are letting refugees cross, though the stream has stopped in recent weeks. Some are even choosing to return home.

The Congolese army says it has taken back control of Kasai, though Commander Feliciano said he had received reports of clashes around the city of Kananga on Sept 7.

Refugees interviewed by Reuters told of soldiers raping and executing residents for supporting the militia in villages the army had taken back.

“We expect it to get worse again as we approach the end of the year,” said Guy-Rufin Guernas, the local head for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in Dundo.

Kabila agreed to hold presidential elections, due in 2016, by December. But the vote looks unlikely to happen by then, potentially sparking a violent backlash.

UNHCR is working on the basis that another 50,000 refugees could cross into Angola before 2017 ends. To accommodate them, a new settlement is being constructed about 100 km outside Dundo, in the municipality of Lovua. Last Wednesday, recent arrivals were digging up roots on the 25x25 meter plots of land that families are being given in this remote area of sparse forest.

Getting equipment, from solar lights to bulldozers, is difficult and expensive. Located at the north-eastern tip of Angola, Dundo’s airport only just re-opened. Most goods are brought in by truck from Saurimo, the provincial capital of neighboring Lunda Sul, three hours away. At night there is almost total darkness. Buying basic goods is difficult.

The cost of taking in the refugees is steep for Angola, which is in the midst of recession after the fall in the price of oil, its main source of wealth. “Angola has had its own war, it understands the suffering these people are going through,” said Guernas.

In Cacanda, an earlier more ad-hoc settlement where nearly 7,000 refugees are still crammed under tarpaulin before they move to Lovua, many complain of a lack of food and shelter.

Rafael Tshimbumba, 50, says the conditions may be basic but he cannot return to Kasai. He lost four children in the violence, when militias arrived at his village and began killing anyone that spoke Tshiluba, language of the Baluba people, highlighting the increasingly tribal element of the conflict.

“Here at least we are safe,” he said, wearing the red and black t-shirt of the MPLA party that governs Angola.

For Caro, who escaped from Congo with her pastor husband after the militia threatened to kill her, the flight itself led only to more danger. As the family stopped to rest in a village near the border, a passing car snatched her 5-year old boy.

She searched for him for days and put a message out on the local radio, but found nothing.

“Only God knows where he’s gone,” she said, holding her youngest child in her arms.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

First of Angola's Russian-made Su-30Ks Arrive
WIB AIR
September 21, 2017
Robert Beckhusen

The first two of 12 Sukhoi Su-30K fighters Angola ordered nearly four years for $1 billion have arrived in the country, giving a country with one of the most formidable air forces in the region some of the best military hardware Russia has to offer.

Angola enters the club of African states possessing Su-30s along with Uganda and Algeria. The planes bounced around a lot before they got there.

In 2013, Angola inked the purchase with Russia for the fighters, which served with the Indian Air Force from 1998-2005 before returning to Russia in exchange for more modern Su-30MKIs. Via Russia, the Su-30Ks headed to Belarus for refurbishment and an upgrade to their radar and navigation systems, before heading to Angola.

The Su-30K — a commercial export version of the Flanker-C, per its NATO reporting name — is a highly maneuverable aircraft that fills a similar role to the U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle, capable of both ground attack and air superiority missions. Its range amounts to more than 1,800 miles and can boost to a maximum speed of Mach 2. The warplane’s maximum payload is 18,000 pounds of bombs, rockets and missiles mounted on 12 hardpoints.

And Angola is considering buying more.

Angola has long had one of the largest air forces in Africa, a fact which owes to the Angolan civil war from 1975-2002. During the 1970s and 1980s, enormous amounts of outside support poured into the country in an extended Cold War proxy conflict — a war which began to recede following the 1994 Lusaka Protocol.

The Soviet-backed MPLA, which prevailed in the war and rules Angola to this day, received aircraft, weapons and training assistance from the Soviet bloc and Cuba — the latter which sent its own warplanes and pilots to enter the fray. Zaire and Apartheid South Africa intervened on the side of the FNLA and UNITA, which both received support from the United States.

Above — a Russian Su-30. Aleksandr Markin photo via Wikimedia. At top — a Russian Su-30MKM. Carlos Menendez San Juan photo via Flickr

South Africa’s intervention and its heavy use of air power — bombing bases and strafing convoys — posed as one of the MPLA’s biggest threats.

The MPLA’s extensive support and heavy combat experience also meant Angolan pilots — schooled by Romanian instructors — became some of the best on the continent.

As of 2016, the Angolan air force numbers some 83 combat-capable aircraft, including six Su-27 Flankers, 26 MiG-23 Floggers of two variants, 20 MiG-21bis Fishbeds, 13 Su-22 Fitters and one Su-24 Fencer amounting to the fighters capable of air-to-air combat. Ten Su-25 Frogfoots are Angola’s only dedicated ground-attack jets, although 42 of its fighters have dual-roles. Angola has a fleet of 44 Hind attack helicopters.

It’s all very impressive, and the Su-30K purchase back in 2015 had set off alarms in the South African press that the state-of-the-art planes could pose a threat. But while the Angolan military is tough, it’s not as tough as the charts make it appear to be.

“On paper the army and air force constitute a significant force, but equipment availability and serviceability remain questionable,” the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based research institute, noted in its book-length Military Balance 2016.

Secondly, air-to-air fighting is about more than what an airplane is technically capable of doing. “For various reasons, the Angolans allowed their air force to lose much of the expertise it gained in the 1980s and with it their ability to keep up with the latest developments in air power doctrine and technique,” Darren Olivier noted in the African Defense Review in 2015.

Advanced training, buying deadlier missiles and sharper radars, and practicing with electronic warfare systems, modern data links and new techniques all matter greatly — and here South Africa has done a better job than Angola. For one, the South Africans have better air-to-air missiles — brand-new V3E A-Darters — on their Swedish-made JAS 39 Gripen fighters than the older Vympel R-73s to feature on Angola’s Su-30Ks.

Angola intervened in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998 and aspires to be a more significant regional power.

The Angolan air force is also a matter of prestige for the ruling MPLA and Pres. José Eduardo dos Santos, the third longest-ruling leader in the world and who taps fossil fuel-rich Angola like his personal piggy bank.

Su-30s help accomplish all of these goals, and helps keep the military happy — though without the training, maintenance and doctrine the practical utility for this splurging could be for naught. Which is still better than Angola actually using the planes for war.
Western Critics Miss Big Picture in Myanmar Religious Conflicts
By Bi Shihong
Global Times
2017/9/21 20:58:39

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on the Rohingya issue on Tuesday. In her first address to the nation since the attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on August 25, Suu Kyi said Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny and the government is committed to restoration of peace and stability and the rule of law throughout the country. She also condemned human rights violations and violence and assured all terrorists involved in the Rakhine clashes would be held accountable.

However, she pointed out the West's criticism of the Myanmar military's human rights "abuses" in Rakhine state should be based on more evidence. She also invited international organizations to Rakhine state and listed humanitarian assistance it has received in recent years, saying the Myanmar government would implement recommendations by the Advisory Commission led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

The Buddhist-majority state of Rakhine suffered several waves of ethnic conflicts since 2012, leading to tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing across the border into Bangladesh and India. The Rakhine issue has triggered social, ethnic and religious contradictions in Myanmar and its neighbors, and cast a shadow on its relations with ASEAN countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

The terrorist ambushes on August 25 were perpetrated by Rohingya insurgents who staged surprise raids on police posts, killing officers and security personnel. The tension in Rakhine has intensified due to subsequent military and police operations.

The purported uncontrollable forces outside Myanmar have played a key role in the Rakhine crisis. Some external terrorist forces from the Islamic State (IS) and other jihadist cliques are backed by Rohingya Muslim militants. As extremist IS militants and jihadist groups are steadily losing ground in Iraq and Syria, they attempt to capitalize on the plight of Rohingyas to revive their egregious power in the Middle East.

Western countries have not been satisfied with the Myanmar government's stance on the Rakhine violence and Suu Kyi's speech. Some international organizations even suggested she be "stripped of her Nobel Prize." Some political figures and organizations demanded a new round of sanctions on Myanmar.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned the treatment of Rohingya Muslims is "besmirching" Myanmar's reputation. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain is suspending training support for Myanmar's military. In addition, the US Senate Armed Services Committee has stripped language from a bill authorizing defense spending that would have expanded US military cooperation with Myanmar.

However, Western countries and media outlets lack a deep understanding of the complicated situation in Myanmar. They only highlight the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and their burnt villages, which does not help alleviate the tension.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) government is sandwiched between the Myanmar military and nationalist parties. As the NLD government cannot control the military, the two sides must take concerted steps and promote political transformation to address thorny issues facing Myanmar.

The Rahkine issue involves Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as Rohingya Muslims and the indigenous local people. As Rahkine is mired in a vicious cycle of poverty and turmoil, ethnic reconciliation remains a conundrum for the NLD government. It will take time and effort to address religious strife in the state. Proper handling of relations among religious groups in Rakhine state is crucial to curb extremism and radicalization in Myanmar. We should not allow the Rohingya crisis to spiral out of control, but it needs to be tackled with more than condemnation or military violence.

As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China hopes all parties calm down and start talks to deal with the Rakhine issue. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said China supports efforts by the Myanmar government to guard its national security and opposes recent attacks in Rakhine, hoping the "fire of war" can soon be extinguished. China is willing to continue promoting peace talks in its own way, and hopes the international community can play a constructive role in resolving the crisis and promoting dialogue.

Against this backdrop, the NLD government should end military violence against Rohingya Muslims and implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission. We call on the international community to cooperate in resolving the Rakhine issue to help Myanmar head in a positive direction.

The author is a professor at Center for China's Neighbor Diplomacy Studies & School of International Studies, deputy director of Institute of the Belt and Road Initiatives & Institute of South Asia and Southeast Asia Studies, Yunnan University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
Freedom of Speech No Excuse for Challenging Chinese Sovereignty
By Liu Lulu
Global Times
2017/9/21 23:38:39

The China Scholarship Council (CSC), a branch of China's Ministry of Education, is reported to have frozen applications by Chinese scholars for state funding for study at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a move that is seen by some in the US as retaliation against UCSD for inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to speak at its commencement ceremony in June.  The report has not been confirmed by Chinese authorities.

The Dalai Lama has been active in Tibetan separatist activities under the cloak of religion and has instigated a few bloody violent incidents in Tibet. As one of the top universities in the world, UCSD should offer students an objective picture of Tibet. But regrettably, it called the political exile "a man of peace" and used "freedom of speech" to challenge China's territorial integrity.

Beijing's determination to guard national interests cannot be overlooked, and China will not allow its territorial integrity to be challenged.

By inviting the Dalai Lama to address the graduates, UCSD has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. China, at both the non-official and official level, will not treat the university like before. Chinese universities will have to take cooperative projects with the school into consideration and voices calling for Chinese authorities not to recognize UCSD diplomas or degrees are heard. Putting a freeze on CSC-funded Chinese scholars to the university may not be the end.

Western media are hyping about the Chinese government steadily putting pressure on overseas institutes to suppress dissidents. But inviting the Dalai Lama to give a commencement speech at an American university is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is a serious challenge to China's territorial integrity and Western media should learn more history before judging the Chinese government.

Today's China has greater influence in the world and consequently, greater say in international affairs and a growing number of Chinese students have gone to the US for study to better contribute to China's development. Meanwhile, US students will inevitably become more engaged with China, and this is indispensable for US development. If American students' history education is outdated and prejudiced, then future Sino-US exchanges will encounter problems. We hope other Western universities get a lesson from UCSD and offer students a true picture of history, including Tibet's.