Saturday, 31 January 2015

Commissioner Kaloko briefs the media on the Status of the African Union Response to Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) and Campaign efforts to End Child Marriage
Description: IMG_0234Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 28 January 2015:  “We are getting optimistic reports from Ministries of Health of the affected countries that mortality and infection rates are declining, in fact Schools will be re-opening in Sierra Leone, Liberia had their senate elections couple of months back and this is impressively  very good news “ said H.E. Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union at a media brief today at the AU headquarters. The press conference was held within the framework of the 24th AU Summit.

The commissioner also recognized ASEOWA efforts of deploying the health workers and expressed gratitude to all the support shown in all levels in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The commissioner updated the press on the African Centre for Disease control and prevention saying that  the center is  almost a reality because it’s going to happen and will take off in mid-2015.

Subsequently, the Commissioner addressed the issue of child marriage calling on all Africans to join the campaign. He pointed out that the figures for child marriages are very high and in some countries going as high as 70-80% and an average of 34% in the continent.

“We need to address the issues of children and child marriage is one way of not addressing them. we have initially selected about ten countries among them chad, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Sierra Leone to launch the child marriage campaign which started on 29th May 2014 and it will be ongoing in the whole continent.”

The commissioner concluded that Child marriage directly oversteps on the current African Union policies and frameworks such as Agenda 2063 and this cannot be allowed to progress. The press conference ended with a question and answers session that gave the opportunity for the journalists to gather more knowledge and information about  the activities of the AUC.

Commissioner Aisha addresses the Press on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Representation in Decision Making Structures in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 2015 : H.E. Dr Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union on 28th January 2015 briefed the media on enhancing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    women’s participation and representation in Decision making structures in Africa.

Description: Press Briefing of the Commissioner for Political Affairs, 28 January 2015The commissioner exhaustively discussed important structures in order to successfully enhance women’s empowerment and representation in Africa. This includes a gender sensitive Constitution, a gender responsive legal and institutional framework for promoting women’s participation and representation. Political leadership and commitment at the highest level of government has been found to be critical.

Furthermore, Commissioner Abdullahi emphasized on gender sensitive and gender responsive policies, strategies and programs. To achieve this, she said it is necessary to have gender machineries’ such as a dedicated ministry and gender desks in various public institutions. The Commissioner encouraged the concept of organized women’s movement working in close collaboration with civil society and the media engaging in lobby, advocacy for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

“Socio-economic empowerment of women is also key in enhancing of women’s participation and representation in decision-making process: underscored the Commissioner for Political Affairs. In addition, she highlighted the importance of mentorship and leadership guardians especially for the younger women coming up.

Friday, 30 January 2015

An explosive row has erupted between diplomats and Ministers over their reluctance to help a British man on death row in Ethiopia.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond cannot ‘find time’ for a phone call to raise the issue and does not want to send a ‘negative’ letter
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond cannot ‘find time’ for a phone call to raise the issue and does not want to send a ‘negative’ letter
A series of extraordinary emails, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, reveal officials’ increasing frustration at political inaction over Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege.
Tsege, 59, a father-of-three from London, was snatched at an airport in Yemen last June and illegally rendered to Ethiopia. There are concerns he may have been tortured.
Yet Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he could not ‘find time’ for a phone call to raise the issue and did not want to send a ‘negative’ letter. In one email, an exasperated official asks: ‘Don’t we need to do more than give them a stern talking to?’
Tsege, who has lived in the UK since 1979, has been called Ethiopia’s Nelson Mandela. Tsege fell out with his university friend ex-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, after he exposed government corruption and helped establish a pro-democracy party. In 2009, he was sentenced to death in his absence for allegedly plotting a coup and planning to kill Ethiopian officials – claims he denies.
He was abducted on June 23 while en route to Eritrea, emerging two weeks later in Ethiopia, where he has since been paraded on TV. It is not known where he is being held.
The diplomatic exchanges disclose how officials were dismayed when British Ministers rejected requests to raise the case with Ethiopia.
“I feel so shocked and let down,” said Tsege’s wife Yemi Hailemariam, adding: “I thought Britain was a nation driven by fairness but it seems my husband’s life is simply not valued.”
The series of emails begins on July 1, with Foreign Office officials confirming his capture: ‘His detention in Yemen is significant news, and could get complicated for the UK.’
Diplomats noted that neither Yemen nor Ethiopia informed Britain about the rendition of its citizen. ‘It feels a bit like I’m throwing the kitchen sink at the Yemenis but I want them to think twice before they do this again,’ wrote one senior figure at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.
He also noted that a prominent Ethiopian minister had given assurances over Tsege’s treatment –‘but I wouldn’t take them with complete confidence’.
Ethiopia has claimed Tsege tried to recruit other Britons to become involved in terrorism. But the regime has used anti-terror laws to jail journalists and silence political rivals, and UK officials had not seen credible evidence.
One diplomatic cable says: ‘All we have seen are a few pictures of him standing in an Eritrean village – hardly proof that he was engaged in terrorist training.’
Three weeks after Tsege’s kidnap, the Foreign Office’s Africa director wrote that Ministers ‘have so far shied away from talking about consequences… their tone has been relatively comfortable’.
On July 21, Hammond’s office was still reluctant to talk to his Ethiopian counterpart on the phone.
‘I don’t think we are going to be able to find time for that at the moment,’ wrote his private secretary. He also turned down sending a ‘negative’ letter, asking for it to be rewritten ‘setting out areas of co-operation. It can end with a paragraph on the Tsege case.’
Despite concerns over Ethiopia’s human rights record, the nation receives £376 million a year in UK aid. One farmer there is suing Britain, claiming the money was used to usurp him from his land.
Hammond is believed to have finally called his counterpart at the end of July, one month after the kidnap. It is understood he focused on requesting consular access rather than condemning the capture.
Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty said: ‘These shocking emails show the Foreign Secretary appears to have blocked any meaningful action that could potentially bring this British father home to his family, unharmed.’
The Foreign Office said they were ‘deeply concerned’ by Tsege’s detention and were lobbying for further consular access as well as seeking confirmation the death penalty would not be carried out

Ghana tears down Nigeria election poster

The campaign billboards of President Goodluck Jonathan, the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential candidate and Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressive Congress’ presidential candidate which were located on different roads in Accra, Ghana, have been pulled down for security  reasons reports Channels Television.
Ghana’s National Security Agency ordered that the billboards be removed, showing concerns for the welfare of the West African country’s citizens. Kwesi Annin, a security expert at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, reportedly implied that by pulling down the billboards, the country is being preserved from a possible attack by terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Kwesi Annin also stated that the precautionary action taken by the country was to promote the peaceful relationship between Ghana and Nigeria, not making it seem to favour one party over the other. He also said the decision was taken based on considerations as to whether  the law permits foreign political entities to campaign in Ghana.

Congo Uprising: What is at Stake

On Monday, January 19th, Congolese citizens rose up to contest the latest maneuver by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prolong President Joseph Kabila's stay in power. According to Congo's constitution, the president can only serve two five-year terms and Joseph Kabila's second five-year term ends on December 19, 2016.

Throughout 2014, supporters of Kabila floated the idea of amending the constitution so he could run for a third term but a fierce push back from inside (Catholic Church, civil society, and political opposition) and outside (U.S., UN, EU, Belgium and France) the DRC forced Kabila's supporters to shelve the idea and explore other avenues for keeping their man in power. In addition to the internal and external pressures, the downfall of President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso in October 2014 sent a strong message that changing the constitution is a risky venture. Blaise Compaore was driven out of power by a popular uprising on October 31, 2014 when he tried to change the country's constitution to remain in power.

The latest scheme devised by members of Kabila's political party (PPRD)  and Presidential Majority coalition is: to push through the Congolese parliament an electoral law that would ultimately allow Kabila to stay in power beyond 2016. Article 8 of the law makes the completion of a national census a prerequisite for holding Presidential elections. Analysts believe it would take about four years to complete the census. These four years would run beyond December 19, 2016; the date that Kabila's second term comes to a constitutional end. Opposition figures, youth and Congolese civil society at-large strongly pushed back on this feature of the law. Nonetheless, the Congolese National Assembly passed the law on Saturday, January 17th and sent it to the Senate for passage.

Congolese opposition figures and youth descended into the streets from Monday, January 19th to Thursday, January 22nd with the aim of occupying the Senate in the capital city of Kinshasa. They were met with fierce and lethal resistance from Kabila's security forces. Youth and opposition-led marches ensued in Goma, Bukavu and Mbandaka. The government's clamp down was brutal. They arrested opposition figures, teargassed people in the streets, and fired live rounds of bullets into crowds. After four days of continuous demonstrations, the International Federation of Human Rights said, a total of 42 people were killed. Human Rights watch reported similar numbers claiming 36 dead and 21 by security forces.

On Friday, January 23rd, the Congolese Senate voted to remove the clause in the electoral law that would allow President Kabila to use the census as a back door rationale for remaining in power beyond 2016. The President of the Senate, Leon Kengo Wa Dondo said that it was because people went into the streets, that the Senate voted to remove the toxic article in the electoral law. He noted "we listened to the streets, that is why today's vote was a historic one." The amendments made by the Senate to the law then required that the law be passed on to a mixed chamber so that the Senate and National Assembly's versions of the law could be reconciled. The pressure was increasing on the Kabila regime as theCatholic Church voiced concerns about the grave actions on the part of the Kabila regime while Western diplomats went into high gear in an attempt to calm tensions.

On Saturday, January 24th, the President of the National Assembly told the press that the Senate amendments would be accepted. On Sunday, January 25th the National Assembly voted on the law and accepted the changes made by the Senate. The population claimed a victory and the general sentiment was expressed in the Lingala phrase "Bazo Pola Bazo Ndima" in English means, they [Kabila regime] lost and have accepted their defeat.

The central matter of concern is far from resolved. The Congolese people have no doubt that Kabila wants to remain in power through whatever means necessary. Although, the people have claimed a victory, vigilance is paramount as the process unfolds, and the country moves toward the constitutionally mandated end of Joseph Kabila's tenure as president on December 19, 2016.

A heavy price was paid last week with the loss of life. However, the veil of fear was pierced and future demonstrations are likely in order to protect the constitution, assure that Kabila leaves power per the law of the land and organize Presidential elections in 2016.

The youth movement is maturing with its savvy use of new media technologies. It is also strengthening its network inside and outside the country. The youth shared the cell phone numbers of the Senators and National Assembly members and mobilized Congolese inside and outside the DRC to call and send text messages to the members of parliament demanding that they scrap the electoral law. The usage of social media by the youth prompted the government to shut down the Internet and SMS system last week (wireless Internet, SMS and Facebook have yet to be restored). Via twitter, Congolese youth created the hashtag #Telema, a Lingala word meaning "stand up" which served as a rallying cry for young Congolese inside and outside the country. We also created a website with the same name (, in order to provide support to the youth on the ground.

The people have demonstrated that the power is in their hands and not the politicians. The battle is not for or against one law or the other but rather for a new Congo, a Congo where the interests of the people are prioritized and protected by their leaders. Our fight is to have a say in the decision-making process in our country, and ultimately control and determine the affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Francine Mukwaya
UK Representative
Friends of the Congo

Thursday, 29 January 2015

“This Summit is crucial and a turning point in many ways”, said the AUC Deputy Chairperson to the press

Description: 511Addis Ababa, 28th January 2015. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) addressed continental and international journalists today 28 January 2015 within the framework of the ongoing 24th AU summit. “This Summit is crucial and a turning point in many ways,” said the AUC Deputy Chairperson.

Description: 42During the press conference, Mr. Mwencha stressed on the fact that this Summit is going to be very strategic for the “Africa we want” as there will be some important activities taking place in the margins of the 24th AU Summit notably the launch of the African Union. Agenda 2063 which is a framework developed by Africans and a roadmap that will help to transform Africa’s economies in the next 50 years. 

The Deputy Chairperson further underlined that the Agenda 2063 framework document has received contributions from the different classes of the African society and will be an input to the global post 2015 development agenda.

He recalled that the year 2014 has been a very busy and challenging year for Africa. “In fact, the Continent faced some crises like the Ebola outbreak, the drop in the price of oil, the onset of radicalism and extremism among others.  Mr Mwencha however expressed satisfaction to the fact that that Africa was able to gather as one in solidarity to fight the Ebola epidemic that is now being contained.

The AUC Deputy Chairperson highlighted the progress made by Africa in the domain of peace and security under the African peace and security architecture which has facilitated the rapid response to conflicts within the continent. 

The AUC Deputy Chairperson further pointed out that this year has been dedicated for the empowerment of African women, “women represent over 50 per cent of the population. To that effect, “Africa will be able to take advantage of its demographic dividend,” he noted.

The issue of alternative sources of financing was raised among others by the AUC Deputy Chairperson. He underscored the need for Africa to be able to fund its own programs so as to contribute fully to the development agenda of the continent. “Once this is done effectively, then Africa shall be able to achieve its objectives....., one of which is silencing the guns by 2020”, underscored Deputy Chairperson Mwencha. 
1907 Historic photo: Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) while visiting the royal palace (Lubiri) for the Kabaka or King of Buganda Kingdom, located on Mengo Hill, Kibuga,Kampala, Kyaddondo County. “A generation which ignores its history has no past— and no future” ~ Robert A. Heinlein (1973). PM Winston Churchill was an inspirational statesman, writer, orator and leader who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
African Union Commission (AUC) Launches Implementation Strategy and Roadmap to Transform African Agriculture

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–January 28, 2015– On the evening of Tuesday 27 January 2015, the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union (AU)  in collaboration with the NEPAD Agency, officially unveiled the Iimplementation Strategy and Roadmap (IS&R) meant to facilitate the operationalisation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agricultural Growth and Transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods, that was adopted at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014.

The IS&R is a response to the Assembly’s request to develop an implementation strategy and roadmap that facilitates translation of the provisions of the Declaration into concrete results and impact. The IS&R was officially launched by H.E ValmaVall Mint Soueinea, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the Chairperson of the AU Executive Council , who commended the efforts of the AUC and NEPAD Agency in producing the document.

Opening the launching ceremony, AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime said, “We took advantage of the 10thAnniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to take stock of the experiences and use lessons learnt to chart the way forward. We have highlighted the importance of agriculture and mobilized citizens, stakeholders and partners to enhance cooperation, collaboration and partnerships to exploit the full potential that agriculture offers.”

The Commissioner added that, “It is one thing to make commitments and another thing to deliver on them. Weare committed to working towards making concrete changes in our people’s lives through the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and its accelerated growth in the AU Member States.”

Also speaking at the launching ceremony H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agencyemphasised on the crucial significance of leadership, integration, partnerships and accountability to realise the visions on agricultural transformation in Africa. “Faster and more inclusive growth is essential if African citizens at all levels are to achieve the AU’s aspiration of prosperity”, said Dr.Mayaki.
The Malabo Declaration adopted seven key commitments comprising the 2025 vision and goals of Africa Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation (3AGT);

              i.        Recommitment to the Principles and Values of the CAADP Process
            ii.        Commitment to Enhancing Investment Finance in Agriculture
           iii.        Commitment to Ending Hunger in Africa by the year 2025
           iv.        Commitment to agriculture contributing to poverty reduction at least by half by the year 2025, through Inclusive Agricultural Growth and Transformation
            v.        Commitment to tripling Intra-African Trade in Agricultural commodities and services, by the year 2025
           vi.        Commitment to Enhancing Resilience of Livelihoods and Production Systems to Climate Variability and other related risks
          vii.        Commitment to Mutual Accountability to Actions and Results

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Commissioner Fatima Haram Acyl of Trade and Industry address the Press

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,  January 2015 – “Africa must pay attention to its industrial sector in order to benefit from its vast natural resources. This is a vision that has been set for the agenda 2063” said the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union, H.E Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl during a press conference today, 26 January 2015 at the margins of the 24th AU Summit. 

The Commissioner noted that the Department of Trade and Industry of the AU has made progress in promoting intra-African trade. She pointed out that the AU Commission in collaboration with the RECs is working hard to promote the free movement of people and goods within the continent.
She further announced that the Commission is striving towards providing a common AU passport to facilitate a continental free movement of people across the borders of the respective African countries which will enhance trade within Africa.

The Commissioner underscored the need for the statistics of the free trade areas to be reviewed so as to provide African business men with updated data to enable them do their business transaction and networking efficiently.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The African Union Commission and the Government of the Republic of Cameroon launch the French edition of the African Union Handbook

Description: LAUNCH HAND BOOKDescription: Jan 26 2015   Launch of the second edition of the African Union Handbook  (2)Addis Ababa, 26th January 2015 –The second edition of the African Union Handbook 2015 was launched  today Monday 26 January 2014 by H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and H.E Mr. Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Cameroon. The ceremony took place in the margins of the 26thOrdinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The AU handbook is jointly published English and in French by the African Union Commission and the Government of New Zealand in collaboration with the Cameroonian Government and distributed to all AU Member States.
During the launching of the book, the AUC Chairperson expressed appreciation to the Cameroonian Government for making available the French version of the Handbook, while wishing that efforts will continue to ensuring that the Handbook is translated into the other working languages of the African Union.
The handbook aims to provide a detailed presentation of the structures and Organs of the African Union so as to create awareness on the activities and programs of the Commission with the view to familiarize the organization to its many stakeholders including the civil society.  According to the Minister of External Relations of Cameroon, the AU Handbook is “a priceless manual for anyone who wants to be familiar with the work of the African Union as well as its Member States.” Minister Moukoko Mbondjo added that “Cameroon is happy to have contributed in the production of the French version of the AU Handbook and hoped that this publication will be useful to the African Union”.
The 2015 edition of the African Union handbook is available in English and in French on the AU website: .

Rais Kikwete safarini Saudi Arabia, Ujerumani, Ufaransa na Ethiopia

Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Mheshimiwa Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akiwasili katika Uwanja wa Ndege wan Kijeshi mjini Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, asubuhi ya Jumapili, Januari 25, kuhani kifo cha Mfalme Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud aliyefariki Alhamisi na kuzikwa Ijumaa ya wiki iliyopita.


Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Mheshimiwa Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akiwasili mjini Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,asubuhi ya leo, Jumapili, Januari 25, 2015, kuhani kifo cha Mfalme Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud aliyefariki Alhamisi na kuzikwa Ijumaa ya wiki iliyopita.

Baada ya kuhani msiba wa Mfalme Abdullah, Rais Kikwete ataendelea na safari yake kwenda nchi za Ujerumani na Ufaransa kwa ziara za kikazi.

Mjini Berlin, Ujerumani ambako Rais Kikwete alitarajiwa kuwasili kesho, Jumatatu, Januari Ishirini na Sita, akitokea Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, anatarajiwa kuhudhuria Mkutano wa Kimataifa wa Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) ambako viongozi mbali mbali duniani watajadili jinsi ya kuboresha mipango ya utoaji chanjo kwa watoto wadogo hasa katika nchi zinazoendelea.

Baada ya kumaliza ziara yake Ujerumani, Rais Kikwete atakwenda Ufaransa ambako miongoni mwa mambo mengine atakutana na kufanya mazungumzo na viongozi wa Ufaransa.

Aidha, Rais Kikwete atafungua jengo jipya la Ubalozi wa Tanzania katika Ufaransa na pia nyumba ya balozi.

Rais Kikwete baada ya kumaliza ziara zake za kikazi katika Ujerumani na Ufaransa atakwenda Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, kuhudhuria Mkutano wa Wakuu wa Nchi Wanachama wa Umoja wa Afrika (AU).


Imetolewa na:
Kurugenzi ya Mawasiliano ya Rais,
Ikulu – Dar es Salaam.
25 Januari, 2015

Rais Kikwete akiwasili mjini Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, asubuhi ya Jumapili, Januari 25, 2015

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