South Africa: Will IMF Bailout Rumours Kickstart Economic Reforms? – AFROINSIDER
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Eastern Africa

South Africa: Will IMF Bailout Rumours Kickstart Economic Reforms?

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Cape Town — There seems to be a growing consensus that South Africa is heading for an International Monetary Fund bailout as the country’s state-owned enterprises and weak finances project a poor economic outlook, something the National Treasury acknowledged and assured the government would address.

The possibility of a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be the deciding factor in pushing South Africa’s government to introduce the reforms necessary to boost the country’s economy, Bloomberg reports.

This comes as a government bailout for embattled power utility Eskom has put heavy strain on the country’s budget amid the unemployment rate rising to 29%, its highest since 2008.

According to the IMF’s resident representative in South Africa, Montfort Mlachila, simplifying visa rules to bring in people with necessary skills and allocating new broadband spectrum could boost confidence because they are “readily achievable policies”, writes Bloomberg. Labour-market flexibility and leaner state-owned companies are measures that may also help.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour, Lindelwa Dunjwa, said for the economy to improve a collaborative effort is required, especially if unemployment among young people, women and the disabled persons is to be reduced.

“This necessitates that the public and the private sectors must pull together in trying to get the economy to create jobs. It is not going to be easy; but we have a responsibility to walk this path together”, said Ms Dunjwa.

Dr Hippolyte Fofack, Chief Economist at the African Export/Import Bank, believes the best way to address the “Great-Depression era unemployment rates” is to boost manufacturing output and industrial production.

Dr. Fofack elaborated: “As the most complex and diversified economy on the continent, South Africa is less exposed to commodity cycles … The African Continental Free Trade area will be a great catalyst for the country which is already the champion of intra-African trade and stands to benefit the most from the mega-trade integration reform.”

Conflicts

Kenya – US Army Refutes Al-Shabaab Exaggerated Report On Manda Bay

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A cloud of smoke is pictured at Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu County following an attack by Al-Shabaab militants on January 5, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

Al-Shabaab’s report on the Sunday attack at Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu County was exaggerated, the US military has said.

Manda Bay is an area where US forces provide training and counter-terrorism support to East African partners.

Following the ambush at dawn, the terror group issued a statement, saying there were “severe casualties on both Kenyan and American troops stationed there”.

It added, “The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base.”

False Report

But the US Africa Command, Africom, dismissed the group’s statement, saying the message was distorted to create the wrong impression.

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Eastern Africa

Uganda: UN Commission On Human Rights Begin 7th Field Mission to South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia

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Juba — The Commissioners intend to visit camps and settlements for internally displaced persons across South Sudan, including the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Protection of Civilian sites, to meet the people living there, community leaders and civil society organizations including women organizations.

The three Commissioners taking part in the mission, Yasmin Sooka (chairperson), Andrew Clapham and Barney Afako will spend six days in South Sudan (19 to 24 August). They are expected to meet Government officials, including key ministers, members of civil society, religious leaders, diplomats and UN agencies and UNMISS staff, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, to discuss the current human rights situation in the country.

The Commissioners will hold a press conference on Friday 23 August 2019 at 1100 hrs in the UNMISS Tomping Base.

From 25 to 29 August 2019, the Commissioners will separately visit Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, where they will engage with refugees who have been recently displaced from South Sudan. In Ethiopia, they will hold meetings with African Union leaders, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), senior UN officials, as well as other members of the international community.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan is an independent body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to, among other things; determine and report the facts and circumstances of, collect and preserve evidence of, and clarify responsibility for alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence and ethnic violence, with a view to ending impunity and providing accountability. The Commission will present an oral update on the human rights situation in South Sudan to the Human Rights Council on 16 September 2019 and a comprehensive written report in March 2020.

Media outlets attending the press conference are kindly asked to come with a valid press card/ID and arrive no later than 10:30 hrs to facilitate security clearance and entry into UNMISS Tomping Camp. For planning purposes, please kindly confirm your participation by email or phone to the following:

Peter Mwesigwa (in Juba) + 211 (0) 912 166229 / pmwesigwa@ohchr.org

Joseph Bonsu (in Addis Ababa) +251 955 331 837 / jbonsu@ohchr.org

For more information about the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, please see:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoHSouthSudan/Pages/Index.aspx

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Ethiopia

Ethiopian authorities arrest journalist Mesganaw Getachew after he films outside court – Zehabesha – Latest Ethiopian News Provider

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        <aside class="mashsb-container mashsb-main ">
            </aside><!-- Share buttons by mashshare.net - Version: 3.6.8--><strong>August 20, 2019 </strong>

Authorities in Ethiopia should unconditionally release journalist Mesganaw Getachew, who was arrested on August 9 after recording an interview outside a court in Addis Ababa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Mesganaw, who reports for the privately owned Ethiopis weekly, was arrested shortly after he interviewed a lawyer, Henok Aklilu, outside the Arada First Instance court in Addis Ababa, and is now facing allegations of contravening Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, Henok and Mesganaw’s editor, Eskinder Nega, told CPJ.

Henok told CPJ that he had just attended a hearing in another case in which a group of people, including two media workers, are also facing anti-terror charges when Mesganaw and others approached him for updates on the case. The journalist recorded the lawyer via a camera installed in his eyeglasses, according to Eskinder and Henok. Eskinder told CPJ that Mesganaw was afraid of harassment if he filmed openly.

Eskinder told CPJ that police at the scene also arrested another person, Adam Wejera, a member of the Balderas Council, a political movement headed by Eskinder that claims to advocate for the rights of Addis Ababa residents. Eskinder said Adam was also filming. Henok said he did not witness this second arrest.

The federal police told CPJ that Mesganaw was arrested for illegally filming within the court compound, while the federal attorney general’s office said Mesganaw and Adam are suspected of being part of an attempted coup in the Amhara regional state. Both the police and the attorney general’s office said the arrests had nothing to do with journalism.

“The arrest of journalist Mesganaw Getachew, right after he reported on a court case, and the use of an anti-terror law that is a relic of past repression send a message that Ethiopia is reverting to old tools to silence dissent and criticism,” said CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo. “We call on authorities to release Mesganaw, stop using the Anti-Terror Proclamation against journalists, and ensure that reforms to the law protect freedom of expression and access to information.”

On August 10, police brought Mesganaw and Adam, who are being tried together, to court, where they requested and were granted 28 days to investigate both on allegations of terrorism, in connection to June 2019 events that the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has described as a failed coup in the Amhara region, Henok, who is also Mesganaw’s lawyer, told CPJ. Henok told CPJ that the state has yet to declare its evidence or to formally charge them.

Mesganaw is the latest media worker to be detained in connection to the alleged attempted coup and to face allegations of contravening the Anti-Terror Proclamation, which was under previous governments used to crackdown on political dissent and which is going through reform, with ministers recently submitting a new draft law to parliament for consideration, according to CPJresearch and media reports.

CPJ last month documented the arrest and detention of two media workers with the privately owned Amharic language Satellite Radio and Television (ASRAT) media, Berihun Adane and Getachew Ambachew. Henok told CPJ that prior to Mesganaw’s arrest, he was briefing the journalist about a hearing connected to the ASRAT media case. CPJ is also investigating whether the arrest of another journalist and Balderas movement member, Elias Gebru, also facing terrorism charges, is connected to his journalism. Over 200 people were arrested in connection to the June incident, according to media reports.

In an August 19 email, Zinabu Tunu, the spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, told CPJ that there was “credible suspicion that [Mesganaw and Adam] have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the regional administration of the Amhara Regional State as well as the death of the Chief of Staff the Armed Forces,” which, according to reports, was one of the assassinations that the government has described as part of the attempted coup. He said the arrests had nothing to do with “opinions they might have expressed or reports that they might have published.”

However, Federal Police Spokesperson Jeylan Abdi said Mesganaw was using an eyeglass camera to film without permission in the court’s compound, rousing the suspicion of the police officers who arrested him.

On May 22, police assaulted, arrested, and briefly detained Mesganaw while he was reporting on the demolition of homes in Arat Kilo, a neighborhood in Addis Ababa, according to CPJ reporting. He was released on bail.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Nairobi (CPJ)

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Ethiopia

Ethiopia: New Directive Eases Passport Application Process

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Ethiopian citizens who hold kebele identification cards and birth certificates can now obtain a passport from the Immigration, Nationality & Vital Events Agency.

Ethiopian citizens who hold kebele identification cards and birth certificates can now obtain a passport from the Immigration, Nationality & Vital Events Agency.

Over the past 11 months, the Agency was requiring passport applicants to present documents that prove their travel plans. The applicants had to submit documents proving that they have either been allowed to study or work overseas, hotel bookings, certificates of competence from accredited employment agencies to acquire a passport or medical documents to show they were travelling to receive treatment.

Issued on August 8, 2019, the new directive lifted this requirement, which was put in place due to the foreign currency shortage that limited the Agency from printing the passports in France. On average, the Agency spends an average of five million dollars to print passports.

The Agency, which was issuing an average of 12,700 passports daily before it passed the restriction, had downsized the number to 2,000 after the mandatory requirement.

“Now after working with the National Bank of Ethiopia, we’re currently importing passports,” said Desalegn Teressa, communications director at the Agency, which issued around 361,000 passports and 169,000 visas in the first three quarters of the last fiscal year.

Previously, the Agency, which operates through nine branches in Adama, Semera, Jigjiga, Hawassa, Dire Dawa, Jimma, Dessie, Bahir Dar and Meqelle, was issuing passports in seven days. But last year it was extended to 45 days following the new requirements.

Currently, it takes up to 45 days to get a passport through the normal procedure, which costs 600 Br for 32 pages and 900 Br for a 64-page passport. But, applicants can get their passport in the quicker way between three and five days after paying 2,186 Br.

However, the requirements on job seekers that travel to Middle Eastern countries are still in place and are imposed by a different law passed by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs.

“While the government respects its citizens’ freedom of movement, it also has a duty to protect them and ensure their safety,” said Desalegn.

Individuals looking to travel to Middle Eastern countries with whom Ethiopia has signed bilateral labour agreements are required to receive a three-month training, acquire certificates of competency and applicants must be at least 21 years of age and must have completed eighth grade.

Bilateral labour agreements between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan were signed to formalise the employment exchange. The government, as part of its job creation scheme, aims to send around 50,000 workers to the Middle Eastern countries, mostly nurses and drivers.

Getachew Assefa (PhD), a constitutional lecturer at Addis Abeba University’s School of Law & Governance, believes the move by the Agency to ease requirements rectifies its past mistake, which was unconstitutional.

Every citizen of Ethiopia has the right to obtain a passport without any requirements, according to Getachew.

“The Agency should have had a different system in place to issue passports if it was faced with a shortage of forex,” said Getachew.

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Eastern Africa

South Sudan: More Black Gold Struck – 300 Million Barrels, and Counting

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Cape Town — 300 million barrels of recoverable oil has been discovered in South Sudan’s northeastern Upper Nile state, by a consortium comprising the Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DOPC), which includes China National Petroleum Corporation, Petronas, Nilepet, Sinopec and Tri-Ocean Energy, according to the African Energy Chamber.

“This is a remarkable achievement for the country,” said Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Since independence, South Sudan has worked tirelessly to bring back damaged fields to production, and especially encourage exploration”.

South Sudan had earlier in 2019, signed an exploration and production sharing agreement with South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Fund for the highly prospective Block B2. The move was part of South Sudan’s strategy to diversify its basket of investors and encourage further exploration.

While the country sits on over 3.5 billion of proven oil reserves, the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of its territory remains under-explored. Among those areas are Jonglei and Warrap, which has also been identified as rich in oil reserves.

South Sudan and Sudan are also in talks on cooperation to re-pump oil from South Sudan at a faster pace.

To boost exploration, South Sudan will be launching a new and much-awaited petroleum licensing round at the upcoming Africa Oil & Power conference in Cape Town on October 9th, 2019.

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Ethiopia

Ethiopia: ONLF Wants Election 2020 On Time, Says If Postponed There Should Be a ‘Mechanism to Integrate Opposition, Liberation Forces Into the Federal Structure’

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At a press briefing he held today at Hilton hotel in Addis Abeba, Abdirahman Mahdi Madey, chairman of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said ONLF wants to see Ethiopia’s upcoming general election, scheduled for 2020, to take place “on time.” But if for any reason the election is postponed, opposition forces and liberation forces should be integrated into the federal structure.

“ONLF believes that the election should take place on time. If for any reason the election is postponed there should be a mechanism to integrate other opposition forces and liberation forces into the federal structure so there could be a power sharing and genuine representation for all,” Abdirahman told local media.

ONLF, formerly a rebel group active in the Eastern part of Ethiopia, is currently undergoing the process of transforming itself into a political party and processing its registration with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) the chairman said, and that was happening along side the group’s intent to participate in the ongoing peace process and reconstruction efforts both in the regional state and the country in particular and the horn of Africa in general.

In October 2018, Ethiopian government delegation led by former Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu signed a historic peace agreement with ONLF delegation led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman in the Eritrean capital, Asmara. Since then the formerly exiled liberation front, which was branded a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, has returned home and begun the process of transforming itself into a political party. The group held its first party congress since returning home in April 2019.

Now, despite its name as a “Liberation Front” which will remain the same, ONLF says it is processing its registration with NEBE not as a regional party but a national party in order to be able to pursue its agenda of participating in peace building and democratization process not only for the people of Somali but “for all the nations” in Ethiopia.

“ONLF categorically declares that it will pursue the rights of Somali people and that of all nations in Ethiopia through peaceful political means,” Abdirahman said. In doing so, it has set its primary target to be “peace building, reconstruction and democratization of Ethiopia,” he said. To that end, ONLF will work towards ensuring the constitutionally enshrined rights of “full and genuine self-rule for Somali people and all nations in Ethiopia through peaceful means.”

Protects the constitution

The chairman further said “ONLF believes that all nations in Ethiopia have shed their blood for more than a century and have paid heavy price to achieve self-rule and self-determination, which was recognized legally in 1995 in the present constitution. That right is a key factor in keeping the peace and ONLF supports and protects that right.”

The current federal system is the minimum safeguard for peaceful coexistence among all nations in Ethiopia, according to him, and this is particularly so in the Somali region where “people have been marginalized repeatedly and brutalized. The Somali people “cherish that principle of federalism and self-rule” he said and warned that “any attempt to dismantle it or water it down will restart a conflict all over Ethiopia, probably.”

However, ONLF believes “the federal arrangement is still incomplete and needs to be improved, and the rights [enshrined] in the constitution for self-administration need to be implemented.” ONLF also believes that all nations are “not equal in the federal structure” and hopes that “remedial actions will be initiated and implemented by the federal government as soon as possible.”

To that end, ONLF is intent in taking an active role to participate in the process including by taking part in the coming election. ONLF “hopes the election will be free and fair and that peace will reign all over Ethiopia.”

Asked if he can distance himself from a news report quoting Admiral Maxamed Cusmaan ( Mohamed Omar Osman ) as saying the former rebel group was still seeking self-determination in the form of secession, Abdirahman said that while the senior official may have been misquoted, the question of secession is not the decision of ONLF but that of the Somali people for whom the right to self-rule up to secession is “sacrosanct.” “Whatever it is, the right is there; it is in the constitution of Ethiopia [and] it is the will of the Somali people; we are not the custodian of that right, we do not speak for them”, he said. But clarified that ONLF’s agenda was no longer to “push for secession” but to work towards “creating a peaceful democratic Ethiopia.” ONLF’s position is “not to run away but to participate in the peaceful reconstruction of Ethiopia.”

Supports PM Abiy

Abdirahman said ONLF believes Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “is genuine in bringing peace and democratic change in Ethiopia and therefor it fully supports his efforts and will work with the federal government in the democratization process.”

However, ONLF is concerned about the role of the Somali people in shaping the federal agenda and would like to see more representation of Somali people in the decision making process of the federal state in particular, he said, and ONLF should have a key role to play when major decisions are taken.

He also urged both the federal and regional governments to work together towards maintaining peace and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Somali regional state. Both must pay more attention to that issue and ONLF will take part in such process not only in the region but also in other regional states bordering Somali region such as Oromia and Afar. He also called for a coordinated effort from the federal and regional governments as well as humanitarian partners to mitigate the devastating effects of the two years successive drought that left thousands vulnerable and in need of humanitarian support in the region and beyond.

Finally, the Chairman warned that ONLF will not allow “any group to set up shop in the region with the intent to destabilize the region and the country “whatever the cost” may be. The region is emerging from long lasting conflict and violence, he said, and what it needs is peace, democratization and reconstruction. AS

Editor’s Note: Addis Standard’s exclusive interview with Abdirahman regarding, discussing, among others, his alleged connections with ex-president of the Somali region Abdi Mohammed Omer, a.k.a, Abdi Iley, who is facing criminal charges at the Federal court, and his position on the ongoing developments in Jubaland will be published soon after.

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Eastern Africa

Sudan: President Salva Kiir Meets Sudan Rebel Leader Minni Minawi

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Juba — South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir held talks in the capital Juba on Tuesday with Minni Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM), and chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, a coalition of armed movements).

According to a statement by SLM-MM spokesman Mohamed Haroun on Tuesday they discussed the political status of the SLM-MM, and the visions of the armed movements on stopping the war, achieving comprehensive peace, addressing all historical grievances and on how to build a state with equal citizenship for all.

Other topics were the details of the upcoming summit with the Sudan Revolutionary Front called for by the South Sudanese president, and how to participate in the transitional period to push forward the peace process and democratisation.

Regional neighbours

“We asked President Salva Kiir during our meeting at the Presidential Palace to include in his peace initiative a number of regional neighbours, such as Chad, Egypt, and Ethiopia, so that they can play their role as well in realising peace and stability in Sudan”, Minawi told reporters in Juba.

Minawi stressed the need for the Sudanese parties to bear in mind when discussing peace issues in the country, that South Sudan separated from Sudan because of racist practices carried out by Sudan’s successive regimes.

He explained that the meeting with Salva Kiir concluded with the agreement that both parties will start taking practical steps in distributing tasks the coming days. He expressed hope that peace in Sudan will come from its southern neighbour, with efforts and contributions of the neighbouring countries.

South Sudan’s President Kiir also discussed peace issues with Jibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), in Juba last week.

Our editorial independence means that we can continue to provide factual updates about political developments to Sudanese and international actors, educate people about how to avoid outbreaks of infectious diseases, and provide a window to the world for those in all corners of Sudan. Support Radio Dabanga for as little as €2.50, the equivalent of a cup of coffee.

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Eastern Africa

S. Sudan peace monitor urges parties to expedite troop movements to cantonment sites

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August 21, 2019 (JUBA) – The Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluating Commission (R-JMEC), Augostino Njoroge has urged parties to South Sudan’s peace deal to expedite the process of troop movements to verified cantonment sites and in barracks.

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JMEC Deputy Chairperson Lt. Gen. Amb. Augostino Njoroge (File Photo JMEC)

He made the appeal during a one-day meeting organized by the regional bloc (IGAD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s on Wednesday to find solutions to the stalemate in the implementation of the revitalized accord on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.

“Accordingly, the parties should give direction and timelines on operationalization of several cantonment sites across the country and in respective states as a start and within the remaining Pre-Transitional Period”, said Njoroge.

“Parties must also give direction and timelines on commencement of training centers across the country and in the respective regions, including training of officers identified for VIP protection”, he added.

A unified force of at least 83,000 South Sudanese army troops has been earmarked to support implementation of the 2018 peace deal.

Meanwhile, Njoroge observed that the permanent ceasefire had continued to hold, and this has resulted in an overall improvement in the general security situation across the war-torn East African nation.

“I commend all the parties for observing the permanent ceasefire. The security situation has contributed to improved access to humanitarian activities, including decisions by some refugees and IDPs to spontaneously return to their areas”, he stressed.

The official urged the National Pre-Transition Committee (NPTC) to organize more joint confidence building measures among the Parties as well as joint dissemination of the peace accord to enhance better understanding, ownership, healing and reconciliation in the country.

“ The government must fulfill its pledge of funding the implementation of the R-ARCSS in a timely and predictable manner”, he added.

The commission further urged the parties to expedite “the reconstitution of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission and make it respective to the needs of those who shall not qualify for selection into the Necessary Unified Forces.”

Last week, the body monitoring South Sudan’s ceasefire (CTSAMVM) expressed strong fears over the slow progress in the implementation of the security arrangements in the September 2018 peace accord.

The CTSAMVM is mandated by IGAD to monitor and verify the implementation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities as per the 2018 peace agreement.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

In September 2018, Kiir, Machar and a handful of other opposition groups signed a peace deal to end the country’s civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

(ST)

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Eastern Africa

South Sudan: Eritrean Delegation Met President of South Sudan

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Asmara — Eritrean delegation composed of Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab met President of the Republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir Myardit in Juba today, 21 August.

The delegation delivered a message from President Isaias Afwerki focusing on measures for strengthening bilateral ties and mechanisms for regional integration.

President Salva Kiir stressed Eritrea’s long-standing solidarity with South Sudan and Welcomed the contents of President Isaias’ message.

The two sides agreed on follow-up measures to boost both bilateral and regional ties.

Eritrea’s senior delegation is now heading to Khartoum to deliver a message from President Isaias to the President of Sudan’s newly installed Sovereign Council.

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Somalia

Somalia: UK Aid to Provide Life-Saving Support for Up to One Million People Crippled by Drought

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Somalia is one of the world’s poorest and most fragile states, compounded by climate shocks that severely affect the lives and livelihoods of millions.

Minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson, has announced extra food and water for Somalia to help vulnerable families in desperate need.

He also met humanitarian partners to discuss how the international community can help Somalia build resilience to climate change.

Up to one million people in Somalia will receive lifesaving food and clean water to help stop starvation and malnutrition thanks to new UK funding announced today.

Minister for Africa Andrew Stephenson has announced that UK aid will provide extra food, water and medicine to help vulnerable families in Somalia that are desperately suffering from relentless drought.

There are close to 5 million Somalis who are hungry and a further 1.2 million who face the risk of becoming malnourished this year due to successive poor rains and failed harvests. A further 2.6 million people have fled their homes, due to conflict and the dire humanitarian crisis.

During a visit to the country this week, Minister Stephenson announced that as well as providing food and water, UK aid will help build longer-term resilience to climate change and drought. An extra £30 million of UK aid support will also provide vaccines for livestock – which Somali farmers rely on for their livelihoods to stop cattle dying from disease and starvation.

Minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson said:

“Somalia is being crippled by drought and millions of people are in desperate need of lifesaving food, clean water and treatment for malnutrition.

“The UK has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response, but more needs to be done. Britain, alongside the international community, is committed to providing immediate assistance and building Somalia’s ability to manage the crisis.

“Somalia’s security is vital for stability in the region and is firmly in the UK’s national interest.”

Minister Stephenson led a roundtable with humanitarian partners during his visit, where he discussed how the UK and international community can support Somalia to build their resilience to climate change and end their reliance on emergency aid.

Minister Stephenson met Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre and reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting Somalia reform on security, politics and developing Somalia’s economy.

He also travelled to Baidoa in Southwest State where he saw first-hand how the British Military is supporting the training of the Somali National Army at a CSSF-funded training facility.

While there, he met Southwest State President Abdiasiis Laftagareen and discussed the UK’s support for stability and security in the area.

PRESS RELEASE- UKaid to provide life-saving support for up to one million people crippled by drought in Somalia – Copy

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Somalia

Somalia Security Remains a Concern, Head of UN Mission Warns Security Council

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Despite “encouraging” developments, insecurity across Somalia remains a serious concern, James Swan, head of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), warned the Security Council, in his first briefing to the world body since taking office.

Mr. Swan noted the effectiveness of the collaboration between the UN and international partners, and the Somali Security Forces working with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has seen areas near the capital Mogadishu taken back from terror group al-Shabab, and stabilized.

However, Mr. Swan noted that terrorism remains a threat to progress, citing the deadly al-Shabab attack on the offices of the mayor of Mogadishu in July, which killed and injured several Government officials.

Lookahead to 2020 elections

Looking ahead to the crucial 2020 election cycle, Mr. Swan described the upcoming poll as an opportunity to advance democracy in the country, noting that preparations for the one-person-one-vote poll, including a draft electoral law, are underway. He called for the empowerment of women to be a central feature of the political process and encouraged the Federal Government to establish a task force, to ensure election security.

A more immediate concern for Mr. Swan is the regional election in Jubaland province on Thursday, where a contested outcome could see an increased level of insecurity, which would not only put progress made in Jubaland in jeopardy, but also potentially undermine national priorities, including preparations for the 2020 elections, the fight against al-Shabab and the country’s development agenda.

Signs of economic progress amid ongoing humanitarian crisis

Turning to the economic situation in Somalia, Mr. Swan said that the Government has made “great strides” towards improving the country’s fiscal performance and strengthening governance, putting Somalia on the path towards economic recovery.

This progress is set against a backdrop of an ongoing humanitarian crisis that remains “one of the most protracted in the world”, with 2.2 million Somalis facing acute food insecurity, and 2.6 million internally displaced, fleeing conflict and drought.

Mr. Swan urged Member States to urgently resource a Drought Impact Response Plan issued by the UN and Somali Government, which calls for funding of $686 million. To date just over half of that sum has been secured.

‘Countless women’ live in sexual violence

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, also addressed the Security Council meeting, briefing the delegates on her July visit to Somalia, during which she met with senior Government officials, Parliamentarians, UN and African Union officials, frontline service providers and civil society representatives.

Ms. Patten said that countless women and girls are subjected to, or are living in, fear of sexual violence. “Victims are often invisible and inaccessible”, she said, “with nowhere to report these crimes, and nowhere to turn”, in a country where sexual predators are emboldened by a “weak legal system”.

“Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to conflict-related sexual violence”, she added, “owing to deeply-entrenched gender inequality and discrimination, continuing insecurity, weak rule of law, large-scale displacement, limited reach of State institutions, lack of access to areas controlled by Al-Shabab and the recurrent humanitarian crises”.

Ms. Patten declared that as a direct consequence of her visit, The Somali Government has committed to work with the UN on an Action Plan on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, which will focus on the connections between terrorism and conflict-related sexual violence, and a comprehensive response to conflict-related sexual violence which focuses on survivors.

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Ethiopia

Kenya: Inside the Kenya-Ethiopia Battle for Jubbaland

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The vicious battle between Kenya and Ethiopia has played out in the open, and also brought to the fore the high stakes that foreign countries have on the Jubbaland elections scheduled for tomorrow.

The allies-turned foes have high stakes in Jubaland because they both have troops in the United Nations backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the former based in Kismayu sector and the later in Gedo.

Kenya also sees Jubbaland as a buffer zone in the war against terror. There are talks that should Jubbaland go the Somalialand, then it would be a strong ally especially looking at the port business in Kismayo and the dsputed oil fileds.

But whereas Kenya supports Madobe’s re-election, Ethiopia wants him out because he was a one-time ally who was born in the Ogaden region of that country, but later abandoned them when he moved south to Jubaland.

He worked closely with Ethiopia when was a member of the now disbanded Islamic Courts Union (ICU) but changed when he started working with Kenya in the fight against terrorism after he was first elected in 2013.

Somalia has itself declared that it will not recognise the elections results until the traditional elders, who are selecting members of the new parliament are registered with the interior ministry. Apart from Madode, the other candidates are Mohamed Omar Gedi, Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi, Abdi Hiis Udan, Mohamed Abdille Magan and Anab Mohamed.

Another worry is that candidates who were ruled out of the contest by the electoral agency have formed the Union of Presidential Candidates for Change in Jubaland and vowed to hold parallel elections.

They, like the Federal government in Mogadsishu, want the Council of Elders that will pick the MPs reconstituted afresh because it is allegedly biased in favour of Madobe.

According to the Somalia Constitution, the incumbent president appoints the electoral commission which in turn appoints the elders’ council from representatives of major clans in Jubaland. The commission also sets electoral rules.

As a member of the Islamic Courts Union, he was closer to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti but although his relationship with Kenya is much younger, it is more strategic and about the shared destiny.

Dr Khannenje argued that the election of President Mohammed Abdullahi alias Farmajo and his team in 2017, brought about a a new leadership in Mogadishu that is supported by the US in the belief that leadership should be from the centre.

He said this is ao the position taken by their Qatar and Turkey allies and, to some extent, the European Union.

The manoeuvres Mogadishu is involved in to ensure Madobe is not elected started during Siad Barre’s era when the Marehan clan ethnocracy dominated and marginalised other tribes, among them Madobe’s Ogaden clan.

The entry of Middle East politics in Somalia has also monetised politics to an extend that an MP in the country now earns much more than US counterparts and Kenyan legislators.

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Somalia

Kenya: Inside the Kenya-Ethiopia Battle for Jubbaland

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The vicious battle between Kenya and Ethiopia has played out in the open, and also brought to the fore the high stakes that foreign countries have on the Jubbaland elections scheduled for tomorrow.

The allies-turned foes have high stakes in Jubaland because they both have troops in the United Nations backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the former based in Kismayu sector and the later in Gedo.

Kenya also sees Jubbaland as a buffer zone in the war against terror. There are talks that should Jubbaland go the Somalialand, then it would be a strong ally especially looking at the port business in Kismayo and the dsputed oil fileds.

But whereas Kenya supports Madobe’s re-election, Ethiopia wants him out because he was a one-time ally who was born in the Ogaden region of that country, but later abandoned them when he moved south to Jubaland.

He worked closely with Ethiopia when was a member of the now disbanded Islamic Courts Union (ICU) but changed when he started working with Kenya in the fight against terrorism after he was first elected in 2013.

Somalia has itself declared that it will not recognise the elections results until the traditional elders, who are selecting members of the new parliament are registered with the interior ministry. Apart from Madode, the other candidates are Mohamed Omar Gedi, Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi, Abdi Hiis Udan, Mohamed Abdille Magan and Anab Mohamed.

Another worry is that candidates who were ruled out of the contest by the electoral agency have formed the Union of Presidential Candidates for Change in Jubaland and vowed to hold parallel elections.

They, like the Federal government in Mogadsishu, want the Council of Elders that will pick the MPs reconstituted afresh because it is allegedly biased in favour of Madobe.

According to the Somalia Constitution, the incumbent president appoints the electoral commission which in turn appoints the elders’ council from representatives of major clans in Jubaland. The commission also sets electoral rules.

As a member of the Islamic Courts Union, he was closer to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti but although his relationship with Kenya is much younger, it is more strategic and about the shared destiny.

Dr Khannenje argued that the election of President Mohammed Abdullahi alias Farmajo and his team in 2017, brought about a a new leadership in Mogadishu that is supported by the US in the belief that leadership should be from the centre.

He said this is ao the position taken by their Qatar and Turkey allies and, to some extent, the European Union.

The manoeuvres Mogadishu is involved in to ensure Madobe is not elected started during Siad Barre’s era when the Marehan clan ethnocracy dominated and marginalised other tribes, among them Madobe’s Ogaden clan.

The entry of Middle East politics in Somalia has also monetised politics to an extend that an MP in the country now earns much more than US counterparts and Kenyan legislators.

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Eastern Africa

S. Sudan’s Kiir vows to strengthen relations with Sudan

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August 21, 2019 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has vowed to strengthen relations with the new regime in Khartoum.

JPEG - 52.6 kb
President Kiir waves hand to greet the Sudanese during the signing ceremony of Sudan democratic transition deal on 17 August 2019 (Reuters Photo)

Kiir on Wednesday held a telephone conversation with the President of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

A statement from the Presidential Press Unit (PPU) said Kiir outlined his priorities, top of which would involve improving relations with Sudan.

“President Kiir reiterated that the support of South Sudan to the Republic of the Sudan is driven by a genuine desire to live and prosper peacefully together as brothers and sisters,” it added.

Sudan’s main opposition coalition and the ruling military council have formally signed a final power-sharing deal on Saturday, paving the way for a transition to a civilian-led government.

On his part, however, the President of Sudan’s Sovereign Council thanked Kiir for his continuous support to the people of Sudan.

Sudan had earlier accepted to facilitate a meeting between the South Sudan leader and armed opposition chief, Riek Machar as part of efforts to implement the peace deal, an official said Tuesday.

On August 17, Kiir and al-Burhan met on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of a power sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and protestors in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

In May, the South Sudanese rival parties agreed on a six-month extension to implement next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The latest extension came after the main opposition group threatened to boycott formation of a unity government on May 12.

Last week, the body monitoring South Sudan’s ceasefire (CTSAMVM) expressed strong fears over the slow progress in the implementation of the security arrangements in the September 2018 peace accord.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of attempting a coup.

(ST)

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Eastern Africa

Troika welcome appointment of Sudan’s PM, pledge to support his government

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Abdallah Hamdok


August 21, 2019 (KHARTOUM) – The United Kingdom, United States and Norway, Troika countries welcomed in a joint statement the appointment of Abdallah Hamdok as Sudan’s prime minister who will lead the country efforts to bring peace and achieve democratic reforms.

Hamdok, a former UN economist who was nominated by the Forces for Freedom and Change was appointed by the head of Sovereign Council as prime minister on Wednesday.

We “congratulate Dr Abdalla Hamdok on his appointment as prime minister by the Sovereign Council and welcome the extensive professional experience he brings to the role,” said the Troika before to say “We look forward to working with Sudan’s new institutions”.

We welcome this step in creating a civilian-led government. As Prime Minister Hamdok begins the process of selecting ministers and identifying the government’s priorities,

The statement recalled that the regime change in Sudan has created a “unique opportunity” to achieve peace, drafting a constitution establishing a democratic rule where human rights are protected, and women rights are observed and to create the necessary conditions for free and fair elections.

The three countries called on the Sudanese to engage in good faith to deliver these goals, “in particular urging the armed movements to engage constructively” with the new Government to achieve peace”.

“The appointment of a civilian-led government presents an opportunity to rebuild a stable economy and create a government that respects human rights and personal freedoms. Prime Minister Hamdok will have the Troika’s support in achieving these objectives,” stressed the statement.

Sudan’s new prime minister vowed Wednesday to work hard to make peace and economic reforms the top priorities of his technocrats cabinet.

Also, he said he will be very strict in the choice of his minister adding he may return the nominees to the Forces for Freedom and Change if he did not find the right person among the candidates.

(ST)

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Burundi

Seven provinces chosen for project on catastrophe prevention

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At a press briefing held on August 21st, the national platform for risk prevention and catastrophe management has said seven provinces will be prioritized in the project to reduce natural catastrophes and promote community resilience.

Anicet Nibaruta calls on the Burundian population to protect the environment

Anicet Nibaruta, Executive Secretary of the platform says the project will be implemented in Muyinga, Bujumbura, Rumonge, Bubanza, Cibitoke, Kirundo provinces and Bujumbura city.

He says those provinces were chosen because they are mostly threatened by natural catastrophes.
He gives the example of Kirundo province which is often affected by drought. Other examples are Cibitoke and Rumonge provinces where cholera usually occurs at the beginning of the rainy season and Bujumbura province where landslides are often reported, he adds.
“We plan to buy fire trucks which will help to put out fire which often destroys forests in Burundi,” he adds.

Mr. Nibaruta says the platform plans to visit those provinces and will collaborate with the local administration to promote community resilience.
He calls on the population to protect the environment.

“We are determined to support the government of Burundi in the improvement of the population’s living conditions,” says Binta Sanneh, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Burundi.

She says the project will enhance national capacities for catastrophe management and prevention. It should equip the country with resilience and adaptation to climate change, she adds.
“UNDP will also support the government in the development of community resilience, reduction of natural catastrophes and human life protection,” says Mrs. Sanneh.

Jean Marie Sabushimike, member of the national platform and expert in catastrophe management, says the problems posed by climate change and natural catastrophes are still serious.
He says Bujumbura city is still vulnerable to natural catastrophes. “There is still a lot to do to increase community resilience,” he adds.

The press briefing was held on the occasion of the launch of the project “Support for disaster risk reduction and community resilience in Burundi” initiated by the Ministry of Public Security and Catastrophe Management in collaboration with UNDP.
Over $13 million will be spent for the project which will be carried out from 2019 to 2023.

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Burundi

CNL party denounces acts of political intolerance towards its members

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The National Congress for Freedom (CNL), an opposition party says to be worried about increasing political intolerance towards its members. It accuses members of the ruling CNDD-FDD youth wing, administrative and security authorities of persecuting them.

“CNL party meets with resistance from some administrative and security authorities with a political intolerance spirit displayed by their acts of disrupting CNL political activities,” Térence Manirambona, CNL spokesman told journalist. It was at a press conference held this August 21st.
He accuses members of the ruling CNDD-FDD youth wing and their representatives, administrative and security authorities of committing abuses against members of CNL party.

Mr Manirambona is concerned that acts of political intolerance are increasing in this pre-election period. He cites namely the suspension of CNL’s political activities for no valid reason, categorical refusal to open CNL offices especially in Rumonge, Bujumbura, Bujumbura City, Cibitoke, Ngozi, Rutana and Muyinga provinces.

He also denounces cases of burning and demolition of CNL party offices.
“Over 20 CNL offices have so far been vandalized,” he says.

CNL Executive secretary also talks about targeted intimidation and attacks against CNL members. He refers to the attack perpetrated against members of CNL party on their way back home from ceremonies of opening a provincial office in Muyinga province in the night of August 18. This attack caused one death and eight wounded.

“We deplore this unprecedented situation since our members had asked that the administrative and security authorities ensure their security in vain,” says Manirambona.
He condemns the spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security for protecting and encouraging the perpetrators of the abuses committed against CNL members.

At a press conference held on 20 August, Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security said that police investigations revealed that cases of political intolerance reported in the country are provoked by CNL members.

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Somalia

Somalia: Kismayu in Lockdown Ahead of Elections

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Somalia’s state of Jubbaland on Tuesday evening shut down its main airport in Kismayu, ahead of the scheduled local presidential elections due Thursday.

The decision means no aircraft will be allowed to land at the facility until after the vote. The authorities indicated the airport will reopen on Friday August 23, possibly locking out any more delegations that had planned to tour.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday evening, Jubbaland’s vice president, Mohamud Sayid Aden, said the move was intended to lock out those planning to interfere in the polls.

“We have shut down all entry points to Kismayu to prevent the Somali government from messing up the election in Jubbaland,” he said.

He intimated that the Somali federal government was using all means to throw the presidential election in Jubaland into disarray, following reports of secret deployment of Ethiopia soldiers to disrupt elections, from diplomatic sources.

ELECTIONS

The move comes only three days after Mogadishu stated that it would not recognise the elections, which according to it, had gone against the national constitution, by refusing to register the traditional elders with the interior ministry.

Tension has escalated in the recent days in the area, resulting in the move by the electoral commission in Jubbaland to postpone the elections several times, with pressure from the international community asking for a single acceptable process.

However, there are concerns the stalemate in Jubbaland, a fundamental region for war against terrorism, could spark a wider dispute between the neighbouring countries, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Both Kenya and Ethiopia have deployed peacekeeping troops in Jubbaland, raising stakes on the outcome of Thursday’s presidential election.

INTERESTS

The Kenyan government has been subtly drumming up support for the re-election of Sheikh Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe, the incumbent president, who has led the state for more than eight years, mainly for security concerns.

On the other hand, Ethiopia and Eritrea, which form the so called Cushitic axis, are bent on having a central government.

Madobe was born in the central region of Somalia and belongs to the Ogaden sub-clan of the Darood. He later moved to Jubbaland following sojourns in Saudi Arabia where he studied Islamic philosophy.

With his Ras Kamboni Brigade which opposed the al-Shabaab militant group, he started working closely with Kenya Defence Forces in the war against terrorism. In 2012, they defeated Shabaab in Kismayu, opening up a lucrative port.

CANDIDATES

But Madobe’s ascent to power was initially mired in clan bickering with initial interference from Ethiopia and the then federal government under Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. He would be elected two years later, having been interim president since 2013, and following a deal between clans which was later endorsed by Mogadishu.

In this election, Mr Mohamud has endorsed the local electoral commission which was formed by Madobe to conduct elections, indicating an approval for Madobe himself.

The actual list of candidates to contest will be published sometime before the polls open in Kismayu. 74 members of the local legislative assembly will vote for the president in a secret ballot.

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Eastern Africa

Tanzania: Why Govt is Selling Off All Its Hippos and Crocodiles

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The Tanzanian government is planning to start selling all its hippos and 10% of all the crocodiles in the country’s water bodies for what it has termed as “nuisance to the human population”.

This revelation has been made by the country’s Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla.

The Minister further revealed that the sale these animal will be public with the government set to announce the auctioning process this week.

“Changamoto moja imezaliwa, wanyama wakali/waharibifu wamezidi na wanavamia maeneo ya watu. Tumeamua kuuza asilimia 10 ya mambo wote nchini. Aidha tutauza viboko wote waliopo kwenye maeneno yenye maji kama maziwa, mabwawa na mito iliyopo mijini. Mauzo ya wanyama hawa yatafanyika kwa njia ya mnada kwa utaratibu ambao utatangwa wiki ijao,” Dr Kigwangalla tweeted on Saturday.

In a thread of tweets, Dr Kigwangalla further said his office has received numerous complaints from citizens living close to the water bodies who have either lost their lives to the animals or suffered life threatening injuries.

As such, many have been forced to retaliate by killing the animals, an action which is against the laws.

According to Dr Kigwangalla, the auction the hippos and crocodiles is aimed at reducing the human-wildlife conflict.

However, despite the Minister’s admission that the government has failed in its efforts to control wildlife, he urged the public to desist from harming the animals, but instead seek help from skilled rangers whose number has been increased in the affected areas to deal with the problem.

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Eastern Africa

Tanzania: Big Brother Africa Contestant Samantha Accuses a Zanzibar Hotel of Racism

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Zanzibar — South African national and former Big Brother Africa contestant Samantha Jensen has accused a Zanzibar Hotel of racism after she was barred from accessing the hotel.

In a video which she has posted on her instagram page, Samantha says she was with her sister when they decided to go and check out some loud music playing at Vera Club Sunset Beach in Nungwi only to be told access was only for Italians.

“We went to check out the hotel as we heard music and thought it’s another one of the beach parties held at the hotels in Zanzibar,” she says.

“When we walked in at the gate the security guard came to us quickly to stop us, saying we not allowed in. I asked is it a private party thinking maybe that’s why, he responds no you are not allowed,” writes Samantha who was in the BBA House in 2014 .

The two women, according to Samantha, further questioned the guard only to be told that only Italians are allowed.

“Then when I finally realised that this man is actually saying what I thought,’ no blacks allowed’, I took out my phone to record him and asked the same questions again. And this was his response,” she wrote.

The hotel authorities have, however, distanced themselves from the claims thanking the South African national for letting them know what happened.

“I would like to reiterate to all the people who rightly felt offended by these words, that it is absolutely not the policy of the Vera Club Nungwi Company to discriminate,” reads a post by the company.

The authorities say it was a mere misunderstanding between the guard and the visitors due to a communication barrier.

“After having interviewed the security officer once again we came to the conclusion that there was a misunderstanding between what you said and what he understood. He assures us that he wanted to inform you that only Italian customers were present in the club,” authorities at the hotel said.

The management at Vera Club further added: “The response you received from the security officer is totally inappropriate and not in line with the management’s provisions which on the contrary encourage the presence of customers within the club.”

The management, in a show of good faith has since invited Samantha to spend a few days as the guest of the club.

“I hope you can accept my invitation to spend a few days as a guest of Vera Club to realise that we are absolutely not opposed to the presence of any ethnic group in the club and absolutely different from how it could seem because of what happened.”

The Club also says they have hired a communication expert to teach their security personnel how to respond to and facilitate requests from external visitors to avoid such episodes.

But Samantha’s outburst sparked a backlash from some quarters with another former BBA 1 contestant Abby Platjes saying she too believed it was a language barrier.

“The problem with this post is that you had a major language barrier with the gentleman you are talking about. … … … … ..I’m sure there are elements of prejudices and discrimination in these types of hotels without doubt but let’s first be clear on the practices of these establishments before we unintentionally destroy the image of the Zanzibar Island on a whole,” she writes in her reply.

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