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Africa’s climate is characterised by dry and wet conditions because of its geographical location within the intertropical zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The continent’s solar radiation intensity is high, which results in overall warm temperatures, particularly in the northern parts of the continent which are usually hot and dry. The climate of the continent ranges from equatorial, which is characterized by wet, tropical conditions found mainly in West and Central Africa and Madagascar, Tropical Savannah, which is similar to ...Read More »
ANC should clean up its act ahead of 2019 elections
Naledi Shange | 2017-05-21 15:51:21.0
ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image by: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times
ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said the damning report‚ titled ‘Unburdening Panel’‚ released by the SA Council of Churches around State Capture should act as a wake-up call for the party to clean up its act and restore the confidence it once enjoyed.
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The panel‚ which was established after allegations that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas had been offered a bribe by the Gupta family‚ painted a disturbing picture of state entities that had been used to enrich a “powerful elite” close to President Jacob Zuma.
In the report‚ the SACC said: "South Africa may be inches away from a mafia state from which there could be no return ... a recipe for a failed state. We urge the ANC to examine itself‚ find a way ... and act as this has implications for it and its government."Bullish Zuma woos Nquthu voters
Speaking at the Moses Kotane lecture in Rustenburg‚ Ramaphosa said this was a sad revelation.
“The SACC stood up on a public platform and said we are on the brink of a mafia state. That is very sad. It should make everyone sad... If we as the ANC are to recover the leadership role in society‚ it is imperative that we act urgently‚” he said.
It was time for the State Capture allegations to be investigated and put to bed.
“We need to find the truth and clear it up through an independent judicial commission.... It is about time that we put it to rest. We should investigate and conclude it before the 2019 elections‚” said Ramaphosa.
The commission would expose the extent of State Capture and how‚ if at all‚ it had enriched a few individuals and families.
Ramphosa called for an end to “capture‚ corruption and cronyism”‚ adding that the party’s followers now had doubts about what the ANC stood for.
To curb this‚ the party needed to self-introspect and rebrand itself.Big guns hit rural KZN in final elections push
As the ANC gears up for its policy conference next month‚ Ramaphosa said this would be the perfect time for the party to rejuvenate.
“When [the party] emerges from that conference‚ it must be spick and span‚ ready for 2019‚” he said‚ adding that the party would remain united.
“The ANC will not split. It will not split because the party has responsibility to unite the people of our country‚” he said.
He called on the SACP member to follow in the steps of struggle stalwart Moses Kotane‚ who he said was concerned about the people‚ listened to their grievances and acted in integrity. He said Kotane would have striven to have an uncaptured ANC‚ free of corruption and factionalism.
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Media outlets announced the assassination of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat after a car bomb exploded near his motorcade. Last week, on May 13, the Cairo Criminal Court set a June 10 session to issue its verdict against the defendants charged with the Barakat's assassination.
Start the conversation, or Read more at Egypt Today.Read More »
South African men march against abuse of women and children
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceMedia captionMainly male protesters marched through Pretoria on Saturday
Hundreds of protesters, most of them men, have marched in the South African capital, Pretoria, over rising levels of violence against women and children.
One of the organisers, Kholofelo Masha, said men had to take collective responsibility for the increase in beatings, sex attacks and killings.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world.
Police figures showed that 64,000 cases were reported last year.
A series of grisly murders of women and children has hit the headlines this year and President Jacob Zuma has described the situation as a crisis.
The protesters on Saturday marched behind a woman symbolically dressed from head to toe in white. Some carried placards bearing the names of women killed by their partners.Image copyright AFP Image caption A spate of attacks on women and children has shocked the country
"The time to take collective responsibility for our shameful action is now," said Mr Masha, who described himself as "a loving dad, brother and uncle."
He said South African men had been quiet on the issue for too long.
"You hear a lady screaming next door, you decide to sleep when you know there is a problem. No man should beat a woman or rape a woman while you're watching".
On Thursday, President Zuma visited the parents of a three-year-old girl who was raped and killed.
Courtney Pieters went missing from her home in Cape Town on 4 May and her body was found more than a week later in a shallow grave.
"We, as the citizens of this country, must say enough is enough," Mr Zuma said at the time. "This is one of the saddest incidents I've come across. It's a crisis in the country, the manner in which women and children are being killed."
The governing African National Congress party has branded the wave of violence "senseless and barbaric", while the opposition Democratic Alliance has called for a nationwide debate on the issue.Read More »
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A WINCHESTER charity worker has visited Nigeria as part of efforts to help millions of people left homeless by conflict. David Pain of Clifton Road travelled to the west African country to meet families who have fled their homes amid the ongoing violence caused by terrorist group Boko Haram, The trip to the north-east of the country was also a chance to witness the work of charity Christian Aid where he is fundraising director, ahead of the annual Christian Aid Week.
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Libya death toll 'rises to 140' at Brak El-Shati airbaseImage copyright AFP Image caption Many of those killed were from the Libyan National Army, seen in action in this file photo
Reports suggest as many as 140 people, including civilians, may have died in an attack on an airbase in Libya.
It was originally thought 60 people died when a government-allied militia tried to take over the Brak al-Shati base on Thursday.
The UN-backed government's defence minister and the commander of the militia have both been suspended pending an investigation.
The prime minister's office has denied ordering the attack.
A militia spokesman said they had "liberated the base and destroyed all the forces inside".
The town's mayor said some aircraft had been set ablaze.
Most of the dead were soldiers of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), an alliance in the east of the country which does not recognise the government in the capital, Tripoli. That force has been in control of the airbase since December.
Its spokesman gave the new death toll of 140.
"The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren't armed. Most of them were executed," he said.
The UN's envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said he was "outraged" by reports of summary executions.Why is Libya so lawless? Profile: Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar of the LNA Guide to key Libyan militias
The attack breached an informal truce between the rival forces that was reached earlier this month when the LNA's commander, General Khalifa Haftar, met the UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
The Tripoli government has set up an investigative committee to present its findings to the prime minister within 15 days.Read More »
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Peacekeeping forces (file photo).By Corinne Dufka (Associate Director, West Africa)
"The Jihadists are the law now," an elder from central Mali told me. "The very day the French-supported operation finished, the Islamists were back in the villages," confided another villager last week, referring to a military operation near the Mali-Burkina Faso border in April.
The French-led military intervention in northern Mali in 2013 was hailed as a military success, ending the region's occupation by ethnic Tuareg separatists and armed Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda. But since 2015, attacks against Malian forces and abuses by Al-Qaeda-linked groups have moved southward to Mali's previously stable central regions and, last year, spread into neighboring Burkina Faso.
The endurance of the jihadist recruitment success and their appeal to many villagers suggests that military operations on their own will not be sufficient to defeat the threat. President Emmanuel Macron should keep this in mind when he visits the country this Friday.
Since 2015, I've interviewed scores of witnesses and victims to abuses in central Mali. They described how, in recent months, groups of up to 50 Islamist fighters closed down schools, banned women from riding on motorcycles driven by men other than their husbands, and imposed their version of Sharia (Islamic law). "We used to spend days celebrating a marriage or baptism, dancing and singing together," one man said. "Not anymore."
Men accused of being informants for the Malian government often turn up dead. Since 2015, Islamists have executed at least 40 men in their custody, including village chiefs and local officials. Some were murdered in front of their families. Several people said they felt pressured to have one of their sons join the Islamists.
Villagers described how soldiers detained and executed three family members in January.
However, an equal number of villagers told me they welcomed the presence of the Islamist groups in central Mali and saw them as a benevolent alternative to a state they associate with predatory and abusive governance. Many seethed as they described Malian army abuses during counterterrorism operations, including arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions. Since late 2016, I have documented the alleged extrajudicial killing by soldiers of 12 detainees, the most recent in early May, and the forced disappearance of several others.
Villagers described how soldiers detained and executed three family members in January. "We heard gunshots in the distance," one witness said. "I followed the tracks of the army truck and found our people in a shallow grave." This week, I received a desperate email from the brother of a man forced into a white pickup by men in uniform on February 3. "We have heard nothing; we have searched everywhere," he said.
While the behavior of the state security services has improved in recent years, Malian authorities have made little effort to investigate those implicated in violations.
The armed Islamist groups operating in central Mali, an area inhabited by several ethnic groups, have concentrated their recruitment efforts on the Peuhl or Fulani. Villagers said the Islamists are recruiting by exploiting frustrations over poverty, abusive security services, rampant banditry, local Peuhl clan rivalries, and, especially, corruption.
"The jihadists speak a lot about corruption... how the authorities steal, torture and do bad things to us," one elder said. "Honestly, they don't need to try very hard to recruit the youth... they're going themselves."
Islamists are increasingly filling the governance vacuum.
Villagers also said the Islamists are increasingly filling the governance vacuum. They welcomed Islamist efforts to investigate and punish livestock thieves, including by executions. Others praised Sharia rulings in favor of victims of domestic violence or spousal abandonment. Elders from both the sedentary Bambara and pastoral Peuhl communities credited the Islamists' efforts in late 2016 to resolve deadly land disputes. This meaningfully reduced communal violence in some regions, they said.
"We are fed up with paying bribes every time you meet a man in uniform or government official," one villager said. "The Islamists get all this done without asking for taxes, money, or one of our cows."
The burden to resolve this situation lies first and foremost with the Malian government. But military operations, including those supported by the French, are not enough to pull Mali from this deepening quagmire.
French strategy in Mali and the wider Sahel won't succeed without helping Mali to address the issues underlying decades of insecurity and the growing support for abusive armed Islamist groups. After all, it was corruption, poor governance, and abusive security force conduct that led to Mali's spectacular collapse in 2012.
When President Macron visits Mali on Friday, he should urge the government to professionalize the security forces and hold them accountable, to support the chronically neglected judiciary, and to take concrete action against rampant corruption. Strengthening Mali's weak rule of law institutions is complicated work, but no counterterrorism strategy can succeed without it.Read More »
A U.N. report says South Sudanese pro-government forces killed at least 114 civilians between July 2016 and January 2017 in Yei town.
The report by the Human Rights Division of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UMNISS) and the U.N. Human Rights Office was released Friday. The report also "exposes cases of indiscriminate shelling of civilians; targeted killings; looting and burning of civilian property and cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting."
The U.N. says the crimes "may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity" and warrant further investigation.
The report says the fighting erupted when pro-government forces pursued President Salva Kiir's rival and former deputy Riek Machar. "Fighting broke out along his escape route," the document says.
Yei had been "largely a peaceful town," the U.N. said, with 200,000 to 300,000 residents of different ethnicities. "This violence fueled strong divisions along ethnic lines and resulted in targeted killings, arrests, rapes and mass civilian displacement of more than half of the population of the town."
The report says the conflict in Yei "once again highlights the startling level of impunity in South Sudan, which has fed successive cycles of violence across the country."
South Sudan is mired in its fourth year of conflict since fighting erupted between pro- and anti-Kiir factions in December 2013. The U.N. says more than 1.8 million South Sudanese have fled the country, with another 1.9 million internally displaced from their homes.
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