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South Sudan’s SPLM-IO elects secretary general of the party


November 27, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The National Liberation Council (NLC) of the opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) chaired by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, has elected its movement’s secretary general for the first time in 22 months of its opposition to the governing SPLM under the leadership of president Salva Kiir.

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The newly first elected Secretary General of the SPLM (IO), Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol (ST File Photo)

“SPLM/SPLA (IO) leadership wants to announce to its members, supporters and sympathizers worldwide that the National Liberation Council (NLC) of the Movement has elected its Secretary General. Comrade Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol is now the newly elected Secretary General of the Movement,” opposition leader’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said in a statement he issued on Friday.

Dak said on Friday the election took place in the opposition faction’s headquarters of Pagak in a democratic atmosphere in which other candidates competed in the democratic exercise.

Wol, who is from the ethnic Dinka group from Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, has now become the third most senior party’s official, would begin to organize the movement’s secretariat in accordance with the structures of the SPLM-IO.

He also said the movement has selected the membership of both the political bureau and the national liberation council.

The opposition faction has been conducting several meetings in Pagak for the past four weeks in preparations for the implementation of the peace agreement signed in August between president Kiir and the opposition leader, Machar, to end 21 months of violent conflict.

SPLM-IO WELCOMES LAUNCH OF JMEC

Dak also said the leadership of the SPLM-IO has welcomed the launch in Juba of the work of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) which will oversee the implementation of the peace agreement.

JMEC is headed by former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, who will be reporting to the East African regional bloc, IGAD, the African Union (AU) and even to the United Nations (UN) on progress made or challenges faced in the implementation of the peace agreement.

Representatives of the opposition faction could not participate because the venue was not agreed and the timing was not conducive given some of the contentious issues facing the implementation of the peace deal, said Dak.

He reiterated that an advance team of over 500 cadres is ready to travel to Juba for the implementation of the deal, but added this will not be possible until some political violations by the government are addressed.

The advance team, he said, was selected from the membership of the proposed 21 federal states and would therefore travel to the national capital, Juba, and spread to the other 21 proposed states which are based on the former colonial districts in the country.

He said the team will be on standby until the obstacles to their return to the country are removed, further adding that once on the ground they will remain there until the formation of the transitional government of national unity.

(ST)

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NUER LEADERS ARE TOO ADAMANTS TO SAFEGUARD THE DIGNITY OF TRIBESMEN.

NUER LEADERS ARE TOO ADAMANTS TO SAFEGUARD THE DIGNITY OF TRIBESMEN

By Kim Gatkuoth Duach,
November 26th 2015,  May the history be the judge given all the ups, downs, and other unprecedented instances the Nuer had been going through in their quest for self-determination for the people of South Sudan. It started in 1983, after the famous late hero Samuel Gai Tut, a Nuer differed with late hero Dr. John Garang, a Dinka in their vision and objective one had wanted to achieve.

Late Samuel Gai wanted a separate South Sudan, while Garang from the other side was a unionist whose goal was to transform Sudan into a secular and united country. Garang, being well informed about geopolitics and regional diplomacy; he then lured Mengistu Haile Mariam, the then Ethiopian President to earn his trust and support. It’s to be noted with interest that the Dinka regime led by Dr. John Garang didn’t spare its precious time to invite foreign alliance forces to help him eliminate the Nuer leader (Samuel Gai Tut). They managed to oust him from Bilpam and some days later killed him at Thiajak.

This was the beginning of the rifts between Nuer vs. Dinka. Dr. John Garang who was supposedly to have a vast knowledge and knows the causes that brought South Sudanese out of Sudan and fight the regime in the north; he felt short for unknown reasons and became too blinded to truthfully see what South Sudanese really wanted, instead he started targeting every Nuer and other figures that would correct his administrative system.

Though Gai’s goal and vision was what inspired many South Sudanese, John Garang didn’t care much about it and these odds from the duos led to the instantaneous split of the movement. Subsequently, Samuel Gai, a true nationalist advocating for the right of separate South Sudan, was killed few months later by unionist forces. Gai’s death became a blessing to Garang who in turn started running the movement according to his wishes and lucks. His first plan was to displace Gajaak-Jikany Nuer from their land and ensured that Dinka could occupy it. But with God’s grace, Gajaak were well trained with gun’s usage and power, and therefore, Dr. Garang’s strategy didn’t hold its ground on their territory.

It’s to be noted here that this support Garang got from Ethiopia was actually used in later days by Dinka in the history boasting their shoulders that they defeated Nuer and gives Dinka a mere assumption that they are better fighters over Nuer by killing their leader (Samuel Gai Tut). I don’t know if it’s a pride to claim a victory in Nilotic culture where in facts you happened to be using other person’s strength to help you defeat your opponent!!

From the above scenario two things were noted and Nuer leaders of today ought to learn from: Either Gai Tut lacked better strategy to win the support of Ethiopia regime by clinging much on separation principle or he was too adamant to foreseen that his defeat by Garang would have negative implication upon his tribesmen (Nuer) being singlehandedly targeted by Garang. In other words, a charismatic leader decisions must be backed up by smarter implementation process.

After Gai’s death the remnant Nuer leaders had no choice but to abandoned the separation vision and surrendered totally to Garang. And Garang being the one emerged victorious, had to make sure he only integrated the weakest Nuer leaders into the ranks and files of his movement whereby these weakest Nuer in turn had to adapt the policy of master appeasement. In other words, these Nuer leaders simply existed as Nuer by birth but psychology were brainwashed and ‘Dinkanized’. They have become belly lovers and less talked of anything that may be perceived to favor Nuer interest. This is proven while James Hoth Mai was the General Chief of Staff of the Dinka government of South Sudan, during his tenure, Dinka were using resources of the country. They were sending their children to best military trainings, arming themselves and even prior to the time they attacked Nuer in December 2013. The guy was just laughing and eating within Dinka kingdom as if nothing disastrous had would have not happened to his tribesmen/Nuer. What a shame to be a belly lover!

However, from the Dinka side the opposite is true that all Dinka leaders among whom Garang had groomed including Salva Kiir are in the leadership for Dinka interest being their first priority and Nationalism being after. This makes them always to be the right political figures from their tribesmen. Unquestionable leaders!!

1991 Coup with the Emerging of a Nuer Leader

Like the waiting and coming of Messiah by Jews; the 1991 coup d’état by Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol was perceived and welcomed with enthusiasm, not only by Nuer but South Sudanese who were tired of Garang totalitarian leadership. Given its priority to self-determination; citizens were so exuberant and ready to fight back the unionist SPLM-Torit faction, should they resist this call this time around. Truly Garang didn’t give a damn to accept the new change in the movement, and this led to a series of confrontation between Nasir and Torit factions.

It has to be noted by surprise that as Nasir faction was gaining field momentum and capturing many Garang’s areas, its leader seatback and withdrew all its forces in the pretext that human rights were being violated. This version led both leaders of Nasir faction, Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol, to have different views on how to approach this matter. Dr. Riek Machar was in an opinion that the war had to be fought cautiously while Dr. Lam Akol from his view didn’t care of these human right reports and suggested that the war must continue and warned that giving Garang a chance to breath will buy him leverage by rejuvenating his forces. This differences in opinions forced Dr. Lam Akol to break away.

Indeed, Dr. Lam Akol was right and his predictions came true given the significance of his predictions. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to agree with Dr. Lam Akol that once you declared a coup you must bear and accept all its odds whether it would be to committing massacre and genocide since these human right violation issues are secondary problems that may be resolved in the later days when the situation had become manageable. Always whenever a coup took place what matter is either you will be killed or you will kill somebody? No one, two…three!

Now, assumed Dr. Machar was too nationalist and didn’t want South Sudanese to kill themselves, then, the question begged: what is the reason for resisting a coup in the first place if he was not ready for the worse? This lack of military seriousness from Dr. Machar was seized by Dr. Garang who happened to utilize this window of opportunity to better organize and position his forces to defeat Machar entirely. Even though, survival strategies were employed (signinf peace agreement with Bashir), it did not save Machar from being observed back into the ranks and faced humiliation from these crooks.

Of course, someone must run for his safety, but with nationalism still lingering in Machar’s head and instead of looking for better way to fight Garang back, this put Machar at a loggerhead. Machar didn’t stop from pursuing and pushing for self-determination and separation of South Sudan. This called for separate South Sudan was observed as a joke by Khartoum to implement since you cannot run for your own survival and expect to take away the portion of the country. This only can happen in Machar’s world. But after Khartoum realized how serious Machar was on secession, then, Khartoum decided to abrogate the agreement. This moves unpleased Machar, so at the end Machar had no choice but to join back his former enemies in the bush.

In fact, Dr. Machar had better choices to pursue should he had happened to be a Dinka born man. But he missed that chance big time. The choice was clear and simple to have a political upper hand and this was to sell South Sudan out to Khartoum regime by sealing a deal of military cooperation and helped him bring down the tyranny regime of Dr. John Garang. Dr. Machar could have promised Bashir with oil income and this could sound a blessing to the Khartoum regime that in the past is well versed with Nuer strength. If this agreement was reached between the two alliances, Garang by all expenses could have lost the control of South Sudan and Dr. Machar on the other hand could rule South Sudan. On top of this, his Nuer tribesmen could have become politically dominant of South Sudan affairs, their areas developed and the best of all the Nuer could boaster their shoulders that they defeated Dinka. Unlike Dinka culture, defeating an enemy through third party in Nuer culture is not a pride though…but something must adapt.

This is to be noted that with this so called patriotism spirit in Dr. Machar’s heart of not selling South Sudan to the enemy, his coming back to South Sudan was negatively perceived by Dinka elites and its citizens as a total defeat against Nuer and portrayed Nuer image as losers and ‘Nyagaats’. This is very much similar to Samuel Gai Tut’s political approaches by pursuing nationalism first than Nuer’s interest when he failed to at least sell out a fake unity agenda to Mengistu to secure support. In practical politics one must worship any devil to survive as Dr. Garang did to lure in Ethiopian regime to help him topple out the separatists and killed their leader.

It’s unfortunate to mention though, the very Dr. Riek Machar who had just happened to escape the death camp convinced the youths not to move to Juba hoping that the world would take a drastic measure against Salva Kiir. This naivety calculation helped Salva Kiir to organize his forces like Garang did in 1991. Not only that, Salva Kiir also managed to bring in Uganda like what Garang had done in the past, bringing in Mengistu Haile Mariam to helped eliminate his opponents (Nuer).

Not only that, after being pushed out from major towns; Dr. Machar failed to arm his tribesmen with better weaponries to balance the nature of war, he instead locked himself in Addis Ababa praying for the peace to come to South Sudan. Until very this day of writing this paper the Nuer are still being indiscriminately targeted and killed on a daily basis in Bentiu and Upper Nile region. What a leader!

Unless, God is punishing Nuer through their leaders, so let’s try to give Dr. Machar a credit for not selling South Sudan to Khartoum during 1991 by the time he signed Khartoum Peace Agreement, because if he had done that, today there would have been no country called South Sudan. However, this second phase of war (December 15th 2013) Salva Kiir waged against Nuer is different from that of 1991 given the fact that who cares after all South Sudan is already an independent country. And for somebody like Salva Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders wanted to turn this nation like Somalia should have been taken seriously by Dr. Machar and need no sense of fear for anything comes what may, but to arm Nuer to their teeth and fought back harder to defeat Jiengs and their alliance forces. Since this is not done though, again history will register itself in favor of Dinka that they defeated Nuer, and this will make them in the later days to call Nuer by names, where in fact they (Dinka) will be misinterpreting that they are nothing to Nuer but their alliance forces and lack of seriousness from Riek Machar to fight them back makes their shoulder boaster!

Military Conscript and unfairness on Dr.Riek Machar SPLM-IO

On the onset of this senseless war in December 15th 2013, many Nuer young men/women responded in kind small and big, educated and uneducated hoping to send Salva Kiir to hell. Thousands join but lack of armaments, logistics and too long subjection to training camps for almost two years forced these people to abandon their commitments. Many of them felt that the leader was not serious and no point to waste suffer. Some of these men/women left for training from Western countries and carried with them master degrees and PhDs. A people their leader should treat with fair and dignity. Unfortunately; Dr. Machar instead left these people roaming and loosing let alone recognizing their unwavering support.

Sadly, sources indicate that Dr. Machar has secretly commissioned the boys from Greater Bhar el Ghazal and Greater Equatoria and most of them in the rank of Lt. Colonel and Colonel and these guys majority of them live in Western countries and never set a barefoot on military training camps. Their names were just sent to Dr. Machar in a disguise that they were among the ground forces of Major General Dau Atorjong and Major General Kanyi. Some of these hoax men already left western world for Pagak in order to participate as the commanders in the monitoring advance team in Juba. Common Dr. Machar, history is watching on you!

Monytuil Sons and Bul-Nuer Betrayal against Nuer Community

A leader will be born and will save Nuer from crumbling and enemies and that was the time Paulino Matip Nhial AKA Matip-Yaang as my dad used to nick him; Late Matip-Yaang a true Bul-Nuer and a hero Nuer son opposed and told late Dr. John Garang bluntly that enough is enough to enslave Nuer tribesmen and went straight to side with Khartoum and never switched a side and wholeheartedly fought Garang with all his mightiest during the liberation. A leader of action!!

However, Matip-Yaang predicted that his Bul-Nuer people will suffer/confuse after his death as they will be too blinds to safeguard the Nuer interest. Predictions sometimes sound dreams but this one has become the reality during the onset of the current war the Dinka has launched against Nuer. Though there are other elements of Nuer sections’ politicians supporting Salva Kiir until today, the support from Monytuil Sons and their fellow Bul-Nuer section is unique among others. Since the eruption of this war in December 15th 2013, no single Nuer section politician mobilized their youth to fight SPLM-IO and its Nuer majority except Monytuil Sons and their fellow Bul-Nuer section who happened by surprise to mobilize its youth and waged a terrible massacre, rapes, loots and many untold histories yet against their fellow brothers and sisters in Unity State.

In the Nuer family tree, it’s the Buol-Geke-Nuer-Raan-Kang-Piir-Noah which if someone prides of his tribal existence in this world it would be indeed for the best interest of Bul-Nuer and Lou-Nuer that always stay alert to protect the Nuer interest as they are the very original Nuer where other come after them. Credit and thumb up to Lou-Nuer/Bor-Char as always!

With history being so blind on Nuer, this didn’t happen this way and Bul-Nuer with the influence of their leaders (Monytuil Sons) sold out the Nuer-Interest simply of hatred against Taban Deng Gai and this caused more inflicting suffers to Nuer. Had it not been the intervention of Bul-Nuer to fight alongside the Jieng (Dinka) government by now the war could have reached Waraap state (Home of Salva Kiir) and at least and very least Dinka Bar el Ghazel region would smell the smoke of the war they started waging against Nuer through their greedy. Its unfortunate Paulino Matip Nhial AKA Matip-Yaang is not here today, so it up to Bul-Nuer to claim backs their ancestral legacy which Monytuil Sons have sold out. It’s up to Bul-Nuer to act before it’s too late to reclaim back their fabric with their fellow tribesmen instead of being led by belly interest of Monytuil Sons.

In conclusion; what lesson did Dr. Machar learned from his past political endeavors after the signing of compromise peace agreement? Like a tree, one must have a root to life and Dr. Machar this time around, instead of going to Juba to fully committed for the implementation of this agreement, he must sleep with one eye wider open seeing where the Nuer are this time. Starting from his office where he used to give administration and finance in the past to a useless Dinka by the name Deng Deng Akoon from Bhar el Ghazel, he must ensure that this time things are in different approach. You must be a nationalist but where is your tribesmen?

Kim Gatkuoth Duach is a PhD student at Cambridge University and currently lives in London. He can be reached: kimduach@gail.com

Niger says Boko Haram gunmen kill 18 in village bordering Nigeria NIAMEY

Niger says Boko Haram gunmen kill 18 in village bordering Nigeria
NIAMEY
Niger’s government said on Thursday that Boko Haram militants killed 18 people, including a local religious leader, in an attack on a village in Niger’s southern border area of Diffa on the Nigerian border.

The Islamist militants rarely claim attacks but they are based in the north of Nigeria and often launch cross border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The gunmen arrived in the village of Gogone near the shores of Lake Chad on foot and fired indiscriminately on residents and attacked their homes, security sources said.

They also fired rockets in the attack, the sources said.

“Boko Haram has once again sent us into mourning,” said Justice Minister and government spokesman Marou Amadou in a statement. “Eighteen villagers were killed, including the chief imam for the village whose throat was slit by his own nephew.”

Niger’s Diffa region has suffered dozens of cross-border strikes this year by Boko Haram, whose stronghold in northeast Nigeria lies just a few kilometers (miles) away.

A state of emergency has been declared there in a bid to boost security. But the attackers often manage to flee across the River Komadougou, marking the border with Nigeria.

Amadou said eleven people were injured and a three-year-old girl has disappeared. The army was pursuing the “terrorists in all nooks and crannies of Lake Chad”, he said.

Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq, has killed thousands and displaced millions of people in its six-year campaign to carve out a caliphate run according to strict Islamic law.

Central African leaders in regional bloc CEEAC said on Wednesday at a summit that they were raising 50 billion CFA Francs ($80 million) to help Nigeria’s neighbors fight the Islamist militant group.

An 8,700-strong regional task force with troops from Chad, Niger, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon is operational but has yet to begin joint military strikes against Boko Haram.

(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing and additional reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Breaking News: Update. On Nuer Gen. who was killed in Juba on Nov. 24, 2015

biel-chuor

Gen. Tito Biel Chuor was killed with 10 body Guards outside Juba after he was lured in by SPLA in Bilpam, Juba.

The Africans Press has report earlier about a Nuer Gen. who was killed on Nov. 24, outside Juba. A source close to military point out that the Gen. who was killed is identified as Brig. Gen. Tito Biel chuor who was at UNIMISS Camps in the last two years of South Sudan War.

Gen. Biel was thought to lured in to bush outisde Juba by regime in Juba after he was tape talking to Philip Aquer and later to Bapiny Montuel. Bapiny was on his way to pick up Gen. Tito, a source disclose, however, he was killed before making his way to meet Bapiny by South Sudanese Se4curity agents.

Gen. Tito Biel was killed with 10 other Nuer soldiers who was with him at the time.

More details will be air later as the case is unfolded

Breaking News: Special investigation: President Kiir linked to multi-million dollar roads contracts

Source: Breaking News: Special investigation: President Kiir linked to multi-million dollar roads contracts

Breaking News: Special investigation: President Kiir linked to multi-million dollar roads contracts

Special investigation: President Kiir linked to multi-million dollar roads contracts

South Sudan’s government paid at least $161 million to a private construction company linked to President Salva Kiir, Radio Tamazuj reports exclusively today. It is unclear whether Kiir ever declared his involvement with the company to the Anti-Corruption Commission as required by law.

The company, ABMC Thai-South Sudan Construction Company Limited, has built major roads in the national capital Juba under contract by the national Ministry of Roads and Bridges.

President Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek, denied outright any relationship between Kiir and ABMC, claiming the president does not even have a personal bank account, let alone shares in a company.

However, government and company sources revealed that Kiir, his son Manut and his former secretary Akot Lual were all linked to ABMC in spite of constitutional prohibitions that make it illegal for top officials to “transact commercial business” or earn income from outside the government.

During an investigation carried out by Radio Tamazuj over more than a month, insider sources confirmed links between Kiir and ABMC. Although they were unable to provide documentary evidence about the precise nature of Kiir’s involvement, multiple corroborating sources confirmed the existence of a beneficial relationship.

According to a contact close to the company’s leadership, ABMC runs an agriculture project at the president’s private farm at Luri in Central Equatoria State. This initiative is run by ABMC through a subsidiary, Garden of Eden, which is described in ABMC promotional materials as both a “a sister company” and “a project launched by ABMC.”

“He now has a farm in Luri which is run for him by the ABMC,” the source said.

The source defended the initiative saying the project at the president’s farm was “a modest contribution to nation-building,” which would help reduce the country’s dependence on food imports.

Kiir’s spokesman denied the link, however, saying the president had only kept cattle at Luri. “The president does not own any project in Luri. The president had cows in Luri, but… those cows were taken back to Bahr al Ghazal. So there is nothing else,” said Ateny Wek.

Ownership of the company

Other sources said that Kiir’s involvement with ABMC extended to beyond just the farm. They said Kiir is a majority shareholder in ABMC. The sources indicated that his shares are not held directly but ‘by proxy’, meaning that his ownership stake may be concealed in the name of a close associate.

Ateny Wek said the company “belongs to a person called Benjamin Bol Mel” – the president of the company – “and President [Kiir] has no relation with ABMC.” Ateny was responding to a question about whether Kiir or any of his relatives has shares in the company.

Asked about Kiir’s role, a former ABMC official said he had never seen any document linking the president formally to the company but the president’s actions on contractual matters were a clear sign of his involvement. He was referring to his conduct regarding government contracts awarded to the company. The official said he believes Salva Kiir is the majority shareholder.

Multiple sources including former senior company officials and government sources also pointed to a role played by the president’s former secretary Akot Lual and the president’s son, Manut Salva Kiir, saying they were involved in securing government contracts on behalf of the company.

They further reported that ABMC built a house for Akot Lual in the Jebel neighborhood of Juba and for other senior government officials. Reached by phone, Akot Lual denied any connection with ABMC.

Boom and bust

South Sudan paid millions to ABMC for road works in Juba. Although the total value of government contracts awarded to the company is not known, promotional materials published by ABMC in 2012 disclosed that the company developed 55 miles of urban roads in Juba worth over $60 million, as well as roads to Bilpam, Gudele and Munuki, for a total value of at least $161 million.

ABMC has offices and facilities in Juba and Luri in Central Equatoria. It works with both South Sudanese and Thai staff. The company was founded several years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in either 2007 or 2008, according to statements published by the company itself.

During ABMC’s early years, the government was earning billions in oil revenue and spending large amounts of money on roads-building. In a report on South Sudan’s infrastucture, the Africa Development Bank estimated that the government spent about $165 million per year for roads-building during 2009-2011, while annual donor funding for roads programs was about $85 million.

Between about 2010 and 2012 the company “experienced tremendous growth,” said ABMC President Benjamin Bol Mel, as quoted in a company promotional document. He explained that the company had its sights set on a joint project worth $3.3 billion for construction of a highway to the Ethiopian border.

“Now we are gaining momentum,” he said. “Our goal is to get out of Juba and build highways.”

This goal was not to be realized. South Sudan shut down its oil production in January 2012 during a dispute with neighboring Sudan over pipeline fees. The government continued to spend on ‘priority’ roads projects throughout 2012, borrowing heavily.

But eventually the government revenue losses affected public sector spending and ABMC. The company even struggled to pay its employees in South Sudan in mid to late 2013.

According to social media posts on the company’s Facebook page, employees went several months without pay and were finally given their salaries in September 2013. The administrator of the page wrote in October 2013 that the company was experiencing hardship but was “recovering.”

The outbreak of war in December further crippled funding for public sector projects as oil revenues declined and defense spending soared.

Failure to declare assets and income

The Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2009 and the Transitional Constitution of 2011 require that senior public officials including the president make confidential declarations of their income, assets and liabilities including those of their spouses and children.

This law has several purposes including to discourage public officials from practicing favouritism toward companies that they or their families own.

According to the 2009 law, senior civil servants are required to make these formal wealth declarations annually. The forms must be “conveyed to the [Anti-Corruption] Commission by the end of February each calendar year.”

South Sudan’s constitution further prohibits the president from transacting commercial business or accepting income from any source other than the national government during his time in office.

In an interview with Radio Tamazuj, Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek said that the president last declared his assets and income to the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2012. If true, this would mean that the president had failed to declare his assets and income to the Commission in the last three years.

But Ateny insisted that nothing significant had changed since 2012 and the president had nothing else to declare. “The president doesn’t involve himself in contracts and shares,” said Ateny. He added that Kiir does not even have a bank account either inside South Sudan or outside the country.

Asked to respond to information that the president’s son Manut Salva Kiir and his former secretary Akot Lual had been involved in securing contracts on behalf of the company, Ateny rubbished this as just “rumours” meant to smear the reputation of the president.

Ateny declined to comment further about Akot Lual’s reported ties to ABMC, saying, “I don’t know about Akot Lual and I am not in a position to talk on his behalf.”

“I am a spokesman at the presidency and Akot is a citizen, so it is not my business and it is also not your business as journalists.”

Besigye Fires Back at EC: I Will Not Stop Defiance Campaign

Dr Kizza Besigye (R) addressing the media at his home in Kasangati on Thursday. He was accompanied by Joyce Ssebugwawo
By: Michael Ntezza
Nov 26,2015
FDC Presidential Candidate Dr Kizza Besigye has vowed to continue with calls for defiance as a campaign strategy just a day after the Electoral Commission (EC) warned that such conduct was aimed at sowing seeds of anarchy, Chimp Corps report.

“The commission has noted with concern the consistent calls by candidate Kizza Besigye for defiance as a campaign strategy,” warned EC boss Eng Badru Kiggundu at a press conference in Kampala on Wednesday.

“This kind of campaign is likely to have serious impact on the conduct of peaceful campaigns and elections,” Kiggundu added, cautioning that failure to heed his warning would attract “consequences.”

However, addressing press at his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District on Thursday, Besigye said his campaign is aimed at “awakening minds of Ugandans to gain total independence.”

Besigye said the Electoral commission “is not independent because we have ever taken it to court over the 2006 presidential elections whereby court ruled that the elections were not free and fair.”

He added: “So we couldn’t expect the same Commission to conduct any other election in this country. Their actions are not a surprise to me.”

Besigye advised Kiggundu to stop issuing threats but emphasize serving the people basing on the constitutional mandate of the commission.

“I don’t think I went against any law in the course of our campaigns because it’s our responsibility to advise people on how to liberate their country. Whoever wants to take any action on us with the help of their offices it’s the right time to do whatever they feel but they should not forget that EC and government are carrying out their duties under the mandate of citizens,” he emphasised.

Electoral Law

Kiggundu yesterday condemned “this kind of conduct and hereby warns Dr Besigye, his agents and supporters, to desist from taking this path but instead conduct the campaign in accordance with the law.”

Asked what action would be taken in case Besigye remained defiant, Kiggundu observed: “We warn you, once or twice. On the third occasion, we have always acted. He should not blame me for the consequences.”

Kiggundu said, “Candidates or their agents must not use or publish any foul language or defamatory words which incite public disorder, hatred, violence or which threatens war.”

But Besigye today said, “we are about to decide on whether it’s the people’s servants to decide for them or the people themselves to make their own decisions. In case Electoral Commission fails to fulfill its obligations it will be the role of Ugandans to decide the disciplinary action to this commission.”

Insiders say security is concerned that Besigye is radicalising the population in preparation for an insurrection should he lose the 2016 elections.

Police boss Gen Kale Kayihura told ChimpReports recently that Besigye must stop inciting violence.

“He should be questioned. He is saying, ‘I will defy the law.’ He has promised to defy the Constitution.”

Kayihura said police will not tolerate any acts of violence during and after the election, saying the force has enough manpower to maintain sanity during this electoral exercise.

Besigye defiant

The FDC strongman said he will not stop encouraging people to reclaim their power from a small but powerful and armed political elite in the country.

“Many people have given up on elections thinking that elections are irrelevant because you can’t spend a whole day lining up to vote when knowing that people will declare whatever they want. Power 10 campaign is to ensure that we challenge any form of injustices including cheating during elections. We need also to have independent organs of the state,” charged Besigye.

Pope set for Africa visit amid high expectations

All signs are that Pope Francis will receive a rock-star welcome as he prepares for his first visit to Africa.

Millions of people across Central and East Africa are already talking about the “historic visit” to the continent, and hundreds of thousands more are expected to turn out to catch a glimpse of the pontiff when he arrives in Kenya, the first stop in his three-country tour.

Francis is scheduled to travel to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic (CAR) – a travel itinerary that has raised eyebrows but also endeared him to the region.

Religious tolerance

Father Anthony Gichure, a theologian and Catholic Church expert based in Nairobi, told Al Jazeera the timing of Francis’ trip was important considering the high level of corruption and repeated violent attacks in the country.

“By coming [here] he can suggest to us ways and approaches to tackle these problems in a human way,” Father Gichure said.

“I think he will talk about relations between Muslims and Christians – that terrorists can be from any religion. … I think he will encourage us to avoid consumerism and materialism that encourages corruption.”

The Pope will be particularly welcome to Kenya because he has displayed, during his papacy, a capacity to look beyond Europe and embrace the concerns of people around the world.

Editorial in Daily Nation, Kenya

In a visit expected to focus on social inequality, religious tolerance and coexistence at a time of rising political instability and extremism in the region, organisers have been quick to assert that they have pulled out all the stops in ensuring nothing untoward takes place. Many in the foreign press have referred to Francis’ trip as “his most dangerous” trip to date.

“As we welcome the pope, we stand in unity to secure our nation,” CS Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s interior minister, said in a message broadcast over Twitter on Monday.

Likewise, Joseph Boinnet, Kenyan police inspector general, said in a statement on Sunday: “Security arrangements have been made and put in place right from arrival to coverage of all the routes that he will be using, the venues and the residences including providing security for the visitors who will be coming into this city.”

There is still some doubt over Francis’s visit to the CAR, due to the ongoing Muslim-Christian violence and instability in the country.

However, all indications are that Francis is determined to make the trip.

Interest in Francis’ visit has already dominated social media in parts of the continent, with #PopeinKenya or #TellthePope trending on Twitter, underscoring the keen sense of anticipation among the faithful.

On Monday, a new poll published by Infotrak showed that nine out of 10 Kenyans, Catholic or otherwise, were looking forward to Francis’ visit.

The poll, conducted between October 3 and November 20, had a sample size of 777 individuals representing 19 million adult Kenyans.

“Pope Francis’ humility has endeared him to both Catholics and non-Catholics,” Infotrak’s Angela Ombitho was quoted as having said.

Likewise, Kenya’s Daily Nation said in an editorial on Monday that a visit “from this particular pope is a moment to savour”.

“The pope will be particularly welcome to Kenya because he has displayed, during his papacy, a capacity to look beyond Europe and embrace the concerns of people around the world.”

Father Gichure said people of all faiths were looking forward to the visit, ” because they see in him a message of hope, and this message cuts across divisions”.

It is a sentiment that Sheikh Khalfan Khamist Ismail, chairman of the Muslim Council of Kenya, agrees with.

“We are looking forward to hearing his message of peace. Kenya is a country of many religions and important for the rest of the world,” he said.

The Vatican says it is going ahead with plans for Pope Francis to visit the war-torn Central African Republic [EPA]
Gay activists in Uganda have said they hope Francis will address the discrimination of the gay and lesbian communities on a continent where being gay is still a crime in most countries.
“I would like the Pope to at least make people know that being LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] is not a curse,” Jackson Mukasa, 20, a Ugandan in Kampala, told Reuters news agency on Monday.

Mukasa was imprisoned in 2014, on suspicion of committing homosexual acts, before charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

Last week a spokesperson at the Vatican refused to say whether Francis will enter the debate, adding that he is unlikely to go against the wishes of his local bishops.

According to a report this year by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a research centre affiliated with Georgetown University in the US, the proportion of African Catholics in the world population of Catholics increased from seven percent to 16 percent between 1980 and 2012.

Source: Al Jazeera

Germany to send 650 troops to Mali after hotel attack

Germany plans to send about 650 troops to Mali to help with the peacekeeping mission in the restive West African state, the defence minister said.

“We will shortly ask parliament to approve a mandate of up to 650 soldiers,” Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

The move comes after gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and killed 19 people last week.
Who is responsible for the Mali hotel attack?
Von der Leyen made the announcement hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel travels to Paris to meet President Francois Hollande.

Discussions will include German support in the wake of the deadly November 13 attacks by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) members in the French capital.

The aim of the German troop deployment to Mali is to help relieve the military pressure on France in its fight against ISIL, von der Leyen said.

German soldiers will focus on logistics and reconnaissance as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

About 1,500 French troops are deployed in Mali as part of the fight against armed groups that seized control of the country’s north in 2012.

Large parts of Mali remain beyond the control of government and foreign forces, despite the French-led mission launched in 2013.

ope urges ‘essential’ interfaith dialogue in Africa

Pope Francis’ first Africa trip will highlight the problem of a lack of dialogue between Christianity and Islam, the two fastest growing religions on the continent.

On his first full day in Kenya, Francis insisted on Thursday that religion could never be used to justify violence and lamented that “all too often young people are being radicalised in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies”.

He said interfaith dialogue is not a luxury or optional, but is simply “essential”.

The 78-year-old will use his 11th overseas trip since taking office in 2013 to deliver a total of 19 speeches on peace, social justice, environmental protection, and interfaith dialogue.

In addition to Kenya, the pope is visiting Uganda and the Central African Republic during his six-day African tour.

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