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Nigeria: 11-year old dancer challenges ballet stereotypes

BBC Africa - Sat, 11/07/2020 - 01:01
11-year-old Anthony Mmesoma Madu is challenging ballet stereotypes.
Categories: Africa

Intercommunal violence, terrorist attacks inflame tensions in West Africa

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 09/07/2020 - 21:52
Intercommunal violence and persistent attacks by extremists, continue to undermine peace and security across West Africa, the UN’s top official in the region warned the Security Council on Thursday, calling for sustained engagement with all partners to urgently advance a holistic approach to peace.
Categories: Africa

Refugees in Africa ‘even more vulnerable than ever’ amid COVID crisis

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 09/07/2020 - 17:13
Millions of refugees across Africa face even greater food insecurity because of aid disruption and rising food prices linked to the COVID-19 crisis, UN humanitarians warned on Thursday.
Categories: Africa

Tutankhamun’s last tour: Behind the mask

BBC Africa - Wed, 08/07/2020 - 21:35
Why the global exhibition of one of Egypt’s greatest icons may actually be illegal.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus in Nigeria: Inside a Lagos coronavirus ward

BBC Africa - Wed, 08/07/2020 - 10:34
Fake news and mistrust in the government mean a lot of Nigeria's population thinks the pandemic is a hoax.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus lockdown: Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis

BBC Africa - Mon, 06/07/2020 - 21:21
Zimbabwe's lockdown measures to combat the spread of coronavirus have led to economic and political crisis.
Categories: Africa

Restoring dignity to victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN personnel

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 06/07/2020 - 19:00
Projects supported by a UN trust fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel, are helping victims to regain their dignity, learn new skills, and improve their livelihoods.
Categories: Africa

UNESCO urges caution over fraudulent African artefacts, sold in its name

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 01/07/2020 - 18:56
The UN on Wednesday revealed the existence of an illicit trafficking scam in African cultural artefacts, which are being sold to unsuspecting buyers, thanks to the entirely fake UNESCO stamp they come with.
Categories: Africa

Water cooperation between States ‘key’ to  Blue Nile dam project

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 22:57
The Blue Nile is “critical for the livelihoods and development” of Egyptians, Ethiopians and Sudanese, the top UN official for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs told the Security Council on Monday, urging those States to reach a construction agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Categories: Africa

South Sudan's Kiir appoints governors of eight states

Sudan Tribune - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 10:11

June 29, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir appointed eight of the ten state governors on Monday while the remaining two states: Jonglei and Upper Nile should be nominated in the upcoming days.

In a presidential decree broadcast by the official TV South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) President Salva Kiir appointed Emmanuel Adil Anthony as governor of the Central Equatoria State, Louis Lobong as a governor of the Eastern Equatoria State. Also, he appointed 8. Alfred Onyango as a governor for Western Equatoria State.

Anthony and Lobong are nominated by the SPLM-IG while Onyango is nominated by the SPLM-IO. The two first governors were the former governors of Yei River State and Kapoeta State respectively.

Kiir also appointed Makur Kulang as the governor of the Lakes State, Bona Panek Biar as the governor of Warrap State, and Tong Aken Ngor as a governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

The three states are nominated by the SPLM-IG.

According to the deal stroke by the parties, the SPLM-IG of President Sava Kiir nominates six governors while the SPLM-IO of First Vice President Riek Machar proposes three governors and the SSOA nominates one governor.

The decree appointed Joseph Monytuil as the governor of the Unity State and Sarah Kilito who is the SPLM-IO nominee and only female governor of the Western Bhar el-Ghazel State.

Two days ago on 27 June, James Dak the spokesman of the First Vice President said that Riek Machar submitted the names of nominees for the three states of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal and the Western Equatoria States.

However, on Monday, Kiir did not appoint the governor of the Upper Nile State.

Also, the SSOA continues to discuss who will be appointed as the governor of Jonglei State.

President Kiir was under regional and international pressure to appoint the state governors. Different reports say the delay in the appointment of governors contributed to the spread of intercommunal clashes particularly in Jonglei state.


Categories: Africa

In memory of Kerbino Wol

Sudan Tribune - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 08:17

By Robert Portada

On 5 June 2020, Kerbino Wol announced that he was standing in solidarity with fellow citizens deep in the sacred land of South Sudan and launching the official manifesto of the 7 October Movement.

Nine days later, Kerbino and a group of men were captured and killed by state security forces. The army spokesman stated that the “SSPDF had succeeded in containing a rebellion at infancy.”

To date, Kerbino's remains have not been returned to his family for burial. Rumours persist that his body may have been desecrated and disappeared by the National Security Service (NSS).

The life of Kerbino Wol was much too short. But it was legendary, nonetheless. It was a life he devoted fully to a dream that South Sudan could be great.

Born in 1982, Kerbino's childhood was consumed by war. He was forced to flee his homeland with his family during the liberation struggle and was trained as a child soldier in Ethiopia, where he became a member of Dr John Garang's Red Army. Before reaching adulthood, he would traverse the length of his country many times over, and spend years in the cattle country where he learned the customs of his people. He stood out among his colleagues for his discipline and his knowledge of languages, which allowed him to communicate with people from every corner of South Sudan.

As South Sudan's independence approached, Kerbino was already frustrated by the corruption and violence perpetrated by the SPLA leadership. He decided to leave active duty and strike out on his own as a businessman.

In 2010, he founded Kerbino Agok Security Services (KASS) while employing a handful of private security guards and using a shipping container as an office space. Kerbino sought to build a company that would offer high standards of training for his guards and reliable payment and job security for all of his employees. He hired from every tribal background. He hired women and trained them as guards. Soon, KASS was providing high-level security services to local businesses, NGOs, international organizations, diplomatic missions, and high-profile visitors to South Sudan. Kerbino created thousands of jobs for his fellow citizens and was revered and respected by all who worked for him. Always impeccably dressed, when Kerbino entered a room it was as if the future had arrived.

I met Kerbino in January 2013. I was doing academic research on private security companies, and our early interviews spawned a lasting friendship. Kerbino told me about the hopes and dreams he had for his country, but he was already convinced that the leadership had failed to deliver on the promises of independence.

Later that year, South Sudan would descend into a civil war that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives.

As the years passed, Kerbino grew more and more disturbed by the devastation unfolding in his homeland. But his efforts were undeterred. When South Sudan broke out in further violence in 2016, Kerbino opened his company headquarters to shelter people fleeing for their lives. He created the Nile Foundation, a humanitarian organization with the mission of promoting youth empowerment and national reconciliation. The Nile Foundation would go on to organize business training workshops for students and multicultural football matches for IDPs. In June 2017, I participated with Kerbino in a series of public lectures on peacebuilding and conflict resolution sponsored by the Nile Foundation at universities across Juba. When speaking with young students who were coming of age in conditions of civil war, Kerbino stressed that he too was born into a life of war, and that like him, all South Sudanese could overcome their obstacles and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous future. The last project I was involved in with Kerbino was an idea he had to build an institute for the comparative study of law in Juba.

Then, without charge or cause, Kerbino was arrested by the NSS on 27 April 2018.

Detained inside the Blue House, Kerbino was not formally informed of the reasons for his arrest. He was not brought before a court. He was denied access to his lawyers and his family. For a regime that requires its people to live in fear and destitution, it seemed Kerbino's only crime was to demonstrate a model of success and charity for all.

For this, he was locked up and beaten. His captors sent agents to abduct him from the prison on multiple occasions, though Kerbino in one instance fought them off with his bare hands.

Months later, after carefully observing the regime's methods of abduction, Kerbino and a group of prisoners noticed that a new round of disappearances was being planned inside the Blue House. In the early hours of Sunday, 7 October 2018, they decided to act. The prisoners opened their cells, disarmed their guards, and broke into the armoury. For one day, they turned the Blue House into South Sudan's Bastille.

They had a simple demand: they wanted their silenced voices to be heard.

The prisoners protected the inmates and established rules of engagement. They informed the government of their position, enumerated their grievances to international news outlets, and called for justice and the rule of law in South Sudan. Though weapons were fired at the facility, the prisoners never once returned fire. They never attempted escape and they continued to insist on a mediated resolution to the standoff. Upon laying down their arms, they willingly returned to their cells.

For their faith in their ideals and the dignity by which they conducted themselves, the prisoners made the 7 October Revolt one of the greatest single expressions of freedom in South Sudan's history. Kerbino felt so strongly about the bravery of these young men that he decided to name his movement after this date.

I can only speak to the authenticity of the Kerbino Wol whom I knew and admired. We became so close we regarded each other as brothers. After he was transferred to Juba Central Prison in
June 2019, Kerbino and I began work on a book about his life. I recorded countless hours of conversations with Kerbino while he was in jail, in sessions that would go long into the night.

We discussed the major moments that defined his childhood, from the endless days marching as a child to Ethiopia and back, to the tender nurturing that bonded him to his mother. We discussed the books he was reading, the historical figures he held as his heroes, and how he came to believe that citizenship was both a right and a responsibility. We discussed everything that happened during the 7 October Revolt and the stories of the men who participated. We discussed how the regime nearly starved Kerbino to death in the aftermath, and the circumstances surrounding his trial. And we discussed in minute detail the numerous crimes and cruel methods of torture he witnessed inside the prison system, the abduction and disappearance mechanisms of the NSS, and killings committed on the orders of top officials in South Sudan. In due time, I intend to publish every word of what he told me about these subjects.

Kerbino was released from Juba Central Prison on 4 January 2020, a moment of triumph and euphoria for his loved ones. But an internal crisis was soon apparent. His choices seemed limited to complying with the dictates of a corrupt and murderous system. Indeed, his own efforts to regain his confiscated properties through domestic legal procedures were blocked by the NSS. Perhaps in time, he could rebuild his businesses and his foundation. Doing so would have required him to lock hands with his oppressors and keep his voice silent, placing him back in the same position he was in April 2018.

Another choice was to leave permanently, which Kerbino simply would not do. He loved his country too much.

The constant surveillance and spying led Kerbino to remark to me on several occasions that he felt like he was still in prison. But Kerbino's real trauma was rooted in the suffering of his people. The worst forms of torture he described to me were not the ones he experienced, rather it was the torture he witnessed. In the jails, he saw prisoners beaten, humiliated, starved and killed. After coming out he saw rampant pessimism, young people dying of communal violence, old people dying without care in rundown hospitals. He told me once that he felt the liberty and integrity of his people were being held hostage by the regime. He always tried to walk in the shoes of the poorest around him, and to see life through their eyes.

What a good and selfless man he was. For Kerbino, South Sudan was a sacred land and the freedom of his people was a sacred cause. The idea of falling back into old patterns hung heavy on his soul. He would not cooperate, but he would not leave. He felt instead a deep calling to act.

When Kerbino announced the formation of the 7 October Movement, he stated that he wanted to greet his fellow citizens in the country. He stated that he was standing in solidarity with young people who had taken the lead to liberate themselves from repression and the failed leadership of South Sudan. He stated that his movement was inclusive of all tribes. He stated that peace should prevail over the entire country.

The regime's response was swift and brutal. We do not yet know what diabolical things they may have done to Kerbino and the men who died with him. But after congratulating themselves.

on the speed by which they carried out their assault, the SSPDF spokesperson stated they had received intelligence that provided justifiable reasons to launch pre-emptive offensive operations, without specifying the nature of these reasons.
Did they pause to ask themselves what drove a man who had been a child soldier, businessman, and philanthropist to declare himself an opponent of a repressive system? Did they pause to ask themselves whether their own powers of persuasion could yield a peaceful solution or a negotiated truce? The answers are obvious. Their only instinct was to hunt him down and kill him. Little did they know, his voice, his example, and his life story would only be amplified by this merciless killing.
Kerbino considered himself a good citizen of his country. He was all too modest. Kerbino Wol was the best citizen of South Sudan, a fervent believer in freedom and equality, defiant in the face of despotism, willing to give his life to confront an unjust system. As protestors around the world shout Black Lives Matter to give voice to victims of state violence and repression, Kerbino shouted his principles to give voice to the victims of state violence and repression in his own country. The young people of South Sudan should look to the example of Kerbino Wol with pride. They should study his life and his ideas. Kerbino had so much pride in the young people of South Sudan, and such high expectations of what they could achieve if their collective energy could be harnessed to lead the country.

Evil exists in this world because the vast majority of us do not have the strength and courage of Kerbino Wol. He was a freedom fighter and genuine revolutionary, pure of heart and forever young. He stared evil in the eye and did not flinch. When Kerbino was killed, God was the first one who cried.

His loved ones remember his kindness, his gallantry, his laughter, and his boundless generosity. Many will suffer from the memory of just how much they depended on Kerbino's love and support. They will be left with a giant chasm in their lives. Losing someone like Kerbino is like losing the moon and stars.
They can take a small measure of solace in the knowledge that Kerbino lived and died as a free man. I suspect that in his death, with the wings of an angel and the roar of a lion, he will continue to watch over and protect his loved ones, and he will haunt the weaklings who conspired against him, as well as all men who profit from tyranny.

On the day Kerbino was killed, the last message he sent to me was, “the spirit is strong, my brother.” His hope and optimism remained with him until his final moments. Surely he died in a state of grace.

It hurts to tell this story because it ends with me losing a brother. But as a sacred promise to my brother, I will never stop telling his story.

South Sudan has killed its best. And yet, his spirit is strong. I remain standing eternally in solidarity with Kerbino Wol.

Robert Portada is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science & Public Administration, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Categories: Africa

Ethiopia says GERD filling would start within two weeks

Sudan Tribune - Sun, 28/06/2020 - 12:52

June 27, 2020 (ADDIS ABABA) -Ethiopia still would be able to start the first filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as scheduled within two weeks, said the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday.

"Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue," said a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The statement comes after an agreement reached on Friday in a meeting convened by South Africa's President and Chairman of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, including Egyptian President and Ethiopian, Sudan Prime Ministers.

Also, took part in the meeting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo who are members of the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government as well as Moussa Faki the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Ahmed's office stressed that the three countries have agreed to "reach a final agreement on few pending matters" during this two-week period.

The Sudanese government on Friday said the two-week time frame was proposed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The meeting further agreed that "the filling of the reservoir should be postponed until the signing of an agreement" between the three countries, further stressed Khartoum.

During a series of meetings from 9 to 17 July the three countries agreed on about 95% of the technical issues related to the filling process, but they failed to agree on the legal binding character of the agreement.

The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the matter on Monday 29 July following a letter filled by Egypt on 19 June followed by similar letters by Ethiopia and Sudan.

Nonetheless, the African leaders in their statement of Friday underscored that the Nile and the GERD are African issues that must be given African solutions.

Also, after the end of Khartoum hosted a virtual meeting, Sudan declined for the second time an Ethiopian offer for a bilateral agreement.

It is worth noting that Sudan wants a coordination agreement between the GERD and its dam on the Blue Nile to protect it. While Egypt wants an agreement on the amount of water released during the first filling period.

However, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials rejected an Egyptian attempt to discuss a water-sharing deal between the three countries.


Categories: Africa

African Union demands list of holdout rebels obstructing peace in Sudan

Sudan Tribune - Sun, 28/06/2020 - 11:21

June 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC) has urged holdout armed groups to join the peace process in Sudan and requested the transitional government to designate those who obstruct the ongoing efforts.

The PSC discussed the situation in Sudan in a meeting held on 17 and released its decisions in a communiqué published on Friday 26 June.

The meeting welcomed the progress achieved so far in the Juba process for peace in Sudan which started in September 2019 between the government and the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas.

The Council further called on the Sudanese parties to expedite the negotiations and conclude a peace agreement, at the same time it appealed on the hold out groups to join the talks without preconditions.

“In the same context, condemns all acts of violence and calls on the Transitional Government of Sudan, working together with the AU Commission, to develop and submit a list of all those not cooperating and obstructionists to the current peace process, in order for the Council to take appropriate actions,” further stressed the statement.

The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) remains the only group that rejects the South Sudanese government mediated negotiations.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok met the SLM-AW exiled leader in Paris on 29 September 2019 but he failed to persuade him to join the peace process.

Earlier this year, al-Nur said he would launch a new initiative for a peace conference inside the country, but he recently postponed it.


Categories: Africa

Sudan to announce decision on peace outstanding issues on Monday

Sudan Tribune - Sun, 28/06/2020 - 08:48

June 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government will announce on Monday its final position on the outstanding issues in the Juba mediated peace talks for peace in Darfur and the Two Areas with the armed groups.

The armed groups have demand to participate in the transitional government and to allow them to run in the general elections that will follow, besides demanding near the half of the government portfolios and parliament's seats in the transitional institutions. Also, they disagree with the government on security arrangements.

On Sunday, the Higher Peace Commission held a full-fledged meeting, including the Chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo "Hemetti", and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, among other officials.

"The meeting discussed the six outstanding issues and reached common understandings on it," said the head of the Peace Commission, Suleiman Dabailo, in press statements after the meeting.

Dabailo pointed out that the commission "will present these understandings to the Central Council for the Freedom and Change Forces (FFC) to complement the requirements of the final peace agreement in the country."

"The Commission will hold a meeting on Monday to determine a final decision on the outstanding issues before to inform the Southern Sudanese mediation and the armed groups about it."

Al-Dabilo affirmed that there is a positive trend from all sides in its approach towards achieving peace in Sudan.

A delegation including South Sudanese mediation and three representatives of the armed groups arrived in Khartoum Thursday in a bid to reach an agreement on the sticky points in the talks.


Categories: Africa

Sudan arrests Islamists planning riots and violence during pro-democracy demonstrations

Sudan Tribune - Sun, 28/06/2020 - 08:10

June 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese authorities Sunday arrested Islamists cells planning to stage large-scale riots during demonstrations for justice and formation of transitional parliament that pro-democracy Resistance Committees will hold on 30 June with the broad support of political forces.

The Sudanese youth will take to the streets on 30 June to recall the government of Abdallah Hamdok their demand for justice and trial of those who killed protesters on 3 June 2019 in Khartoum. Also, they want the formation of the remaining transitional period institutions: the legislative council, commissions and generally the implementation of the transitional constitution.

"The police and judicial forces have arrested Islamist cells members planning to incite violence at demonstrations of 30 June," said police officials told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

Already on Saturday, Khartoum state governor said that they have information about plans aimed at to turn processions into chaos. He announced precautionary measures to prevent such violence, including the closure of markets and shops and deployment of prosecutors with the forces who will protect the demonstrators to take legal measures against the rioters.

On Sunday, authorities applied strict measures to prevent possible violence, including closing bridges and evacuating those residing in Khartoum hotels and residences especially those in furnished hotels and apartments. The preventive measure was decided following reports that the Islamists mobilized people from outside Khartoum and paid them hotels and apartments in the capital.

The Resistance Committees and the Organization of the Families of the Martyrs pledged that the itinerary of processions will not include the army headquarters, the presidential palace or the council of minister, but will march through main streets and residential areas.

30 June will mark the first anniversary of the huge protests across the country that forced the military council to negotiate a handover of power to a civilian government after refusing to negotiate with the Forces for Freedom and Change, also the same date marks the anniversary of the Islamist military coup that brought al-Bashir to power in 1989.

However many fear that supporters of the ousted President Omar al-Bashir's regime will infiltrate the demonstrations and spark violence or chant slogans hostile to the transitional government. Several Islamist groups supporting the former regime have called to participate in the marches.

Musab Mohamed Ali, a lector at the political sciences department at Al-Neelain University Khartoum confirmed that there are intense anxiety and frustration because the parties participating in the demonstrations are from the opposing sides, i.e. government and opposition supporters.

"The resistance committees call, through the 30 June march, to correct the transitional period by completing the structures of governance and just retribution, while opponents of the transitional period see it as an opportunity to end the transitional period and shorten it as they call to form a new government," said Musab.

The political analyst did not rule out the violence, and warned of "frictions that may create chaos, because the numbers of the demonstrators may be large and difficult to control, and this requires high-security measures for the million and mobilizing an emergency room from the security forces."


Categories: Africa

SSOA says there no disagreement over nomination of Jonglei governor

Sudan Tribune - Sat, 27/06/2020 - 12:11

June 27, 2020 (JUBA) -The spokesperson for the South Sudan Patriotic Movement Stephen Lual Ngor denied differences within the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and asserted its unity and cohesion.

media official Stephen Lual Ngor (ST photo)

Ngor was reacting to reports about a new disagreement between the alliance leaders about who to nominate as the new governor of Jonglei State.

Media reports said the minister of higher education Denay Chagor has been picked by several groups for the position of the state governor while others are backing the nomination of Majok Diel for the same position.

"All the factions of the alliance are united and there is no reason for friction," said Ngor.

"All of us will participate in the government institutions in the national unity government, state governments and local governments as well as the parliament," he further said.

SSOA during the first power-sharing had obtained the Upper Nile State but the SPLM-IO's objection to the deal brought President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar to strike a second agreement on 17 June allocating Jonglei to SSOA and Upper Nile to SPLM-IO.

Ngor, however, said that SSOA forces initially wanted to reclaim the Upper Nile State and had undertaken contacts with the presidency to emphasize their rejection of Jonglei State.

He further pointed to a statement supporting the 17 June deal issued by SSOA secretary General Lam Akol saying it has been issued without prior consultation with the alliance leadership council.

The Secretary-General's statement supporting Kiir-Machar deal "violates the SSOA constitution, which gives the right to make decisions to the leadership council".


Categories: Africa

Sudan's ruling partners back 30 June processions

Sudan Tribune - Sat, 27/06/2020 - 09:14

June 27, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan's ruling partners discussed in a joint meeting on Saturday the processions that the Resistance Committees will organize next Tuesday and decided that the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok would address the nation on this occasion.

The Resistance Committees, gathering youth at the neighbourhoods' level who backed the four-month revolution and now the main popular supporter of the transitional government, will stage national rallies on June 30th, to demand the government implement the transitional programme announced in term of justice and democratic reforms.

The joint meeting of Saturday included the Sovereign Council, the Council of Ministers and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), in addition to the delegation of armed movements visiting Khartoum.

"The meeting discussed the arrangements for the launch of the processions, in remembrance of the Sudanese revolution, which was achieved with the blood of the martyrs that will not be in vain," said Siddiq Youssef a leading member of the FFC in statements after the end of the joint meeting.

He added that the parties discussed demands included in the memoranda submitted by the organizers to the Sovereign and Council of Ministers and the FFC.

The families of the martyrs demand to expedite the trial of the leaders of the ousted regime, achieve peace, and bring to justice those involved in the killing of protesters during the attack on the pro-democracy sit-in on 3 June 2019.

On the other hand, the political and professional entities call to complete the structures of the transitional authority including the formation of the Legislative Council and the appointment of civilian governors.

The deputy head of the Umma National Party, Maryam Sadiq al-Mahdi, said that the meeting agreed on the need to respond to the aspirations "the patient people". Also, she announced the formation of a joint room for follow-up the processions across the country.

She added that the meeting agreed that "there will be an important letter from the Prime Minister on this occasion that addresses the issues raised through the important memorandums submitted by the Resistance Committees and the families of the martyrs."

On Saturday the Prime Minister announced that he had received a progress report from the Commission of Investigation into violations committed during the attack on the sit-in camp by the security forces outside the general command of the Sudanese army on 3 June 2019.

It is worth mentioning that the National Umma Party participated in such meetings for the first time after it had frozen its activities during the past months in the FFC alliance because they declined its calls for reforms of its structures.

For his part, Lt Gen Yasir Alatta, a member of the Sovereign Council, affirmed that the military establishment has laid down plans to protect the youth of the revolution in all their celebration sites.

There are security reports saying that the supporters of the former regime plan to use this occasion to carry out riots and sabotage actions in the capital Khartoum.


Categories: Africa

Sudan hopeful peace will be achieved very soon: minister

Sudan Tribune - Sat, 27/06/2020 - 07:03

June 27, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government expressed hopes to reach an agreement on the pending issues with the visiting delegation of armed groups within the next twenty-four hours, paving the way for the signing of a peace agreement in Juba.

The statement was made by Omer Monis Minister of the Cabinet Affairs after a meeting held in Khartoum to discuss the outstanding issues in the peace talks including the transitional government, the Sovereign Council, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), and a delegation representing the armed movements negotiating in Juba.

Monis affirmed that all the participants agreed on the need to achieve peace as soon as possible, stressing it is a top priority for the transitional period in Sudan.

"From this evening until tomorrow, we hope that the dialogue between the mediation, representatives of the armed struggle and the transitional institutions as well as the (government's) political incubator (FFC) will lead to results that herald the good news speeding up peace," he said.

He further stressed that the parties agreed on most of the issues raised during the meeting.

The government and the armed groups have failed to strike a deal on the power-sharing at the national level as the demands of the movements have been seen excessive in Khartoum.

The movements want to have 4 seats at the Sovereign Council, 9 ministries at the transitional government and 140 of 300 seats of the transitional legislative council.

Also, Darfur groups demand 60% of the transitional institutions in the western Sudan region and $13 billion during the upcoming 10 years.

The Sudanese minister said that all the participants praised the tremendous efforts made by the government of South Sudan to bring peace to Sudan, in the interest of the two countries. He underscored the strong relations between the peoples of the two countries and their desire for peace and development.

For his part, Tut Gatluak, the Chief Mediator said that the delegation of the Armed Struggle Movements (expressed used after the withdrawal of the SLM- Minni Minnawi) presented their vision to address the outstanding issues to the meeting and discussed all national issues.

Gatluak further said that peace in Sudan is imminent.

The security advisor to President Salva Kiir reiterated that South Sudan and its leader President Salva Kiir is determined to achieve stability and peace in Sudan.

He further said that the mediation carried the message of peace to Khartoum and that the arrival of the delegation of the armed groups to Sudan before the signing of the peace confirms their seriousness and readiness to achieve peace.


Categories: Africa

In central Mali, community fighting and impunity, ‘overwhelming’ efforts to protect civilians

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 21:14
Feeding an entrenched cycle of violence and reprisal, 580 civilians have been killed in Mali so far this year, as worsening security conditions and widespread impunity undermine efforts to protect people caught in intercommunal fighting, the UN Human Rights chief said on Friday. 
Categories: Africa

Sudan: Dynamics of change and resistance of political parties to change

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 19:15

By: Hussein Arko Menawi

When we look at the political timeline in Sudan it gives us strong evidence, how the political future in Sudan is critical, bleak and confusing. It is also a good reference to understand to what extent our political forces are unable to accept and manage change. Change is something inevitable but if there is a resistance to that change, it would be uncertain how long the change takes place, what complications are in its process and how the process navigates to its final destination. Another important question is that who manage this change? As William Arthur puts" The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails", how and who adjusts the sails for the process of formation of Sudan is our major question of this topic.

Due to wars in the margin, notably, there has been a big change in our political environment but to what extent the change is conceivable to our politicians and how far they are ready to respond to the change.

If time went back, and there is a window was opened to view the political events that came within the period of independence or the generation immediately after the independence, surely politicians would discern clearly in what type of socio-political environment did they practice politics at that time compared to the new development occurred in many aspects of the current political environment in Sudan. The political interaction of several decades since independence has made the weight of political events change. This change happened in a very complicated political process.

In fact, from the perspective of many Sudanese as well as outsiders, they see Sudan is a country in a process of formation but this process is crippled by huge distrust resulted from a long-standing conflict in which engaged all the diverse components of the society.

Politically the consequence of fierce long-standing military and political conflict is the new situation in which the balance of power has become uncertain and fluctuating. However within uncertainty there are many indicators suggest that the rules of the political game currently are not absolutely under the control of the traditional politics, rather, the rules are in a continuous shift in favour of the marginalised people. Undisputedly the process of change has been in a continuous evolution breaking the barriers of the conventional game of power manipulation exercised by the political leaders who tried to win the game or get access to power just for the sake of a small sector of the Sudanese at the expense of the large and diverse community of Sudan.

The game of political decision monopoly in the country by a minority after exiting the condominium rule from Sudan has gradually faced a pressure from active counter marginal political forces who have started to engage in confrontation with the central government since 1955 in Torit, Southern Sudan at that time, and this situation has created an atmosphere of no common loyalty among the Sudanese.

The clear evidence to this allegation is that since the independence never happened throughout the history of Sudan all the Sudanese have come together to express their opinions in a shared loyalty on an issue whether a national issue or issues related to foreign positions. Although there are some factors have influenced the process, the war in the margin as changing instrument is the most influential factor that steadily making a very strong impact on the process of changing Sudan. When tracing the process back, it seems that since mutiny in Torit in 1955 the mechanism of war has proved to be an only invariable factor among many negative variable factors influenced the process, especially factors like sporadic coup d'etat, mismanagement of foreign policy and the policy of ideological-oriented intervention into our politics.

In spite of politics of gun mussel that made a great shift in the power balance in Sudanese politics, in addition to the catastrophic events that have coloured our political scene, it seems that the political parties in Khartoum still see politics in Sudan only within the conflict over their vested interests. It is really ridiculous when the political parties in Khartoum don't consider political evolution that strongly in connection with the military violence overshadowed by the war in South Sudan, Darfur region and the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains where most populations categorized under marginalization.

During this diabolical war environment of more than half a century, there a crystal political evolution or say the political process has been snaking its way to somewhere not clearly its destination is predictable, or in other words, where and when the process would be anchored. But what a predictable is that the old politics that dominated political arena for decades is giving way to dynamics resulted from the interaction of marginalised people in war-torn regions.

The political development resulted from the wars brought political forces from the margin into a line of power conflict with completely different issues and different tools from that prevailed in the post-independence period until April 1985 uprising.
The political mobility that dominated the political scene in Sudan, whether during October uprising or during April 1985, was just a class struggle between political parties on privileges that can only be obtained through power manipulation and the nature of the conflict is not beyond common routine demands such as public service or basic needs or how to share in power and thus, the political elites were unable to address the roots of the Sudanese crisis, neither during October 1964 nor during April uprising 1985. Now, what a ridiculous is that the political scene after accumulated similar experiences that lasted for decades still the political parties are stuck in the square of 1964 & 1985, while the old political landscape of Sudan has shaken tremendously under the seismic of brutal wars in the margin. In spite of a change introduced by the conflict in the margin, unfortunately, what's going on now is a feverish political competition over power privilege and social class interests and the competition is taking roots every day deeply to colour our political landscape with gloomy future. When we look at the political position of the traditional parties led by FFC particularly their resistance to peace whether, in Addis Ababa or Juba, the competition over narrow privileges has become more intensive than before Ironically, the power-hungry opponents of this competition are still the same political parties even if they are under new names. It's also notable that the conflict still a copy of the old practices through a new dimension of Center versus margin has become dominant. Ie.there is still a high degree of hostility between extremist ideologies, especially between those of political Islam and the entire forces of the left. The growing tension between the two blocs now is about to reach the peak and every day there is enough evidence that their confrontation is imminent. After the collapse of the NCP regime, the tension has become more acute among the traditional political forces than the tension between the fighters in the margins and the central government.

The confrontation between left and right forces definitely will not exceed the limits of historic longstanding disputes between the two blocs and for that, they are now preparing for a final showdown and for sure the fundamental issues of Sudan, particularly the issues that ignited war in the periphery are not of their concerns.

It is true that since the collapse of the NCP dictatorship nothing has been achieved. While many claim that the new government needs ample of time to eradicate the presence of NCP from the state organs, however, this is not an excuse for the government to focus on minor issues without giving a priority to peace and the current situation is a very clear indication that if the issue of peace not addressed, definitely it will lead to political chaos. Let's say we need time to address the chronic and heavy legacy that Sudan inherited during the past decades, including the legacy of the 3o years of NCP regime, but what unrealistic phenomenon is that politics remains static and stuck on old practices and doesn't respond to changes but continues to revolve within the orbit of the same old ideas.

It is an extraordinary and a critical political situation, it is not a coincidence, it has been developed mainly by, the traditional political parties even if there are other suspects. It is so difficult to find out a safe exit when vision becomes very blurred and the main focus is how every political party to win the battle over power controlling without taking into consideration the issues of the margin and the size of the political change that has been brought by the margin wars into the political scene. What makes things more pessimistic is that, instead of directing the state's capabilities to manage crises and address key issues, the political parties are now lining up for an imminent battle against each other and the worst is the one connected to components of transitional government both the military component and the civilian one. The differences within the government not only seriously affected the future of the transitional period and its interim government but it also particularly impeded the progress of the ongoing peace process in Juba.

Categories: Africa