Ethiopia’s visa-on-arrival for all Africans starts November 9

Ethiopia’s visa-on-arrival for all Africans starts November 9

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

A hint from the Prime Minister in May 2018, then a confirmation of implementation by erstwhile president. In between both, the country began issuing visas online to tourists.

Finally, Ethiopia has announced a date for the start of a visa-on-arrival regime for all Africans. Africa’s second most populous nation will start visa-on arrival regime from November 9, 2018, PM Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff confirmed on Friday.

According to Fitsum Aregaa, the current move is: “Consistent with PM Abiy Ahmed’s vision of a closer and full regional integration in Africa — where minds are open to ideas and markets are open to trade.”

Abiy had earlier this year disclosed that following Rwanda’s lead, Ethiopia was going to allow a visa-free regime for all Africans. At the time, he was speaking at a state banquet held for his visiting Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.

Abiy said: “The President (Kagame) invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon.” On June 1 the issuance of visas online for all tourists kick started.

Ethiopia boasts the continent’s best national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has made the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, not just a regional but global aviation hub.

The most recent time the issue was came up was when ex-president Mulatu Teshome at the opening of parliament said the visa-on-arrival regime was to be implemented in this year.

Mozambique opposition says peace talks on hold

Mozambique opposition says peace talks on hold

Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, said on Wednesday that peace talks with the government were on hold due to its allegations of fraud in this month’s local elections.

Renamo said the election authorities had falsified results and robbed it of victory in five of the 53 municipalities.

The October 10 polls were seen as a key test of the peace process between the ruling Frelimo party and Renamo, which maintains an armed wing.

The two movements fought a civil war until 1992, and new peace talks started in 2016 after another outbreak of fighting between the government and Renamo rebels.

“Now the peace negotiation is on hold,” Renamo spokesperson Andre Magibire told reporters shortly after the electoral commission confirmed the results.

Among the disputed municipalities is Matole, the country’s largest city, which borders on the capital Maputo.

“Our priority is to manage the electoral conflict,” he said. “We are struggling to recover the five cities which were stolen.”

The party has gone to court to challenge the results.

“The resumption of peace talk depends on what the Constitutional Court will say,” Magibire said.

“To negotiate you need to be happy. We’re frustrated with the fraud.”

President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo’s new leader Ossufo Momade had recently made progress on a key sticking point in the talks – the disarmament and integration of former Renamo rebels into the police and army.

But analysts cast doubt on future progress of the peace process.

“There is no trust between the parties. With the state apparatus being used for the victory of Frelimo, Renamo will not hand over the weapons,” Domingos do Rosario, a political scientist at Mondlane University in Maputo, told AFP.

Renamo fought a brutal 16-year civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before the fighting stopped in 1992.

Fresh violence erupted from 2013 to 2016 between Renamo rebels and government troops before peace talks began.

The electoral commission on Wednesday released complete results, handing Frelimo 44 municipalities, leaving Renamo with eight and a small opposition party with one.

Frelimo has ruled Mozambique since its independence from Portugal in 1975.

The AU’s role in peace and security goes beyond norm-setting

The AU’s role in peace and security goes beyond norm-setting

Institute for Security Studies

Clarifying the roles of the African Union (AU) and subregional organisations is a central element of the AU reforms. It is key in terms of managing expectations about what the AU can or cannot do, as well as coordinating Africa’s responses to avoid duplication of efforts. But this issue is also divisive, and it is unclear whether AU member states will reach a concrete decision on a division of labour at the upcoming extraordinary summit on reforms in Addis Ababa on 17 November.

The AU Constitutive Act and other legal documents, including the Peace and Security Council (PSC) protocol, envisage the AU as playing a leadership role in addressing challenges on the continent. Article 3(l) of the Constitutive Act mandates the AU to ‘coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union’.

However, none of the core documents of the various regional economic communities and mechanisms (RECs/RMs), which emerged through different processes, refers to the primacy of the AU. In the area of peace and security, for instance, RECs/RMs claim parallel responsibilities in terms of leading peace processes.

An analysis of the major security concerns on the continent shows that subregional organisations are increasingly at the forefront of addressing security threats.

A diminishing role in peace and security?

Out of 10 major security situations mentioned in the January 2018 decisions of the AU Assembly, the AU is only taking a clear leading role in two: the military intervention in Somalia and the mediation to end the ongoing border dispute between Sudan and South Sudan.

On the other hand, subregional organisations and ad-hoc regional groupings are leading mediations in South Sudan, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau, as well as military interventions against terrorist groups in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and Central Africa. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also leads the political mediation in Somalia, alongside the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), while the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has taken the lead in the situations in Lesotho and Madagascar.

Yet, in some instances there is strong cooperation between subregions and the AU and United Nations (UN). One such example is the attempt to address the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Finding solutions at the subregional level is in line with the 2008 memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the AU and subregional organisations and mechanisms. However, the memorandum is not clear on what role the AU should play in conflict situations.

Should the AU be restricted to norm-setting?

In July 2018 the reform team led by President Paul Kagame produced a draft paper on the division of labour between the AU and RECs – a paper seen by the PSC Report.

The paper suggests that ‘the AU should set the strategic direction, develop harmonized continental agendas, policies, texts, standards, coordination, lead resource mobilization for continental actions and be responsible for monitoring, evaluation and accountability’.

RECs/RMs are expected to be responsible for the actual implementation of AU decisions, including enforcing member states’ compliance with AU norms. This resonates with a 2010 assessment of APSA that notes that ‘some RECs/RMs are of the view that the AU Commission should not view itself as an implementing agency; it should rather play more of a coordination role’.

This would entail that the AU would act as a norm-setter, which in itself is not an easy task, given the security challenges and the diversity of governance standards on the continent. To be successful in setting norms, the AU will have to make sure these norms and policies are respected.

Therefore, while implementation at the subregional level is important, the AU should be empowered to provide checks and balances, especially when peace processes led by subregional organisations are compromised.

AU’s role when subregional peace processes fail

The CAR, South Sudan and DRC conflict situations show the deep involvement of neighbouring states in such crises. They are often accused of taking sides and arming or harbouring parties to the conflict. This raises concerns about the role of neighbouring countries in crises.

For instance, while IGAD’s mediation in South Sudan has recently seen some progress, South Sudan’s neighbours have been caught up in the conflict itself. Uganda supports President Salva Kiir’s government and sent troops in support of Kiir’s forces from 2013 to 2015, when the peace deal was signed. Sudan is accused of supporting South Sudan’s rebel groups.

Such concerns led UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn IGAD and neighbouring states against taking sides in South Sudan’s conflict.

It took a lot of international pressure for South Sudan’s neighbours to commit to the peace process, particularly after the resurgence of violence in July 2016. At the same time, these neighbours also blocked efforts to impose punitive measures on South Sudan elites.

An IGAD communiqué on 30 July 2018, for instance, argued that, ‘given the latest developments in the peace process and the need to implement the permanent ceasefire and achieve an inclusive peace agreement, it is not helpful to pursue punitive measures at this stage’. The meeting and communiqué came prior to a meeting by the AU Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan on 30 July as well as a PSC meeting on 31 July, thereby discouraging any considerations of punitive measures.

Even though a new deal has been reached with the support of Sudan and Uganda, the lack of an international enforcement plan in the agreement raises doubts about its sustainability. South Sudan’s warring parties have violated several other agreements in the past. What stops parties to the conflict from violating the current deal? Indeed, violence is ongoing in several parts of the country despite the peace deal.

As such, AU reformers have to explore options to enable the AU to take over peace initiatives led by subregional organisations when the latter’s efforts are compromised.

When subregional actors are unwilling or unable to address security threats

In some conflict situations, such as those in Libya and Cameroon, subregional organisations tend to be unwilling and/or unable to address the security threats.

In Cameroon, for instance, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) is unwilling to put the issue either on its agenda or on the agenda of the AU. Most member states of ECCAS are led by like-minded elites who want to stay in power. This situation is complicated by the fact that ECCAS is a relatively weak REC when compared to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and SADC, and its member states are facing internal issues of their own.

Given that the AU often takes its cue from subregions before intervening, the AU Assembly and the PSC have not been proactive in considering solutions to the crisis in the anglophone part of Cameroon. The issue continues to be viewed as an internal affair, despite the fact that over 400 people have died.

Such situations present instances where the AU should step up and lead the peace process while co-opting subregional actors and the international community.

Indeed, for the AU to be relevant to the lives of ordinary citizens and its member states, the continental body has to do more than set norms and evaluate implementation. This includes taking proactive steps in situations where member states are unwilling or unable to respond to security threats.

Such a proactive role requires a substantive review of the MoU between the AU and subregional organisations and mechanisms to clarify responsibilities and highlight situations that require AU intervention.

Source – Reliefweb

Comoros: Civilians flee strife-torn city on Anjouan island

Comoros: Civilians flee strife-torn city on Anjouan island

Government sends in more troops and cuts power and water in Mutsamudu to quell unrest against constitutional changes.

Security forces in Comoros have intensified their crackdown against anti-government protesters on the island of Anjouan, with witnesses reporting heavy gunfire and residents fleeing amid a wave of unrest against constitutional changes.

President Azali Assoumani on Thursday sent in reinforcements to quell a nascent uprising in the opposition stronghold as clashes continued for a fourth day between security forces and armed protesters.

Residents of the island are angry at Assoumani’s plans to extend term limits and end rotation of the presidency between the country’s three main islands after one term, a move disadvantaging Anjouan, which was next in line.

An official at Anjouan’s airport told the AFP news agency a significant contingent of security forces arrived on the island to quell unrest there.

Residents said the old medina quarter of Anjouan’s capital Mutsamudu, with its narrow, intersecting alleyways, has become the epicentre of the fighting.

“Those who were able to fled the old town to seek refuge in the outer suburbs… which are a safe haven,” said one witness who declined to be named.

French expatriate Anais Greusard told AFP that there were “big explosions” late on Wednesday and “a lot of shooting” in the early hours of Thursday.

Authorities also cut off water and power supplies in Mutsamudu, residents said.

“They have cut water and electricity. [But] the hooded protesters are not the ones suffering, it is the population which have been taken like hostages,” a resident of Mutsamudu told Reuters.

“If this continues, we risk starving to death. We are praying that it ends quickly,” added the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘People are revolting’

Interior Minister Mohamed Daoudou said on Wednesday that the situation was back to normal in Anjouan after three people were killed in the violence. Witnesses claimed that many more people had been injured in the clashes

He blamed “terrorists, as well as drug addicts and alcoholics” for the unrest.

“The people are revolting… they won’t stop shooting,” said Ahmed Samir, an exiled leader of the opposition Union for the Development of the Comoros (UPDC) party who added that the people wanted to overthrow Assoumani.

Samir claimed that around 40 armed men were leading an armed insurrection against government forces while witnesses described masked men with automatic weapons roaming the medina.

A night-time curfew remained in place on the island.

The United Nations and African Union have called for stalled talks between rival parties to resume.

In August, Assoumani – who comes from the largest island, Grande Comore – said a July referendum had approved the extension of presidential term limits and an end to the rotating presidency. The opposition called the referendum illegal.

Assoumani plans to compete in presidential polls in early 2019. That would deny Anjouan its turn to occupy the presidency from 2021, as would have happened under the previous system that rotated the post among the country’s three main islands.

Assoumani has been in power since 2016 and would have had to step down in 2021 under the old term limits.

The former military official joins a string of leaders in African countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Cameroon who have extended presidential term limits or otherwise amended the constitution to remain in power.

SOURCE: News agencies

The Aborted S. Africas Zuma Nuclear Power Deal

The Aborted S. Africas Zuma Nuclear Power Deal

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Joe Brock
S.Africa’s Zuma tried to strike nuclear power deal with Putin in 2015 – fifinmin

JOHANNESBURG- South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told a corruption inquiry on Wednesday that former president Jacob Zuma pressured him to agree to a massive nuclear power deal with Russia to be presented to President Vladimir Putin in 2015.

Zuma wanted to present the nuclear deal to Putin at the summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies in the Russian city of Ufa, Nene told the inquiry in Johannesburg.

Sources  – (Reuters) 

 

Chinese model presents many pitfalls for African states

Chinese model presents many pitfalls for African states

By KAY COLES JAMES

The recent Forum on China Africa Cooperation has ended. Held in Beijing, these annual extravaganzas are part of China’s African engagement strategy.

One key goal: to showcase China as a country worthy of emulation and support.

There is reason to admire parts of China’s recent success. Its move toward greater economic freedom, while limited, has helped millions of Chinese rise out of poverty and created what is now the world’s second largest economy.

Yet there is reason to be wary of Beijing’s claims that its developmental paradigm is best suited to bring peace and prosperity to Africa.

The Chinese model couples some economic freedom with repressive governance.

It was born of Beijing’s belief that democracy was a threat to the power of its ruling Communist Party, and would create turmoil that would slow economic growth.

DEMOCRACY

As economic models go, this one is new and relatively untested. It is a path far different from that taken by most of the world’s wealthiest countries, which achieved prosperity without sacrificing political freedoms.

Indeed, some scholars have found a strong correlation between democracy and economic growth. Rejecting democratic principles of governance would be tragic — especially for millions of young Africans who already feel voiceless.

Centuries of experience show that democratic principles provide the best foundation for building political systems that are responsive to ordinary citizens.

My country, the United States, is an excellent example. African-Americans such as myself eventually gained full rights here because our democratic system could not tolerate the contradiction of leaving a significant portion of its citizens voiceless.

When societies reject democratic principles, human suffering inevitably follows.

FREEDOM

Undemocratic systems care little for the individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — as tragically illustrated by China’s current imprisonment of as many as one million Uighurs (a religious and ethnic minority) in re-education camps.

Finally, ordinary citizens can do little to hold undemocratic leaders accountable, including in their dealings with foreign governments.

To achieve its potential, Africa needs investment and infrastructure. China can help with that.

Yet only in strong democracies will average citizens be able to pressure their leaders to strike fair deals that benefit more than a small elite.

Those who aspire to freedom and prosperity should urge their governments to manage relations with China carefully. Most African countries won full sovereignty only within the last 60 years, often after costly liberation struggles.

DEBT

Yet today a growing number of African countries find themselves deeply in debt to China, sometimes due to projects of dubious economic value.

There is a real possibility that some of these nations will have to surrender some of their sovereignty to Beijing to settle those debts.

It has already happened in Sri Lanka. That small South Asian nation recently had to give up rights to its Hambantota port for 99 years to China because it could not repay Beijing.

Consider as well that, despite the Chinese government’s many public commitments to the principles of non-interference and respect for sovereignty, it swiftly punishes countries that try to host Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or that seek official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The lesson is clear: China will respect African countries’ sovereignty as long as doing so advances Beijing’s foreign policy goals.

WOMEN

African countries that choose a different model will find partners, including the US, eager to collaborate with them to build societies that are truly sovereign and both prosperous and free.

The US has a good record in this regard, helping countries such as Japan and South Korea that were once on a developmental par with many African countries.

I am thrilled that the First Lady of the United States will travel to the continent in October to build on the US’s warm history with many African countries.

Mrs Trump’s championing of the critical role of women, including in the building of prosperous and free societies, is an example of the sorts of values underpinning U.S. initiatives in Africa.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has provided care for millions of Africans, and decreased by up to 40 percent the rate of new HIV infections among young women who are now living monuments to the benefits of US-Africa co-operation.

The writer is President of The Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think tank based in Washington DC.

Source – Daily Nation