Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AFRICA NEWS BULLETIN @ 20h00 -- 26 January, 2016

26 January, 2016
Radio XYZ93.1FM
Assistant Producer: E.K.Bensah  Jr

1.                   FOCUS: The AU Commission’s Department of Political Affairs Hosts Another Successful Tweetchat
2          EAST AFRICA:
a.       Tanzania Suspends Officials over National ID Card
b.      Kenya Renews Calls on Govt to Lift Ban on GM Food
3          CENTRAL AFRICA: The Story so far on Suicide Attacks in Cameroon’s North
WEST AFRICA: Senegal Prevents Terror Attack by Rounding up 900 people for Interrogations
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Zambia receives USD50million from World Bank for Water Resources

1.                   FOCUS:
After the successful trending of the #DGTrends that reached the millionth mark in Kigali, Rwanda, last December at the AU’s Fourth High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights & Development, the Department of Political Affairs of the AU Commission has held the first tweetchat for 2016.

A tweetchat is a one done exclusively on the twitter social media network. The hashtags –#DGTrends; #AUIGD2016; and #Project2016 – were the three used for today’s edition that started at 12PM GMT/3PM East African Time.

Organised under the AU’s Inter-Generational Dialogue that will be held under the theme “Young People as Actors: Moving & Shaking Africa’s Governance Landscape”, the objective was to celebrate and commemorate young people in charge of leading initiatives and creating the change they wish to see.

According to Ibrahim Sanusi of the AU’s African Governance Architecture’s tweet, the tweetchat “is premised on the fact that African youths are already leading change and contributing to improved governance in Africa.” The official account of the Department of Political Affairs added that, “we’ll be celebrating and showcasing young people who are moving and shaking #Africa’s governance landscape…”.

Nebila Abdulmelik, Knowledge Management Expert at the African Governance Architecture, tweeted “we consider youth as partners and leaders in our efforts to promote democracy in #Africa.” As if in response, Zayrah Africa tweeted “the youth don’t want to sit back and watch, to Cairo and Cap, from Dakar to Asmara, good governance is what the Youth are asking for.”

Sanusi enumerated a number of initiatives being led by the youth. These include: @FeesMustFall from South Africa, which he describes as “examples of youth innovation.” Others are: @pwatchUG, “which monitors and reports on Parliament and carries out policy analysis” in Uganda by @Miss_Rizzy. In Senegal, there are initiatives, such as @YenMarre and @Africtivistes, which are also considered “examples of youth innovation in governance.”

The AU’s Department of Political Affairs has 25.6 thousand followers on twitter and regularly tweets under the hashtag #DGTrends, which was first coined at an AU High-Level meeting in Dakar in 2011. It stands for “democratic governance trends”, and is an Africa-owned hashtag appropriated by the AU. In October 2013, a Burkinabe activist, Cyrille Guel, literally alerted the AU Peace and Security Council on twitter of the ousting of Blaise Compaore. In September 2015, Burkina Faso’s short-lived coup was also announced on twitter using #DGTrends hashtag.


2.                   EAST AFRICA:  
A corruption investigation into a public procurement process has officially opened following Tanzanian President Magafuli’s suspension of the head of the national electronic identification card project along with four others.

On 25 January, Magafuli said he had suspended the director general of the National Identification Authority(NIDA), Dickson Maimu, pending a graft investigation and an audit of the USD82.20million that has so far been spent on the project.

Since he came to power in October 2015, Magafuli has pledged to root out corruption and inefficiency in Tanzania. He has sacked a number of senior officials, including the head of the government’s anti-graft body; a senior rail official; and head of the country’s port authority. On the twitter social media network, the meme #WhatwouldMagafulido remains popular. The last time it was used in a tweet was six days ago.

Still in East Africa,

Organisations in Kenya are calling on government to remain impartial when debating whether or not to allow use of technology in food production.

National Coordinator of Kenya Biodiversity Coalition(KBioC) Anne Maina, says the State has not been fair to anti-GMO crusaders, especially with latest remarks from Deputy President William Ruto calling for the lifting of a ban on GMO foods.

Kenya has joined a number of African countries that have also refused GM food – even in the form of aid sent from the UN World Food Programme.

3.                   CENTRAL AFRICA:  
The AU Commissioner for Peace & Security, Smail Chergui, tweeted a day ago “we vehemently condemn today’s terrorist attacks in Bodo, N#Cameroon which reportedly killed 25 innocent ppl @ market and other public places.”

Seventeen hours ago, Tarek Fatah – an author, and columnist at “The Toronto Sun” – tweeted “
32 dead in a suicide bomb attack, but not covered on CNN or BBC coz it’s Cameroon. Imagine if this was Rome or Bonn.”

At 6.19pm today, the “AfricaMediaNetwork” tweeted that, the death toll is rising in Cameroon suicide bomb blast, with a link to an SABC story.

The story indicates Cameroon’s military has begun an evacuation of 66 injured people. Four explosions struck a busy market and entrances to the market at Bodo. Apparently, the attackers slipped in under cover of the seasonal dusty Harmattan winds.

Although Cameroon is part of a regional Multi-national Joint Task Force to root out Boko Haram, joint operations have been delayed, resulting in national armies resolving to tackle the militant group themselves.

4.                   WEST AFRICA:
Reports coming from Senegal this afternoon indicate that the country’s police say it has interrogated more than 900 people over the weekend as part of increased efforts to prevent attacks by Islamist militants.

Despite the fact that Senegal shares a border with Mali, where al-Quaeda-linked fighters have been active in the desert for years, the country has never experienced a major militant attack.

A second security source confirmed the interrogations, adding that 925 people had been questioned.

Bloomberg reported last week that French officials had allegedly issued warnings to governments in Senegal and Ivory Coast saying that militants were plotting to wage attacks in West Africa’s cities.

5.                   SOUTHERN AFRICA: 
The World Bank has given Zambia USD50million to help support and manage its water resources.

Sector ministers in Zambia believe it is important the country invests more resources into water into water infrastructure and water harvesting as Zambia has a number of water bodies.

Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda says there is need to continue harnessing water. He says his ministry is working with the World Bank to set up three irrigation schemes.

The water resources development project is supported by the World Bank and the African Development Bank.


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