Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Press Release: Newly-Established Ghana-Namibia Friendship Association Elects Executives

Demystify. Unpack. Explain


ACCRA, Ghana (AIF Show-28 Nov. 2017) A Ghana-Namibia Friendship Association plenary session has taken place in Accra, with executives nominated for the position of Chairperson; Vice Chairperson; Treasurer; and Secretary.

Former Ghana Ambassador to Namibia, Haruna Atta, was elected overwhelmingly by the participants.

The Secretary, Roy Aboku, is a businessman who has travelled extensively to Namibia. In a brief chat on the sidelines of the meeting, he spoke to “Africa in Focus”, recalling the days when Ghanaians had to travel to Abuja for a visa. He is happy to note the progress that has been made with Namibia issuing a visa to visitors in just 72 hours.

This was confirmed by Deputy High Commissioner, Gabriel Shaanikaa, who explained that the three days is the maximum time for a visa, and that the requirements are far from cumbersome. He encourages all Ghanaians to take advantage of this, especially now that Air Namibia will be staging a comeback in the first quarter of 2018.

Other members of the Executive include a businessman, and Nana Ofei-Nkansah, a traditional leader.


Africa in Focus Show seeks to demystify, unpack, and explain developments within institutions of ECOWAS; the African Union; East Africa; & South-South cooperation.First airborne in 2014, and with 5 Seasons under its belt, the Show is known as a reference for quality analysis on Africa.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

AU Situation Room -- FLASH REPORT on Zimbabwe


Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA       P. O. Box: 3243      Tel.: (251-11) 551 7700/ ext. 4090   Fax: (251-11) 551 93 21/ 5514227
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Date: 15 November 2017

Zimbabwe's military said on 15 November, it had seized power in a targeted assault on "criminals" around President Robert Mugabe who were causing social and economic suffering.
In an extraordinary statement after long hours of unrest, Zimbabwe's army early Wednesday, 15 November, sought to reassure the country that "this is not a military takeover" and that President Robert Mugabe was safe and sound. The military said instead it was targeting "criminals around" the president who have sent the nation spinning into economic despair.

Military vehicles blocked roads outside the Zimbabwean parliament Wednesday after army generals denied staging a coup but used state TV to vow to target "criminals" close to President Robert Mugabe. An AFP reporter witnessed cars being turned back by soldiers near parliament, while other military vehicles were stationed outside the offices of the ruling ZANU-PF party in the capital Harare.

Overnight, at least three explosions were heard in Zimbabwe's capital and military vehicles were seen in the streets after the army commander had threatened to "step in" to calm political tensions over the 93-year-old Mugabe's possible successor. The ruling party accused the commander of "treasonable conduct."

Reports indicate that soldiers have taken over Zimbabwe's ZBC state broadcaster, compounding speculation of a coup against President Robert Mugabe.  The Zimbabwe army's takeover of the state broadcaster and action against some members of President Robert Mugabe's government has been praised by the chair of the Liberation War Veterans' Association.  

Several cabinet ministers, including local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and finance minister Ignatius Chombo, and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwayo, were arrested. There was allegedly a brief gun fight outside Mr Chombo’s house.  Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo was a leading member of the so-called "G40" faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe's wife Grace, that had been vying to succeed the 93-year-old president - Reuters

Speculation had been mounting throughout the day that a coup was under way against Mr Mugabe, after the head of the armed forces threatened to "step in" over the sacking of an influential vice president.

Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the war veterans' group issued a statement from Johannesburg praising Army General Constantino Chiwenga for carrying out "a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power". The statement said the army will return Zimbabwe to "genuine democracy".  
Zimbabwe's army has urged other security services to "co-operate for the good of our country," warning that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."

It says that if the country's degenerating political, social and economic situation is not addressed, it "may result in a violent conflict".  The army insists that this is not a military takeover and that President Robert Mugabe's security is guaranteed.

Gunfire erupted near Mr Mugabe's private residence in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday, a witness told AFP. "From the direction of his house, we heard about 30 or 40 shots fired over three or four minutes soon after 2.00 am," a resident who lives close to Mugabe's mansion in the suburb of Borrowdale said.

Armed soldiers were assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare, according to the Associated Press, while officers were seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. "Don't try anything funny. Just go," one told a Reuters reporter on Harare Drive.

Zimbabwe's ruling party on Tuesday accused the army chief of "treasonable conduct" after he challenged President Robert Mugabe over the sacking of the vice president, in the latest sign of worsening instability in the country.

The ZANU-PF party criticised General Constantino Chiwenga who had demanded that Mugabe stop purges of senior party figures, including Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa who was dismissed last week. The youth wing of Zimbabwe's ruling party accused the military chief on Tuesday of subverting the constitution for threatening to intervene after President Robert Mugabe plunged the country into political crisis by sacking his vice president.

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will oppose any attempt by the army to stage a coup, amid reports of a military convoy moving through the capital, Harare, AFP news agency reports.

A coup would be "undesirable" as it would "bring democracy to a halt" in the southern African state, MDC Shadow Defence Minister Gift Chimanikire told AFP ahead of the convoy sightings.  "No one wants to see a coup," he added.

The U.S. Embassy closed to the public and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing "the ongoing political uncertainty through the night." The British embassy issued a similar warning, citing "reports of unusual military activity."  The UK embassy in Harare also urged British citizens to stay indoors during the 'uncertain situation'. The governments of South Africa and Zambia on Tuesday warned military leaders in Harare not to take any “unconstitutional” steps to avenge Mr Mnangagwa. 

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) says it will not intervene to end the crisis unfolding in neighbouring Zimbabwe, amid fears that the military could overthrow 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, the world's oldest ruler.

It was not clear where Mugabe and his wife were early Wednesday. "Their security is guaranteed," the army statement said. The president reportedly attended a weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday. (Source: AFP, BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Daily Telegraph, News 24)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

COURSE: Call for enrollments: Massive Open Online Course on freedom of expression for African judges

03 November 2017
Judges, judicial officers, prosecutors, parliamentarians and lawyers are invited to enroll in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety for journalists. The free, online course starts on 13 November 2017, and is offered by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and UNESCO.

The five-week course will elaborate on the international and regional legal frameworks of freedom of expression and relates issues. It will furthermore expand on challenges to freedom of expression in the digital age, especially in the African context. Case studies will also be relied upon to ensure in-depth and multi-faceted understanding of the course content. The course is also open for journalists, civil society, bloggers, human rights advocates, academics and others interested in the topic.

Registration to the course is free and can be access on this link(link is external).

Video lectures will be given by the Vice-President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Ben Kioko, and Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information and Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Other trainers of the online course are UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General of Communication and Information, Frank La Rue and the Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, Prof Frans Viljoen.

The online course was preceded by a three-day seminar in Pretoria, South Africa, where judges from 13 African countries participated as well as a judge from the Economic Community of West Africa Court. In a video message welcoming the judges, Frank la Rue said: “You, the African judges, are of great importance for the defense of human rights on the continent.”

By the end of the course, participants will be familiar with the existing international, regional and sub-regional legal frameworks and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, access to information, safety of journalists and related issues in Africa. It will elaborate and use various examples of landmark decisions that have previously been given by regional and sub-regional courts in Africa. The ECOWAS Court of Justice as well as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights delivered various judgements on the issue of defamation and investigating the murder of journalists.

As judicial officers are essential partners in the development, interpretation, implementation and enforcement of laws, the course will provide them with the opportunity to increase their knowledge on issues related to freedom of expression, press freedom and the safety of journalists. Hence, they will be able to further contribute to ensuring a safe environment for journalists, good governance and more transparency through improving access to public information. The participants completing the MOOC will receive a certificate from Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and UNESCO.

 This project is implemented in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers.

The project received the support of Denmark and Open Society Foundations, with a technical contribution supported by Norway.

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