Monday, August 29, 2016

President Mugabe Leaves for Swaziland
August 29, 2016
By Morris Mkwate
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe has today left Harare for Mbabane, Swaziland where he will attend the 36th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit which opens tomorrow.

He travelled with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials and was seen off by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Ministers Ignatius Chombo, Christopher Mushohwe and Kembo Mohadi, and Chief Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda and service chiefs.

VP Mnangagwa is Acting President.

Themed “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive Sadc Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region”, the Summit will discuss regional integration, industrialisation, food security and Lesotho’s constitutional reform.

The Sadc Energy Sector Plan tops the agenda, targeting to increase electricity generation from 56 000 megawatts to well over 96 000MW.
Zimbabwe Remains Unbowed: President
SILENCE MUCHEMWA
Tendai Mugabe in Nairobi, Kenya
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Zimbabwe has done its best to keep its economy afloat over the 15 years it has been under illegal Western sanctions, President Mugabe has said. Contributing to discussions at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development here yesterday, President Mugabe said Harare had introduced various mitigation measures, among them Zim-Asset. “In spite of sanctions, we in Zimbabwe have tried our best to grapple with our economy, and we have adopted a home-grown economic development blueprint, which we call the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) which runs up to 2018,” said President Mugabe. Under this framework, we envisage attaining accelerated and sustainable economic growth and development by empowering our people through judicious exploitation and beneficiation of our natural resources, and we hope this also is currently the position in the rest of Africa.”

President Mugabe said Sadc had an economic blueprint focused on industrialisation running from 2015 to 2030.

He hailed Afro-Japanese relations, saying: “Let me conclude by once again emphasising that this partnership between Africa and Japan is of intrinsic importance to both sides and is both our duty to ensure that this forum flourishes. It’s my sincere hope that this historical summit held on African soil will set new heights for Japan and Africa co-operation. We need Japanese help and I am sure Japan also needs resources from us so long our union, long live our development agenda. We hope that Japan in its aid programme will take account of these initiatives and these programmes that have been adopted by countries individually and by regions together and also by our African continent.”

President Mugabe said the Ticad VI theme, “Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda — Ticad Partnership for Prosperity”, resonated with Africa’s development agenda. “It captures the great aspirations and goals of our continent with our Japanese partners. Also, of equal importance is its symbiotic relationship with the continental agenda 2063 which is Africa’s cornerstone development effort.

“Let me, on the onset, point out that structural economic transformation is a painful process through which any country seeks transformation change to its economic model. Such economic transformation is intended to achieve growth and development.”

Ticad VI was organised by the government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the UN Development Programme, the African Union and the World Bank. Focus is on promoting structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialisation, resilient health systems for quality life and social stability for shared prosperity.
Keep Calm, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Are Here
SUNDAY MAIL
Chief Reporter—

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has assured the public that it is taking seriously attempts by political activists to cause anarchy in the country and has beefed up manpower in major urban areas to thwart any planned disturbances. The law enforcement agency said security was being enhanced to ensure the safety of law abiding citizens.

There were fears that the forces bent on destabilising the country would try to cause chaos in Harare yesterday, but the police were on top of the situation and deployed uniformed and plain clothed officers to thwart any skirmishes.

Disturbances in the central business district last week hurt business activity resulting in several retail and service outlets closing early as others were looted.

In an interview yesterday, Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said, “We want to give assurances to members of the public that we have the capacity to protect their safety.

“We are constantly working on ways to deal with these malcontents to ensure that that they do not cause fear to the public. One such measure is that we have increased police deployment not only in Harare, but in all the parts of Zimbabwe to ensure that the public is safe,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyathi said the force had gathered intelligence on what the rioters were planning next.

“These protestors are not your everyday persons … We have gathered they were at the Showgrounds and Samora Machel, Jason Moyo, Nelson Mandela Avenue as well as at Chinhoyi Street Bus Terminus and some Choppies supermarket outlets.”

According to Chief Supt Nyathi, some vendors had been roped into the destablisation strategy, concealing missiles that were used to attack police officers and damage property.

“One observation we made was that there were a number of vendors who were part of the plot … Fortunately some of these culprits were apprehended by police.”

About 70 protestors were arrested between last Wednesday and Friday and appeared in court yesterday to answer various charges related to the disturbances.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission’s Statement Torches Storm
August 29, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should stop being an “armchair critic” and have an appreciation of the situation on the ground before rushing to make conclusions, political analysts and legal experts said yesterday.

This comes after the human rights body yesterday issued a statement — via the private media — condemning the police for thwarting violent protests being propelled by the MDC-T and its cronies.

Observers said by issuing a partisan statement, the Commission was acting in a partial manner and pushing the interests of opposition political parties.

This, analysts said, was in violation of Section 236 of the Constitution which demands that independent commissions should not “act in a partisan manner, further the interests of any political party or cause/violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.”

The violent demonstrations have seen property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being destroyed and burnt, shops looted, cars stoned and innocent people attacked.

The police have not been spared with officers on duty being attacked and having their cars deflated and burnt.

Despite being provoked, the law enforcement agents managed to maintain law and order.

Scores of hooligans, mostly from the MDC-T and Dr Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First, were arrested.

Most of them were arrested last Friday after opposition parties’ goons under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) unleashed an orgy of violence under the guise of a peaceful demonstration for “electoral reforms”.

Surprisingly, in its statement, ZHRC shifted the blame on the police.

“It is noted with great concern that police did violate the fundamental rights of the people as evidenced by facts gathered on the ground,” the constitutional body said.

“The ZHRC is, therefore, extremely concerned about the recent violent conduct of the ZRP. The ZHRC has received complaints on allegations of police brutality and our on-going investigations have revealed unbecoming and violent conduct on the part of the police.”

Analysts said the statement showed that the Commission was “off the mark” and completely divorced from the situation on the ground.

“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should conduct its business in an open and transparent manner, inviting submissions and collecting evidence in a translucent manner,” said Harare lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein.

“It should not use the short-cuts of reading newspaper reports and then issue statements.

“What people want is thorough investigations so that the outcomes and reports are credible and assist in the upholding of human rights.”

A legal expert who preferred anonymity said it was clear investigations were not done.

“We are talking about events on Wednesday and Friday,” said the lawyer.

“Saturday was not a working day and then on Sunday a statement is released by a commission which purports to have gathered facts, which, in its statement also uses the term ‘ongoing’ investigations and more importantly, ends up inviting injured parties to approach it and make submissions. Essentially, there were no investigations done by virtue of time and wording of the statement. If you look at Section 59 of the Constitution, it stipulates that one has a right to demonstrate peacefully, on section 219, the same Constitution gives certain duties to the police to protect lives and property and after looking at the general objectives of the Commissions and their specific provisions all that tells you how important it is to investigate thoroughly. You can not investigate thoroughly only for two working days, one of which was affected by further demonstrations.”

Added the legal expert: “They are not supposed to act in a partisan manner that rushes to conclude favoured parties involved in the demonstrations. They have called into question their non-partisan approach. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they have furthered the interests of political parties.”

The expert said freedoms and rights of citizens should be protected at all levels.

“Has the Commission sought to ensure respect for human rights at all levels of society or they are being selective?

“How does a commission, which is required to investigate, proceed to invite submissions after a judgement? It amounts to putting the cart before the horse.”

ZHRC said: “The ZHRC is also concerned by the indiscriminate teargasing of centres occupied by people some of whom may not be involved in the demonstration. This should stop and we call for due diligence and care to ensure that the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens are respected and protected.”

Mr Elasto Mugwadi chairs the human rights body.

Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa defended the police saying they were responding to the obtaining situation.

“Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy and no constitution will give an individual or an individual group rights that overrides the collective interests of the people,” he said.

“If the opposition want rule of law, it has to be rule of law for the people.

“Police cannot watch violation of human rights and people hiding under a finger yet they have nefarious intentions to overthrow a constitutionally-elected Government.”

The ZHRC, established in terms of 242 of the Constitution, has the mandate to promote, protect and enforce human rights, including the right to administrative justice.

Being an independent commission, ZHRC should as provided for by Section 233 of the Constitution protect the sovereignty and interests of the people, promote constitutionalism and ensure that injustices are remedied.
Whither Zimbabwe’s Judiciary?
August 29, 2016

Demonstrators who appear before the courts as peaceful, arm themselves with petrol bombs, stones, catapults and iron bars before engaging in the so-called “peaceful protests’’

Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe witnessed a resurgence of terrorist activity by MDC-T on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 when that party’s youths torched a police truck, a police post and a ZBC van.

The police, themselves, a key component of the justice delivery system for which the judiciary is a part, in the context of terrorist attacks, had denied opposition parties permission to hold a demonstration so soon after the violent acts on Wednesday.

The granting of a High Court order, permitting another demonstration on Friday, August 26, 2016 — two days after the terrorist acts — as well as wanton looting of private citizens’ shops, therefore, came as a surprise to bystanders.

The decision was more baffling, especially given that the demonstration was set to commence from Robert Mugabe Square, a stone’s throw away from the Harare Agricultural Show.

Dear reader, the two seemingly unrelated issues will be dovetailed shortly.

The Judiciary chose to ignore the context of the application at a time of heightened tension, where MDC-T demonstrators had clearly disregarded their pledge to hold a peaceful demonstration.

To the chagrin of all and sundry, two days later, the same violent MDC-T, this time in cahoots with other parties, was granted permission to hold another bigger demonstration, which the Security Forces in their wisdom had denied permission.

The High Court has a duty to balance the interests of the applicant, that is the political parties, and equally those of private citizens, as well as business in coming to a conclusion.

The custodians of peace, given the terrorist context, had denied permission to hold the rally but the High Court, inexplicably granted it notwithstanding the realities on the ground. These same demonstrators who appear before the courts as peaceful, arm themselves with petrol bombs, stones, catapults and iron bars before engaging in “peaceful protests’’.

It is disheartening that soon after granting the ill-thought out order which paved the way for yet another “peaceful’’ demonstration, which was to begin adjacent to the ongoing Harare Agricultural Showgrounds at the Robert Mugabe Square, where children and foreign exhibitors were, the culprits were at it again, storming into the showgrounds.

The rowdy terrorists, who had shown their true colours two days earlier, but which the learned Judge paid a blind eye to, went on a rampage at the Agricultural Show, in the process endangering the children who thronged the show, as well as scared foreign exhibitors.

The question is, what High Court scares away and endangers the security of citizens, especially children? What kind of a High Court scares away and endangers foreign investors, exhibiting at the show? What kind of a High Court does not consider the safety of citizens? What kind of a High Court prioritises the right to demonstrate at the expense of the right to safety and being secure, as well as the economic interests of the country?

What kind of a Judiciary appears to revel in anarchy?

In Shakespearean language, “something is rotten in the state of Zimbabwe.”

The foregoing is not an isolated incident, there are other cases and instances where another arm of the wheels of justice, the prosecution, has been complicit in causing anarchy in the country.

It is worrying that most of the cases that slip through at the courts, are not necessarily because of a weak docket, but procedural bungling by the prosecution, or at times, the presiding magistrates or judges.

#ThisFlag leader, Evan Mawarire, slipped through the legal net, not because he was innocent, but simply because the prosecution in its wisdom, or lack of it, changed the charges against the accused in the courtroom. It is common cause, even to a layman, that an accused person is read his or her rights upon arrest and the charges with which he or she is being charged with in order to give him or her ample time to structure a defence.

It is shocking to say the least for legal practitioners, who pride themselves by referring to each other as “my learned colleague,” can somehow forget such a basic tenet of justice delivery, which laymen like myself are aware of.

To this day, Mawarire is gallivanting scot-free in the United States.

Some accused persons are over-detained beyond the stipulated 48 hours before being brought before the courts, rendering their cases a dud because their rights would have been infringed on.

The case of Mawarire is instructive. It ironically brings to the fore, hard and uncomfortable questions about some sections of the legal fraternity, both in public and private practice.

For instance, is it simple coincidence that for the first time, “100” lawyers thronged the Magistrates’ Courts as Mawarire’s legal team on a day that the public lawyers somehow connived to change the charges against Mawarire in the courtroom fully knowing the repercussions of their actions?

Never-mind the indisputable fact that lawyers in public and private practice are former classmates, friends and colleagues who work together daily in court.

The same ties that bind journalists from both the private and public media, who went to school together, and are friends, are true of lawyers. What can stop private and public lawyers from colluding?

No one will ever know the circumstances which led to Mawarire’s premature release, although the legal bungling smells to the high heavens.

While Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy which prides itself in observing the separation of powers between the three arms of the state namely the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, it becomes difficult when another arm appears to be out of sync with reality.

What happens when the judiciary appears to be misinterpreting the law to the benefit of a small violent section of the community at the expense of those of the peace loving majority?

Should the executive or legislature fold their arms and watch, all in the name of separation of powers?

If democracy endangers my child, endangers my business, endangers the country’s economic prospects and disturbs peace, surely it must be a bad thing, or is it?

The fathers of democracy did not have such a warped idea of the otherwise good concept of democracy and separation of powers when they coined them.

The buck has to stop somewhere.

In this instance, the buck certainly stops with the executive.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

West, MDC-T, ZimPF Strategies Exposed
August 29, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Western countries bankrolling MDC-T and Zimbabwe People First have undermined Zimbabwe’s national institutions through patronage and dirty money in a bid to destroy the constitutional order and force early elections, The Herald can reveal.

This, according to security and Government sources, was part of a multi-pronged approach by opposition forces to unconstitutionally overthrow the Government.

Sources said the manoeuvres, which were a throwback to 2007, would come to naught as Government was aware of the shenanigans.

Among the now bare strategies is a bid by the detractors to internationalise “child-play” demonstrations, calling for foreign intervention.

“Government is alert to the opposition elements’ strategy where they are looking at four scenarios,” a high-placed security official said yesterday.

“They want to precipitate the fall of constitutional order through civil unrest. That is why in our security structures, we emphasise the need to defend constitutional order.

“Secondly, they want to precipitate foreign intervention, hence the call on Sadc, the African Union and even the United Nations to intervene.

“There is a bid to internationalise demonstrations, which are a child-play relative to what we saw in other countries. The aim is to try and overstate the significance of these demonstrations, which involve only a few hundreds of persons.”

The securocrat said opposition elements were anticipating another Government of National Unity, being touted in the private media as the National Transitional Authority.

“Even though there is no consensus yet around that, it is a fallback position which the opposition is pushing for,” said the officer.

“Their fourth scenario is to bring forward elections, which are lawfully due in 2018. It is not only the last scenario but the least favourable to them because they are aware that outside of momentary street power, Zanu-PF holds sway in the country. Also put in mind that the issue of elections precipitates divisions within the opposition. It puts to severe test this façade of unity of opposition parties. A presidential candidate has to be found, Members of Parliament have to be found and distributed amongst the 18 parties. It’s the least attractive because it divides them. It exposes the falsity of the so-called present unity.”

In a bid to cause anarchy, opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) unleashed an orgy of violence in Harare last week.

They looted shops, burnt cars and properties, stoned vehicles and attacked innocent people.

Police thwarted the violent demonstrations and arrested goons behind the chaos.

Another security source said they had noted the statements coming from foreign embassies accredited to Zimbabwe principally, the United States and Canada.

“If you look at the American statement-not only does it condemn the sitting Government by way of its policies, it confers impunity to the opposition and its demonstrators,” said the source.

“Essentially, it says we are with you and to a lesser degree the Canadian statement says the same.”

On Friday, the United States embassy, Canada and Australia issued separate statements supporting the protests and condemning law enforcement agents for maintaining peace and order.

Added the security source: “We also take note of statements by youths such as MDC-T’s Happymore Chidziva that the ballot box is not the only way of removing a sitting Government. The youths don’t wish to govern. They are articulating the minds of those that aspire to govern. And what that means is, we are getting the general disposition of the opposition.”

The security source said to achieve their nefarious plot, the opposition elements had infiltrated national institutions.

“We are also aware that after the stunning 2013 results, there was a systematic undermining of national institutions through patronage,” said the source.

“The year 2013 gave us a new Constitution from which emerged a number of institutions. That Constitution’s efficacy as a governing tool is only tested through events such as we have witnessed recently. Equally, the commitment of institutions created by that Constitution to protecting the sovereignty and interests of the people can only be tested through decisions and positions taken by those institutions. We are aware that in spite of their disavowal of the Constitution, the Westerners now regard it as their constitution.”

A Government official said just like in 2007, Zimbabwe owed “a lot to Providence” as all these shenanigans were happening “a good two years before elections”.

“This allows us to know forces at work,” said the official.

“At home, we are very lucky. In warfare, there is no better day for a fighter than to find all your enemies in one basket. This is exactly what has happened through NERA. All told, we have two good years to sort out this mess. We have also seen the so-called elders of Zimbabwe the Graca Machels, Desmond Tutus, Kofi Annans Richard Bransons, Jimmy Carters all joining. Equally, we have seen the United Nations once again being abused. It is a throwback to the 2007 era and nothing has been subtracted or added. It is exactly the same forces.”

Acting under the aegis of what they call the “Elders”, Mr Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general; Archbishop Tutu of South Africa and Graca, the former wife of Nelson Mandela last week wrote to the regional body, Sadc, ahead of the forthcoming 36th Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government, calling “heads of state to support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe”

This is not the first time that the so-called Elders have tried to wade into the domestic fray as in 2008 they made a spirited attempt to influence matters as Zimbabwe emerged from the hung elections of that year.

Asked for a comment, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba, who is also Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services said the plots and sub-plots by the opposition parties and their proxies in the civil society would never see the light of the day.

“In the case of Joice Mujuru, she might as well kiss goodbye to any political personality outside the MDC-T,” he said.

“By submitting to NERA, itself an idea conceived exclusively by MDC-T, Joice has accepted to be MDC-T’s subaltern. For Zanu-PF this is a bonanza. It no longer needs to prove to the voter that it is Mujuru not Zanu-PF that has turned the coat.”
Retailers, Vendors Demand Restitution in Zimbabwe
August 29, 2016
Zimbabwe Herald
Elita Chikwati Herald Reporter

Grassroots Vendors Association chairman Mr Alexio Mudzengerere assessing the destruction caused by opposition supporters during their demonstrations last week.

Vendors and retailers — whose vehicles and wares running into hundreds of thousands of dollars were looted and destroyed in violent demonstrations that rocked Harare last week — have demanded compensation from MDC-T or else they will take the battle to the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, in Harare.

The group also implored Government to ban demonstrations which affected the ordinary man.

Shops and vending stalls were destroyed resulting in the looting of goods in parts of Harare’s central business district by opposition supporters under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda last Friday.

Most retailers and vendors were still to quantify the value of the goods they lost.

Shops selling laptops, cellphones, jewellery, electrical gadgets, clothing items, alcohol, fruits and vegetables were looted.

Yesterday, people were busy repairing their shops and vegetable stalls.

Most vendors said they had loans and were not sure how they would repay their creditors.

National Chairman of Grassroots Vendors’ Association Mr Alexio Mudzengerere said MDC-T offices should be relocated out of the CBD to enable people to conduct their businesses peacefully.

“We are still gathering information on what was lost and the value of the goods. We want our goods back. Our stalls are our mainstay and we have no alternative ways of earning a living.

“Our stuff was burnt and we do not have anything left. We do not even know where to start from. Why should the protesters burn our goods? We saw the people who burnt our goods and we have videos. They were wearing MDC-T T-shirts.

“Some of our members made a follow up of the goods and saw the looters carrying them into Harvest House. Demonstrations should not be allowed. They do not benefit us at all. They are now used as a way to loot shops.

“Vendors are supposed to develop and grow into huge enterprises, but how do we graduate when people destroy us like this?”

Ms Loice Karimazondo who sells snacks at Copacabana said looters left broke.

“I was away on Friday and had left my goods locked up in the locker but they were all burnt. I do not know where to get the money to restart the business.

“I am a single mother and need to pay school fees for my children. I need to pay rent. Violent demonstrations are not conducive for business,” she said.

Mr Tonderayi Dzokonya said it was disturbing that rowdy elements were disturbing hard-working Zimbabweans who were trying to earn a living.

“People should not be used by politicians to destroy other people’s lives. Instead of engaging in income-generating projects, some youths are being used to loot and steal from hardworking people. I lost goods worth $1 700 and my main worry is that I am expected to repay the money I had borrowed,” he said.

Mr Wengai Makumbe blasted those interested in attacking industrious people.

“Most people are out of jobs and rely on vending for their livelihoods. Why burn their goods? How will our families survive? These hooligans should be arrested and the law must take its course.

“We are now living in fear because of some lazy people who have evil motives. Vending has been regularised. We pay our bills to the city council and we should operate without any fear,” he said.

Shoes shop WalkTall owner Mr Anil Gulab said his shop was vandalised and shoes looted.

“We are yet to ascertain the value of the shoes we lost. We have so far established that 250 pairs of shoes worth over $3 000 were stolen.

“It is a pity people ended up looting goods. Some street kids took advantage of the situation and went on to loot shops as well,” he said.

Naganji sales and marketing manager, Mr Tinaye Kwenda said they lost clothing worth thousands of dollars including school wear, bags, men’s suits and ladies suits.

“We lost goods worth thousands of dollars that were on display and others that were in the shop. The protestors broke into the shop and looted our goods,” he said.

Efforts to get comment from Mr Stan Zvorwadza who leads to pro-MDC-T National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe were fruitless amid reports he could be among the people picked up in connection with the disturbances.

Lawyers who spoke to our sister paper The Sunday Mail over the weekend said people who lost their goods to the looters could sue the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera), the organisers of the demonstrations.

Lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein said: “In this case, most insurers are likely to refuse to pay claims and at law, they are justified to do so. The victims can, however, sue the organisers and inciters of the violence and claim damages. They have a strong case in this particular instance.

“However, suing could be expensive for most of people so the quicker way would be through a law gazetted by Parliament to provide for the compensation of victims,” he said.

Another lawyer, Miss Rutendo Mudarikwa said, “They can claim damages, but that is if they can prove beyond doubt that the perpetrators are linked to the organisers. In such situations, criminals can take advantage of the situation so that is why you have to prove that the demonstrators were incited,” she said.

President Mugabe recently urged Zimbabweans to remain calm and united against anti-democratic forces bent on reversing the country’s economic fortunes.

“Even if our economy is not doing well, do you have to go into the streets and even burn some of those little shops that the people are depending on? Burn their cars in the streets, do you have to do that?” he said.

He warned opposition parties and their handlers who are sponsoring violent demonstrations in a bid to depose the constitutionally-elected Government.
Zimbabwe President Mugabe Meets Kenyan Counterpart
August 29, 2016
Tendai Mugabe recently in Nairobi, Kenya
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe met his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta on the sidelines of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development that ended in Nairobi, Kenya yesterday where they discussed various ways of enhancing economic ties between the two countries.

The major highlight of the meeting was the appreciation of Japan’s new development policy for Africa that is in line with Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint the Zim-Asset.

Briefing journalists after the meeting that was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Japan was of the view that value addition and beneficiation were critical to Africa’s development.

Value addition and beneficiation is one of the four clusters of Zim-Asset that seeks to transform the economy by 2018.

As part of Japan’s measures for TICAD VI, the Asian giant pledged invest US$30 billion in Africa under public-private partnerships.

Said Minister Mumbengegwi: “Both leaders did appreciate the change of focus on the part of Japan that instead of simply looking at aid in the traditional terms, Japan is now looking at the whole question of industrialisation, beneficiation and value addition and the graduation of African countries from export of raw materials an unprocessed minerals to value added products whether it be in agriculture, whether it be in mining.

“These are areas that both leaders took note of and looked forward to the next three years to see the implementation of this change of focus on the part of Japan.

“I must say, there was a very good meeting of minds on all the issues that they raised relating to relations between our two countries, what we need to do to improve our economic relations.

“Our political relations are excellent, but there was a feeling that we need to do more to step up our economic relations.”

Among other things, Minister Mumbengegwi said, the two Heads of State and Government discussed issues relating to terrorism that was now a global challenge.

He said President Kenyatta briefed President Mugabe on the efforts they were making to combat terrorism in East Africa and Kenya in particular.

“They discussed the issue of terrorism,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.

“President Kenyatta briefed President Mugabe on the scourge of terrorism in this part of the world and efforts that Kenya and the region are taking to contain this scourge that has developed personified by Al Shabaab.

“It’s an issue that they discussed quite at length and what needs to be done regionally and continentally as well as globally.”

On the reformation of the United Nations Security Council, Minister Mumbengegwi said: “In terms of global issues, they discussed a number of issues, the United Nations reforms and of course the current summit, how well it is going for Africa and Japan and what the expectations of Africa are?

“It was a very successful meeting indeed.

“They really have a close meeting of minds. Both leaders were very clear that Africa’s position remains firm as spelt out in the Ezwulene Consensus and the said Declaration.

“Both leaders did indicate their firm commitment to the common Africa position.

“It was a very warm and very friendly exchange of views over a wide range of issues, bilateral issues, regional issues, continental issues, global issues — it was a very a wide ranging discussion.”

Meanwhile, President Mugabe returned home last night.

He was received at the Harare International Airport by his two deputies Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet Ministers, services chiefs and senior Government officials

The TICAD VI Summit was co-organised by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union and the World Bank focused on other key areas such promotion of structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialisation, promotion of resilient health system for quality life and promoting social stability for shared prosperity.
Russian Delegation to Inspect Egypt Airports Amid Expectations of Flight Resumption
After the visit Russia will make a decision on whether flights to Egypt would resume

Ahram Online
Menna Alaa El-Din
Sunday 28 Aug 2016

Passengers board an Egyptair Express plane bound for Cairo at Sharm el-Sheikh Airport, south Sinai, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. (AP)

A Russian delegation of experts is expected to arrive in Cairo this week to inspect security measures at Egyptian airports amid expectation of a resumption of Russian commercial flights to Egypt in October.

Egypt's Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy has said recently that there is ongoing cooperation with Moscow and that a decision will be made about the potential resuming of Russian flights in October following the delegation’s visit.

On Saturday, Fathy confirmed to Ahram Online reports by Russian media that Egypt was willing to allocate special terminals for Russian tourists if their numbers reached a certain level.

"If the Russian tourists reach a certain number, let's say three or four million, we can allocate a terminal for them," he said.

Russia, as well as several other countries, suspended passenger flights to Egypt last year over security concerns after the crash of a Russian jet minutes after taking off from the airport at the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

All 224 people on board were killed in the crash, which was claimed by Islamist militants.

Russian tourists were 20 percent of the nine million tourists that visited Egypt in the first nine months of 2015 before the crash, according to official data.

Fathy denied last week claims that Russia had requested that special terminals be set up in Egyptian airports for its citizens as a condition to resuming its flights to Egypt.

Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov said last Tuesday that air traffic between Russia and Egypt may be resumed gradually, according to the Russian state news agency Sputnik.

Also on Tuesday, the director of the Russian Tourist Association Turpomosch Alexander Osaulenko announced that Russian experts are reporting positive assessment of security measures at Egyptian airports.

Meanwhile, Turkey announced that flights between Turkey and Sharm El-Sheikh would resume in September.

Poland already resumed flights in early August, while Germany decided last May to ease restrictions on flights between its airports and Sharm El-Sheikh.

The downing of the Russian flight was a blow to Egypt's already ailing tourism industry. The number of tourists coming to Egypt dropped by 50 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year, according to Egypt's Tourism Authority.

Tourism revenues during that period witnessed a drop of 60 percent compared to 2015.
New Bill Increases Jail Terms as FGM Becomes a Felony in Egypt
Ahram Online
Sunday 28 Aug 2016

File Photo: A woman holds a card in her lap warning of the problems with female genital mutilation during a session to educate women in Minya, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s cabinet approved on Sunday a draft bill designating the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) a felony, raising prison terms for those convicted of performing the procedure, health minister Ahmed Emad announced.

Emad said that the new bill amends the law criminalising FGM, currently a misdemeanour, by stiffening penalties to between five and seven years in prison instead of the current three months to two years for practitioners who perform the procedure.

Those who "escort" victims to the procedure can also face jail sentences ranging from one to three years.

The bill, which has been sent to parliament for ratification, also carries a stiffened penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment if the practice leads to death or a "permanent deformity."

Although FGM by its very nature leads to deformity, Egyptian law does not consider the act in itself as leading to "permanent deformity."

The health minister said that the current FGM rate in Egypt is 91 percent, despite the law passed in 2008 criminalising the practice.

He added that the entrenched tradition can only be combated through laws criminalising the practice, especially since the procedure is often performed by people who are not licensed medical practitioners.

There is a widespread belief in Egypt that women who do not undergo FGM are unable to control their sexual urges.

In January 2015, a doctor was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntarily killing a teenage girl by performing the FGM procedure, while the girl's father was given a three-month suspended sentence. The case was the country's first instance of FGM prosecution.

The 2014 Demographic and Health Survey showed that the FGM rate in the reproductive age from 15 to 49 stands at 92 percent. More than 75 percent of cases are of girls aged from nine to 12 while 14 percent are aged 7 or younger, which indicates that the vast majority of Egyptian families circumcise their daughters.

A previous study by the health ministry suggested that FGM is more prevalent in rural communities than in cities, stating that roughly 96 percent of girls in rural communities had undergone FGM, as opposed to 85 percent in urban areas. 
Tunisia's New Government Wins Parliamentary Approval, Eyes Austerity
Tunisia's Prime Minister designate Youssef Chahed speaks at the Assembly of People's Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

By Tarek Amara | TUNIS

Tunisia's new government won a confidence vote late on Friday after the Prime Minister Youssef Chahed warned in Parliament an austerity program will be inevitable with thousands of public sector job cuts and new taxes if Tunisia does not overcome its economic difficulties.

The Unity government was backed by 167 of the parliament's 217 members.

The North African state is struggling with lower tourism revenues after two Islamist militant attacks on foreign tourists last year hit what is one of its key industries. Strikes and protests for jobs have also hurt the country's phosphate production.

Chahed has promised his new government will take tough decisions to help the economy grow and create jobs as the country comes under pressure from international lenders to push through reforms and trim public spending.

Lawmakers were meeting on Friday to vote whether to approve Chahed's new government - a broad coalition of secular, Islamist and leftist parties, independents and trade union allies which he believes can deliver on economic reforms.

"If the situation continues like this then in 2017 we will need a policy of austerity, and dismiss thousands of public sector employees and impose new taxes," Chahed told lawmakers before the vote.

Chahed, an ally of President Beji Caid Essebsi, promised a tough line on the economy. But critics question whether he has the political clout to overcome the labor union opposition, strikes and party infighting that have dogged past governments.

He said economic growth this year would not surpass 1.5 percent, below the official target of 2.5 percent for the year.

Chahed said state production of phosphate - a major revenue earner - had declined in the past five years by 60 percent, while public wage payouts had more than doubled from 6.7 billion dinars ($3.06 billion) in 2010 to 13.4 billion dinars this year.

He also expected the budget deficit to widen by 2.9 billion dinars to 6.5 billion dinars by year-end.

Chahed, at 41 the youngest prime minister Tunisia has ever had, said his government would be tough on illegal strikes.

"We will not allow interruption of production at any factory and we will be firm and severe in dealing with illegal strikes and sit-ins."

He vowed to press ahead with economic reforms sought by international lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

At 13.5 percent of GDP, Tunisia's public sector wage bill is proportionately one of the highest in the world. But labor unions and other groups have resisted attempts to reform pensions and introduce more taxes.

An estimated $3 billion in debt service payments is due next year and the state is likely to struggle just to come up with the roughly $450 million it needs every month to pay employees.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Richard Balmforth, G Crosse)
Tanzania Power Agency in $3.2m Project
BETTER THINGS TO COME: Bird and Eng. Nyamo-Hanga seal the financial commitment that will see several thousand villages getting electricity during the next six years.

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – The government through the Rural Energy Authority (REA), is spending $3.2 million to provide electricity to 7,873 villages across Tanzania mainland in the next five years.

“It is estimated that out the total budget to be utilized for the on-grid and off-grid extensions, a total of $1.8 million will be used to electrify villages which so far have no access to electricity whereas the remaining $1.4 million) will be used to transmit electricity in the areas which have the infrastructure, however, the actual cost will be assessed after the tendering process has been finalized,” Eng. Gissima Nyamo-Hanga,  the REA acting Director General told the East African Business Week last week.

Dubbed Turnkey Phase III, the project will supply electricity to 7,697  villages through the grid extension, but 176 villages will be connected by off-grid systems.

He said out of a total of 12,268 villages, at least 4,395 villages have been electrified which is equivalent to 36%.

This is part of a World Bank $209 million financial package to streamline the Tanzania power sector through the six-year Rural Electrification Expansion Programme.

Bella Bird, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia signed a MoU with Eng. Nyamo-Hanga to seal financial commitment. Recently, she said: “Access to electricity is critical to extend economic opportunities and reduce poverty. This program not only offers the opportunity for many more Tanzanians to have access to power in their homes and businesses, but also enables small power producers to access finance to invest in production, including with renewable energy sources.”

Transmission of electricity through the national grid will involve villages that have so far reached by grid-extension infrastructure, putting in place of underlined transformers in the areas which have the transmission infrastructure, and also those areas implemented during the Turnkey Phase II Densification that will be implemented as part of the Turnkey III component.

Eng. -Hanga said that other areas to be included in this component will be the production and transmission of electricity on islands, and areas that are far from the national grid. There is also a component that will be implemented by private sector players with grants from the Rural Energy Fund.

“The implementation of the off-grid component to the 176 villages will be implemented during the 2016/17 financial year by the private sector with a subsidy from the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with development Partners,” he said.

He said all programmes under the Turnkey III component will be implemented by private contractors in regard to the Turnkey Requirements under the joint supervision of REA, Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO), and Trust Agent. The target of the Government of Tanzania is to electrify all villages in Mainland Tanzania by 2021 and to ensure that 85% of the people access electricity by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

The World Bank is supporting ongoing projects in Tanzania’s energy sector including in power generation and capacity strengthening in addition to two recent development policy operations in 2013 and 2014. Among the recent significant achievements registered in the Sector are the progress of the gas-to-power program - a key medium to long-term cost reduction measure, enabled by the completion of a large gas transmission pipeline, connecting producing fields in Mtwara and Songo-Songo to Dar es Salaam.

A new 150MW gas power plant (Kinyerezi I) has been completed while the construction of another 240MW gas power plant (Kinyerezi II) has also begun. With the increased gas production and gas becoming available to all existing and newly commissioned power plants in the Dar es Salaam area, this has eliminated the need for using more costly liquid fuels in those plants and significantly reduced the cost of generation.
Zambia: Lungu Calls for Prayers
By Julius Phiri in Katete

PRESIDENT-ELECT Edgar Lungu has appealed to Zambians and the clergy to commit the nation to prayers for peace to continue prevailing in the country.

Mr Lungu said Zambia deserved peace to enable the citizens to conduct their business without undue pressure.

The President-elect was speaking when he graced this year's Kulamba traditional ceremony of the Chewa people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in Katete yesterday,

He said violence had no place in societies, hence the need for Zambians to strongly condemn the barbaric acts which caused misery for the people.

Mr Lungu said the Government could not allow acts of violence to cast a shadow on the much-cherished peace in the country.

He said it was important for Zambia not to lose sight of its democratic ideals.

Mr Lungu said it was against this backdrop that the citizenry should observe the 'One Zambia One Nation' motto.

"There is need to embrace this motto which was coined by our forefathers in an effort to ensure that peace and unity prevailed over the country's 73 ethnic groups.

"Our forefathers envisaged unity in diversity as a hallmark for us to develop our nation," he said.

Mr Lungu said unity defined the Zambian people, and that there was need to seriously nurture it for everyone to successfully forge ahead.

"All of us have a duty to cherish this unity. We all have a duty to plant seeds of unity across our nation and beyond," Mr Lungu said.

He said the traditional leadership had a mammoth responsibility to preach peace and stability to the people.

The President-elect said the Kulamba traditional ceremony was one such platform where people could promote unity.

He said it was imperative that Zambians continued preserving the peace which was attained at great sacrifice by the forefathers.

Mr Lungu said for many years, Zambia had maintained its celebrated status as a peaceful country founded on the 'One Zambia One Nation' motto.

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He said divisions should not be tolerated because it was a threat to the moral fabric as well as the Zambian culture.

He was happy that the traditional leaders had continued to denounce political violence.

Mr Lungu said the role of chiefs could not be over-emphasised, as they had a primary duty of imparting the beautiful local culture to generations and shaping it to fit the current realities.

He said traditional ceremonies did not only remind the people of their origins, norms and values, but contributed greatly to the promotion of national unity, peace and harmony.

The President-elect said culture underpinned the daily life, and that a nation without history, origins and culture was like a tree without roots.

"This is why we consider traditional ceremonies as crucial cultural activities to the core of our existence," he said.

Mr Lungu said societies that had weak cultural linkages were at risk of endless strife which negatively impacted on development.

He said it was for this reason that the three countries should make significant strides to promote peace and unity through art and culture.

He paid tribute to Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi for what he described as a wonderful ceremony which brought the three countries together.

"I wish Your Royal Highness continued good personal health as you endeavour to provide wise counsel to Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia in matters of culture, social and economic development," Mr Lungu said.

Mr Lungu also paid gratitude to the Zambian people for upholding peace during the August 11 general elections.

He said the Kulamba traditional ceremony had gone down in history as a tremendous achievement and the greatest demonstration of cultural freedom of the three countries.

Notable among the people who attended the ceremony were the Malawian Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia, Tete Province First Secretary Lina Portugal, newly-elected members of Parliament, former Home Affairs minister Lameck Mangani, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo, provincial Patriotic Front chairperson Andrew Lubusha and MMD leader Felix Mutati.
EN ROUTE TO GOOD GOVERNANCE?
August 28, 2016

President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu signing the Constitution Bill whilst Chief Justice Irene Mambilima looks on during the Assenting of the Constitutional Bill Ceremony at Heroes Stadium yesterday 05-01-2016. Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS

By David Kapoma

The English dictionary describes the word ‘Governance’ as “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”. While ‘Good governance’ is an indeterminate term used in the international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources.

Zambia will have five (5) years with a new president in office. How the president will perform will partially be according to how we choose to treat him. The citizens of a country can make a good leader and can also build a dictator and a bad leader just from the way we react to issues and address our leaders. We have the powers to choose our destiny as citizens.

Zambia is at a very critical point in our history after the passing on of two incumbent presidents within the space of six years. This is no doubt one of the reasons why our country has been unstable for the last few years. This is a time I believe the president (Which ever one it is) will have to make some very difficult decisions to serve the country’s economy from further collapse.

We need a good manager with proper advisers to redeem ourselves and put Zambia en route to prosperity. As citizens we will have to play our part in ensuring that we help the government run this county properly. We must continue providing checks and balances without fear or favour. We need to state the reality as it is at all times and we must put the interest of the nation at heart. Those in power will have to realise that they are voted into office to work for the people and not to enrich their own pockets and advance personal agendas.

Good governance has eight (8) major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. Good governance assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. This is what good governance would look like if put under the microscope.

Good governance further requires a fair legal framework that is enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights and impartial enforcement of laws under an independent judicial system free from any form interference.

The participation of young people is a key cornerstone of good governance. Young people must rise up and realise their potential, we must begin interrogating ourselves and start participating in the governance of our country either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. We must also understand that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making all the time.

We don’t need to go and through stones and attack each other or demonstrate or riot on the streets and think that we are expressing ourselves. That is simply being subjects in a society that requires citizens. Our participation in governance needs to be well informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand. We need to express ourselves within the confines of the law. We break the law, we break our backs, we break the faith, we break the chains of freedom and we go behind bars where our voices will never be heard again. Young people must have integrity and distinguish good from bad.

I pray and hope that we can use the next five (5) years to place Zambia in the right path for the generations to come. I am hopeful that the next cabinet will not be full of selfish individuals that will be more interested in creating wealth for themselves and forget about ‘us’ who put them in office. I am also hopeful that the head of state will try by all means and fight the evident tribalism and regional politics that has characterised our society. Everyone must be treated equally and we must realise that to put this country on the right path, we need everyone to be involved and every region of this country must be part of the master plan.

Zambia We Are One!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Turkey Ratchets Up Syria Offensive, Says Warplanes Hit Kurdish Militia
By Umit Bektas
KARKAMIS, TURKEY

Rebels supported by Turkey fought Kurdish-backed forces in north Syria on Saturday, as Ankara ratcheted up its cross-border offensive by saying it had launched air strikes on Kurdish forces and Islamic State.

Turkey's government, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said the Syrian campaign launched this week is as much about targeting Islamic State as it is about preventing Kurdish forces filling the vacuum left when Islamists withdraw.

Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which Ankara fears could be used to support the Kurdish militant group PKK as it wages its three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.

Turkish security sources said two F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of the broader U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition. The sources also said the jets hit six Islamic State targets.

Ankara's opponents said Turkish forces had targeted YPG-allied forces but that no Kurdish forces were involved.

On the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels fought forces aligned to the SDF near the frontier town of Jarablus. Forces opposed to Ankara said Turkish tanks were deployed, a charge denied by Turkey's rebel allies.

Turkey launched its offensive into Syria on Wednesday, supporting its rebel allies with Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes. It seized control of Jarablus from Islamic State seeking to stop any Kurdish forces moving in first.

Saturday's use of warplanes against what Turkey said was a Kurdish YPG militia target highlights its determination to prevent any Kurdish territorial expansion in north Syria.

Any action against Kurdish forces in Syria puts Turkey at odds with its NATO ally the United States, which backs the SDF and YPG, seeing them as the most reliable and effective ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

It adds complexity to the Syrian conflict that erupted five years ago with an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has since drawn in regional states and world powers.

"DANGEROUS ESCALATION"

The Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, had said earlier on Saturday that Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action "a dangerous escalation".

The Kurdish-led administration that controls parts of northern Syria said Turkish tanks advanced on al-Amarna and clashed with forces of the Jarablus Military Council. But the Kurdish administration said no Kurdish forces were involved.

However, the leader of one Turkey-backed rebel group gave a rival account. He told Reuters the rebels battled the Kurdish YPG around al-Amarna and denied any Turkish tanks took part.

Turkish security forces simply said Turkish-backed forces had extended their control to five villages beyond Jarablus.

A video released by Turkey's military showed the Turkish Red Crescent distributing food and aid to people in Jarablus, with the help of Turkish troops. It also showed what appeared to be Turkish-backed rebels flicking v-for-victory signs in the town.

The newly formed Jarablus Military Council has said it was made up of people from the area with the aim of capturing the town and the surrounding region from Islamic State militants. However, the Turkish-backed rebels seized Jarablus first.

Several militias under the SDF banner pledged support to Jarablus Military Council after it reported the Turkish bombing.

The Northern Sun Battalion, an SDF faction, said in a statement it was heading to "Jarablus fronts" to help the council against "threats made by factions belonging to Turkey".

Tension has mounted in Syria's Aleppo region in the past year between the U.S-backed Kurdish YPG force and its allies on one hand and Turkish-backed rebel groups on the other. The two sides have clashed on several occasions.

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay and Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Tom Perry in Beirut; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Ros Russell)
How Turkey’s Offensive Into Syria is Opening Up a Hornet’s Nest
Turkish military move inside Syria near the Turkish border town of Karkamis, on Aug. 26. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Erin Cunningham
August 27 at 10:58 AM

KARKAMIS, Turkey — Turkey’s incursion into Syria is deepening tensions between two major U.S.-backed groups, potentially setting up a conflict that could undermine Washington’s efforts to eradicate the Islamic State’s presence in Syria.

The current focal point of those animosities is the strategic Syrian town of Manbij, nestled on the western side of the Euphrates River. The Kurds wrested it from the Islamic State earlier this month. Turkey and the Syrian rebels it supports fear the takeover is a prelude to the Kurds expanding their reach further in Syria. On Thursday, under U.S. pressure, the Kurdish forces, known by the acronym YPG, declared that they had pulled out of the predominantly Arab town.

The announcement came hours after Turkish tanks and special forces units, backed by U.S. and Turkish fighter jets, crossed the border and helped Syrian rebels to seize the city of Jarabulus from the Islamic State.

But in interviews Friday, Syrian Arab and ethnic Turkmen rebels backed by the United States and Turkey said the Kurds were still in control of Manbij, and they vowed to liberate it. The Turkish military has bombed targets around the town, located 25 miles south of Jarabulus, apparently convinced that the Kurds have not followed through on their promise to leave or that they seek to return.

“Our concern has been the fact that the YPG has a proven track record of forcibly displacing non-Kurds,” a senior Turkish official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity as per protocol.

The animosities threaten to pit two groups of U.S.-aided forces — the CIA- and Pentagon-backed Syrian Arab and Turkmen rebels and the Pentagon-backed Kurdish forces — against each other, potentially taking their attention away from fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. It also illustrates the challenges the United States faces in coordinating this array of armed groups, beset by ethnic and territorial rivalries as well as different agendas, on an increasingly complex, multi-sided battlefield.

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To be sure, Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces have regularly fought each other elsewhere in Syria. But they have both been battling the Islamic State, albeit on separate fronts. Now their conflict could expand into new areas, as Turkey’s incursion transforms Syria’s military landscape.

Already, fresh clashes have reportedly taken place in recent days. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a well-known activist group, said Kurdish forces and Syrian rebels engaged in skirmishes Wednesday night around several villages between Jarabulus and Manbij. A U.S.-backed Syrian rebel faction, Faylak al-Sham, tweeted a statement saying it had “liberated” the village of Al-Amarina, five miles south of Jarabulus, from the “terrorist” Kurdish forces.

“We are still waiting to see if they are going to retreat back to east of the Euphrates,” said Ahmed Othman, the commander of an ethnic Turkmen force within the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army, referring to the Kurds. “If not, we will have to push them back by force.”

The Kurds say they handed over their positions to a local military council in Manbij made up largely of Arabs. But the body is perceived by the Syrian rebels to be controlled by the Kurdish forces. On Friday, the Kurdish spokesman for the council said it would confront any Turkish-backed rebels entering their town.

“We will defend ourselves,” said Shervan Derwish, who has also served as the spokesman for Kurdish forces who fought off Islamic State combatants in a famous battle in the Syrian town of Kobane last year. “Those guys are here to serve Turkey’s agenda, not the Syrian revolution’s goals.”

Nizar Mehdi, a journalist and activist from Manbij, said relatives and friends in the town told him that Kurdish forces were still in the area and operating from bases.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the record, said that while Kurdish commanders and most of their fighters had withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates, a smaller number of Kurdish forces remain within Manbij. They are combing the city, he said, for explosives left by the Islamic State and seeking to ensure that militants do not return.

“They fought very long and hard to take the city, and we want to make sure there’s a ‘hold force’ in place to make sure that ISIL doesn’t reinfiltrate,” the official said.

The official acknowledged that there had been tension between Kurdish and Arab fighters in the area but played down its significance. “This is a pretty standard feature of coalition warfare,” he said. He said the United States was working to defuse friction in part by “reminding everyone of who the real problem is here, which is ISIL.”

U.S. involvement

Earlier this year the Pentagon added about 250 Special Operations forces to bolster a smaller force already in northeastern Syria. U.S. officials said their principal mission was to oversee the recruitment and training of more Arabs for the fight against the Islamic State, apparently to help make the Kurds not appear as an invading force. But U.S. Special Forces have also been accompanying Kurdish fighters on some of the front lines, including during the battle for Manbij.

The Pentagon’s backing of these forces — collectively called the Syrian Democratic Forces and dominated by the YPG, which in Kurdish stands for People’s Protection Units — has irritated Turkey. Tensions have increased as Kurdish forces expanded their areas of control in Syria in recent months, moving closer to zones controlled by rebels backed by the United States and Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

Many observers say one of Turkey’s main objectives in the offensive, code-named “Euphrates Shield,” is to stop the Kurds from gaining territory in Syria. The Turkish government has long confronted a restive Kurdish minority within its borders, and it sees any efforts by Kurds in nearby countries to increase their reach as a security threat. The Syrian Kurdish rebels have ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which fought a bloody war against the Turkish military for decades.

In the past, Turkey has considered creating a buffer zone that would allow the Syrian opposition to better fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as well as the Islamic State. Such a zone would also lead to the creation of a safe area that could allow more than 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home. Whether this is a goal of the current offensive remains unknown.

What is clear, though, is that Ankara seeks to block Kurdish aspirations to unify two Kurdish-controlled enclaves along Turkey’s border in northern Syria, which Turkey fears could also embolden the PKK inside its soil.

‘Other terrorist elements’

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Istanbul that Turkey “will continue operations [in Syria] until we fully guarantee security of life and property of our citizens and the security of our border.”

“We will continue until the Islamic State and other terrorist elements are taken out,” he said.

Other top officials have openly noted that Turkey’s objectives include curbing Kurdish territorial expansion in Syria.

Turkey’s defense minister, Fikri Isik, said the operation has two main goals, including securing the border and preventing Kurdish forces from reaching the area west of the Euphrates. “Our strategic priority is preventing [the Kurds] from joining their east and west cantons in Syria,” Isik said in an interview Thursday with Turkey’s NTV network.

Syrian rebels are continuing to secure Jarabulus as more Turkish tanks have rumbled over the border to assist them. Teams have been scouring neighborhoods for land mines and improvised explosive devices left behind by the Islamic State.

Others have been digging trenches, fortifying the city for any future attacks.

“We want to prevent any enemy advances, and by enemies we mean ISIS and the YPG,” said Abu Ibrahim, another Free Syrian Army commander, referring to the Kurds. “Everyone knows what ISIS is, but the YPG is trying to divide Syria, and that is also not acceptable.”

Missy Ryan in Washington, Zakaria Zakaria in Gaziantep and Liz Sly in Beirut contributed to this report.
SACP Gauteng Launches "Enemy Camp Monitor"
24 August 2016

Emperor Julius is naked. Barely 5 years after its foundation, has the EFF's fake mask of a working class aligned party been unveiled. The EFF cosying up to the rightwing DA has vindicated the party's long held view of EFF's neo-fascist ideological outlook, and that the two are but merely different sides of the same coin. Both parties objectively serve the interest of monopoly capital and are accountable to the same London masters.

Whilst the DA is a party that uses parliamentary democracy to serve the interests of monopoly capital, the EFF use its highly organised petty bourgeois social base, to render parliamentary democracy dysfunctional. This is to serve the same reactionary interests of the Imperialist and colonial masters. Strangely, this comes from the same political party that currently appears to espouse a radical leftwing political project.

As long as the threat of the ANC alliance radical socio-economic project remains, in order to subvert a national democratic revolution, the EFF will prefer a subordinate position to the imperialist party the DA. This is to subvert such an outcome and always be ready with debauchery, to deliver the working class to a DA-led monopoly slaughter by finance capital.

The SACP Gauteng province commits to defending the working class against this ragtag coalition regime of counter-revolution installed in several municipalities across the province of Gauteng.

We are preparing to mobilize our structures to defend working class gains and to advance the course of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).

In our effort to defend the working class against this regime of counter-revolution, we are launching an electronic monitor for regular updates, to be published as the enemy's.

The launch of this monitor follows the installation of the regime of counter-revolution in parts of our province led by the enemy's camp. With the EFF having committed a political and ideological suicide, the line is now drawn between the people's camp led by the ANC and its Alliance partners on the one hand and the enemy's camp led by the DA-EFF coalition on the other.

We are confident that the installation of the regime of counter-revolution in parts of our province paves the path towards the ANC's 2019 national and provincial decisive elections victory. This will certainly inaugurate a new epoch that will see the DA relegates the EFF deep into the dustbin of history.

The monitor will be released on a regular basis and will reflect negative impact on the working class arising from DA-EFF counter-revolutionary activities in our communities.

We invite youth, women, communists, workers, communities and members of the public to report and alert us of the DA and EFF anti-people, anti-worker and rightwing attacks of their interests in local governance and other affairs.

Kindly email your brief alert to sacpgmonitor@gmail.com for anything that runs counter to peoples interests led by DA-EFF regime of counter-revolution.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng province

Contact:

Jacob Mamabolo - SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 884 1868

Lucian Segami - SACP Gauteng Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: +2779 5220 098
Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: GPSACP
Facebook Page: SACP Gauteng Province
Statement on the Assassination of the SACP Stalwart in Intshanga and the Killing of a Former ANC Youth League Member
23 August 2016

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province of Moses Mabhida is deeply saddened by the assassination of its leader in Intshanga, Comrade Nontsikelelo Blose and the 38-year old former member of the ANC Youth League, Mr Xolani Ngcobo. The SACP expresses its message of deepest condolences to the family, friends, comrades of Blose and Ngcobo. The party pledges its oneness with the two families at this moment of grief.

It is regrettable that the current outbreak of violence in Intshanga and elsewhere occurred in the backdrop of a repeated appeal by the SACP to address hotspots in the province.

The case of Intshanga is a political case that requires a political solution.

We must all shoulder responsibility for what has recently happened in Intshanga.

The life of a woman should not have been sacrificed, in particular in the middle of the Women's Month. We must confront the man-made situation and violence in the area. The big question that needs to be answered is why we, to be specific politicians, allowed the stand-off to happen in Intshanga.

People of Intshanga have been known and are still known to be loyal members of the ANC with a very strong presence of the SACP. They have always been inseparable. Again what happened, and why are we allowing this to happen?

The SACP would like to make an impassioned plea to the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the murderers of the two comrades.

Blose, deeply embedded in community structures, was a leading light of the SACP and the ANC in the Intshanga area.

It is a measure of her courage and the depth of her conviction that the persecution she endured, ever since she witnessed, together with other comrades, the killing of another SACP member, Comrade Phillip Dlamini in January, did not deter her from securing justice for Dlamini and his family.

Cde Blose was due to testify in the trial of the alleged killers of Dlamini when she was murdered!

She was also in the forefront of challenging the violation of ANC processes in the selection of councilor candidates ahead of the local government elections.

Realising that they could not intimidate her, and that the example of militant struggle and self-sacrifice that she set was inspiring our people to intensify the struggle against factionalism, the enemies of the communists decided to liquidate Cde Blose hoping that this heartless, inhumane and criminal act will dissuade the people from the struggle.

These acts of brutality can only serve to strengthen the people's determination to defeat factionalism. Through her martyrdom, Cde Blose and many other revolutionary democrats who have fallen in this factional battle have set us the task to destroy factional politics that is devouring our glorious movement.

As we lower our banners in memory of a great daughter of our people, an outstanding revolutionary, we renew our vows that we shall give no quarter in the noble struggle to rid our movement of the murderers factionalists who are illegally trying to rule our people.

Farewell dear sister and Comrade. Your sacrifice is not in vain.

Issued by the SACP Moses Mabhida Province

Contact

Themba Mthembu, Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 0833036988

or

Msizi Nhlapo at 060 7886211


Arrest the hostilities‚ ANC and SACP urged after KZN political killings

TMG Digital | 23 August, 2016 07:49

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) wants the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) to “intensify efforts to arrest hostilities” which led to at least two killings in Inchanga.

But‚ Sanco also attempted to suggest that a “third force might be exploiting the differences” between the two‚ but did not provide evidence of this.

Sanco said it made the call following “the killing of an SACP leader‚ Nonsikelelo Blose‚ who was shot three times on Sunday night” in the KwaZulu-Natal town.

“It is alleged that a man that fired shots at marchers that were protesting Blose's killing on Monday was shot dead in an exchange of fire‚” Sanco added.

Spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said “everything must be done to restore political stability necessary for accelerated service delivery and community development”.

“Progressive forces must denounce the senseless violence‚ commit themselves to restore peace in the area and isolate warmongers‚” he said.

Mahlangu appealed to the ANC and SACP “to follow through an earlier agreement to intensify efforts to arrest hostilities in the area in order to bring an end to political thuggery and barbaric acts of violence which undermine safety of communities and the unity of the revolutionary alliance”. 
SACP Northern Cape Provincial Executive Committee
22 August 2016

The South African Communist Party in the Northern Cape Province met in its regular session of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) Meeting in Kimberley, over the weekend of 19 to 21 August 2016. The meeting received a political input of the Central Committee, presented by Comrade Chris Matlhako, Central Committee and Political Bureau member and Secretary for International Affairs as well as the provincial secretariat political report.

Alliance and international solidarity with the people of Cuba

The PEC was joined by the ANC-led alliance partners, the Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS), Cuban Professionals and the Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Companero Carlos Fernandez de Cossio who delivered the keynote address. The meeting commemorated the 63rd Anniversary of the 26 July 1953 attack on the Moncada Garrison led by our friend, close ally and most trusted revolutionary Companero Fidel Castro who just celebrated his 90th Birthday.

The PEC reiterated the SACP's call to the imperialist United States to end its inhumane, illegal economic blockade of Cuba and to return the Guantanamo Bay unconditionally to the Cuban nation.

Local government elections outcomes and immediate tasks

The PEC thanked the thousands of volunteers and supporters of the ANC-led alliance and Party activists for their hard work and revolutionary commitment displayed throughout the elections. All this was done to ensure that our people defend and consolidate the gains made as we continue to advance and deepen the National Democratic Revolution.
We congratulate the ANC for the victories secured. We are however concerned by the decline of 5% in the ANC's electoral support.

The PEC believes that in order to address these challenges we need a strong and united ANC-led alliance to restore confidence from the masses of our people. In this regard we must go back to the drawing board. The PEC calls on the newly elected councillors to implement the Manifesto of the ANC and convene regular meetings with our communities.

Presently there is a political deficit to resolve the challenges that contributed to the sharp decline in ANC support across the province and the country. The PEC also noted the many external threats facing our revolution which are simply being reinforced by the "arrogance" and total "irresponsibility" by some leaders within the movement.

The SACP has committed itself to defend the people's movement against foreign tendencies including factionalism, corporate capture, patronage, corruption, marginalisation of the masses, etc. All alliance components, led by the ANC, need to reaffirm the founding principles of the movement - collective leadership, hard work, organisational principles and proper political and ideological clarity.

The SACP has opened a process of constructive self-criticism with all alliance structures in the Province. This will deal with political and organisational issues and ensure that we become more coherent in advancing and defending our national democratic revolution. This must result in a more unified alliance.

All SACP structures must intensify their activism and Party campaigns across all communities and strengthen party organisation to lead working class and community struggles.
The PEC called on all our Party structures and ANC-led alliance as a whole not to demobilise election structures but shift their attention on leading community struggles and on ensuring quality service delivery.

Issued by the SACP Northern Cape

For enquiries please contact;
Patrick Bosiame - Provincial Spokesperson
Cell: 081 374 8233
NUM and JB Marks Awards to Honor 92 Graduates at Emperors Palace Tonight
26 August 2016

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the JB Marks Awards will set a new standard in the education and corporate sectors by honouring 92 graduates this year at its prestigious Annual Education Awards Ceremony, which will be held tonight at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park.

Among the 92 graduates, who have graduated in various fields of study, are one medical doctors-a collective achievement, which shows the efficacy of the JB Marks bursary programme; a programme initiated under the auspices of Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT) whose interest in the needs of the community led to the formation of Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) to provide funds for the JB Marks Education Trust Fund and Awards Programmes.

The JB Marks Education Trust Fund was founded in 1997 by the NUM and named after the first president of the African Miners Union. Over the past 18 years, JB Marks has provided bursaries for members of the NUM and their families. The fund has enabled 1016 bursars to graduate with mainstream qualifications (including 19 medical doctors).

What makes the JB Marks Education Trust Fund particularly important to the general upliftment of the community is its interest in the dependants of the relevant workers, of whom many have received educational bursaries.

NUM founding General Secretary and the deputy president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa and founding President James Motlatsi will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Awards. NUM General Secretary David Sipunzi will give an opening address while Kgalema Motlanthe will deliver a keynote address.

Educating and empowering young Southern Africans is the centrepiece of the NUM strategy meant to break the yoke of the triple evils of poverty, joblessness, and inequality.

As the NUM, we have deliberately and consciously placed ourselves at the forefront of championing the national effort of educating and empowering the dependents of our members. Education of an individual is by definition education of a society.

The NUM through the JB Marks Education Trust Fund will continue to educate its members and their dependants.

The NUM is inviting the media to attend and report about this prestigious event tonight at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. The event is starting at 6 pm.

For more information, please contact:

Jako Mokgosi: Principal Officer of the JB Marks Education Trust Fund: 082 380 8630
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257

The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Cnr Frederick
Johannesburg

Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Web: www.num.org.za
Twitter: @Num_Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167