Friday, April 28, 2017

‘Talk Openly About HIV/Aids’
April 28, 2017
Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos has called for open and frank dialogue between young people and adults on issues affecting youths, including adolescence and HIV and Aids.

She made the call yesterday at the Women’s University in Africa campus in Manresa while addressing youths, including university and college students, child parliamentarians and adults from different sectors.

The function was also attended by WUA founder and Vice Chancellor Professor Hope Sadza, chairperson and founding member Dr Fay Chung and senior staff from the university.

Mrs Geingos said there was need for adults to discuss issues affecting them with youths.

She said the discussions between young people and adults should be user friendly to the intended beneficiaries.

“As parents, it is difficult to speak to our children about (issues) relating to HIV and Aids,” said Mrs Geingos. “Young people are faced with many challenges and not only HIV and Aids, so we should change the campaign to enable the young people to free themselves, not only from HIV and Aids, but from many things that affect them, including drugs, peer pressure and bad behaviour.

Mrs Geingos said the discussions should not only be biased towards girls, as boys also had issues affecting them.

“Boys have challenges like the inability to deal with anger and peer pressure,” she said. “Sometimes we should take the dialogue to where the children go, for instance nightclubs, and have them discuss their challenges and let other people talk about them, it helps to have the young people know how other people see them.”

Mrs Geingos expressed concern over the rate of new HIV and Aids infections on young children between 14 and 25 years.

“We should not leave everything to Government alone, but the communities should work together to assist young people as they mostly suffer from social dysfunction,” she said.

Mrs Geingos was appointed the UNAIDS special advocate for young Women and Adolescent Girls.

Her role is to specifically champion the start Free Stay Free AIDS Free campaign, the super track framework for ending Aids among children, adolescents and young women by 2020.

She is spearheading youth focused #Be Free Conversations, which focus on all issues affecting adolescents.
Namibia to Emulate Zimbabwe on Land
Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Visiting Namibian President Hage Geingob has said he will use the opportunity to learn how to embark on an agrarian revolution, following Zimbabwe’s successful land reform programme.

He said Namibia would convene a second land conference in September to discuss with whites who own vast tracts of land how they could share it with the black majority, most of whom were still poor 27 years after his country got independence.

President Geingob said this on Wednesday evening during a State banquet held for him by President Mugabe at State House ahead of the official opening of the 2017 edition of Zimbabwe International Trade Fair today in Bulawayo.

The Namibian President will officially open the trade fair.

Namibia held its first land conference after independence in 1991 to deal with the challenges of accessibility to commercial land and protect farm workers from exploitation.

President Geingob said Namibian founding President Sam Nujoma brought independence, peace and reconciliation, while his predecessor Hifikepunye Pohamba continued the legacy.

He said the two’s actions stabilised the country, now expectations were for him to address the land issue.

“So, I am now saying I am in a difficult situation,” said President Geingob. “And now Hage (Geingob, Namibians say), now you must deliver, very tall order, it is unfair actually.

“I have to deliver the land, prosperity, it is a tall order. So, I came here to get advice because indeed I said this (President Mugabe) is my mentor.

“We cannot hide from this issue. We can’t hide away from it. We can’t hide away from the fact that some people are still left out after 27 years of independence.”

President Geingob likened Zimbabwe’s land reform to a caesarean section which was painful, but bore fruits.

“In my thesis a long time ago, I said in Zimbabwe my brothers there had a caesarean section to deliver a baby,” he said. “Cesarean section could be very painful, but they used that and I was saying when the pain stops you will deliver a healthy baby.  We are already seeing the signs of that. I am told you are going to have a bumper harvest this year. The signs are already beginning to show.”

President Geingob hailed President Mugabe for pardoning Ian Smith after independence, despite being imprisoned for 10 years.

“He reconciled with General (Peter) Walls,” he said. “Ian Smith’s farm was not taken. He went on his own. So, when I talk of reconciliation I put it into context, that the first reconciliatory coming from an ugly war was Cde Mugabe.

“He tolerated for 10 years, the Lancaster House Agreement. He was kind to wait because he knew that there were two countries under colonialism, Namibia and South Africa.”

President Geingob said there was a lot to learn from President Mugabe.

“It is very difficult for us, young ones, to stand and share the platform with icons of our revolution,” he said. “I never thought that the day will come when I will become President and stand at the same floor with people who were our mentors, people whom we were admiring, who were leading us, but here I am, to be here and to be welcomed by you Your Excellency.”

In his speech earlier on, President Mugabe urged Namibia and Zimbabwe to ensure the implementation of the cooperating agreements in the areas of energy, transport, human resources development.

He described the power purchase agreement between Zesa Holdings and Namibia’s power utility, Nampower, as a torch bearer. “I urge our ministers and officials to ensure that the signed agreements are implemented fully, so that they do not gather dust on our shelves,” said President Mugabe
On Wednesday, the two countries signed three memoranda of understanding in the areas of women, gender and community development, health and sport and recreation.

President Mugabe hailed the good bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.

“Like our Namibian brothers and sisters, we share the conviction that, given that dear price that was paid to make us free and independent, the values for which we fought, must never be compromised,” he said.

“The enemy we defeated mutates in various forms and we should never lose our guard.”

President Mugabe commended Namibia for the donation of canned fish and medication following the devastating floods caused by cyclone Deneo.

“Zimbabwe will, Your Excellency, be eternally grateful for that gesture, especially considering that your country was facing similar challenges caused by floods,” he said. “Namibia has proved to be our very good friend indeed.”

The banquet was attended by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, several Government Ministers, Zanu-PF Politburo members, service chiefs and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Strengthening of Zimbabwe, Namibia Ties Must Be Hailed
April 28, 2017
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Bilateral relations between the people of Zimbabwe and Namibia that date back to the liberation struggles of both countries, are excellent.

Both have a history of courageously fighting against colonial domination. Zimbabwe fought against British occupation during the First Chimurenga/Umvukela 1896-1897. The resistance was mercilessly crushed, the locals’ spears, bows and arrows and cave hideouts proving no match to the invaders’ guns, bombs and dynamite. They rose again in 1966 in the Second Chimurenga/Umvukela. Better equipped and more organised, the people of Zimbabwe won and Independence came in 1980.

Similarly, the Namibian people rose against German settlers during the Nama-Herero Uprisings from 1904 to 1907. The Germans committed what is now widely regarded as an act of genocide when they massacred up to 140 000 Nama and Herero fighters. In 1915 apartheid South Africa took over the running of Namibia. Namibians mobilised themselves for another armed struggle beginning in 1966. They attained their independence in 1990.

Having achieved her Independence 10 years earlier, Zimbabwe supported Namibia’s liberation struggle.

On attaining independence, both countries inherited skewed land ownership structures that favoured whites. Whereas Zimbabwe has largely addressed the imbalances, Namibia hasn’t.

President Mugabe and his Namibian counterpart at that time, Cde Sam Nujoma, were instrumental in developing close political relations between their countries. The ties have evolved over the years to the economic and social.

Events of this week have served to highlight that close relationship. Ministers from both governments held the Eighth Session of the Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission in Harare from Monday to Wednesday to discuss a range of subjects of mutual interest. Today, Namibia President Hage Geingob is in Bulawayo to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, the second Namibian president to do so after Cde Nujoma performed the honours on May 1, 1991.

We welcome President Geingob to his home away from home. We extend the same welcome to the big entourage of Namibian exhibitors who arrived in Bulawayo for the ZITF ahead of their president.

We laud the efforts to further strengthen Zimbabwe-Namibia relations in the context of the joint permanent commission and hope that agreed programmes of co-operation are speedily implemented for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries. Broad areas identified for co-operation include trade, agriculture, rural development, mining, energy, and transport and information technology and so on.

“We have had significant performance in some areas, moderate in others and no performance at all in others,” commented co-chairperson of the joint permanent commission, Ambassador Joey Bimha while officially opening the eighth session on Monday.

“Progress has been registered in the sectors of trade, energy, broadcasting and human capital development. In the energy sector, we commend our two countries’ power utilities for the effective and efficient implementation of power purchase agreements they signed in April 2015. Co-operation in the broadcasting sector is progressing well.”

At the end of the session on Wednesday the two countries signed three memoranda of understanding in areas of women, gender and community development, health and sport development.

It is our sincere hope that the agreements in the three fields will be executed as soon as possible.

On women and gender, we note that both countries are already doing a lot to open up opportunities for women in politics. Namibia, like Zimbabwe is promoting the 50/50 strategy for political representation where they are saying men and women must equally share positions. They also have a commitment for the so-called “zebra” where if, for example a minister is a man, his deputy must be a woman and vice versa. That country also has a female Prime Minister.

Zimbabwe is also working to enhance female presence in political office. We have the women’s quota in Parliament that was implemented in accordance with the 2013 constitution. As a result, women now hold about 30 percent of seats in parliament, up from around 12 percent that the old first-past-the-post electoral system tended to yield in previous parliaments.

We hope that our two governments will continue discussions around not only political representation but also advancing the status of women economically and socially.

There is a lot that they can share in terms of health from training, employment, provision of medical equipment, drugs, and facilities etcetera.  We note that there are many Zimbabwean nurses, doctors, pharmacists and so on already working in Namibia. This is an important area where Namibia can help since our country had by January this year, around 4 000 unemployed nurses. Some of them can be seconded to Namibian health facilities under the proposed policy of export of skilled labour. But such exports can only be done if there are vacant posts or critical skills gaps in Namibia like the situation in the engineering and legal fields where some Zimbabweans are already serving.

In turn, Namibians can benefit from Zimbabwe’s training programmes which are excellent and world-class. This would entail the enrolment of student nurses, doctors and other health professionals at local institutions. On graduating that can return home to serve their country.

In sport, there are many areas both countries can co-operate among them training of athletes, officials and administrators, exchange programmes of the same and so on.

But as we indicated earlier, Zimbabwe-Namibia relations are broad and more effort should be put in consolidating the good work done so far while progress is quickened in areas of co-operation that are lagging behind.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Zimbabwe, Namibia Sign Three MOUs
By Farirai Machivenyika
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe and Namibia yesterday signed three Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of women, gender and community development, health and sport and recreation. President Mugabe hosted a State banquet in honour of Dr Geingob at State House last night. The banquet was still on by the time of going to press late last night. The MoUs were signed in the presence of President Mugabe, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and visiting Namibian President Hage Geingob and his wife Monica Geingos who arrived in Harare in the morning.

The signing of the MoUs was a culmination of discussions held during the 8th Session of the Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Commission held in Harare in the past three days.

The first MoU to be signed was on cooperation in the area of women, gender equality and community development by Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya and Namibia's Minister of Gender Equality and Child Care, Doreen Siyoka.

The second MoU on health was signed by Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister and also Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Mrs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa. The MoU seeks to promote a framework for development in the field of health through sharing of information and cooperation in the field of research.

The third MoU was signed by Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane and Mrs Nandi-Ndaitwa and seeks to promote cooperation and exchange programmes in the fields of sport and recreation.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said they had discussed various areas of cooperation during the session, including that of energy, human resources development and transport.

Hans Hesselink has invented a new way to organize air traffic so that most problems of landing and taking off can be avoided.

"Over the past three days, we have been holding discussion during the 8th Session of the Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Commission where we took stock of the work we have done over the past three years and the areas we would want to pursue," he said.

"The Joint Commission also noted the exchange of personnel we have had in various areas between our two countries, areas of training we have undertaken between our two countries and areas or solidarity. We recognised the speedy way Namibia has responded when we made our appeals (for relief following recent floods)."

Minister Mumbengegwi thanked the Namibians for the assistance rendered following the flooding caused by Cyclone Dineo.

He said the dry port facility which Namibia offered Zimbabwe was now between 80 and 90 percent complete.

The Namibian government granted Zimbabwe 19 000 square metres of land to construct its own dry port expected to boost the country's trade, but due to financial constrains the project had been delayed.

President Geingob arrived in Zimbabwe early yesterday and is expected to officially open the 2017 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday.

He was met at the Harare International Airport by President Mugabe, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, service chiefs, several ministers, diplomats and senior Government officials and scores of Zimbabweans.

President Geingob inspected a quarter guard mounted by the Presidential Guard, before attending the signing ceremony of the MoUs at State House.
Joint Statement by the ANC AND AIC Following Meeting Held on the 24th April 2017
24 April 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) and the African Independent Congress (AIC) met today, 24 April 2017, in pursuance of commitments made when the two parties entered into a coalition agreement following the 2016 Local Government Elections in August 2016. Both parties recognize that their coalition must be informed by the will of the people who gave them the popular democratic mandate in the elections to cooperate in the national interest.

The ANC and the AIC have adopted a memorandum of understanding that will regulate the coalition partnership between the two organizations. Both organisations are committed to the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa that delivers services to all. The two organizations have agreed on political cooperation in the national interest with specific reference to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Rustenburg Local Municipality, Umkhanyakude District Municipality and other municipalities where both parties have representation.

The parties have further committed themselves to a roadmap which outlines the proposed constitutional demarcation process to incorporate Matatiele Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape into KwaZulu-Natal province. This roadmap outlines a constitutionally and legally compliant process towards this objective.

In addition to the process towards the incorporation of Matatiele into KwaZulu-Natal, the parties have agreed to the roll-out of specific projects which constitute the understanding between the parties and include:

The opening of an Agricultural College in Matatiele Adjunct of Maluti
The tarring of all Provincial rural roads with specific reference to the roads connecting Lesotho and South Africa resulting in Matatiele being declared a nodal point
These deliverables will be executed in compliance with existing legislation as may be applicable.

Issued by
Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress
Enquiries
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707

Issued by
Mahlubanzima Jafta
Secretary General
African Independent Congress
Enquiries
Aubrey Mhlongo 072 921 2006
ANC Statement on Reported Threats Against Activists and Media
23 April 2017

The African National Congress is concerned at what appears to be a climate of intimidation steadily encroaching into South Africa's body politic. In recent months, there have been increasing reports of political leaders, activists and journalists who have come forward with claims that they have been intimidated by certain elements owing to their positions of beliefs. Some claim to even have received threats on their lives.

The ANC considers these threats in a very serious light and calls on those who have been threatened to report such to law enforcement authorities who must verify these claims and investigate. Such behavior is an antitheses to the health and pluralistic society we seek to build where the contestation of ideas thrives.

Freedom of conscience and association are inalienable rights granted to all under the Constitution. South African history is littered with violence and media suppression. Political intolerance would take South Africa back to a painful past that should not be repeated.

Threats made against individuals because of their political or ideological beliefs is indicative of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Those who plot in dark corners and make anonymous threats as well and other forms of intimidation of others should pursue principled and legitimate forms of engagement instead of resorting to cowardly acts.

The ANC calls on all South Africans to unite behind our common vision of a pluralistic society and jealously guard our hard won freedoms-including freedom of speech and association.

We will not allow our country to become a breeding ground for political intolerance- which history has starkly shown can very quickly become a catalyst for anarchy and lawlessness.

Issued by the African National Congress

Enquiries
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager
Statement of the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Organisational Development on the Policy Document on Organisational Renewal and Design
23 April 2017

INTRODUCTION

This morning the ANC turn its attention to the topic that goes to the heart and soul of the African National Congress (ANC). It is the turn of the ANC Sub-Committee on Organising and Mobilisisation to present the much awaited Organisational Renewal and Design Document to you. We begin by providing a synoptic perspective of the discussion document, and move on to contentious political topics for discussions and end with an emphasis on process matters.

The chief aim of the discussion document is to provoke robust debates within the structures of the ANC (African National Congress) and Alliance partners on the perennial questions of organisational renewal and organisational design challenge. The debate is premised on the political context of the origins of the ANC, the evolution of the movement, the attendant organisational ebbs and flows hitherto. An attempt is made at diagnosing the imperative for organisational renewal and inevitability of organisational design of the overall ANC architecture and organisational processes with a view to mitigate ideological degeneration and organisational paralysis. The debate is necessitated by the reality that naturally fortunes of all major political parties tend to ebb and flow over time. We interrogate the social factors and impulses that trigger the national debate and discourse on organisational renewal and design.

The discussion document approaches the debate from a historical and theoretical perspective and creates a platform for debates and ventures into specific recommendations in order to develop a Road Map to the National Policy Conference in June 2017 and ultimately the 54th National Conference in December 2017.

THE GENESIS OF ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL IN CONTEMPORARY ANC

The Mafikeng ANC National Conference recognized that whereas the 1994 breakthrough ushered a completely new environment in the entire existence of the ANC, it has taken the organization some time to determine how to operate within this new context. Conference went further to articulate that "Though the democratic order has created opportunities for the organization that were barely considered possible five years ago, it has presented challenges for which many of the established practices and strategies seem inadequate".

In recent history, the clarion call for organisational renewal was made at ANC's National Conference in Polokwane after Conference observed the reality that we have been finding it difficult to comprehensively respond to the new conditions and challenges occasioned by the coming into power of the ANC as the leader of the democratic forces. It is back then in December 2007 Polokwane Conference that a ground-breaking resolution was adopted calling on the National Executive Committee to declare 'a period of renewal'.

The 2010 National General Council (NGC) focused extensively on the tasks of organisational renewal and further resolved that decisive steps must be taken to reverse negative tendencies that are eroding the political integrity and moral standing of the ANC among our people. The NGC concluded that for renewal to succeed three conditions need to be met and these are: a resilient, courageous, principled and decisive leadership; a committed and conscious cadreship; an active civil society and mobilised population.

The 53rd Conference of the ANC in Mangaung elaborated on the strengths and weakness of the movement, and arrived at the conclusion that there is a need for the movement to embark on organisational renewal. The Conference reaffirmed the emphasis of the 4th National Policy Conference on the urgent need for renewal, recognising that renewal is principally about building the ANC's resilience, enhancing its transformative and governance capacity and its ability to adapt to changing situations so that it can continue to serve and lead the people.

The continuous renewal of the ANC over the century of its existence has been guided by the nature and content of the struggle against apartheid colonialism and its legacy as elaborated in its Strategy and Tactics. The ANC has always understood that to lead the national democratic revolution successfully, it should continuously renew itself so that it remains relevant to the changing conditions of the struggle both locally and internationally.

SYNOPTIC PERSPECTIVE

The discussion document postulates a view that the conditions in which the ANC operates have changed thus necessitating a comprehensive review of the ANC structural design and organisational design. The review takes into account the current structural design, the Party constituent structures, ANC Parliamentary, Legislative, Council and caucuses' functionality, efficiencies and effectiveness. We pose the question of whether, in light of subjective and objective challenges confronting the ANC, there is a discernable risk of organisational paralysis manifesting itself through among others perceived or real; fragmentation of the constituent parts of the ANC,

Our entry points in this discussion are considerations of the salient political elements drawn from the Strategies and Tactics. We recognise that Organisational Renewal cannot be discussed outside our analysis of the current local and global balance of forces.

We argue that the ANC remains the leader in the processes for social change as demonstrated by our delivery since 1994. That said, the ANC must retain its dual character as a liberation movement and a political party. However, there are lessons to be learned from the Mass Democratic Movement's appeal to a broad spectrum of sectors and strata, elevating mass mobilisation, sustained campaigns on bread and butter issues and entrenchment of organs of people's power. We are of the view that the ANC can renew itself without losing its traditional outlook. Organisations exist within a political and ideological context; there is an urgent need to strengthen the organisational machinery to achieve the ANC's historic mission.

The organisation must re-orientate itself, readjust and completely reorganise itself and its organisational machinery to be inclusive and representative in all its decision-making structures, at all levels/spheres in order for the organisation to be more responsive to the new demands of the current conjecture characterised by modern young, savvy and media literate captive markets and voter pools.

Modern organizations pay significant attention and resources to the capacity and interphase between its back-end office and front end office in pursuit of its organizational goals. These are complex systems-driven and people-driven organizational processes with change-drivers orchestrating the day-to-day functions in line with the overarching strategy of the organization, in line with the "change drivers" in the movement can only be effected to achieve a desired outcome if they are "driven" by a selected entity for a specifically "desired outcome" that will result in the "targeted action".

The core processes of Organisational Renewal entail consolidating the organisational architecture of the ANC, policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, relentless communication and the battle of ideas, political education and ideological training, constant engagement with the centres of power, flawless engagement with the motive forces, bolstering organising and campaigns, mass mobilisation as it relates to membership growth and election's development.

The support processes are essentially the inside-out activities and programmes that support and defend the core mandate such as Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Fundraising, Research & Development (R&D), and Information & Communication Technology (ICT).

Organisational Renewal and Design in the ANC's perspective is geared towards consolidating the ANC as a movement for social transformation and strategic centre of power. This debate will and must address the critical weaknesses of the ANC and the question of the optimal mobilisation of the motive forces for change. The paper is aimed at energising the structures of the ANC, of the Alliance partners, of the South African Civic Organisation (SANCO) and other youth, students and women progressive formations to engage the centres of power.

Of critical significance, the debate about the life and soul of the oldest liberation movement in the African Continent takes place as the African National Congress celebrates the centenary of the ANC's longest serving President, Oliver Reginald Tambo. The movement deservedly declared 2017 the year of Oliver Tambo! It is incumbent on the cadres of this glorious movement to Deepen Unity of purpose during this period and beyond. The current generation owe it to Tambo.

Though there may be ebbs and flows, the ANC proceeds from the optimistic and realistic assessment that Africa is set on a new course of rapid economic growth and development. It promotes African integration and the alignment of developmental programmes across the continent.
The ANC proceeds from the understanding that the balance of forces in the global arena is not immutable. It is a function of objective conditions; but critically, it also depends on conscious action by the broad front of global progressive forces.

THE DANGERS AND ORGANISATIONAL SHORTCOMINGS

There are three main organisational shortcomings and dangers that continue to bedevil the ANC post-1994 period:

Firstly, the challenges of governance and political management of state power have been impacting on the character and values of the ANC as the movement for transformation and servant of the people. Due to the preoccupation with managing internal conflicts, the movement has not been mitigating the dangers that any governing party has to contend with and manage: The danger of social distance and isolation of the party from the masses; The danger of state bureaucratic and demobilisation of the masses; The danger of corruption and sins of incumbency; The danger of institutionalized factionalism, ill-discipline and disunity fuelled and inspired by the battles over the control of state power and resources; The danger of using state institutions to settle inner-party differences.

The danger of neglecting cadre policy; The danger of lack of capacity and capability to implement policies; the danger of gate-keeping and, bulk buying of membership; The danger of divisive slate electoral politics, wedge-drivers, and The danger of character and political assassinations and so on.

Secondly, the political life of the organisation revolves around insidious internal strife and factional battles for power. This is a silent retreat from the mass line to palace politics of factionalism and perpetual in-fighting. The internal strife revolves around contestation for power and state resources, rather than differences on how to implement the policies of the movement. This situation has shifted the focus of the cadres and members of the movement away from societal concerns and people's aspirations. These circumstances have produced a new type of an ANC leader and member who sees ill-discipline, divisions, factionalism and in-fighting as normal practices and necessary forms of political survival. Drastic measures and consistent action against these negative tendencies are necessary to root out anarchy and decay.

Thirdly, the organisational capabilities - structure, systems and processes - do not match the tasks and demands of the current phase of the revolution. Although we have a presence of progressive policies and cadres in virtually all pillars of transformation, we are not deliberately building appropriate capabilities to mobilise, engage and lead the motive and progressive forces in these pillars, and therefore draw the linkages between pillar and sectoral processes and the overall national objective.

Unlike in the pre-1990 period, the ANC is not rapidly training and deliberately deploying competent cadres in accordance with the pillars of our current strategy and tactics.

Necessarily, the aim of organisational renewal is to comprehensively address all the challenges faced by our movement as it begins its second centenary.

KEY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS AND FINAL RESOLUTION FOR IMPLEMENTATION

The ANC must consider detailed cadre policy that is underscored by organisational ethical and moral values. The policy must after adoption be infused or attached to the Code of Conduct of the organisation.

The ANC need as a matter of urgency to review its electoral processes in order allow for open contest and transparency. Cadres who make themselves available for public office or are nominated must be prepared for their names and manifestos to be subjected to the scrutiny of the ANC structures and their constituencies.

The ANC must conduct a massive SKILLS AUDIT at all levels amongst its employees and cadres with the objective of assessing their suitability and/or competencies. Subsequent to this, a comprehensive training and development programme must be a design to build the intellectual capital of the ANC structures at all levels (branch, region, province and national).

The ANC should consider bolstering the capacity of the office of the Secretary General as the engine of the organization, focusing on managing the core function of the organization. For this office to perform this crucial task effectively, it will have to employ highly skilled persons with managerial skills, to coordinate the overall functioning of the office. This will also include coordinating the programmes performed by all the departments and units under the office of the Secretary General.

The document recommends that the Head Office of the ANC must radically grow a host of capacities that we do not have today at head office.

The head office must strengthen the Organizing and Mobilisation Department in order to establish sector mobilisation, paying particular attention to labour, NGO's, and business. The Organising and Mobilisation Department must conduct a review of youth and women organisational work together with the youth and women's leagues.

The document recommends that the NEC must be reduced to a sizeable NEC comprising of tried and tested cadres of the movement, balanced by youth and women activists. These are cadres who will be selected on the strength of their political and ideological development in order make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of ANC policies.

The NEC, PECs and RECs, of the organisation need to be driven by strong leadership as sign of the ideological and political maturity, and rigour of our incubation and training organisational institutions (i.e. The Political Education Schools and support to cadres for academic achievement and intellectual pursuit). The discussion on the size and composition of the NEC should include a discussion on ensuring that ANC leaders are found in all sectors of society; i.e. civil society, business sector, academia and others. This will assist the organisation in developing and maintaining its position as leader of society. In this connection we are recommending that the organisation should take a firm decision that NOT more the 65% of NEC Members should serve in the Cabinet and Provincial Legislatures.

The establishment of the Integrity Committee is welcome. However, there must be a distinction between the Integrity Committee and the Revolutionary Electoral Commission that is being recommended. The Revolutionary Electoral Commission that must be established post Conference as per previous resolution will ensure the screening of cadres and recommending to the Deployment Committee ideologically grounded and intellectually developed cadres for servicing the people of South Africa.

In the connection, a careful balance or combination of experience of tried and tested cadres, on the one hand and bright young minds, on the other, will bring dynamism and nurture the new cadre

The ANC should position the Veterans League as a Council of elders whose main political function would be to provide advice and counsel to the structures and leadership of the ANC. It therefore follows that due to the special place the veterans occupy in the ANC, the veterans should not contest leadership positions within the ANC.

The ANC must of necessity consider reviewing the current branch system and allow for the establishment of branches or constitutionally recognised units at institutions of higher learning and training, workplaces and gated communities. The current demarcation is stunting organisational growth and limiting contact and influence.

 It is recommended that the current territorially based branches (ward based) remain the main form of ANC branch organisation; however allowance must be made for another form of branches namely "sectoral or institutional branches". These must be established by the RECs where it is deemed viable. These could cover places of big population concentration where individuals (voters) share common interests or peculiar traits; exclusive communities such as university campuses and huge workplaces (corporate institutions, parastatals, etc).

ANC Regions/sub-regions should consider as their primary tasks the engagement of civil society in their domains. This will ensure that the organisation looks after all centres of power and is geared to engage all motive forces.

In view of the above, it is imperative to consider allocating original powers and administrative resources to this level, so it can act as an effective centre for branches; an administrative "warehouse" for all branches.

It strongly recommended that Provinces must focus on the centres of power and all the motive forces. The province must establish sector committees and support centres of power consciously. Provincial offices should mirror the structural reorganization that will be effected by head office.

 It is recommended that the NEC policy sub-committees must be linked to the policy institutes as a feeder. Furthermore, head office staff that is responsible for policy and other policy functions such as research, should be incorporated into the policy institute.

It is recommended that NEC sub committees and NEC policy sub-committees and other sub-committees must serve as interface nodes of the organisation with broader public in order to bring their political and technical competencies to bear in the sectors of their work.

In this context, executives of the ANC at all levels from branch to province, must be structured in accordance with their responsibility to intervene and provide leadership to all centres of power, viz. the state, civil society, the economy, the battle for ideas and the continental and global arena.

The Organising and Mobilisation Department responsibility must be broken down into targeted sections dealing with different sectors and segments of our motive forces e.g. labour, Youth, Business. In other words, the organizing department must as a matter of principle have sectoral work as one of its core-mandate. The implications of this are that units such as the religious desk must no longer operate as separate entities but should be incorporated to the Organizing and Mobilising Department.

The question National Policy Conference must answer is how ANC members can hold the cadres and leaders accountable for the implementation of Conference resolutions and Programme of Action (PoA). What mechanisms and systems should the Conference introduce in order to monitor implementation and outcomes? In our considered view, there must be consequences for dereliction of duty or failure to execute by cadres and members of the organisation. A related question is how do we build a culture of urgency wherein deployees take initiative and spearhead transformation without being reminded or monitored?

Regional and provincial structures of the ANC have a pivotal role to play in supporting progressive community initiatives and government programmes. Support by way of resources and monitoring branch and regional work and help develop Programmes of Action and strategies for pertinent sectoral and community work. Setting minimum standards of what a branch should achieve. Setting performance indicators manage and monitor, implement corrective measures when needed, also monitor and direct work in government.

All levels of the leadership organs of the ANC must accommodate core and support functions / processes in their structures

With respect to the ANC the ANC Caucuses, Parliamentary, Legislative and Council possibly the biggest challenge is to design an appropriate structure for the management of both government and legislature work, an area which did not exist before 1994 in our work but has today become our main pre-occupation, the premier pillar of our struggle.

The ANC exists and functions in an environment that demands instant decision-making, in this context integration, inculcating a culture of a learning organisation and information sharing is imperative. The practice of designating a function and issuing mandates without consideration to human resources and financial implication is contributing to organisational and administrative paralysis. The National Policy Conference must pronounce on possible revenue streams that are sustainable. It therefore follows that form must follow content in that size must be determined by objective conditions and the stage at which the structure and cadres are operating in relation to the ideological dexterity and political development.

Membership development and management is at the centre of the existence of any political organisation or party. This is more so in electoral politics. It is not an exaggeration to say some of the weaknesses which emanated from the inability to devise appropriate administrative procedures transcended into political difficulties for the organisation. The ANC must fast-track implementation of the electronic membership system.

A policy on how the ANC relates to social media and related aspects of is developed by our communication cadres for approval at the Conference.

It is re-iterated that the proposed Political Education Schools and support to cadres for intellectual development and ideological training be implemented.

It is incumbent upon the regional and provincial to ensure that political induction and ideological training is provided as part of the reception and on-going training of the ANC cadres. The NEC must ensure that the content, method and procedure for delivering political education is uniform in its application all the structures. The regions and provinces should monitor the implementation and delivery of political education.

Provision should be made for alternative delivery mechanisms such as study groups and distant learning with internet or DVDs and should be rolled out from 2017 to encourage study groups in branches and caucuses and provide universal access. Regions/sub-regions should have as one of their primary tasks the engagement of civil society, the state and business in their domains. Again this will ensure that the organisation looks after all centers of power and is geared to engage all motive forces. This is the ideal level/sphere for driving programmes of the tripartite alliance.

Efforts should be made to strengthen the Veterans League and ensure that they become the lifeblood of the African National Congress. Twenty years into the new democracy, the ANC have not adequately taken care of the plight of the veterans of uMkhonto We Sizwe. A majority of these former combatants have been relegated to margins of society, trapped in a vicious circle of unemployment and poverty.

Our revolutionary conscience dictate that the ANC redouble its efforts to restore the dignity of former combatants and ensure that they too are in the forefront of defending the gains of the democratic breakthrough and benefit from opportunities arising from positive change in our society. The strengthening of uMkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans League remains an important strategic task.

A one stop ANC portal infrastructure should be rolled out to reconnect ANC to the people and membership. It must contain all relevant policy and other documents/ it should have a page where members, cadres and supporters can advise or express their views on various matters. It must have a team of dedicated administrators who can provide a personalised service to those who want to keep in contact with the ANC. Such a portal should be designed in a manner that membership application can be processed and confirmed instantly, and have automated sms system that facilitates communication between ANC and its members and supporters.

The ANC should have a fully automated electronic recruitment and membership management system. This system should be centrally commanded from the National office but provide visibility and dashboard to the branches, regions and provincial structures of the African National Congress.

The use of technology in the elections process requires advancement of codification using tools like the ANC cloud for effective monitoring of the election processes.

Issued by
Fikile Mbalula
Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on Organisational Development

Enquiries
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager
Iranian Defense Minister Condemns Israeli Aggression on Military Position Southwest of Damascus Airport
27 April، 2017

Moscow, SANA- Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan condemned the Israeli aggression that targeted one of the military positions southwest of Damascus International Airport.

Speaking to RT channel, Dehgan said that Iran considers Israel as a rogue occupying entity and that his country supports the right of Palestinians to resist.

Earlier, a military source said that a military position southwest of Damascus International Airport was exposed to an Israeli aggression with several missiles fired from the occupied territories at dawn on Thursday sparking explosions in the place and leaving some material losses.

Manar/Ghossoun


Iran, Russia condemn Israeli attack on Syria airport

Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:14PM
presstv.ir

Iran and Russia have condemned an attack by Israel on a major airport in Syria as an act of aggression and a blatant violation of the Arab country's sovereignty.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan condemned the attack earlier on Thursday on an area near the international airport in the Syrian capital Damascus, saying the aggression was in line with Israel's policy to to help the terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government.

“In my opinion, those operations help terrorists,” Dehqan said while on a visit to Moscow, adding that the strike was meant to undermine the gains made by the Syrian government against terrorist groups.

“When it becomes worse for the terrorists, the strikes follow, bringing them a message saying: 'We are defending and protecting you, so don’t worry and if it’s necessary we’ll intervene,” the Iranian defense minister stated.

Such strikes "are only aimed at ensuring the survival of terrorists," he added.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz condoned the Thursday morning attack, saying it was in line with an established policy to target weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, a main ally of the Syrian government in its fight against Takfiri militants.

“I can confirm that the incident in Syria completely conforms to Israel’s policy,” he said.

Russia, which has also been assisting Damascus in the anti-terror fight since September 2015, also denounced the attack near Damascus as an act of aggression.

"Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria and regards them as impermissible and running counter to international law," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday, adding, "We are urging all to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, a UN member-state."

Syrian authorities have yet to officially report on the extent of damage suffered in the attack and whether it inflicted casualties. However, the state-run SANA news agency has quoted officials as blaming Israel for the attack. Earlier reports had suggested that the area was hit by missiles fired from the occupied Palestinian territories. Later reports, including one by the al-Aalam news network, said Israeli fighter jets had carried out the attack.

There have been numerous reports indicating that militants fighting the Damascus government since 2011 enjoy arms support and medical care from Israel.

The Israeli military said on Thursday night that it had shot down what it identified only as "a target" over the occupied Golan Heights. Some media outlets claimed that the object was a drone, but a military spokeswoman refused to comment.
Israel Targets Military Position Southwest of Damascus International Airport
27 April، 2017

Damascus, SANA- A military position southwest of Damascus International Airport was exposed to an Israeli aggression with several missiles fired from inside the occupied territories at dawn on Thursday causing explosions in the place and leaving some material losses, a military source said.

The source added that the Israeli aggression comes as a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale of terrorist groups due to the Syrian army’s blows and this aggression will not dissuade the army from continuing the war against terrorism and crushing it.

The Israeli warplanes on Friday fired two missiles from inside the occupied territory on a military position in the surroundings of Khan Arnabeh in Quneitra countryside after foiling an attempt by terrorists to infiltrate into military positions in Quneitra countryside.

Shaza/Ghossoun
Moscow: Israeli Aggression on Military Site Southwest of Damascus Airport Violates International Law
Moscow, SANA- Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova affirmed on Thursday that the Israeli aggression on a military site southwest of Damascus Airport violates international law and is in the interests of terrorists.

In a press conference in Moscow, Zakharova said that Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria and regards them as impermissible and running counter to international law which cannot be justified because this violation is destabilizing and is in the interest of the terrorists, like Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and obstructing the reaching of a settlement of the crisis in Syria on the basis of international resolutions, particularly resolution no.2254.

“We are urging all to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, a UN member-state,” she said.

Zakharova expressed her country’s deep concern about the bombing of Turkey to border areas in northeastern Syria and northern Iraq, stressing that the US aggression on al-Shairat airfield in the countryside of Homs had encouraged Ankara to commit this aggression.

She hoped that Astana meeting next week will achieve positive results and prevent the deterioration of the situation in Syria, adding that Syrian parties should be supported in reaching compromises that put an end to the ongoing confrontation in Syria and that Russia will not allow the terrorists to impose their control over the country and the entire Middle East region.

In a related context, Zakharova said that there are many facts and information to prove that the so-called White Helmets are working for the terrorists and fabricating films and false scenarios about the tragedy of people to discredit the Syrian forces and the Russian military.

“The White Helmets not only feel at home on territories controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS but also openly express positive attitude towards them, provide information and even financial assistance to them,” she said.

“There is documentary evidence proving that White Helmets members participated in some operations carried out by Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as covered up the signs of civilian executions,” she added.

She noted that the Swedish NGO Doctors for Human Rights had accused the White Helmets of falsifying information about their humanitarian work in Syria by producing staged videos. “They analyzed a video and came to the conclusion that the people in the video were dealing with kids who were under the influence of drugs, rather than trying to provide them with medical assistance,” Zakharova stressed.

She added that Moscow is doing all it can to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrians without discrimination, including the besieged areas of Deir Ezzor, calling on the West to deal with the humanitarian issue in the same manner and stop the attempts to impose additional sanctions on Syrians.

Manar/Mazen
Israel Patriot Missile Downs 'Target' Over Golan Heights in Syria
BBC World Service

Israel shot down "a target" over the Golan Heights, hours after it was accused of a missile strike at a military site near Damascus international airport.

Israel deployed its Patriot missile defence system and media reported the target was a drone.

The earlier strike had damaged what Syrian rebels said was an arms depot run by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

Israel said the explosion was "consistent" with its policy.

But it stopped short of confirming it was responsible.

The Israeli military Twitter account then announced it had intercepted the later "target" over the Golan Heights on the border with Syria, without elaborating.

The military declined to confirm the target was a drone.

Israel regards Hezbollah, and its key backer Iran, as its biggest threat. It went to war with Hezbollah in 2006 and the group has grown considerably more powerful since then.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the powerful blast was heard across the capital at dawn on Thursday and that it was believed to have happened near the main road that leads to the airport.

Syrian state news agency Sana said several missiles had been fired at a military site south-west of the airport, causing explosions that resulted in some material losses.

Pro-government Al-Mayadeen TV cited sources as saying that missiles had been fired by Israeli jets flying inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Two senior rebel sources based in Damascus told Reuters news agency that the missiles had hit an ammunition depot in a closed military area that was used by Iran-backed militias operating alongside the Syrian army, led by Hezbollah.

Appearing to confirm Israeli involvement, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Israeli Army Radio: "I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don't want to elaborate on this."

"The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act."

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reports, however Israel is thought to have bombed arms shipments intended for Hezbollah several times since the Syrian conflict began.

In a rare step last month, the Israeli military confirmed that its jets had struck several targets inside Syria in a raid that prompted the Syrian military to fire a number of ground-to-air missiles, one of which was intercepted over Israeli territory.

On Wednesday, a high-ranking Israeli military officer briefed reporters that approximately 100 missiles intended for Hezbollah had been destroyed in the raid.

Recent suspected Israeli attacks in Syria

23 April 2017: Alleged Israeli attack on a training camp used by militia in Syria's Golan Heights region, kills three members of the Syrian pro-government National Defence Forces, according to the group.
17 March 2017: The Israeli military says its aircraft attacked several targets in Syria and shot down a Syrian missile.
22 February 2017: Israeli aircraft reportedly bomb several Syrian air bases near Damascus, including a Hezbollah convoy travelling with the Syrian army.
12 January 2017: The Syrian government accuses Israel of firing several rockets on the Mezzeh air base from the Sea of Galilee.
30 November 2016: Israeli aircraft fire missiles on the Syrian town of Saboura, west of Damascus, according to Syrian military sources.
18 January 2015: Six Hezbollah fighters and several Iranian soldiers, including a general, die in suspected Israeli air strikes in Syria's Golan Heights region.
19 December 2015: Suspected Israeli missiles hit Jaramana district of Damascus, killing nine Hezbollah fighters, including leading figure Samir Qantar.
‘Shattered’ Reveals Clinton and Sanders Staffs Struck Deal to Hide Protests
Democratic National Convention reality much different than media coverage

By Michael Sainato
Observer
04/27/17 6:30am

With Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters protesting outside, the 2016 Democratic National Convention illuminated the divide within the Democratic Party. The recently released book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes reveals that Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver struck a deal with the Clinton campaign to keep Sanders delegates away from television cameras in order to hide the divisions in the party from audiences across the country.

By not providing context for Sanders’ supporters’ anger, Allen and Parnes advance the denigrating portrayal of his base as unruly. In truth, his supporters had every right to be angry. Apart from the DNC and Democratic Party overtly favoring Hillary Clinton, top Democratic officials spread highly divisive narratives in order to suppress Sanders’ candidacy. Their tactics included calling Sanders supporters “Bernie Bros,” whitewashing his campaign, and using the Nevada Democratic Party Convention to reprimand Sanders supporters. Democrats in office who endorsed Clinton like Sen. Chris Murphy and Gov. Dannel Malloy attacked Sanders in tandem with the Clinton campaign and tried to tie him to the Sandy Hook shooting in a New York Daily News front page story leading up to the pivotal New York Democratic primary. The Democratic Party did everything in their power to destroy Sanders’ candidacy and ensure Clinton was their nominee. This continued up through the Democratic National Convention.

“When Bernie delivered a speech to his delegates in a ballroom at the nearby Philadelphia Convention Center, they booed lustily when he spoke of his rival. Mook lost his temper. He picked up his phone and dialed Weaver. ‘What the fuck are you doing?'” wrote Allen and Parnes in Shattered. Mook and Weaver were both afraid the convention would turn into a Clinton protest, so they had a contingency plan. “About a week before the convention, they had put together a joint command operation behind the arena’s main stage. The boiler room, a big open space filled with long tables, folding chairs, and telephones, functioned as a nerve center from which the two camps could exert control over their delegates during the four-day program.” The room, which was filled with Clinton and Sanders aides, had a text communication list to alert all staff of potential problems during the convention. A leaked email revealed that the Clinton campaign completed a “unity check” on Sanders delegates to research the likelihood of them supporting Clinton. “No more war” chants from Sanders delegates were met with an orchestrated response of “USA” chants from Clinton delegates. Sanders signs were taken from Sanders delegates and their lights were shut off if they spoke out. The Clinton campaign forbade Sanders surrogate Nina Turner from introducing Sanders at the convention.

“The flash-speed communications network would turn out to be a major factor in transforming what was a tumultuous convention inside the hall into a unified one on television. That is, it looked a lot different to folks watching at home than it did to participants inside an arena with plenty of anti-Clinton Bernie delegates,” wrote Allen and Parnes.

The authors then went on to blame Sanders and his supporters for dividing the party, lending no responsibility to the Democratic Party for creating the rifts by failing to run a fair primary race. Up until the point she resigned in disgrace, then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz engaged in passive aggressive rhetoric toward Sanders supporters. Allen formerly worked for a PAC run by Wasserman Schultz, and while the book doesn’t portray the Clinton campaign in a positive light, it maintains the notion that Clinton could have and should have the general election.
Air Strike Kills Five in Southern Libya’s Sabha – Medical Source
tvcnews
April 26, 201723 0

An air strike on a prison has killed five people in a Libyan desert town where armed factions have been fighting along a strategic route from the southern border region to the capital Tripoli, a medical source said on Tuesday.

No one claimed responsibility for the strike in Sabha, but forces aligned with a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli control a desert air base there that previously came under air attack from rivals allied with eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

Two guards and three prisoners were killed in the strike on the prison in Sabha and four other people were wounded early on Tuesday, the medical source said.

The North African OPEC state slipped into turmoil after the 2011 civil war that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. It has been plagued since by fighting between rival political leaders backed by their military factions, each claiming legitimacy.

The southern front line has focused on control around the Tamanhent air base 30 km (19 miles) northeast of Sabha. The fighting risks escalating into the first major confrontation between forces tied to the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Haftar is aligned with a former eastern parliament and government that have rejected the GNA since it arrived in the capital Tripoli, in the far west of the country, more than a year ago as part of U.N. efforts to stabilize Libya.

His forces have been extending their control along Libya‘s central Mediterranean coast and southwards into the desert regions of Jufra and Sabha. He says they also intend to take over Tripoli though some analysts doubt his military strength.

Tamanhent is controlled by a force from Misrata, a militarily powerful western city that has backed the GNA.

Since 2014, loose military alliances based in the east and west of Libya have been engaged in intermittent conflict and the Western-backed GNA has struggled to extend its control even in Tripoli, where rival militia factions operate.
Mumia Abu-Jamal Update: Medical Treatment and Court Hearing
Where is Mumia?  Concern was heightened last night when word came from the prison that Mumia had asked someone to call out and tell people he was being moved.  Given the animosity of the administration and guards, and the recent deaths in custody, Mumia was worried and his family was worried regarding this abrupt transfer.  It turns out that Mumia was moved to the infirmary and not told why.  Today, the prison said it was in preparation for an outside medical appointment this morning, and in fact Mumia went to the hospital at 6am and was returned to the prison at 11:45 am.

He was immediately brought to the visiting room to visit with his brother Keith Cook Mumia’s brother and Dr. Suzanne Ross.  They came out of the prison at 4pm.  For now, two weeks into his Hep C treatment, Mumia is on the road to recovering his health.  Keith told us that Mumia  wants to make sure you know that he  “Thanks you and he loves everyone, and he knows how powerful the movement is, that stands behind him. And that the prison knows that people have his back, and that is very important”.  

Dateline: Philadelphia  Monday 4-24-2017

For Mumia Abu-Jamal  to get out of prison his criminal conviction needs to be challenged and overturned.  The newest chapter in this struggle took place in the Common Pleas Courts of Philadelphia before Judge Leon Tucker.

On April 24th, 2017 in room 805 Christina Swarns of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter of Widner appeared before the court to argue that a new Supreme Court ruling required the reinstatement of Mumia’s appellate rights.   On the other side Ronald Eisenberg, Deputy DA argued for the Commonwealth.

This potential reopening of Mumia’s appeals began when the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the former Philadelphia DA and PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille’s practice of sitting in judgement on his own cases; the cases where he was a prosecutor and DA.  In Williams v. the Commonwealth the Supreme Court ordered a new trial because Castille was obligated in the interest of justice and fairness to recuse himself from these appeals.

Christina Swarns argued the case for 45mins, with the goal of getting Judge Tucker to order the District Attorney’s office to produce discovery i.e. the prosecutorial files in this case.   If turned over, these files will undoubtedly establish that Castille was intimately involved in Mumia’s case as supervisory ADA during his trial and DA during all of his appeals.

Swarns put on the record that the DA’s office had lied to the court regarding the “lack of involvement” of Castille in similar cases, and was rebuked by the U.S. Supreme court because of it.   Notably, the judge asked the DA Eisenberg, that if the time bar and the retroactivity claim were met, would Mumia Abu-Jamal be entitled to relief.  Eisenberg agree, saying yes, Mumia’s appellate rights would be reinstated.   There is no doubt that the district attorney’s office will appeal to PA Superior Court and the PA Supreme Court if discovery on this issue is granted.
I Feel Blessed to Have Encountered Darcus Howe
Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali
Originally Published in Share

The year was 2006 and I was in for a huge surprise. A pleasant one.

Toronto Musician/Educator Ian Jones brought Darcus Howe into our studio when I was still producing and hosting Saturday Morning Live on CKLN-FM 88.1.

Howe joined the ancestors on April 1, 2017.

When I heard and read the news on Limers.com I was shocked and sadden. He was an African born in Trinidad who made his contribution as a broadcaster, writer and human rights activist in Britain. He came to the “Mother Land” (the United Kingdom) as a youth intending to study law. There he joined the British Black Panthers. He was an editor of “Race Today”, and chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival. Another Trinidadian Claudia Jones founded Carnival in Britain.

Howe was best known as a television broadcaster in the UK for his Black on Black series on Channel 4, his current affairs program.

I had not seen him since 1968 when I met him in Mount Morris Park in Harlem-“the Capital of Colonized Afro-America” as the Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale’s branch of the Black Panther Party once called it. I was “Slippin’ Into Darkness (was underground) because I refused to fight against the heroic Vietnamese people. I was not allowed to become a landed immigrant in Canada at that time because I failed the test which had a point system. To be honest it meant I wasn’t intelligent enough live in the Great White North. I was a Louisiana-born dummy.

Years later I won the Toronto Arts Award and had my face in living color in the Toronto Star.
Idiot and genius I was called both.

Eldridge Cleaver the Minister of Information of the BPP was the keynote speaker at New York rally. Cleaver was holding court. One of the other speakers was Mae Mallory (June 9, 1927 – 2007), a legendary figure in the Black radical tradition. She was a Black Power advocate in the 1950s and 1960s that was best known as an advocate of school desegregation and of black armed self-defence. Mallory supported Robert F. Williams, the Monroe, North Carolina NAACP chapter leader,and author of “Negroes with Guns”.

During the Freedom Rides in August 1961, she worked with Williams in protecting Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists who were demonstrating in Monroe. This led to armed confrontations with white supremacists and allegations of kidnapping a white couple.
William spent time in Toronto, Canada before escaping to Cuba and later the People’s Republic of China.

Howe and I hit it off and we agreed to meet again and head to Brooklyn to a BPP meeting. When we arrived we were blessed to see and hear Zayd Malik Shakur (born James F. Coston).

Shakur was later killed on a New Jersey Turnpike, on May 2, 1973. He was underground with Assata Shakur. Who fled to revolutionary Cuba. She was a former bpp and black liberation army (BLA) member, who was convicted of murder in 1977.She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984, gaining political asylum.

Zaid  Malik Shakur was holding court about the state of Africans in America, the Caribbean and oppressed people around the world.  The battle of ideas was in full affect at that moment in history. Organizations were attempting to recruit members to their fold. Stokely Carmichael who later became Kwame Ture had a hot and cold relationship with the Newton and Seale faction of the BPP. Ture had a closer relationship with “Papa Rage” Cleaver. In fact, Cleaver has a chapter in his book, “Post-Prison Writings and Speeches” called, “My Father and Stokely Carmichael”.

 Shakur’s speech was critical of Ture. Howe lost it and began to shout about how he disagreed with the analysis being put forth. However, he was in Panther land and the crowd couldn’t even hear him because the audience was shouting their approval of Shakur’s thought’s on the question.
That was the last time I saw Howe until our encounter at CKLN-FM. According to Ian Jones Howe met Ture in Montreal at the Black Writers Congress in 1968. His great uncle C.L.R. James was at this conference. During this period he was working quietly with H.Rap Brown who later became Imam Jamil Abdullah in Ocean Hill- Brownville. I found out years later that Howe stayed under the radar because of the immigration issue.

Howe who was C.L.R. James’ nephew pointed out that he was influence by
Marxism. Said Howe about James, “His mother and my grandmother we sisters. When I left Trinidad to come here to study law  I went to see my grandmother to say goodbye…She said to me when you go to England find CLR. Do whatever you have to do to find him and you will never ever regret it.”

Howe’s life has been captured in a new volume, 'Darcus Howe: A Political Biography' by authors Robin Bunce and Paul Field. Linton Kwesi Johnson immortalized Howe on his 1978 album, “Dread Beat an' Blood” with the poem "Man Free (for Darcus Howe)".

The international rebel’s last battle was with prostate cancer. He vowed to help African men from the Caribbean and elsewhere to take this matter seriously. He follows Trinidadian Ture and others have been hit by this dreaded disease.

I feel blessed to have encountered Leighton Rhett Radford "Darcus" Howe.

Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the United States were colonial subjects. After leaving Los Angeles in the 1960s Richmond moved to Toronto, where he co-founded the Afro American Progressive Association, one of the first Black Power organizations in that part of the world. Before moving to Toronto permanently, Richmond worked with the Detroit-based League of Revolutionary Black Workers. He was the youngest member of the central staff. When the League split he joined the African People’s Party. In 1992, Richmond received the Toronto Arts Award. In front of an audience that included the mayor of Toronto, Richmond dedicated his award to Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, the African National Congress of South Africa, and Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba. In 1984 he co-founded the Toronto Chapter of the Black Music Association with Milton Blake.Richmond began his career in journalism at the African Canadian weekly Contrast. He went on to be published in the Toronto Star, the  Toronto Globe & Mail, the  National Post, the Jackson Advocate,  Share, the Islander, the Black American, Pan African News Wire, and Black Agenda Report. Internationally he has written for the United Nations, the Jamaican Gleaner, the Nation (Barbados), the Nation Sri Lanka, and Pambazuka News.Currently, he produces Diasporic Music a radio show for Uhuru Radio and writes a column, Diasporic Music for the Burning Spear Newspaper.

For more information:norman.o.richmond@gmail.com
South Africa Wrongly Termed 'Junk' Status
26 April 2017, 15:29
By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

On the back of South Africa's down-grade by rating agencies, speculation is rife as to what does this mean for the consumer and the economy.

It be also argued that much of the interpretations and commentary flowing around will not pass as accurate and even professional opinion.

That is why is becomes highly appreciative when an expert on such issues provides a up-to-date research and professional account of what a down grade would mean for a country like South Africa.

This time around, the honour is bestowed by George Herman, the Citadel director,  who argues that ‘junk’ is not a word used by the credit agencies.

Herman strongly suggests that the word 'junk' should be banished from the investment lexicon as it is loaded with negative sentiments.

He said it is essential to remain calm and objective in turbulent times. “Ask yourself: were South African bonds ‘junk’ 10 days ago? No. Has our probability of default increased meaningfully since then? The answer, again, is no.”

Herman highlighted a Bloomberg article which made reference to the recent credit rating downgrades to ‘sub-investment’ grade by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, a level often touted as ‘junk’.

‘Junk’, Herman said, is not the word used by the credit agencies.

But it is merely a label developed among regulated investors who are not permitted to invest beyond ‘investment grade’ securities or countries.

“And yet the word carries tremendous weight and emotional currency, most of which is an inaccurate reflection of what investment grade or sub-investment grade actually means.

“In short, it is a poorly defined term that should be banished from the investment lexicon. The attractiveness of an investment is determined by the objective of a client or investor and the mandate that client has given the financial manager. That mandate may exclude many countries or asset classes and that exclusion doesn’t make those particular investments ‘junk’.”

The Citadel director, has likened global ratings agencies to film critics.

Herman notes that they (ratings agencies) have a published and pre-determined set of credit scoring criteria and aim to identify risks with those scores when giving their outlook.

“You may decide that you’ll only watch movies rated above a certain level by a certain critic, because you agree with the criteria, and that’s a perfectly acceptable way of filtering the entire universe of movies to suit your particular taste,” he said.

The analyst further pointed to two takeaways from the analogy, a) If this particular critic rates a particular movie at a score lower than your cut-off point, it doesn’t make that particular movie junk; b) If this particular critic rates this specific movie lower than a score generally associated with a good movie, it serves absolutely no purpose criticising the critic.

Herman also remarked that global investment firms require an independent, objective party to rate or score the entire global fixed income investment universe. Their mandates are then set up to include only investments higher than a specific score and this universe of investments is then investable for them.

Global economic analyst, attest that over the years regulations for global pension funds have been standardised and, in so doing, this has created what is now known as the investment grade universe.

“This is merely a line in the sand, since a distinction or limit needs to be set somewhere,” agrees Herman.

“On the continuum of risk, the difference between the lowest ranked security in investment grade and the highest ranked security in the non-investment grade list is absolutely marginal and most definitely not as binary as the inclusion or exclusion would suggest.

“The one investment can’t be described as perfectly acceptable while the next as ‘junk’. It is merely outside the predetermined universe of a certain set of investors,” the analyst said.

Herman explains that the country faces a cliff risk, when South Africa lands on this borderline where some agencies rate the country within the investment grade universe and some outside, and some for foreign currency debt and some for local currency debt.

“Stay within investment grade and the entire world can invest in your bonds. Move one notch lower and suddenly very few global investors are allowed to invest in your bonds. This single notch rating change thus poses the reality of rising risk premiums and, in this instance, higher bond yields.”

He states that the shift from investment grade to non-investment grade causes a much greater adjustment in yields than the numerical assessment of risk suggests.

Herman adds that falling out of the investment grade universe is costly, but it is also not the end of the world. “As South African investors, our home market still provides opportunities, despite some critics now scoring us lower than before.”

Meanwhile, despite the recent downgrades by ratings agencies of South Africa’s sovereign credit rating, the country could continue to improve its attractiveness as a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination.

This view is a consensus among leaders of some of the country’s top companies, who participated in a panel discussion hosted by Sanlam Private Wealth and Financial Mail on Thursday evening, last week.

Sigma Capital executive chairperson Phuti Mahanyele, Naspers Group CEO Bob van Dijk and Lonmin CEO Ben Magara, insisted that apart from a country’s sovereign credit rating, investors look at a basket of factors.

These include whether or not the regulatory regime can provide reliable long-term protection on investments.

Van Dijk indicated that Naspers invests in companies with the potential of substantial growth over the next few years, including those in ‘challenging’ markets.

“We’ve invested a lot of capital in Brazil, for example, which has also been downgraded to junk status. But we don’t look only at a country’s credit rating. For us, the main question is around the business opportunity, but it’s also about being comfortable that an investment will be protected over the long term.”
The Dark Side of Detroit's Renaissance
Shikha Dalmia

Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans (and the Cleveland Cavaliers), walks around Detroit with a veritable halo around his head. He is credited with having put this Rust Belt city, which only recently emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, on the path to revival. He saw opportunity where others saw ruin, scooping up vacant old gems facing demolition. And he didn't just sit on them hoping to dump them when their value inched up. He actually led the comeback, moving his headquarters, along with thousands of employees, to a struggling city at a time when others were streaming for the exits. And now, voila, thanks to his efforts, Motown is back.

It's a nice story. If only it were true!

Alas, the reality is that Detroit's renaissance exists, but only on a seven-mile stretch of this 140–square-mile city. And even this has less to do with Gilbert's visionary capitalism and more to do with his (and his fellow businessmen's) crony capitalism. The latest example is the outrageous "transformational brownfield projects" bill that Gilbert is pushing in the Michigan legislature to collect taxpayer dollars for a skyscraper he wants to build where Detroit's famous Hudson store once stood.

Now, businesses routinely hit up taxpayers for money. They obtain subsidies, tax breaks, special tax write-offs, and low-interest loans backed by state bonds. But this legislation, which has already sailed through the state Senate and is now being considered by the state House, is particularly egregious.

The bill would allow five developers in five cities every year to not just capture part of the property taxes from the brownfield (which is a site contaminated or environmentally damaged by previous users) they are redeveloping, but also $40 million worth of income taxes for 20 years. Whose income taxes? Remarkably, as soon as work on the site begins, the developers will be able call dibs on the income taxes paid by their own construction workers. And once the project is completed, a portion of the income taxes of the residents and the sales taxes of the businesses will be handed over to these developers as well.

The real kicker is that the bill would allow only developers who are planning "mixed use" residential and commercial projects to be eligible — and only if they make out-of-pocket investments worth $500 million in cities with a population of over 600,000. This basically means that in Detroit, only Gilbert's Hudson redevelopment project would fit the bill. This bill is custom-built just for him.

This is galling. The bill will change the tax code to deliver a guaranteed revenue stream directly into the pocket of a rich developer without even subjecting it to the normal budgetary process where the needs of ordinary mortals are considered.

Gilbert justifies this largesse by noting that brownfield cleanup is expensive, and without such offsets, the site would remain vacant and unproductive, doing no good for the city. He also claims that the 734-foot high-rise he is planning would potentially open $2 billion-plus worth of projects from his company alone, presumably offsetting the handouts he receives.

If this were the only government assistance that Gilbert and his business cronies had received in the name of redeveloping Detroit, it would be bad enough. But every major project they've undertaken is chockfull of subsidies.

Gilbert's boosters like to emphasize that he has bought scores of properties and spent several billion dollars of his own money to redevelop them, even arranging for his own security because he couldn't count on the cash-strapped city to provide it. What they forget to note is that he received $50 million in state tax breaks to relocate the Quicken headquarters from the suburbs to Detroit. And his partner in the proposed construction of a soccer stadium, Pistons' owner Tom Gores, received $34.5 million to relocate his basketball team from Auburn Hills to Detroit.

Gilbert and Gores want to build their soccer stadium where county courts and a half-finished jail currently stand. They want authorities to hand over the entire criminal justice complex for their new stadium. Given its prime location, they argue that this would strengthen their bid to land a Major Soccer League franchise. In exchange for this land, along with an additional $300 million in cash and credit for the savings from the new jail, they are offering to build the county another criminal justice center "worth" $420 million elsewhere in the city. This deal is so fishy that even the liberal Detroit Free Press, generally a reliable Gilbert cheerleader, declared itself skeptical that the math would work out for taxpayers.

Gores and Gilbert aren't the only ones hitting up Michigan taxpayers for their stadium fetish. The late Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, obtained $440 million from city and state taxpayers to build a snazzy new ice arena for the Red Wings. Pre-bankruptcy, taxpayers also poured hundreds of millions into building Comerica Park, a baseball stadium for the Detroit Tigers, and Ford Field, a football stadium for the Detroit Lions.

All of this means that if Gilbert and his fellow billionaires now get everything on their wish list, a city with less than 680,000 people (down from 2 million at its peak) will house four new sports stadiums and several new high-rises — all at the partial expense of taxpayers. Oh, and then there is the $187.3 million light rail system that begins operations in a couple of weeks, for which Uncle Sam alone coughed up over $40 million. Gilbert intensely lobbied for the light rail, which will link Detroit's downtown, dubbed Gilbertville because it houses the Quicken office and other buildings where Gilbert's employees live, with the midtown area, where the entertainment district is. Never mind that Detroit's jobless and carless residents would have much more use for bus lines transporting them to jobs outside the city.

But here's the multi-billion dollar question: Will lavishing all these resources — public and private — on such flashy projects work to lift the whole city?

Gilbert and Co. insist that it will. And there is no doubt that the area that they have targeted for redevelopment is showing signs of life. On Woodward Avenue, the main drag that cuts through the city and where the stadiums and other buildings are located, many cool new eateries, night clubs, apartment complexes, and retail shops are cropping up.

However, the whole argument for pouring taxpayer dollars into this area is that its growth will spill over to the rest of the city, opening up jobs and business opportunities for all Detroiters. But research by Michigan State University's Laura Reese and Wayne State University's Gary Sands published earlier this year suggests that on virtually every metric, life outside the targeted zone is worse than it was even in 2010, when the alleged renaissance began.

Detroit's overall population actually declined by 2.6 percent between 2010 and 2014. The unemployment rate among Detroiters increased by 2.4 percentage points between 2010 and 2013. This may have been because of the bankruptcy-induced layoffs of city employees, but Sands maintains that the trends don't seem to have changed much in 2015. "About half of the neighborhoods in the periphery saw employment and payroll declines," he notes. What's more, although the overall number of Detroit businesses remained unchanged between 2014 and 2015, 13 of the more peripheral city zipcodes saw a decline.

In other words, far from the city core leading a comeback, it is at best siphoning — and at worst destroying — business and employment in the rest of Detroit, perhaps because smaller enterprises are having trouble competing with powerful billionaires who can dip into taxpayer pockets and divert other public resources toward their grand designs.

It is too early to declare Detroit's renaissance a failure. But there is every reason to be skeptical of the hype. So far, at least, it seems, if anyone is significantly benefiting in Detroit, it is Gilbert and his fellow crony capitalists — not average Detroiters.