Archive by month July

South Africa removes recognition of 6 kings; dismisses them as apartheid creations

South Africa removes recognition of 6 kings; dismisses them as apartheid creations
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South Africa removes recognition of six traditional kings.

By Jean-Jacques Cornish (AFP)
PRETORIA — President Jacob Zuma announced Thursday July 29, that South Africa would stop recognising half the nation’s traditional kings and queens, dismissing them as artificial creations of the apartheid regime.
The announcement came after a six-year government study into the traditional monarchies, some of which were used by the white-minority apartheid rulers as what Zuma described as a divide and rule strategy to weaken black leaders.
Seven of the 13 kingships were approved. The other six will end when the incumbent ruler dies, Zuma told reporters.
“The apartheid regime created its own traditional leadership at the expense of authentic leadership in some communities,” Zuma said.
“It was how those in charge divided and disunited people,” he said. “We urge all communities to accept the findings in the spirit of correcting the wrongs of the past, and as part of the country’s nation-building efforts.”
Traditional leaders have little real political power, but can act as arbitrators in local disputes and remain important cultural figures.
Parliament includes a National House of Traditional Leaders, but its role is mainly to advise government on matters where customary law still holds sway — normally family issues like marriage and ritual circumcision.
The decision left in place the Xhosa King Zwelonke Sigcawu and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, representing South Africa’s two biggest ethnic groups.
Successors to the six kingships slated for removal will be recognised as lower-ranking traditional leaders.
The apartheid government had created black homelands for each ethnic group and installed their leaders, but no other country ever recognised their independence.
The regions were dismantled after the fall of apartheid.
Zuma stressed that the six were not accused of being apartheid collaborators, but said the decision was meant to defuse historical tensions among rival leaders.
“The finding must help all affected communities to begin the path of acceptance, healing and reconciliation,” Zuma said.
“We have always been able to find ways of resolving issues, and of accepting even the most difficult of solutions for the good of the country,” he said. “We must face the truth, even if it is uncomfortable, and move forward.”
The decision is also a cost-cutting measure for the national treasury, which provides each king with an annual subsidy.
Under the shake-up, no traditional kingdoms will be left in the central province of Free State when the kings of the Batlokwa ba Mota and the Bakwena baMopeli die.
In the Eastern Cape, the AmaRharhabe and the Amampondo ase-Nyandeni will lose their king. The AbaThembu base-Rhode’s king has already died and will not be replaced.
The Ndzundza Mabhoko kingdom will also fall away in eastern Mpumalanga province.
Among the kings spared the axe was Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo of the AbaThembu clan, who has called for about half the nation — including Johannesburg — to secede from South Africa.
He made his independence bid after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for charges including culpable homicide, arson and assault. That case is currently on appeal. His secession call was ignored.
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Obama holds forum with African youth August 3-5 in Washington DC

Obama holds forum with African youth August 3-5 in Washington DC
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Obama to hold forum with African youth from August 35, 2010 in Washington DC

Special to USAfrica, and CLASSmagazine Houston.

By Chido Nwangwu, USAfricaonline.com.

A group of 100 young African leaders, mainly from the private sector and civil society, will be hosted by the U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington DC as part of the events to mark 50 years of political independence achieved by almost 17 sub-Saharan Africa countries. “Together with American counterparts and U.S. government officials, the participants will share their insights on key themes of youth empowerment, good governance, and economic opportunity,” said the White House statement.
The event of August 35, 2010 titled “The President’s Forum with Young African Leaders”, will include President Obama (son of a Kenyan immigrant and a Caucasian American mother) interacting at a town hall meeting event with the group from almost 40 countries to exchange thoughts on how improve their countries and shape their communities over the next 50 years.

The White House said in the statement that it “presents the U.S. government and American friends of Africa with an opportunity to deepen and broaden our understanding of the trajectories of African societies, and to reflect on how the next generation are building their communities’ and their nations’ futures — just as their predecessors did in the era of independence from colonial rule.”
The issues of economic development, democracy, corruption, transparency, technology empowerment and telecommunications will form key parts of the discussion.

———


Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, Houston
www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obamaafrica09.html

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CNN International profiles work of USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu

CNN International profiles work of USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu
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VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on July 28, 2010, at 2.45PM U.S EST (New York time), 1845 GMT same Wednesday; rebroadcast is scheduled on Saturday July 31, 2010 at 0715 GMT. 

(as published on Accra Daily Mail, ModernGhana.com, USAfrica, etc)

http://www.modernghana.com/news/285745/1/cnn-international-broadcasts-its-profile-of-usafri.html

http://accra-mail.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19963:cnn-international-broadcasts-its-profile-of-usafricas-chido-nwangwu-on-july-282010&catid=66:world&Itemid=215

http://www.usafricaonline.com/2010/07/24/cnn-international-profile-chido-nwangwu

 

Chido.Nwangwu.CNNinternational.intv2010.mshowalt.usafrica.IMG_46721

Chido.Nwangwu.CNNinternational.intv2010.mshowalt.usafrica.IMG_46721

Prime time across the world, on Wednesday July 28, 2010, the world’s television news leader CNN International will turn its international lenses to tell the story of hardwork, professionalism, diligence and excellence personified by the U.S-based Nigerian multimedia executive Dr. Chido Nwangwu.

He is credited with establishing the first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet www.USAfricaonline.com.

The CNN International ‘Marketplace Africa’ feature on USAfrica and its Publisher Chido Nwangwu will be broadcast on Wednesday July 28, 2010 at 2.45PM U.S EST (New York time) and 1845 GMT same Wednesday; rebroadcast on Saturday July 31, 2010 at 0715 GMT. Also, parts of the broadcast will be accessible at CNN International web site http://edition.cnn.com/CNNI/Programs/marketplace.africa/

USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com are assessed by major policy and media organizations including the New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks; founded since 1993 in Houston, Texas. “It has remained my commitment and professional focus to foster the business, political, cultural and strategic interests of our two continents.”

A prominent U.S Congressman Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee and member of the House committees on Foreign Affairs and Judiciary witnessed the rise of of USAfrica in Houston since 1993. “I have been a strong supporter of USAfrica and Chido’s from the start. He has an outstanding sense of service. He’s always there to not only report but provide unique insights to the biggest news events concerning Africans and Americans, be the events here in the U.S or inside the African continent. Above all, Chido has credibility, and has worked hard to earn the trust of thousands of people.”

Influential U.S Congressman Hon. Al Green of the Homeland Security and Financial Services committee who has attended some of the USAfrica Best of Africa events in Houston notes that “Chido and the team at USAfrica really do a first-class job of promoting with class and deep knowledge, the interests of Africans and Americans. Chido’s a great credit to journalism and our communities.”

U.S former Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador George Kennedy has followed the growth of USAfrica and its chief executive officer. He adds that: USAfrica is the leader in defining and analyzing issues and events which impact Africans and Nigerians in the United States of America. Significantly, Chido is properly credited for professionally pioneering the bi-continental approach of publishing for Africans and Americans, in a nuanced way which connects them. He’s an authority on these matters.”

Similarly, in 1993, the legendary Mayor of Houston Bob Lanier (born March 10, 1925) wrote in commendation of Chido’s vision and work. On May 7, 2004, Mayor Bill White signed a proclamation of the Chido Nwangwu and USAfrica Day in America’s 4th largest city.

On June 24, 2010, CNN International reporter/producer/camera team visited USAfrica’s editorial headquarters in Houston, Texas, for 3.5 hours to put together its profile of USAfrica’s Founder & Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu. The recordings/interviews were wrapped up on Friday June 25, 2010.
A few pixs from the event are available for preview, exclusively at the African diaspora community’s #1 pictorial features web site www.PhotoWorks.TV
www.photoworks.tv/cnn-chido-usafrica2010

The CNN International profile covered the editorial board/production meeting of USAfrica and its CLASSmagazine on key issues including the USAfrica comparison of the oil spills in the Niger Delta to the environmental disaster in the U.S Gulf of Mexico,  electoral reforms in Nigeria, Africa’s performance at the recently concluded World Cup 2010.

Chido served on Houston Mayor Lee Brown’s international business advisory board (Africa) and has been honored by the Washington-D.C.based National Immigration Forum for utilizing the media to fight authoritarianism and fostering freedom of expression in parts of African continent. He has served on the board of the Houston chapter of the NAACP, and was the first continental African to be admitted to the 100 Black Men of America.

CHIDO NWANGWU, recipient of the Journalism Excellence Award (1997), is the Founder and Publisher of the influential and respected USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the Internet), the Chinua Achebe project www.Achebebooks.com, the ultra-glossy CLASS magazine, the exciting photos and events mega-site with the largest collection of contemporary images/events of continental Africans in America PhotoWorks.TV, The Black Business Journal , BBJonline.com, several blogs, and USAfrica The Newspaper which was voted the Number One community newspaper in Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S.) in the annual ranking by the readers and editors of the Houston Press in 2001.

The flagship of American media, The New York Times of September 23, 2003, noted that USAfrica is America’s largest African-owned multimedia company. The New York Times’ reporter Simon Romero wrote that Chido “Nwangwu recently created a magazine called CLASS for affluent Africans in the United States.” To be sure, it’s not only for the affluent but the willing and deserving. CLASS is the Africans-in-America’s own Ebony and People and GQ – all rolled into one unique product: an ultra-glossy magazine of African style, music, living, fashion and our younger generation interests. He calls the latter group ‘generation Class.’ CLASS is the magazine for successful, pioneering, pacesetting and exemplary Africans in America.

He appears as an analyst on the CNN, the Voice of America/WorldNet and the Black Entertainment Television (BET), as well a number of local U.S. tv and radio stations.

Also, he was the only continental African publisher/reporter who traveled with and covered U.S. President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to parts of Africa, March-April 2, 1998; and covered Clinton’s visit to Nigeria in late August, 2000. He was the only Africa/African-American Publisher who reported from inside the joint seating of the U.S Congress during Liberia’s president Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”s historic speech in March 2006.

In 2005, he established one of the most vibrant Africa community e-groups/blogs/community calendars for sharing info/announcements of upcoming and special events, insight to significant dates, festivals, events, resolutions/communique and historic milestones involving (or relevant to) persons, organizations and groups of Nigerian descent Nigeria360, the blog for the Igbo pan-African heritage, called IgboEvents; an Anglican community blog, AnglicanAfrican, and more. They are all powered by the resources of USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com.

Nwangwu speaks at colleges and businesses on technology issues, especially how the unfolding the digital world and the Internet affect Africans, African-Americans and recent immigrants. He served as a panelist at the 2000 British Broadcasting Corporation/Public Radio International global technology forum in San Francisco, California.

He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in the 1989 into early 1990s, 19881989 assistant editor of the Platform magazine, African and The World journal. He began his professional career as a very young man in the news, sports and programs production/camera/editing departments of the Nigerian Television Authority. He contributes to The Mail and Guardian of South Africa, Houston Chronicle, and numerous U.S.-based and Africa issues publications.

In recognition of his engaging and pioneering digital design work on USAfricaonline.com and other web sites, Chido was voted the #1 African-American web designer in 1997 by the Houston Association of Black Journalists. He has since conceptualized, designed and maintained through his company, USAfrica Digital Media, a number of web sites, including private corporations and government sites.

Nwangwu is author of the special report, Clinton’s Africa, and is writing a book on the experiences of recent African immigrants in the U.S.

He has been profiled in the Houston Chronicle (8th highest circulated newspaper in the U.S.), the Orlando Sentinel, Mail and Guardian of South Africa, and a number of other publications. Some of Chido Nwangwu’s works, bio-data and context of his writings were recently profiled in February, 2001 in a report in the Houston Press by prolific essayist and reporter John Suval.

He is the convener of the annual inter-denominational USAfrica Prayer Breakfast, which holds at 9am prompt on the last Saturday of every January, of every year, since 1999.

He serves on the advisory board of several community building and international organizations including EVA (Education as Vaccine against AIDS-based in Nigeria and the U.S). He is an active new technologies analyst, television and multimedia executive, cross-cultural business consultant and an artist.

Contact: USAfrica. 8303 SW Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77074.                                                                               e-mail: News@USAfricaonline.com. Phone: 7132705500. Wireless: 83245-CHIDO (24436)

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African Union peacekeepers killed by Somali insurgents

African Union peacekeepers killed by Somali insurgents
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African Union peacekeepers killed by Somali insurgents.

Somali insurgents killed two African Union peacekeepers from Uganda in fierce battles earlier the week, a spokesman for the AU mission in Somalia has said Friday.
Peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi are propping up Somalia’s weak Western-backed government as Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab and its allies press for control of the chaotic Horn of Africa nation.

“Two of our soldiers were killed in Mogadishu’s Bondhere district and three others were injured on Wednesday,” Major Barigye Bahoku, of the peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM, told the German Press Agency dpa.

The three injured soldiers have been taken to Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya, for treatment, he added.
Al-Shabaab, which claims links to al-Qaeda, has penned the government into a few districts of Mogadishu and earlier this month launched its first attack on foreign soil.

Twin suicide blasts in the Ugandan capital Kampala killed 76 people watching the World Cup final on July 11.

Currently around 6,000 Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers are protecting the government in Somalia, although plans are afoot to reach the originally envisaged strength of 8,000.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni now wants to raise the strength of the force to 20,000 and change the mandate to allow the peacekeepers to go after the insurgents.
Somali has been immersed in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The current insurgency, which has claimed more than 20,000 lives, kicked off in early 2007, following Ethiopia’s invasion to oust the ruling Islamist regime. USAfrica wt DPA

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Memories of Genocide and Rwandan government’s abuse of authority. By Prof. Chi Mgbako

Memories of Genocide and Rwandan government’s abuse of authority. By Prof. Chi Mgbako
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Memories of Genocide and Rwandan government’s abuse of authority
By Prof. Chi Mgbako

Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagaine, Houston.

As the August 2010 presidential election looms, it is important not only to hail Rwanda’s success but also to ask hard questions about government abuse of authority.

The Rwandan government has made remarkable strides in infrastructure, the economy, healthcare and gender equity in political representation, but their continued attack on independent thought and criticism is disheartening – and dangerous.
The Rwandan government uses charges of “genocidal ideology” and “ethnic divisionism” to attack independent critics and often seems more concerned with political survival than with lasting reconciliation, manipulating the memory of the genocide for political gain.

If the Rwandan government is truly committed to promoting unity and fostering long-term reconciliation it should encourage enlightened public discourse about the social construction of ethnicity in Rwanda and stop oppressing political opponents, independent civil society and journalists.

My work years ago as a young lawyer-in-training focusing on post-genocide Rwanda sparked my career in international human rights law. For several years I visited Rwanda on human rights research and fact-finding trips and authored reports based on my fieldwork. This tiny, beautiful, ghost-filled country, where 800,000 people were slaughtered while the international community watched, has stayed with me.

On my first trip to Rwanda seven years ago, I visited a genocide memorial site housed in a church an hour outside of Rwanda’s capital. At Ntarama church, roving gangs of genocidaires killed 5,000 men, women and children seeking sanctuary inside. There are places made of stone that carry human memory, that remember where we have been and what we have suffered. I walked into Ntarama church and was confronted with the strong, sad, unrelenting human memory of anguish.

The church remained exactly as it had been following the 1994 attacks. There were holes in the ceiling from grenade fragments, blood splattered on the walls, bones and skulls scattered on the floor among the rubble, sandals, clothes and children’s books.

I remember the light from the setting sun entering the church through the grenade holes in the ceiling and settling on the bones that glowed golden and lonely. One of the survivors of the attack said he only lived because the bodies of the dead and dying poured on top of him, like rain. In the trips to Rwanda that followed, I would meet many more survivors who shared similar stories of the struggle to live during those horrifying 100 days.
It is with these images and stories lingering in my mind that I remain mystified at the ease with which the Rwandan government manipulates the memory of the genocide by using the charge of genocidal ideology to stifle opposition and buttress its own power.
As the election draws near, the government has been implicated in recent attacks on journalists and political opponents and their advocates. These attacks include the imprisonment and later release of Peter Erlinder, a U.S. lawyer and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda defense counsel, and the banning of two independent newspapers: Umuvugizi and Umuseso.

Although the government has denied recent allegations of abuse – including participation in the murder of Umuvugizi editor Jean Leonard Rugambage, and the attempted murder in South Africa of the exiled former army chief of staff Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa – the authoritarian tendencies of Rwanda’s ruling party is not a new phenomenon.

In 2004, following the 2003 elections in which the government was implicated in the forced disappearances of opposition figures, a parliamentary commission issued a scathing report accusing civil society, independent journalists, opposition politicians, human rights defenders, churches, schools and international aid organizations of harboring “genocidal ideology.”

I researched and co-authored a report condemning these actions and interviewed a junior Rwandan government official who conceded that “genocidal ideology” had become code for overt criticism of government policy. The parliamentary commission report was shocking in its lack of strong evidence to support such serious charges in a country struggling to realize lasting reconciliation.
Following the release of the 2004 parliamentary report, Rwandan human rights defenders accused of genocidal ideology fled the country fearing for their lives.

Many lived in exile in Kampala, Uganda, under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, until being granted political asylum in Europe and North America. I interviewed several of them – brave individuals who had strong records of advocating for the rights of genocide survivors.
International human rights defenders are also not immune to the government’s acrimony. One prime example was the government’s treatment of the late, great Alison Des Forges of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, who before her untimely death last year was widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on the Rwandan genocide.
Her criticisms of the government’s increasingly authoritarian streak resulted in the government officially banning her from the country in 2008, despite her unquestionable courage in attempting to draw international attention to the impending genocide in 1994. As the government persists in leveling charges of genocidal ideology with abandon, independent critics continue to flee the country.
Rwanda’s “genocidal ideology” and “ethnic divisionism” laws fail to strike an equitable balance between safeguarding freedom of speech while protecting citizens against incitement to violence and discrimination.

Instead, these laws silence journalists, politicians and citizens who peacefully advocate political views that differ from those of the ruling party. The government uses these ill-defined crimes and manipulates the memory of the genocide to solidify its power and oppress alternative political viewpoints under the pretense of advancing national unity. These actions trivialize the genocide and do not honor the Rwandan dead.
• Chi Mgbako is Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. She is a dedicated human rights advocate, having conducted human rights fieldwork, reporting, advocacy and teaching in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Uganda, and the United States.

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CIRCUMCISION: African men line up in battle against HIV infections

CIRCUMCISION: African men line up in battle against HIV infections
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Circumcision could halt 4 million new African HIV cases

By Kate Kelland in Vienna (Reuters) – More than 4 million new HIV infections could be prevented in eastern and southern Africa by 2025 if male circumcision rates were increased to 80 percent, researchers said on Tuesday.
Expanding circumcision services to 80 percent of adult and newborn males in the region would also save $20.2 billion in HIV-related health costs between 2009 and 2025, they said.
“With global resources spread thin, we must focus on expanding proven and cost-effective methods like male circumcision to prevent HIV transmission,” Krishna Jafa, an HIV expert at health aid group Population Services International (PSI), said at an AIDS conference in Vienna.
Jafa’s comments echoed former U.S. President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Bill Gates, who both used speeches to the conference to call for rapid scale-up of male circumcision as a cost-effective way to prevent the spread of HIV.
Sub-Saharan Africa carries the greatest burden of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, accounting for 67 percent of the 33.4 million people living with the virus worldwide. An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in the region in 2008.
Research cited by the World Health Organisation has shown that male circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of getting HIV by up to 60 percent.
PSI presented results of a study from Zimbabwe, where researchers designed and tried out an efficiency model called MOVE, aimed at increasing the numbers of male circumcisions by using better techniques, training, equipment and staff.
In a pilot of the new system, a team of two doctors and three nurses was able to carry out four circumcisions at the same time and increase their rate from three operations per hour to 10, the results showed. Over 12 months of the pilot, around 6,500 men were circumcised.
The findings also showed the quality of the procedure was not compromised and there were no increases in the percentage of men reporting bad side effects afterwards.
In March 2007, the WHO and United Nations UNAIDS group recommended male circumcision as an effective HIV prevention.
The PSI study found that in Zimbabwe alone, which has an adult HIV rate of 13.7 percent and a male circumcision rate of just over 10 percent, 750,000 new HIV infections could be prevented if 80 percent of men were to be circumcised. It also found there was high demand for the procedure.
Bill Gates, whose Gates Foundation spends much of its $34 billion fund on fighting HIV, told the AIDS conference on Monday he had been surprised by the number of men in Africa who wanted to be circumcised to reduce their risk of contracting HIV.
“I was doubtful that a large number of men would sign up for it. I’m glad to say I was wrong,” he said. “Wherever there are clinics available, men are volunteering to be circumcised in huge numbers — far more than I expected.”
But Gates said while more than 41 million men in sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from it, only 150,000 have been circumcised in the past few years.
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U.S. Policy toward Sudan not “meaningful”, says John Prendergast of Enough Project

U.S. Policy toward Sudan not “meaningful”, says John Prendergast of Enough Project
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U.S. Policy toward Sudan not “meaningful”, says John Prendergast of Enough Project.

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston

USAfrica, Washington DC: A leading analyst of United States and Africa international relations John Prendergast of the  Enough Project has stated in a report to USAfricaonline.com that U.S. policy is not contributing in a meaningful way to creating peace and justice in Sudan. In a report by the Enough project, the group argues for alternative steps that officials can take to make peace in Sudan a reality. With only six months until the self-determination referenda for South Sudan and Abyei, the report describes how U.S. policymakers have failed to act decisively to prevent a return to war between North and South Sudan, or to resolve the escalating conflict in Darfur.

In the report, titled, “What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy Toward Sudan, and How to Fix It,” Enough Co-founder Prendergast argues that the words and actions of U.S. officials have undermined the administration’s influence in Sudan, just when its efforts are needed most. “The time has come for an urgent rethink of how the United States can contribute to peace in Sudan now, building on the lessons of the recent past,” writes Prendergast.

US President Barack Obama.at.UnitedNation 2009.USAfricaonline.com-file-photo

The report outlines four specific areas where U.S. policy is off course. These include a flawed peace process in Darfur, a hands-off approach to critical negotiations to prevent renewed North-South war, the role of the Unites States in building leverage for peace, and justice as an essential component of sustainable peace.

“The United States made a major contribution to peace-making in Sudan in the past decade,” argues Prendergast. “Sadly, the Obama administration is not building on the lessons of past success and thus is not positioning itself to play the role that is needed in averting all-out war in 2011.” USAfrica wt report from Enough Project

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Muslim attack on Christian village in Jos, Nigeria kills 8, about 45 injured

Muslim attack on Christian village in Jos, Nigeria kills 8, about 45 injured
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Muslim attack on Christian village in Jos, Nigeria kills 8, about 45 injured
AFP: Jos, Nigeria — Muslims attacked a Christian village in central Nigeria on Saturday, killing eight people with machetes and burning seven houses and a church in fresh religious violence, an army spokesman said.
The attack followed clashes in eastern Nigeria earlier in the week that also killed eight and left six mosques and a church burnt.
“It’s true eight people were killed,” Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Umoh said.
An AFP correspondent saw the bodies, as well as the burnt houses and church in Mazzah village, near the city of Jos, where deadly religious clashes have occurred a number of times in recent months.
Umoh said Fulani Muslims entered Mazzah between 1:30 am and 5:00 am, shooting sporadically in the air to lure sleeping residents outside their homes before they were killed.
“Seven people were killed instantly with machetes while three others were seriously injured. One of them died on the way to the hospital,” he said.
He said troop reinforcements had been deployed to Mazzah, some 14 kilometres (nine miles) from Jos, the capital of central Plateau State, to prevent the violence from escalating.
The village was calm on Saturday afternoon, but some residents were seen leaving for Jos out of fears for their safety.
A senior state official, Gyang Pwajok, described the overnight attack on the mainly Christian village as an “act of terrorism”.
Plateau State lies in the so-called middle belt between the predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.
Jos has long been the centre of ethnic and religious violence in a country whose 150 million population is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.
In March, Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups launched attacks on five Christian Berom villages near the city, killing more than 500 people, state officials say.
Local rights groups say 1,500 people have died in inter-communal violence in the Jos region since the start of this year alone.
The clashes earlier this week occurred in Wukari, a town in the remote eastern Taraba state, over the building of a mosque.
A Christian mob opposed to the construction of the mosque razed it, police said. Muslims responded by attacking a nearby church, leading to the eruption of violent clashes between the two sides.
Some observers say the violence results from religion being exploited in the struggle for local power. There have been warnings that such clashes could increase in the run up to elections expected early next year.
The recent violence also comes just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the start of an uprising by an Islamist sect in the northern city of Maiduguri on July 26.
Nigerian police and troops crushed the uprising by the Boko Haram sect — which has also been called the Nigerian Taliban — after four days of street battles that left more than 800 dead, mostly sect members.
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Nigerian kidnappers free journalists held for a week

Nigerian kidnappers free journalists held for a week
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Nigerian kidnappers free journalists held for a week.

By Joel Olatunde Agoi (AFP) – Nigerian gunmen who kidnapped four journalists last week in the country’s oil-rich south freed them on Sunday without a ransom being paid, the head of the reporters’ union and police said.
The July 11 abduction of the newsmen, the second this year, sparked outrage in Africa’s most populous country of 150 million people.
“They put a call through to us saying that they have been released unconditionally,” said Nigerian Union of Journalists head Usman Leman.
Police met up with the journalists after their release, Leman said, and they were making their way out of a remote area in Abia State.
Abia State police spokesman Ali Okechukwu confirmed the release.
“The journalists have been released. They are with us right now at the police headquarters in Umuahia, hale and hearty,” he told AFP.
Okechukwu refused to give details of how the newsmen were freed after seven days in captivity, saying the head of the country’s police Ogbonna Onovo would address the issue later on Sunday.
A state government official, who asked not to be named, told AFP the journalists were dropped off in a forest by their captors.
“We picked them up at a location in a forest in a remote area of the state. They were not hurt,” the official said.
A police special task force had combed the forests and bushes of Abia State for days in search of the journalists who were abducted last Sunday while returning from a conference in nearby Akwa Ibom State.
The journalists are Abdulwahab Oba, NUJ chairman in Lagos, Sylva Okereke, the union’s assistant secretary, Adolphus Okonkwo, a regional secretary of the union and Shola Oyeyipo, a Lagos-based reporter.
The kidnappers initially demanded a ransom of 250 million naira (1.6 million dollars, 1.3 million euros) before the journalists could be released, but they later reduced it to 30 million naira.
Okechukwu said no ransom was paid.
Information Minister Dora Akunyili welcomed the release and told the state-run News Agency of Nigeria that Nigerians should stand up against kidnappers by refusing to pay ransom money.
Kidnappings occur frequently in Nigeria’s south, but oil workers have traditionally been the victims.
The abduction of the journalists illustrated a widening of the target profiles in recent months.
Officials and media rights groups, including global organisation Reporters Without Borders, also called for their immediate release.
The kidnappings were the second involving journalists in the volatile region this year.
In March, three M-Net Supersport television crew members — a South African and two Nigerians — were seized in Imo state, which neighbours the oil hub of Rivers State. They were freed about a week later.
While many of the kidnappings of oil workers have been claimed by militants who say they are seeking a fairer distribution of oil revenues, other abductions have been carried out to collect cash through ransom payments.
The independent ThisDay newspaper condemned the rising spate of kidnappings in an editorial on Sunday.
“What Nigerians want is a concerted fight against forces behind this heinous crime. Government must shed its seeming indifference to what is clearly a national embarrassment,” it said.
The paper urged government to equip the police and create jobs for unemployed youths as part of measures to fight the scourge.
“The growing insecurity in the country should stop,” it added.

——

Releated, previous post on this issue:

USAfrica’s Publisher,  African journalists call for release of kidnapped Nigerian journalists

http://www.usafricaonline.com/2010/07/16/usafrica-chido-african-journalists-release-kidnapped-nigeria-journalists/

July 16, 2010: The Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks and USAfricaonline.com, Dr. Chido Nwangwu, has “called on Nigeria’s President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to quickly but carefully ensure the safety and release of these Nigerian journalists to their families. It is good for Nigeria’s democracy and reputation that this be seen and treated as both a domestic security and international profile issue. I believe the issue requires urgent but prudent action by the presidency especially regarding the responsibility of government for public safety.”

Chido, who grew up and worked in the same city of Aba in the 1980s as a very young staff of the Nigerian television and later as a print media journalist in Lagos (Nigeria), added: “It is such a terrible, shameful commentary on the state of things in our beloved but battered Aba, the Abia State and the condition of Nigeria’s law and order that  writers and journalists are kidnapped.  Therefore, the editors and reporters of USAfrica call on those who executed the scheme to kidnap our colleagues in the once great city of Aba, Abia State of Nigeria to release, without further delay, these hard-working journalists. They are Wahaab Oba (Chairman of NUJ Lagos State council), Adolphus Okonkwo (NUJ Secretary Zone G), Sylvester Okereke (NUJ Assistant Secretary Lagos State), Shola Oyeyipo  (NUJ Lagos State Council) and their driver Mr. Azeez Yekini. They have been held since July 11, 2010, while on assignment. Other journalists fled to safety when the attack occurred.”

Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Washington Dc-based National Immigration Forum’s honors in the 1990s for using the multimedia platforms of USAfrica and media to fight authoritarianism and bigotry in Africa, concluded that: “It is unacceptable that journalists, as articulators and defenders of the freedoms of  communities, cannot go about their legitimate business without fear of losing their own basic freedom to go out and simply report.”

News@USAfricaonline.com and Chido@USAfricaonline.com Phone: 1-713-270-5500. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436).

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KIDNAPPED: African journalists call for release of Nigerian journalists

KIDNAPPED: African journalists call for release of Nigerian journalists
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USAfrica’s Publisher,  African journalists call for release of kidnapped Nigerian journalists

July 16, 2010: The Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks and USAfricaonline.com, Dr. Chido Nwangwu, has “called on Nigeria’s President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to quickly but carefully ensure the safety and release of these Nigerian journalists to their families. It is good for Nigeria’s democracy and reputation that this be seen and treated as both a domestic security and international profile issue. I believe the issue requires urgent but prudent action by the presidency especially regarding the responsibility of government for public safety. “

Chido, who grew up and worked in the same city of Aba in the 1980s as a very young staff of the Nigerian television and later as a print media journalist in Lagos (Nigeria), added: “It is such a terrible, shameful commentary on the state of things in our beloved but battered Aba, the Abia State and the condition of Nigeria’s law and order that  writers and journalists are kidnapped.  Therefore, the editors and reporters of USAfrica call on those who executed the scheme to kidnap our colleagues in the once great city of Aba, Abia State of Nigeria to release, without further delay, these hard-working journalists. They are Wahaab Oba (Chairman of NUJ Lagos State council), Adolphus Okonkwo (NUJ Secretary Zone G), Sylvester Okereke (NUJ Assistant Secretary Lagos State), Shola Oyeyipo  (NUJ Lagos State Council) and their driver Mr. Azeez Yekini. They have been held since July 11, 2010, while on assignment. Other journalists fled to safety when the attack occurred.”

Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Washington Dc-based National Immigration Forum’s honors in the 1990s for using the multimedia platforms of USAfrica and media to fight authoritarianism and bigotry in Africa, concluded that: “It is unacceptable that journalists, as articulators and defenders of the freedoms of  communities, cannot go about their legitimate business without fear of losing their own basic freedom to go out and simply report.”

News@USAfricaonline.com and Chido@USAfricaonline.com Phone: 1-713-270-5500. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436).

——
Also, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said that “We are shocked by this brutal attack against our Nigerian colleagues and deeply worried for their immediate safety.” Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa added: “We demand the authorities do everything they can to ensure they are released quickly and unharmed.”
On its part, the Reporters Sans Frontieres expressed its concern and demanded “the immediate release of these journalists, who were kidnapped at gunpoint after attending a working meeting.” Ambroise Pierre, the Director of the Africa Desk of RSF urged the Nigerian authorities “to do their utmost to establish where they are being held hostage and to negotiate a rapid and favourable outcome with their abductors.”
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) through its President Omar Faruk Osman said: “We are shocked to learn of this cowardly kidnapping of dedicated union leaders.”
—–
CNN International visits USAfrica in Houston to profile its Founder Chido Nwangwu.
see preview of  52 pictures at www.PhotoWorks.TV
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Why I celebrate Mandela’s life, struggles and works. By Chido Nwangwu.

Why I celebrate Mandela’s life, struggles and works. By Chido Nwangwu.
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Nelson-Mandela-with-the-World-Cup2010-trophy

Why I celebrate MANDELA’s life, struggles and works.

By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston.

Special to USAfrica  and CLASSmagazine Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247   Twitter.com/Chido247


South Africa’s successful, spectacular and first-class hosting of the world’s greatest sporting/soccer extravaganza, the World Cup 2010, is a fitting testimony to the actual greatness and vision of Madiba Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s dedication in laying the  foundation for a multi-racial, pan-human South Africa continues to propel the collective dignity of the African continent and shamed the so-called Afro-pessimists who believe no good can from Africa. Even amidst the poverty of the African and “colored” populations of South Africa, Dr. Mandela and the vanguard of change across South Africa have enhanced Black empowerment, relative progressive and destroyed apartheid/segregation laws.

Madiba Nelson Mandela remained the preeminent statesman, political superstar, titan of Africa’s politics, one of the world’s moral authorities, Africa’s most astute and formidable political lion. He served from 1994 to 1999 as the first South African president to be elected in a multi-racial, democratic election. Mandela went on to lead South Africa through the last stretch of a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy.

The year 2010, also, marks not only his 92nd birthday but the 20th anniversary of the release of Dr. Mandela. He was freed in February 1990 after spending 27 years in prison especially at the isolated Robben Island (near South Africa’s Table Bay, roughly 4 miles from Cape Town).

I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell at the dreaded Robben Island on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief of CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to the island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela.

In 1999, he, unusually, became president emeritus of South Africa after only one term, and gracefully retired  as father of the nation in June 1999. Yes; unusual in Africa and most of the developing and advanced world – where All politicians like to stay in power. He would have easily won reelection. But he chose not to; as a message to others.

In many ways, Mandela is the living catalyst for the recent exponential growth of African, African-

e-mailanim7.gifAmerican and the wider American entrepreneurial and diplomatic exchanges.

I wrote and published the first version of this tribute only 60 days preceding his retirement and as other African Presidents and business executives planned to gather in Houston for the remarkable Corporate Council on Africa 1999 summit for attracting capital and investments to Africa. As his Brother Presidents and the creme dé la creme of U.S-Africa business and diplomatic circuits toast to the quantum leap in the volume and substance of trade between our two continents, as cultural ambassadors of the southern Africa region and other climes consort and enchant all of us the magnificent Houston international festival let’s take a few minutes to attempt another word portrait of a man who is certainly the greatest political figure in the recent history of people of African ancestry. He talked the talk, and walked the walk.  He’s at once visionary and practician; excuse the latter usage.

In my view, there’s a compelling political trinity to Nelson Mandela: the man, the messiah and the mystique.  Hence, it was during his 80th birthday on July 18, 1998 that I argued in various media outlets in Southern Africa and in the Voice of America and WorldNet television tribute to Mandela that those who expected him to turn their lives around by the break of dawn are awakening to a certain realization that the Messiah Mandela does not make milk through incantations!

Yet, we must accept the fact that those who feel that President Mandela’s government has failed to fulfil their yearnings and lofty expectations constitute a sizeable but smaller slice of millions of Black and Colored South Africans.

I recall taking time out from the 100 year-old hotel in which we were lodged in Cape Town late March, 1998, (during our visit with U.S President Bill Clinton to parts of Africa) to go into the less-privileged, run-down quarters of the city to talk with a number of suffering Blacks.  I also shared some time with some homeless teenagers ( five of them, aged between 8 and 19) and a few weary adults (in their 40s and 60s).  I sought to know their assessment of President Mandela.  Their refrain: Mandela needs to do more!  They feel he is forgetting “us.” They all said in many ways: “We thought his presidency was going to completely and quickly improve our lives.  We’re left out.  We’re not happy….”

Translation: Idealism meets scarce resources in South Africa!  In South Africa, I noticed that the radical Blacks and Coloreds still see Mandela, wrongly I must add, as a dignified caretaker for the remnants of apartheid.  On the other side, interestingly, the previous beneficiaries and yesterday’s oppressors, largely the Afrikaans, think Blacks are taking too much away, already.  Those questions will be a challenge for Mandela’s technocratic and very able successor Thabo Mbeki.

I feel a special interest regarding Mandela and South Africa, among other personal reasons, for his years of statesmanship, principled engagement with life and its multifarious challenges and inequities.  Also, I’ve had the privilege of meeting three of the four most significant historical figures who play(ed) very important roles in that country’s transition from apartheid to a multi-racial society.  First, the remarkable former President F.W de Klerk here in Houston.  Then, the amiable Bishop Desmond Tutu.  Of course, the Mahdiba himself, Nelson Mandela.

Why do we celebrate Mandela’s life?

First, he is most famous for staring down and vanquishing the goons and racist archdeacons of separatism and economic violence who ran the evil policy of state-sponsored mayhem called ‘apartheid’ in his homeland.

Second, for remaining the most relevant living person of African descent who has given impetus and cause for African-Americans to seek institutional and daily business and physical presence inside the African continent.  Third, his moral authority derives from his selfless fortitude and enduring, exemplary sacrifices.  Mandela is neither intimidated by raw power nor the attractions of luxuries and allurement of money.

Fourth, his example as a study in forthrightness.  A leadership whereby what you see is what you get.  Hence, it was typical Mandela, unenfeebled by age, unrestrained by arthritis, and unintimidated by the legitimate concerns and arrogations of his friend, the super-power president Bill Clinton, to confront the latter on issues of principle.

Mandela has also, in some ways, attacked the stinking hypocrisy of America’s right-wing politicians and media spin doctors.  We remember North Carolina’s right-wing Senator, Jesse Helms, as the latter day pro-apartheid regime’s cheerleader-in-chief in the U.S Congress.  His raucous choristers had the likes of George F. Will, Pat J. Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and a confederacy of other conservatives who hemmed, hawed and distorted every turn towards a multi-racial South Africa.

Recall that Will, Buchanan & Co were misleading Americans as they disparaged the civil rights movement and others for supporting Mandela whom they foolishly and falsely labeled a “Communist!” History has shown the foolishness of the label.

Fifth, his graciousness and capacity to forgive communal sins and wickedness masquerading as government.  Until you see (or may be graphic and accurate images of the inhuman conditions and psychological warfare imposed on him and his colleagues of the African National Congress, you may never adequately know why Mandela’s capacity to forgive and rebuild has such global respect.  Hence, I am thankful that I entered and observed on March 26, 1998, the lonesome jail room where Mandela was kept for 25 painful years in the isolated, deadly Robben Island.

We toured the Island with Rev.  Jesse L.  Jackson, Clinton’s close personal aide Bruce Lindsey, Congressional Black Caucus champion California congresswoman Maxine Waters, Sam Donaldson of ABCNews, New York Congressman Charles Rangel, BET’s Robert Johnson, Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time magazine, Scott Pelley of CBS News, Melanie Lawson of KTRK Channel 13, Houston, and a number of others.  Sixth, we celebrate Mandela because after five years in office and almost 81 years of a rugged but worthy life, Mandela has shattered a number of other ancient and fatally-flawed bogeys to smithereens.  He has made nonsense of the string of quasi-racist mythologies and knee-jerk ill-logic concocted by the George F.  Wills, Pat Robertsons, Rush Limbaughs and Jesse Helms of America to create a global ‘White scare’ and run on the post-apartheid South African economy.

Also, Walter Mead, the acclaimed and advertised columnist for Worth magazine terribly misanalyzed and issued way-off predictions about South Africa’s economy led by “Blacks” and Mandela.  Anyway, he’s an “expert” on U.S economies, therefore, pray, he knows all about the “future” of South Africa!

Fact: The economy under Mandela’s presidency has attracted more international capital under a stable, justiceable political economy.  The gathering in Houston April 24-28, cannot be divorced from the opportunities which South Africa offers American, and other business persons/corporations.

What’s Mandela’s record?  Since becoming president in the spring of 1994, Mandela’s economic policy has not only achieved an expansion in the percentage of growth and created a broad-based industrialization efforts, the economy has become more attractive for international capitalists.

It’s more stable than under the hateful, and misleading and putrid opulence of a few under apartheid.  Yet, the socio-economic profile of South Africa cannot be described as “rosy” and fully equitable.  Not quite!  The deprivations in Soweto cannot be divorced from the terrible “deals” by some influential players in the system, Blacks and Whites.

Yet, some see Mandela’s challenging task to utilize the government as a mechanism to enhance access and “fairness” to all, especially the deprived.  For example, an Afrikaans staff of the United States Information Agency who drove me from the airport to the plush Michelangelo Hotel in Johannesburg said “We know Blacks want this and that but they have to take it easy because we, Afrikaans, feel that all our privileges and positions are going away.  I commend Mandela because everyone is asking him for one thing or the other.  He is trying to be fair to all.” That will be Mbeki’s burden, soon.

This lanky, well-spoken driver who reminded me he was very “comfortable driving a Black man” (that is, my ordinary self, who would have been driven to a pit of hate rather than the Michelangelo just a few years before Mandela and his team scattered and conquered the temples of apartheid.) We must note that the expansion of the relative influence of Black South Africans through their new empowering instruments of state power and private leverage since the defeat of apartheid has been very modest.  Downtown Johannesburg and Cape Town, especially the spotless Pretoria remain bastions of White/Afrikaans economic dominance.

Regardless, there has been major progress for middle class Blacks who have unprecedented access to the bureaucracy and private capital.  They have partnerships with international organizations, too – especially African-Americans who are establishing tertiary and sub-strategic industries and community-based service businesses.

When all is said and done, Mandela’s greatest legacy will remain that he has lived a life of fighting against the predatory, vile and boisterous mix of Anglo-Dutch, Afrikaans, Euro-Caucasian and other economic scavengers who took over through armed, brutal force, the most beautiful, gold-rich and breathtaking southerly cape of the African continent.  They could not break his will; they made peace and he led a powerful, promising country composed of many ethnic nations to the lips of the 21st century.

Mandela has been governing with ill-will toward none and affirmative opportunities for all those previously locked down and locked out of South Africa’s rich resources and lands.  He may yet teach the distortion artists who miscast the reason and value of “affirmation action” in the U.S a thing or two.  That’s an issue for another day.  Back to The Man.

Mandela, rock ribbed nationalist, visionary, exemplary icon in personal dignity, durable boxer, principled symbol for all believers in the inevitable triumph of committed democratic forces over any army/gang of tyranny and oppression in Africa and elsewhere, has become this decade’s ultimate measure for statesmanship, leadership, character and will.

To Mandela, for your humility and greatness, firm resolve and friendly, humorous dispositions, all rolled into one mythical, complicated but uniquely amiable personality, here’s the same toast I made to you before you left in June 1999 as South Africa’s president; on your 81st birthday; and now on your 92nd birthday: Madiba, may your lineage endure!

•Dr.  Chido Nwangwu, honored by the Washington-D. C.based National Immigration Forum for utilizing multimedia to fight authoritarianism and foster freedom of expression, is the Founder & Publisher of first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, USAfrica.TV and several blogs. He served on the board of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S., the NAACP Houston;  publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; served on Houston former Mayor Lee Brown’s international business advisory board (Africa), and has appeared as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, etc. Also, see Tiger Woods is no Nelson Mandela!

(First written on April 19, 1999, exclusively for USAfrica, updated after his retirement as President, on February 11, 2010 remarking 20th anniversary of his release from apartheid South Africa prison and updated July 15, ahead of his 92nd birthday on July 17, 2010). This USAfricaonline.com commentary is copyrighted. Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with a Written Approval by USAfrica Founder. copyright © 1999, 2010. ChidoNwangwu. USAfrica Media Networks. 8303 SW Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77074. Phone: 713-270-5500.

—–

CNN International profiles USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu. http://www.usafricaonline.com/2010/06/29/cnn-chido-usafrica/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 24, 2010, CNN International reporter/producer/camera team visited USAfrica’s editorial headquarters in Houston, Texas, for 3.5 hours to document a forthcoming CNNInternational profile of USAfrica’s Founder & Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu. http://photoworks.tv/cnn-chido-usafrica2010

The recordings/interviews were wrapped up on Friday June 25, 2010.

A few pixs from the event are available for preview, exclusively at the African diaspora community’s #1 pictorial features web site www.PhotoWorks.TV

 

 

 

 

CNN also recorded the editorial board/production meeting of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine on key issues including the USAfrica comparison of the oil spills in the Niger Delta to the environmental disaster in the U.S Gulf of Mexico,  electoral reforms in Nigeria, Africa and World Cup 2010, etc.

 

USAfrica is assessed by major policy and media organizations including the New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks; founded since 1993 in Houston by Chido Nwangwu. http://www.USAfricaonline.com/chido.html

USAfrica and its Publisher have won several awards for journalism excellence and public policy insights, especially for professionally pioneering the bi-continental approach of publishing for Africans and Americans. Also, Chido Nwangwu is cited with establishing the first African professional newspaper published on the internet, USAfricaonline.com .

wireless: 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436).

 

office: 713-270-5500

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Lessons of 2010 World Cup as Africa shines with South Africa’s outstanding hosting of championship

Lessons of 2010 World Cup as Africa shines with South Africa’s outstanding hosting of championship
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Lessons of 2010 World Cup as Africa shines with South Africa’s outstanding hosting of championship.

By Nicholas Sengoba
Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine Houston
A great way to conclude a great World Cup draws from the fact that Spain, the winner of the just concluded FIFA World Cup, had never before progressed past the semi finals.
In footballing terms, as a fan of the game there was a lot to learn. Most important, this game does not respect history and experience that much. All the talk of pedigree and past records was obliterated as the tournament progressed. It did not matter the number of cups Italy and France had under their belts. What mattered most was how they played. And boy how badly they did it this time round, leaving them stranded in the group stages in league with the lowly placed African sides.
Secondly, the phenomenon of highly paid valuable world class star players, hyped to shine; the likes of Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo, the sought after faces for endorsement of merchandise. Football is a game played on the pitch not on paper or in glossy magazines and on sports pages with the opinion of experts passing as gospel truth. The players must break into a sweat, fight for the ball and get dirty to maintain their image as stars. The list of stars that flopped grew longer as the tournament wore on.
Then it is now very evident that the beautiful game will be taken over by the bold and brave. The teams that are not afraid to attack relentlessly. That the final stages of the tournament did not feature teams that are known to be traditionally defensive minded, the likes of Italy, is very telling. In future, attacking will form the back bone of defending and it is not a far fetched idea when one thinks that the role of the traditional defender may be phased out with time.
Additionally, this tournament has shown that the game is best suited for the young. The teams that had younger players like Spain and Germany played better, faster and had more tranquil camps than those with veterans. Younger players are hungrier for success and view every game as an opportunity. Since they are still learning, they will easily adapt to instruction from coaches about changing situations unlike the older and more experienced lot who insist on doing what they have done before as the French players told the world.
Lastly, the game is fast becoming so tactical, so precise; involving a lot of intelligent play. It is now more of brains than brawn. The size of the player will become irrelevant as evidenced by Lionel Messi. It will be the calling for men and women who can think quickly and make much out of very small spaces and tight situations. The demand for quality will write off those who opt for kicking and rushing. The ball will be played more on the ground than up in the air. What will count more is how clever and nimble the players will be which, of course, will give fans a more entertaining and exciting game.
HILARIOUS NOTE:
My World Cup ended on a rather hilarious note. Not because many, including ‘pious’ Christians were following the feeding habits of an octopus that correctly predicated results of games by picking food from the trough with the national flag of the country that eventually won a game. No.
Well over an hour after the trophy had been handed to Spain, the stadium cleaned and emptied; I received a generic text message on my phone from my service provider saying “Paul the octopus has spoken! Is it finally for Spain? (For) Live updates for Netherlands VS Spain type NE VS SP and send to 6969 today” (That is Monday July 12th at 12:18am!) Was Paul predicting Euro 2012 or World Cup 2014 in Brazil? Or was it a case of the jailer attempting with gusto to secure the prison after the prisoners had escaped?
That aside and whatever is said, by organising this tournament successfully, South Africa has done Africa proud on the first time of asking. We shall hold this dear for many moons to come.
•Sengoba is a public policy and social affairs analyst.
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Islamist al-Shaabab militia claim responsibility for attacks, killings in Uganda; threatens U.S., U.N

Islamist al-Shaabab militia claim responsibility for attacks, killings in Uganda; threatens U.S., U.N
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Islamist al-Shaabab militia claim responsibility for attacks, killings of 74 persons in Uganda; threatens U.S., U.N
Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine Houston
At least 74 people were killed and dozens injured in late night bombings targeting football fans in the Ugandan capital Kampala, with the Islamist al-Shaabab militia on Monday claiming responsibility for the attacks.
Medical officials were concerned that the death toll could continue to rise as further victims were still fighting for their lives in hospital.
The al-Shaabab militia in Somalia had admitted to the bombings, which took place at venues where the World Cup final were being screened late Sunday.
Spokesman for the group, Sheikh Ali Muhamed Rage, said: “Our fighters have implemented the explosions as intended in Kampala…. We have called the Ugandan people to give suggestions to their leaders to stop the massacres in Somalia, but they ignored our calls ignored our calls. We warn the Burundian people to withdraw their boys from Mogadishu or else they will face explosions in Bujumbura.”
“We will continue our attacks until they withdraw,” he concluded, referring to the presence of African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.”
“We have been suspecting that these people could be planning something like this,” chief of police Kale Kayihura earlier told the New Vision newspaper. He said the bombings were carefully planned terrorist attacks and aimed at killing a large number of people.
“These bombs were definitely targeting World Cup crowds,” Kayihura told the BBC.
President Museveni, inspecting the two bombing sites, vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
“We will find the perpetrators wherever they are and bring them to justice,” he said.
In Mogadishu, Somalian President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed issued a statement calling the bombings a “reprehensible terror act.”
Police spoke of two bomb blasts, one in an Ethiopian restaurant and another at the Kyadondo Rugby Club where a crowd of football fans had gathered to watch the match between Spain and the Netherlands.
But the Daily Monitor reported a possible third attack in the suburb of Ntinda. Many other restaurants and bars apparently closed out of fear of further attacks.
At the rugby club, the bomb went off around 11 pm (2000 GMT), with the Daily Monitor newspaper reporting that at least 40 people were killed there.
Blood, clothing, shoes and destroyed furniture littered the ground while security and medical personnel attended to the injured.
At least 13 people, at least half of whom were foreigners, were killed in the Ethiopian restaurant blast.
Privately-owned radio stations quoted unnamed officials as saying that the dead included an American, Phillip Henn, who had died of his injuries at Kampala International Hospital. KFM radio reported that another three Americans had sustained injuries.
The German Foreign Office on Monday confirmed that one German man had been injured in the bombings.
Somali extremists had threated attacks in Kampala because Ugandan troops are among the 5,000 African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu. Somali troops are also being trained by the European Union in Uganda.
The United States, which lists al-Shabaab as a terrorist group, condemned the attacks and noted that Americans might have been among those killed or injured.
“I join President Obama in strongly condemning today’s attacks in Kampala, Uganda, targeting innocent spectators watching the World Cup final,” US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement late Sunday.
“We understand that American citizens may have been injured or killed, and our embassy is reaching out to assist,” she said. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims in the United States and Uganda.”
The German government also condemned the bombings.
“One can scarcely top the heinousness of attacking people while they are enjoying a peaceful festival of sport,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.
“It shows the utterly inhuman despicableness of the people behind these attacks.” USAfricaonline.com wt DPA wire
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74 dead in Uganda bomb blasts; 1 American, many injured

74 dead in Uganda bomb blasts; 1 American, many injured
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74 dead in Uganda bomb blasts

Bomb explosions that tore through two bars in the Ugandan capital at the weekend left at least 74 people dead and wounded 65 others, a national police spokeswoman said Monday.
Three separate blasts went out in the Ugandan capital – Kampala as residents watched the 2010 World Cup final on giant screens.

Police said among the dead were foreigners. One blast went off at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb, while Daily Monitor reporters counted about 40 bodies at Kyaddondo rugby grounds where a huge crowd was watching the Spain Vs Netherlands Word Cup final.
Another blast was reported to have gone off in Ntinda, another Kampala suburb, as more than 100 were reported admitted in hospitals and clinics in the capital including the national referral hospital – Mulago. ref: AFP/Nation

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Guinea presidential run-off election postponed….

Guinea presidential run-off election postponed….
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Guinea presidential run-off election postponed

The second round of Guinea’s presidential election, scheduled for July 18, has been postponed to a date yet to be set, an electoral commission official told AFP on Friday in Conakry.
“It all depends on the supreme court, but it will no longer be July 18,” said Pathe Dieng, director of operations at the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).
Guinea’s supreme court is currently considering several complaints lodged by political parties over the running of the first round of the presidential election on June 27.
“We are waiting to see, to approach the supreme court to fix a new date,” he added, referring to the run-off between former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and a veteran opponent of many Guinean regimes, Alpha Conde.
Thousands of supporters of Guinean former prime minister Sidya Toure rallied Monday alleging electoral fraud after their candidate placed third, missing the second-round run-off.
Many others among the initial 24 candidates have also alleged voting irregularities — and the electoral commission has itself acknowledged “many cases of fraud”.
Under commission rules, objectors had eight days to contest the results.
According to provisional results, which the court still has to confirm, in the first round Diallo got 39.72 percent of the vote and Conde 20.67 percent.
On June 27, more than three million Guineans, 77 percent of registered voters, took part in the West African nation’s first democratic election since independence from France in 1958.

Guinea presidential run-off election postponed(AFP) – 1 hour agoCONAKRY — The second round of Guinea’s presidential election, scheduled for July 18, has been postponed to a date yet to be set, an electoral commission official told AFP on Friday in Conakry.”It all depends on the supreme court, but it will no longer be July 18,” said Pathe Dieng, director of operations at the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).Guinea’s supreme court is currently considering several complaints lodged by political parties over the running of the first round of the presidential election on June 27.”We are waiting to see, to approach the supreme court to fix a new date,” he added, referring to the run-off between former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and a veteran opponent of many Guinean regimes, Alpha Conde.Thousands of supporters of Guinean former prime minister Sidya Toure rallied Monday alleging electoral fraud after their candidate placed third, missing the second-round run-off.Many others among the initial 24 candidates have also alleged voting irregularities — and the electoral commission has itself acknowledged “many cases of fraud”.Under commission rules, objectors had eight days to contest the results.According to provisional results, which the court still has to confirm, in the first round Diallo got 39.72 percent of the vote and Conde 20.67 percent.On June 27, more than three million Guineans, 77 percent of registered voters, took part in the West African nation’s first democratic election since independence from France in 1958.  ref: AFP

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Shell gets N15b oil pollution ruling against its Nigeria operations.

Shell gets N15b oil pollution ruling against its Nigeria operations.
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Shell gets N15b oil pollution ruling against its Nigeria operations.
Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston.
By Chido Nwangwu (in Houston) and Obinwa Nnaji (USAfrica Executive Editor in Lagos).

For an oil spill in the 1970 which affected about 256 hectares of land and water areas in the Ejama-Ebubu community in Tai Eleme Local Council of Rivers State of Nigeria, it has been justice that came long and hard.
On July 5, 2010, a federal court in Asaba (Delta State of Nigeria) awarded N15.4 billion to the small but traumatized community as special and punitive damages against Shell, Shell International Company Limited and Shell International Exploration and Production, especially its Nigeria operations, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC). The substantive suit was filed in 2001; since that time Shell delayed the case with 26 interlocutory applications and 3 interlocutory appeals. The community’s lead lawyer is Lucius Nwosu, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Justice Ibrahim Buba ruled that: “I have, upon calm assessment on the unchallenged evidence of the plaintiffs, that cases cited and relied upon, which I read and come to one and only inevitable conclusion, that the case of the plaintiffs have merit and accordingly accept the evidence that is capable of belief. Indeed, from the nature of the damages caused, the amount of general damages claimed is not exaggerated….. This is a 2001 matter that has a chequered history. The plaintiffs by the paragraph 32 of their amended statement of claims, jointly and severally claimed against the defendants, special damages of N1.772 billion, allowing for interest for delayed payment for five years from 1996 at a modest mean Central Bank of Nigeria deregulated rate for that volume at 25 per cent per annum, totalling N5.4 billion and punitive general damages of N10 billion for general inconveniences, acid rain, pollution of underground water and hardship to the population, who have been deprived of the right to self-sustenance, education and good life.”
Justice Buba added that: “The defendants, as oil producing companies and in the course of transporting their oil, constructed pipelines to convey their crude oil from oil well to Bonny Oil Terminal for export, it is in that process that the spillage complained against did occur. It is argued that the law is settled that, pleadings not supported by evidence go to no issue. Since the defendants elected not to call evidence, all facts raised in their defence go to no issue. On the other hand, their refusal to call evidence does not relieve the plaintiffs of the duty to (prove) their case.”
“I therefore, enter judgment for the plaintiffs against the defendants in the following terms, judgment be and is hereby entered for the plaintiffs against the defendants jointly and severally and I make the following order, the defendants shall pay the plaintiffs, special damages in the sum of N1.7772 billion made up as follows, direct value of yearly renewable crops/amenities, lost of income, N44.5 million, injurious affection, N613.7 million; Forestry N115.5 million; Hunting, income N236.2 million, animal traps N4.9 million and water supply, N80 million and Health hazards, shock fear, N100 million and desecration of shrines, N1.8 million. Allowing for interest for delayed payment for five years from 1996 at a modest mean Central Bank of Nigeria deregulated rate for that volume at 25 per cent per annum, totalling N5.4 billion.”
“I also award the plaintiffs claims of 25 per cent of the said sum till the date of judgment and thereafter 10 per cent of the judgment debt till payment. The burden of proof on the minimal has been discharged by the plaintiffs.”
I also assess and award the plaintiffs claim against the defendants in punitive terms of general damages in the sum of N10 billion for general inconveniences, acid rain, pollution of underground water and hardship to the population, who have been deprived of the right to self-sustenance, education and good life.”
The ruling and the environmental degradation issues hold major implications for other oil exploration giants in Nigeria, as USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu and our editors have argued in a forthcoming CNN International profile of USAfrica. On  October 19, 1998, Chido wrote a highly referenced special report on the issues of the Niger Delta, oil exploration and pollution in Nigeria since 1958. It is titled ‘OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?’ http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.petrogas.html

updated post at http://www.usafricaonline.com/2010/07/06/petrogas-pollution-nigeria-chido-october1998/

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POLLUTION, OIL and NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?

POLLUTION, OIL and NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
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POLLUTION, OIL and NIGERIA: LIQUID GOLD OR PETRO-GAS CURSE?

By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica.
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston (first written/published on October 19, 1998) and USAfricaonline.com
The news report by USAfricaonline.com about the  July 5, 2010, ruling by a federal court in Asaba (Delta State of Nigeria) which awarded N15.4 billion to the small but traumatized Ejama-Ebubu community as special and punitive damages against Shell, Shell International Company Limited and Shell International Exploration and Production, especially its Nigeria operations, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) calls for a wide angle insight.  We go back to my heavily referenced special report across the networks and blogs of USAfrica on October 19, 1998. Here:
I toured Owaza on a news documentary assignment in the early 1980s as a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA. The Niger Delta, inland and other riverine communities have fared almost worse. Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer, its petroleum industry lays the golden egg as well as sticks out like a sore thumb, the fertile ground for mega-corruption and abuse of Nigeria’s resources by a few. The battle over who controls the oil money is the key to understanding Nigeria’s business, politics and future. Hence, I must state the political dueling and ethnic jostlings seek the privatization (not capitalism, in this context, but raw control and abuse) of State power and control rather than a competition for responsibility and performance. The consequence is partly reflected in the underlying reason(s) for the wreckage and mangled landscape and tortured lives and burnt psyches in Jesse, the village of Apawor and others which occured on October 17, 1998. The inferno which raged Sunday October 18, 1998, remains a sad metaphor and reminder of the sad state of affirs in Nigeria’s oil and gas business and the lot of Nigeria’s poor. The fire left decimated farmland, burnt livestock made bonfire of human beings, men, women and children, in the most macabre mix of crude oil and fire.

All the decades of environmental sludge and destruction, and more, have combined with wonderful announcements of billion dollar contracts and deals with the multinational corporations and their Nigerian collectors and agents to raise and dash, every passing year, the tortured hopes of the same poor, dispirited folks on whose lands the oil and gas sit. Is there any wonder why they, like me sometimes wonder whether oil is Nigeria’s liquid gold or just a petro-dollar curse?
A conservatively estimated 375 unidentifiable dead persons were buried (after one week) since the October 17, 1998 explosion in the Delta cities of Jesse and the village of Apawor. An estimated 320 others also died from the impact and devastation of the inferno.
Meanwhile, medical support teams from parts of the African continent, christian relief support groups, the state of Israel, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Red Cross and the World Health Organization emergency medical teams are offering assistance as part of multi-faceted effort in the task of saving the dying in hospitals around Warri, Benin and smaller units around the area of the recent explosion. While medical support services go on, it is important to note that the inferno which raged into Sunday October 18, 1998, left decimated farmland, burnt livestock and human beings turned into bonfire of human beings, men, women and children, in the most macabre mix of crude oil and fire.
It is necessary, against the background of these difficult events and deaths, to look a little deeper, beyond the staggering, running numbers of the dead and the dying.
First, crude oil which was first explored in commercial quantity in 1958 by Shell BP, in the tropical, serene environment of Owaza, the Igbo-speaking area of the riverine part of south eastern Nigeria, has left gulleys of degradation, dangerously exposed pipelines, abandoned farmlands, worse, it accelerated the corrosion of the collective values and interests Nigerians.
The Ogoni and other riverine communities have fared almost worse.
Oil accentuated and, in fact, set the theme for ethnic competition, economic and religious warfare between the more powerful segments of the country (with less economic resources) and the relatively less powerful or at best more docile sections of the country (location for the vast oil reources and minerals). Hence, this avoidable problem of crippling scarcity of fuel and even basic kerosene/gasoline led many to pursue other means to reach some of the product, unfortunately, illegally, must be be put in its past, present and future policy context. I shall attempt such, briefly, here.
Second, although Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer, its petroleum industry lays the golden egg as well as sticks out like a sore thumb, the fertile ground for mega-corruption and abuse of the resources of all Nigerians by a few. The battle over who controls the oil money is the key to understanding Nigeria’s business, politics and future. Hence, I must state the duelling and ethnic jostlings seek the privatization (not capitalism, in this context, but raw control and abuse) of State power and control rather than a competition for responsibility and performance. The consequence is partly reflected in the underlying reason(s) for the wreckage and mangled landscape and tortured lives and serrated psyches in Jesse, the village of Apawor and others.
Third, the explosions and the circumstance of the death of many of these folks animated for the clear-headed the fact that the issue of Nigeria’s future republic (promised by Gen. Abubakar) should address the issues of poverty, real empowerment and blinding deprivation faced by many Nigerians. Otherwise, it will be turn out to be a like another candle in Nigeria’s whirlwind- gharish images and sordid twists, punctuated by terrible turns from one debilitating situation into self-inflicted wounds.
In terms of the quality of life, the burnt beings and the charred bodies of several dozens of the citizens of the oil-rich country which littered many paths before their mass burial will remain a terrible and poignant reminder to the misuse and abuse of the oil and energy resources of the country of nearly 110 million. Fourth, political stability in Nigeria must address the issue of an equitable political economy, a fairer sharing of the resources and riches of a very fertile country. Nigerians must address, urgently, the location and quality of economic rights rather than drown the entire country on their religio-ethnic fixations.
Nigerians are an interesting lot. They will be consumed (and have been for 38 years – at this time- since they achieved political independence from Britain) with perennial, self-preening huffing and puffing about whether the next president should come from Islamic Sokoto caliphate and the Sahelian Kanuri stock, from the capitalistic, Christian Igbos or from the culturally sophisticated Yorubas?
Fifth, the recent deaths, sadly the mass burial of those folks; the mass burial in this age (!) of someone’s mother, another’s sister and father, and may be brother offer postcards of how Nigerians have devalued the lives of their compatriots; even at the point of death.
Cry, for my beloved (?) country! A sad reminder of the dysfunctional state of the country’s oil industry is the fact that although Nigeria has the finest Bonny Light crude, most of the country’s refineries are not operational; at best, they have become landmarks for siphoning foreign exchange and international funds.
As if the structural incompetence all those impose on the country and its deprived and burdened citizens are not enough, the same country with abundant, rich oil resources have sunk, for the past 9 years or more, into the unbelievable position of importing gasoline. A by-product of military misrule, especially under former head of state Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the late dictator Sani Abacha. Sixth, three gallons of gasoline is almost the equivalent of a month’s salary for a high-school graduate in Nigeria, since former head of state Gen. Ibrahim Babangida pushed the country into its socio-economic and political logjam following his cancellation of the June 12, 1993 elections, widely believed to have been won by his friend and businessman Chief Moshood K.O Abiola
Meanwhile, military ruler Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who has visited the scene of the disaster has directed an investigation by the government-run oil company. According to him, “NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) is presently looking into the matter and will report back to the government.” But the NNPC has not been an organization known for its ethical investigations and conduct.
Remember $2.6 billion dollars “vanished” for a short while from the NNPC’s coffers when possible presidential aspirant retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo was head of state of Nigeria. Nigerians have never received a straight, reasonable answer for that magical financial shenanigan. Also, sources in the NNPC say that key officials of company have already blamed the disaster on “a growing pattern of pipeline vandalism for theft.”
Beyond that, we call for an international, professional, reputable group of scientists, ecologists and engineers to address the three issues of questioning and getting answers regarding:
1) the quality of the NNPC pipes;
2) environmental degradation and,
3) the despoliation of the lives of Nigerians around the flaring gas points in Nigeria. Eye-witness account in the area indicate that thousands of gallons of fuel remained in the Jesse section of the pipeline — which runs nearly 600 kilometers (380 miles) from Warri in the south to the northern city of Kaduna.
According to the AP, the surface pipeline is not protected, not even with coils of barbed wire. In a comment which is said to have infuriated many Delta people and other Nigerians, Gen. Abubakar said during his visit to the scene on October 19 that the government would pay for medical care, but that no compensation would be paid to the families of the dead, apparently because many were believed to be scavenging fuel. Robert Efenakpo, an eyewitness to the disaster told the BBC: “A lot of bodies lying around, most burned beyond recognition… Several of the corpses were found still clutching plastic cups, funnels and cans they had been using to try to scoop up the fuel.”
The CNN and Reuters on October 19 quoted Joy Aigbe, a nurse in the nearby oil town of Warri where many of the victims were taken, as saying that “the casualty (toll) is bigger than initially thought and more are still dying. At least 500 people are so far dead.” She said many of the dead were women and children who had thronged the area with cans and buckets to collect spilled gasoline from the burst pipeline. The report notes that many of the dead were said to have been trapped in a ditch where a pool of gasoline had collected. A wide patch of land the size of a soccer field was charred as the fire trailed the flow of the volatile liquid.
Latest reports said the disaster scene was still littered with unidentified bodies burnt beyond recognition, while plumes of thick black smoke still rose from the persisting fire being battled by firefighters. The charred body of one woman was found with her dead baby still strapped to her back.
Many other victims were farmers and villagers sleeping in their homes. The oil pipelines in Nigeria have recently come under the alleged oppositional activities of many environmental and pro-democracy activists inside Nigeria. They have charged Chevron, Shell BP and a few other operators of being wickedly indifferently to the developmental needs of the communities they operate.
For example, the environmental group ‘Friends of the Earth’ has blamed oil companies operating in Nigeria for the disaster. “This tragedy underlines how the oil companies and Nigeria’s corrupt government have put screwing as much money as possible out of the oil industry before public safety,” said Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper.
“The fact that people are scrabbling in the streets to collect fuel from a burst pipeline shows how Nigeria’s awesome oil riches are still being controlled by a few, rather than benefiting the many,” he added.
Shell Oil corporation has been the primary target of these complaints and confrontations. Its corporate responsibility and image became entangled with the hanging by death of riverine Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and sullied in the aftermath of the international environmental awareness campaigns, afterwards. Shell, like Chevron, and others have since returned to do business in riverine, oil-rich Nigeria.
All those, and more, have combined with wonderful announcements of billion dollar contracts and deals with the multinational corporations and their Nigerian collectors and agents to raise and dash, every passing year, the tortured hopes of the same poor, dispirited folks on whose lands the oil and gas sit.
Is there any wonder why they, like me sometime wonder whether oil is Nigeria’s liquid gold or just a petro-dollar curse?
What do you think?

• Chido Nwangwu, Founder of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, Nigeria360, USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and worked for the Nigerian Television Authority (news) in the 1980s; publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; adviser on Africa to Houston’s former Mayor Dr. Lee Brown. Chido appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, CBSNews, ABCNews, FOXNews, NBCNews, etc. e-mail: Chido@USAfricaonline.com. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500. Archiving of this updated essay on another web site is not authorized; only web links are allowed. Written and first published on USAfricaonline.com on October 19, 1998.

——-
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Jonathan makes u-turn on his Nigeria-FIFA international soccer ban

Jonathan makes u-turn on his Nigeria-FIFA international soccer ban
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Jonathan reverses himself on Nigeria international soccer ban
Special to USAfricaonline.com
Nigeria’s government on Monday July  5, 2010 lifted a two-year ban it imposed last week on its national football team after a dismal World Cup showing, just ahead of a FIFA deadline to do so.
The government issued a statement saying the country’s football federation apologised to the president and informed him that the national team would be disbanded with the aim of building a new one.
“Based on these assurances, and the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians, including former leaders, President (Goodluck) Jonathan has decided to review the earlier two-year ban on the country from all international football competitions,” it said.
Nigeria last Wednesday slapped a two-year ban from international competition on the squad after the traditional African powerhouse finished bottom of their group in South Africa with just one point from three matches.
Jonathan also ordered an audit into how the funds allocated for the team at the World Cup were used.
Sports ministry spokesman Tony Ohaeri said earlier Monday the decision had been taken “in the interest of football”.
But the move led to an angry reaction from football world governing body FIFA, which takes a dim view of political interference in the sport.
FIFA gave Nigeria until 1600 GMT on Monday to reverse the decision or face “the suspension of the Nigerian (football) federation,” leading to calls within the country for the ban to be lifted.
Over the weekend, the Nigerian federation sacked three of its top executives and appealed to Jonathan to reverse the ban.
The remaining nine federation executive members pledged to “address the maladministration” of Nigerian football.
But while the ban by the Nigerian government drew criticism from some in the oil-rich country who considered it too harsh, others said drastic moves were needed to move the programme forward.
Kayode Ajibogun, a member of the country’s football supporters club, told AFP on Monday before the reversal that the ban was the right decision.
“The boys performed woefully in South Africa because of bad administration in our sports. So banning them for two years will allow us to put our house in order,” he said.
Ex-national team goalkeeper Dosu Joseph said earlier Monday that Nigeria had little choice but to lift the ban.
“I see Nigeria reversing the decision even if it is five minutes to go so as not to incur the wrath of FIFA. Nigeria cannot afford to call FIFA’s bluff because it will not help the development of our football,” he said.
Nigeria was not the only country to face accusations of political interference after being eliminated from the World Cup.
FIFA had earlier voiced opposition to French government involvement amid fall-out from France’s first round exit.
France were knocked out after losing 2-1 to South Africa, bringing the curtain down on a dreadful campaign that saw a players’ strike, insults hurled at the coach and a volley of criticism from politicians.
But FIFA said last week that France’s government was not guilty of interference after former coach Raymond Domenech and former French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes were quizzed by politicians. ref: AFP

Related commentary: President Jonathan, shut them down….By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com http://www.usafricaonline.com/president-jonathan-shut-them-down-by-chido

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BrkNEWS… Congo fuel truck fire kills 230, many children

BrkNEWS… Congo fuel truck fire kills 230, many children
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Congo fuel truck fire kills 230, many children

Sange, DR Congo (AFP) – A fuel truck exploded and set fire to a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 230 people and injuring scores, officials and local residents said Saturday.
Flames engulfed dozens of earth and straw constructed homes as villagers, many of them children, crowded around the tanker after it overturned late on Friday to scavenge its contents.
“People tried to escape but were caught by the fire and reduced to ashes,” said Tondo Sahizira, a 28-year-old teacher at Sange, home to some 50,000 people located around 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Sud-Kivu regional capital of Bukavu, close to the border with Burundi.
The flames spread rapidly to a local cinema hall where a crowd had gathered to follow the World Cup football matches being played in South Africa, said Mbaka Munyerere.
“They were taken by surprise and we could not save them,” he said. “It’s terrible!”
Sud-Kivu governor Marcellin Cishambo said: “When we arrived in Sange at about noon, we were already up to 230 dead. In our presence, three more bodies were added. We are therefore at more than 230 dead and 105 injured.”
Desire Kama from the Congolese Red Cross said according to a provisional estimate at 1100 GMT, there were 221 deaths — of whom 61 were children and 36 women — and 214 were injured.
“A tanker truck coming from Tanzania overturned in the village of Sange. There was a crush (of people) and a petrol leak, there was an explosion of fuel which spread through the village,” regional government spokesman Vincent Kabanga told AFP.
Sahizira said the driver of the truck managed to escape from his cab, though injured, and told local people to get away because of the risk of an explosion.
“Petrol began to leak out but instead of fleeing people came to collect the fuel,” he said.
“A few minutes later there was an explosion, flames burst from the truck and spread very quickly.”
Most of the bodies, covered with white shrouds, still lay near the charred skeleton of the truck many hours after the accident.
A woman wailed nearby, screaming: “We have lost our men, our children. I am dead.”
“We are currently mourning our loved ones. We are waiting to bury them, maybe in a mass grave,” said Munyerere.
Helicopters provided by the United Nations mission in the country, MONUSCO, evacuated casualties to hospitals in Bukavu to the north and Uvira to the south after the accident, officials said.
A UN source had told AFP on condition of anonymity that five Pakistani troops were among the dead, but this was denied by MONUSCO’s spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai, who said no UN soldiers were casualties.
A military source in MONUSCO’s command said he had no reports of any victims from the peacekeeping mission and said verification was going on with units present in the zone.
MONUSCO — officially known as the United Nations’ Organisation for Stabilisation in Democratic Republic of Congo — is the world’s largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation with an annual budget of 1.35 billion dollars. Most of its troops are deployed in the country’s volatile east.
The mission, earlier known by its French acronym MONUC, has been present in DR Congo since the end of 1999.
Explosions caused by fuel leaks from tankers after accidents or pipelines that have been punctured by thieves often claim hundreds of lives as locals rush to scoop up fuel.
In October 1998, over 1,000 people died at Jesse, in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Delta, when a pipeline exploded as people tried to steal oil.
In 2000 and 2006 three such accidents killed a total of nearly 600 people, also in Nigeria, while on Friday, the same day as the Sange accident, at least 13 people were killed and nine badly burned when a tanker truck carrying fuel exploded after skidding off the road in the northern Nigerian city of Gombe.

SANGE, DR Congo (AFP) – A fuel truck exploded and set fire to a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 230 people and injuring scores, officials and local residents said Saturday.Flames engulfed dozens of earth and straw constructed homes as villagers, many of them children, crowded around the tanker after it overturned late on Friday to scavenge its contents.

“People tried to escape but were caught by the fire and reduced to ashes,” said Tondo Sahizira, a 28-year-old teacher at Sange, home to some 50,000 people located around 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Sud-Kivu regional capital of Bukavu, close to the border with Burundi.The flames spread rapidly to a local cinema hall where a crowd had gathered to follow the World Cup football matches being played in South Africa, said Mbaka Munyerere.

“They were taken by surprise and we could not save them,” he said. “It’s terrible!”Sud-Kivu governor Marcellin Cishambo said: “When we arrived in Sange at about noon, we were already up to 230 dead. In our presence, three more bodies were added. We are therefore at more than 230 dead and 105 injured.”Desire Kama from the Congolese Red Cross said according to a provisional estimate at 1100 GMT, there were 221 deaths — of whom 61 were children and 36 women — and 214 were injured.

“A tanker truck coming from Tanzania overturned in the village of Sange. There was a crush (of people) and a petrol leak, there was an explosion of fuel which spread through the village,” regional government spokesman Vincent Kabanga told AFP.Sahizira said the driver of the truck managed to escape from his cab, though injured, and told local people to get away because of the risk of an explosion.”Petrol began to leak out but instead of fleeing people came to collect the fuel,” he said.

“A few minutes later there was an explosion, flames burst from the truck and spread very quickly.”Most of the bodies, covered with white shrouds, still lay near the charred skeleton of the truck many hours after the accident.A woman wailed nearby, screaming: “We have lost our men, our children. I am dead.””We are currently mourning our loved ones. We are waiting to bury them, maybe in a mass grave,” said Munyerere.Helicopters provided by the United Nations mission in the country, MONUSCO, evacuated casualties to hospitals in Bukavu to the north and Uvira to the south after the accident, officials said.A UN source had told AFP on condition of anonymity that five Pakistani troops were among the dead, but this was denied by MONUSCO’s spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai, who said no UN soldiers were casualties.

A military source in MONUSCO’s command said he had no reports of any victims from the peacekeeping mission and said verification was going on with units present in the zone.MONUSCO — officially known as the United Nations’ Organisation for Stabilisation in Democratic Republic of Congo — is the world’s largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation with an annual budget of 1.35 billion dollars.

Most of its troops are deployed in the country’s volatile east.The mission, earlier known by its French acronym MONUC, has been present in DR Congo since the end of 1999.Explosions caused by fuel leaks from tankers after accidents or pipelines that have been punctured by thieves often claim hundreds of lives as locals rush to scoop up fuel.

In October 1998, over 1,000 people died at Jesse, in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Delta, when a pipeline exploded as people tried to steal oil.In 2000 and 2006 three such accidents killed a total of nearly 600 people, also in Nigeria, while on Friday, the same day as the Sange accident, at least 13 people were killed and nine badly burned when a tanker truck carrying fuel exploded after skidding off the road in the northern Nigerian city of Gombe.

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President Jonathan, shut them down

President Jonathan, shut them down
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President Jonathan, shut them down….

By CHIDO NWANGWU,
Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston.
On Wednesday July 7, 2010, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s tangle with the world’s soccer governing body FIFA will see the rugged lines of global soccer cooperation, national sovereign claims and responsibilities intersect and clash, again.
Jonathan’s swift hammer fell on the Eagles’ shoddy performance at the 2010 World Cup soccer event. For poor results: shut them down for two years to retool and revamp! Jonathan’s controversial yet domestically popular decision of Wednesday June 30, 2010, to suspend his country’s soccer federation from all international competitions for two years continues to draw a mixed bag of reactions.
Jonathan’s approach has forced the world’s soccer governing body FIFA, after 48 hours, to threaten serious consequences unless he reversed his decision.
According to FIFA’s spokesman Nicolas Maingot, FIFA on July 2, 2010 contacted the Jonathan government by letter, informing Jonathan he has until Monday July 5 to rescind his decision of pulling Nigeria out of international competition. FIFA’s threat: “Failure to do so will result in the suspension of the NFF.”
The president’s advisers have painted him into a corner by the fact of his executive order; and he will not lose face; not the giant of Africa; no! What gives; who will blink?
First, amidst the contradictions of these international confrontations, Nigerians see a familiar reality from the events in South Africa, the Jonathan-FIFA counterpoints and the way things are organized back home… The truth is that not-so-Super Eagles and the shut-them-down order by our President Jonathan mirror our dear and beloved Nigeria….
Second, the Nigeria-FIFA tangle also offers a contrast between Ghana’s national sense of organization, consequent successes to Nigeria’s fumbles before and during the ongoing world soccer championships in South Africa.
Third, the recent events capture a growing point that Nigeria’s small neighbor Ghana with 23 million people, continues by a mix of hardwork, planning and sheer providence, to overshadow and outperform Nigeria’s 130 million people on reasonable, development parameters, democratic elections and many departments of organized life.
Is there any wonder that the great Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa president, identified with Ghana in a letter his office sent Friday July 2  to the president of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi.
The rock-ribbed statesman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize underlined the commendable fact that “on the historic occasion of the first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Africa, it is a great pleasure to see that Ghana has reached the quarter-finals.”
I believe that Nigeria’s sad, disgraceful exit from the 2010 World Cup soccer in South Africa reflect the symptoms and underlying factors which restrain the full talent and scope of our dear Nigeria!
To borrow a popular Nigerian manner of speaking, in short, we rarely compete or serve Nigeria with a full team of our first eleven without regard to ethnic or religious origins. In short, again, we all lose; complain and field another team that does not reflect our first eleven in sports, politics, governance, business…
Without a doubt, we know that Nigeria’s problems are many and complicated. Hence, I will ask the obvious critical question: should Nigeria shut down all other troubled and non-performing arms and agencies, at least, for two years, in order to move the country forward? No; it will not happen! It will not happen, not for the great reasons of keeping all engines running but for a different, open secret I’ll remind you.
The fact is that many elite Nigerians and leaders, at various levels, profit from the failures and incompetence of the country Nigeria. It will not happen because some profit from erecting walls of system failures and obstacles against progress of many segments of Nigeria’s political economy and infrastructure!
Talk about shut-down; how many years and how many more deaths should Nigerians live with and tolerate in the vile face of the violent environmental destruction of the once verdant and lush Niger Delta?
How long before we shut Nigeria’s electricity agency in order to get light and energy as opposed to darkness and the environmental pollution of a thousand mini-generators? I believe that President Jonathan has made a commendable move by appointing the demonstrably capable Prof. Barth Nnaji as his point-man on power generation/electricity supply.
Now, I ask, when will the government of Nigeria shut down oil exploration polluters, mercenary domestic bunkerers and illegal operators who destroy the capacity of Niger Delta children to swim around their village rivers and have the semblance of a normal life?
When will Nigeria hold the oil major accountable across the Niger Delta and adjoining, impacted communities and States in a similar way as U.S President Barack Obama is holding BP responsible in Gulf of Mexico?
I raised this same issue by comparing the oil spills in the Niger Delta to the oil spill in America’s Gulf of Mexico/Louisiana/Mississippi in the forthcoming profile-interview which CNN International had with me on June 24 and June 25, 2010, at USAfrica’s offices in Houston, Texas.
Where are the development values and evidences of the trillions retired General Olusegun Obasanjo and his Mr. Fix it Chief Tony Anenih”spent” on federal roads when it still takes deadly, destructive and excruciating long hours to drive (??) from Lagos to Asaba or Aba or Port Harcourt? Why are Nigerians still sentenced to overnight waits for fuel and kerosine?
I recall vividly asking the then President Olusegun Obasanjo during an editorial board meeting in Houston in November 2003 about his agenda to tackle the energy/fuel/electric power supply problems of Nigeria. His swift response argued that his government had invested in trying to rebuild the refineries, and insisted that Nigerians got the cheapest, subsidized fuel in the world!
Talking about shutting down operations, how many more years are we going to wait to reap the fruits of Obasanjo’s “investments” in those Nigerian refineries? How many times have we all seen the “shutting down” of those refineries for the “importation and processing” of petroleum and its derivative products by influential Nigerians?
How long have Nigerians waited for the optimal results from the multi-billion deals and contracts for the rehabilitation of some of Nigeria’s “refineries” by those who came before Obasanjo?
When will the farmers in Ogbomoso, Zauzau, Sobi and Abakiliki feed and take good care of their families and communities off their lands?
When will Nigerian schools and universities be rebuilt for safety and proper education? Should they be shut down for several years, and be retooled?
On public policy and geo-politics, when will Nigeria shut down its congenitally retrogressive troops of ethnocentric warlords who continue their wasteful anti-Igbo wars, believing, foolishly, they can block the full talent and entrepreneurial and mercantilist capacities of a segment of its productive citizenry? Or the perennial, never-fully-executed contracts to “rebuild” the wickedly rickety Onitsha Niger bridge?
For that matter, when will President Jonathan confront and shut down the sources of opulent, power-play funds which a few of the retired but not tired Generals deploy at will to confuse and  frighten the eyes of childhood across Nigeria and intimidate the spaghetti-spine civilian politicians in Nigeria? Or will they shut him (Jonathan)  down, first? In short, who no know go know….
To properly conclude, I’ll call forth, again, those two powerful words, in short, President Jonathan has many things to shut down to move Nigeria forward…that is, if he prefers the swift and shut-it-down-for-two-years approach.
In short, we have to shut down this brief commentary of mine; not for two years but for only 20 seconds….
• Chido Nwangwu, Founder of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, Nigeria360, USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and worked for the Nigerian Television Authority (news) in the 1980s; publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; adviser on Africa to Houston’s former Mayor Dr. Lee Brown. Chido appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, CBSNews, ABCNews, FOXNews, NBCNews, etc. Chido@USAfricaonline.com. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500. Published on Saturday July 3 , 2010 on USAfricaonline.com.
——-
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Ghana loses World Cup tie to Uruguay via penalties

Ghana loses World Cup tie to Uruguay via penalties
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Ghana Black Stars fumbled a closing minute penalty kick and shot poorly in the penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 tie to lose the World Cup quarter finals against Uruguay.

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Nigeria’s 2011 elections and realities facing INEC’s Attahiru Jega.

Nigeria’s 2011 elections and realities facing INEC’s Attahiru Jega.
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Nigeria’s 2011 elections and realities facing INEC’s Attahiru Jega.

By Benjamin Aduba

Special to USAfricaonline.com

In a well written article published by Economic Confidential, a writer Law Mefor asks the question: Can Attahiru Jega Make the difference?

Mefor answers the question tongue in cheek but says that if Mr. Jega took some steps he could make a difference. The tongue in cheek was expressed by Mefor when he looked back at Mr. Jega’s close association with Mr. Iwu and the positions he took in the Uwais’s Commission and Report. Mefor’s answer would be considered correct given the question he posed, but the issue is whether he asked the right question. My answer is that he asked the wrong questions.

For free and fair elections to result there must be many players who have played their parts well. Conducting an election is a huge collaborative, cooperative and coordinated symphony. All the players from the pianist to the drummers, to the flutists, voices, etc and the conductor must all be in synch. Any out of place note anywhere in the symphony destroys the music and the enjoyment of it. The impact of a good conductor is very important but it is usually not sufficient.

For Nigeria to have a free and fair elections in 2011 all the principal players must each play its part very, very well and if any doesn’t the elections would be just another in the long series of fraudulent elections of the past.

The legislatures are a very important player in the conduct of elections. They make the rules and confirm the principle players nominated by the executive. The rules for the 2011 elections are not quite in place as of now, seven months to the start of the elections. This means that the planning for the elections is already behind schedule, a bad omen. Members are more focused on other issues such as how much they should be paid, intra party politics and other extraneous events. The most important business left in this legislative year is the conduct of 2011 elections and that is placed on the back burner where at the last minute it would be brought out and hurriedly put together thus avoiding full deliberations, scrutiny and public comments.

In the attempted constitutional reform key suggestions from key constituents and Uwais Report have been side tracked or postponed, leaving the heavy lifting to another day by another congress. One cannot postpone the day of reckoning forever.

The president is also a key player who is playing “hard to get” while Rome is burning. Will he run? Will he not? The terms of his coming to office forbid him from running in his party. The time left for him (just 11 months) forbids him form running yet he would not tell his people where he stands. He says he is committed to free and fair elections, but there is no evidence of such commitment on the ground. He took his time to name the Chairman of INEC who he said he had not met thus casting doubts on the selection process. His appointment of the commissioners raises doubts about his honesty as some members are card carrying members of his dominant party and not an even a token appointment from any other party. All these cast doubts on the integrity of 2011 election preparations.

INEC as an organization barely exists. The key staff needed for the elections are not in place; registration of the voters (voter’s  registry) has not been started, training for electoral officers have yet to begin, and no word about the purchasing of electoral materials. Even the final delimitations of constituency based on the most recent census are still to be undertaken. And this is to say nothing about the electoral calendar, polling stations, and assignments.

Another key player in the electoral process is the law enforcement unit. This unit along with INEC must form a water tight and seamless organization. From all public indications even the officers that would lead the supervision of the elections are not formed and therefore the necessary training has not started, not has there been any familiarity with the geography of the areas to be managed by each command.

Local electoral officers would need to share the responsibilities with the law enforcement officers without which enforcing the laws would be chaotic even in the best of times. And these are not the best of times.

All elections come down to political parties. So far all there is in this front is plenty of noise and no music. Parties have not published the nomination calendar or even the requirements for running. New faces are not showing up possibly because incumbency is the norm. Without new faces we would be doing the same things over and over but expecting different results. I have forgotten what somebody described this as.

Votes are won by accumulating the largest number of votes. There are no visible efforts to educate the public by political parties to get the grass roots energized and ready to vote. In other words there is no politics going on. Everything is quiet in the Western Front. It could be a disaster waiting to happen.

We the people are the true unit that would make any election free and fair and to the extent that the politicians, INEC, law enforcement etc see our determination to take control of our fate to that extent would they be prepared to help us achieve that objective. Just as all is quiet in the Western Front, so is the home front. Who in each local government is organizing to counter any last minute efforts to steal the people’s choice? Where are preparations for monitoring the elections by independent organizations? If politicians do not see people organizing to prevent them from doing mischief, they would be encouraged to go for mischief. A thief’s preparation is to ensure that he would steal and get away with it. But if the thief sees well guarded premises, the thief would go elsewhere. Sometimes the best protection is done by letting the enemy know that you are prepared and waiting.

The list above is not intended to be comprehensive, just to show that the question Can Jega make the difference is not the correct question. He could be the God’s Chosen Son but without the cast of characters surrounding him being ready he would not make much difference.

Consider the magnitude of the task ahead. There will be the presidential election, 106 senatorial elections, 36 governorships, 300 House seats, over 1,000 state house assembly elections, etc in about 7-8 months and we have not started. Even the best oiled electoral machine in the world would have a difficult time pulling all this off.

Elections are won and lost long before the first votes are cast.
Believe me.
•Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba is a contributing analyst for USAfricaonline.com, based in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Obama’s economic recovery solution requires revolutionary technological innovations. By Blaize Kaduru

Obama’s economic recovery solution requires revolutionary technological innovations. By Blaize Kaduru
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By BLAIZE KADURU, Chief  Economist of USAfrica multimedia networks and CLASSmagazine, Houston.

Houston, July 1, 2010: First of all, let me stipulate my main point: the Obama stimulus package is bound to fail if nothing profoundly new is developed from a technology stand-point, to take advantage of key areas of needs that can only be filled by new revolutionary technological innovations that will create new jobs, new industries and new applications for commerce. We have lived up to these challenges in the past. Now is the time to re-live it all over again with the next big thing.
Second, we take cognizance of the July 1, 2010 numbers which show that the number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped 13,000 in the latest week to 472,000.
Generally, with unemployment hovering a little under double digit (9.5%) according to this week’s numbers, and with economic watchers wondering if a double-dip recession is in the offing, we cannot help
but to feel the sense of déjà vu all over again. Even though the number is 9.5%, it is nothing to celebrate about when you consider the fact that the real unemployment number is probably closer to 16.5%, factoring in those who stopped looking for jobs.
After showing a better than expected 5.7% growth rate at the end of 2009, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded at an annualized rate of 3.2% in the first quarter of 2010, with also the expectation of possibly a 3% growth  rate in the current second quarter.
These GDP forecasts for 2010 are far below what the U.S. economy should have generated due to the very steep declines recorded in both 2008 and 2009 respectively.
This situation has left many economists to suggest that we are still not out of the woods, and that the much touted economic recovery lack much steam. Although key data and events within the manufacturing, consumer, exports, and the housing sectors seem to suggest vast improvements from three years ago, short term to intermediate term, and even long term  outlook for gainful employment have continued to remain dismal.
To further worsen the outlook for recovery, the fiscal crises in Europe had not helped matters leading some to suggest that a contagion is in place that will affect major U.S. banks all over again. Against the back-drop of an economic recovery, many have wondered what role the billions of dollars in stimulus spending have played and if at all it had impacted the recovery which was the main reason why the Obama administration undertook such venture in the first place.
Stimulus
Between February 2009 and June 2010, the Federal Government had spent a total of $562 billion, as part of the $862 billion economic recovery stimulus Bill pushed through Congress by President Obama.
While the overall consensus is that the major financial institutions which caused the problems leading up to the near collapse of the U.S. economy have largely benefitted from the stimulus package, “Joe Six-Pack” on Main Street has not.
Private sector job numbers have stagnated, and with morbid apathy to lending by banks, small to medium sized businesses continue to lack access to capital for growth and expansion.
Under normal circumstances, the reasoning should be that with such massive infusion of funds and burgeoning deficit spending by the Treasury, the economy should be showing some strength with signs pointing towards some tightening by the Fed at this point in time.
However, what you get after all of the above is an inverted yield curve, with the 10-year Treasury Note at its lowest level since 1962. Some economists are beginning to use the “d-word” or “deflation” much more often these days, in describing where the U.S. economy is now headed.
Critics are breathing down hard on the present leadership about the fact that after so much spending, it seems like “there is little to show for.”
Technology and free market
Many financial and economic experts have however failed to mention the importance of the connection of new technology advances and economic growth in the United States. In most instances this dichotomy of new technology advancement and free market originating mostly here, have had tremendous impact in pulling the rest of the world along.
Interestingly, it is noteworthy to mention the fact that significant changes that affects the economy come from the outside. These are called “exogenous variables” by classical economists, and that it is these
exogenous events that then affect our behavior as participants, to move the market, thereby affecting present and future prices.
Technology has been foremost, and has had the greatest impact as an external variable that has played major roles in our economic history. The evolution of the internal combustion engine, the telephone and telegraph gave rise to the period of expansion known as the “roaring 20s”, leading up to the stock market crash and the collapse of the banking system of 1929. The crash caused a world-wide great depression which lasted for upward of 10 years.
However, the world did not come to an end, due largely to technological developments which resulted in bigger, better and more efficient military hardware (battle ships, war planes, tanks, trucks, guns, etc), necessary to execute an on-going world war at the time. Even though much of Europe was devastated after the war, the Marshall Plan provided the funding stimulus,while the U.S. and the Europeans provided the technological know-how required in order to implement the rebuilding process of Europe.
By the early 1950s, the economies of counties that participated and benefitted from the Marshall Plan had surged considerably past their pre-war levels. It was the European Economist Van der Vee that linked the tremendous economic growth that was brought about by the Marshall Plan to new technologies which modernized an aging industrial and agricultural system; revamped air travel, road, rail and shipping lanes and networks into a more efficient transport infrastructure that facilitated cross border trade across Europe and the rest of the world.
Fast-forward to 1987 through 1990 when the stock market crash at the time and the savings and loans crises precipitated another major recession. There was as usual rising unemployment, stagnated growth, high deficit, and all of the malaise associated with a recession.

Internet technology to the rescue
Towards the end of the 1980s, the telecommunications sector of the U.S economy was being de-regulated. In other parts of the world, both developed and emerging, the telecommunications industry was being privatized as well to allow for private sector participation. At the same time, a major technological development called the internet was slowly evolving. Even though the internet had been discovered here in the U.S., its use was considered largely for military use in order to establish connection in case of a cataclysm nuclear holocaust that was much feared then between the super powers, the then Soviet Union and the U.S.A.
Technological experts quickly saw the convergence of this new internet technology with telecommunications. They went to work and within a short time, they evolved revolutionary technologies for voice, data, and video transmissions that were appended to the internet
technology. Many new companies came into existence, creating millions of what is known as new “high-tech” jobs globally. Not just with telecommunications, “virtual stores” emerged for internet commerce from selling books, movies, cars, clothing line, shoes, services of all types, to anything and everything under the sun. The period of the 1990s saw one of the greatest growths here in the United States, and the rest of the world due to industries, and applications linked to the internet technology. The lesson that is being affirmed in this column is that the Government cannot do it all alone. The Government provides the environment for the private sector to use key ingredients

blaize.kaduru.USAfrica.chiefeconomist

of technology to create new opportunities that will spur both domestic and global growth.
Technology remains the last arbiter and the last resort that will lift the U.S. out of its present predicament.
•Kaduru, a Wall Street investments professional and telecommunications specialist, is the chief economist of the USAfrica multimedia networks and CLASSmagazine, Houston. This commentary is exclusive to USAfrica. The writer may be reached at blaizekaduru@yahoo.com
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Burundi’s incumbent President wins flawed, one-man presidential election with landslide

Burundi’s incumbent President wins flawed, one-man presidential election with landslide
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Burundi’s incumbent President wins flawed, one-man presidential election with landslide
Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine
The Burundian National Electoral Commission on Wednesday evening said the country’s current President Pierre Nkurunziza who was the only candidate in the race won the presidential election with an overwhelming majority of votes accounting for 92.62 percent.
Speaking in front of Members of Parliament, ministers, diplomats, members of international organisations, diplomats, some political party leaders and representatives of the Burundian civil society, Chairman of the Electoral Commission Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said “Pierre Nkurunziza won the presidential election with 92.62 percent if we take in consideration the number of registered candidates and those who voted for him.”
Ndayicariye said the number of registered voters was 3,553,372 while those who cast their votes were 2,735,758. Those who voted for him were 2,479,483 while those who voted against him were 226, 919. He said 226,919 votes were null.
Ndayicariye said the turnout for the election was 76.98 percent, with the Municipality of Bujumbura, stronghold of the opposition, taking the last position with about 41 percent. The central province of Karusi has the highest turnout and won for Pierre Nkurunziza with some 98 percent.
Pierre Nkurunziza who is going to rule Burundi for another five years was the only candidate in the race after the pullout of six opposition candidates from the presidential race alleging massive fraud in the May 24 communal elections.
International observers hailed the way the presidential election was organised. The opposition however, in a press conference held on Wednesday afternoon said the election was characterised by fraud. ref: Xinhua

Burundi’s incumbent resident wins flawed, one-man presidential election with landslide

The Burundian National Electoral Commission on Wednesday evening said the country’s current President Pierre Nkurunziza who was the only candidate in the race won the presidential election with an overwhelming majority of votes accounting for 92.62 percent.
Speaking in front of Members of Parliament, ministers, diplomats, members of international organisations, diplomats, some political party leaders and representatives of the Burundian civil society, Chairman of the Electoral Commission Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said “Pierre Nkurunziza won the presidential election with 92.62 percent if we take in consideration the number of registered candidates and those who voted for him.”
Ndayicariye said the number of registered voters was 3,553,372 while those who cast their votes were 2,735,758. Those who voted for him were 2,479,483 while those who voted against him were 226, 919. He said 226,919 votes were null.
Ndayicariye said the turnout for the election was 76.98 percent, with the Municipality of Bujumbura, stronghold of the opposition, taking the last position with about 41 percent. The central province of Karusi has the highest turnout and won for Pierre Nkurunziza with some 98 percent.
Pierre Nkurunziza who is going to rule Burundi for another five years was the only candidate in the race after the pullout of six opposition candidates from the presidential race alleging massive fraud in the May 24 communal elections.
International observers hailed the way the presidential election was organised. The opposition however, in a press conference held on Wednesday afternoon said the election was characterised by fraud. ref: Xinhua

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