The egotistic real estate and leisure billionaire, Donald Trump, excites this reporter to no end. Hence, my ritual of summer vacation in America was somehow alleviated by one excitement: his emergence of as lead political actor. American politics and its accompanying theatre is to me what European major league soc
cer is to numerous urban Nigerians. Each time I turned on the television to any of the major American news and current affairs networks and saw Mr. Trump, I giggled to myself. My American friends and family could not understand why.
For one thing, Mr. Trump has enlivened what would ordinarily be a dull run up to the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. Somehow, the man has rekindled some interest in the Republican Party whose fortunes in recent times have been less than glorious.
Above all, the man is lending American politics a new language, which I consider a ‘revolutionary’ national service in a political culture where linguistic atrophy has become symptomatic of other declines.
Donald Trump is engaging in a rather entertaining but cavalier way. He is predictably unpredictable. Only Mr. Trump knows what he is going to say or do next on the political trail. He is allergic to the obsession with political correctness in Washington and says so by verbally assaulting the high priesthood of political Washington. He has accused the American leadership of being mostly ‘stupid’ hence the declining strength and power of his country. He has questioned senator John McCain’s stature as a war hero: you do not become a war hero just because you were a prisoner of war! He respects President Obama’s office but is not hesitant to describe the man as ‘incompetent’. He admires Hillary Clinton mostly because she did him the honour of attending his wedding in Florida. He dismisses fellow Republican presidential aspirant Jeb Bush as a ‘low energy’ person and has unprintable words about his elder brother, former President George W. Bush.
Under pressure after excoriating Fox News panelist Megan Kelly following the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, he concedes that he respects women except TV personality Rosy O’Donnell with whom he has had a long running publicity battle.
Mr. Trump has his own iconoclastic views about nearly every pressing national issue in today’s America. To stem the tidal influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico, he will build a wall on the US-Mexico border and get the Mexican government to pay for it. He will respect whoever emerges as Republican front-runner but will not guarantee that he will not run as an independent except the party gives him the ticket. On the challenge of the rise of China as a rival super power or the trade imbalance with Japan, Mr. Trump reels off any number of his friends to whom he will outsource these major international engagements. No facts, no figures, no silly specifics and boring academic sounding plans. Just get the job done. And America seems to like his ‘can do’ approach which contrasts with the long talk and inertia in Washington. He wants to fix the nation by cleaning out the cronyism, boring ‘correctness’ and sometimes unthinking partisanship that holds Washington hostage. Ask him how he is going to fix America and he says: wait till I become president!
In spite of a pile up of the kinds of indiscretions that would ordinarily bury a normal politician, Mr. Trump has maintained a confounding comfortable lead in the polls. In the process, the Republican party is split and confused. A good number of Republicans admire and support Mr. Trump’s bid as an act of rebellion against the lack of creativity in Washington. Others are simply bored, dismissing the rest of the pack in the line up of Republican presidential hopefuls as more of the same.
The danger here is that it is hard to convince Mr. Trump that he could possibly be wrong on any of the issues he addresses so casually. How do you convince a very wealthy man (he is worth over $10 billion and personally earns $400 million annually) that any of his views or strategies could be wrong when they have worked for him?
There have been timid noises of condemnation of Trump’s unconventional rhetoric. Few have disagreed with his iconoclastic perspectives on major national issues. But no one has had the courage to spiritedly and frontally condemn Trump. It turns out that in America as in my village, it is hard to disagree with a very rich man. When he wears rags, people say that is the new fashion. When he talks nonsense, many will say there is hidden wisdom in it. When he advances a foolish doctrine, many will say maybe that is what gave him all that wealth. If it has worked for him, why dare to question him when your own counter wisdom has condemned you to a life of penury?
His ideological traducers, especially the intellectual vanguards of the Republican conservative movement, are rattled by his rampaging pop star appeal. George F. Will, conservative and syndicated columnist of The Washington Post has described Mr. Trump as ‘a counterfeit Republican… and no conservative’ who should be shown the way out by the party. Others, who may not be so eager to dismiss Trump, insist that he is a curious political phenomenon that needs to be watched closely. My friend, Fareed Zakariah, Time magazine columnist and CNN GPS host sees him as unique on account of his ability to confound both his followers and opponents without addressing key issues in any serious way.
For this reporter, the lure of American politics is its dramatic flourish and intellectual veneer. Even outright nonsense has a way of being ceded center stage. Political idiocy sometimes dominates prime time, gets endlessly rehashed, analysed, celebrated and sometimes expensively promoted in limitless media outlets. Mr. Trump takes himself seriously and so does a sizeable faction of Republicans, hence his lead in the polls. His current rating is somewhere around 33.3 percent while his closest rival, Jeb Bush, is trailing at 12.4 percent. Mr. Trump’s lead becomes even more significant given the fact that his campaign has raised very little money, only a paltry $1.9 million against Mr. Jeb Bush whose super-pacs have raised in excess of $100 million. Mr. Trump’s popularity relies mostly on his personal media outings. His popularity escalates as his views become more controversial and even objectionable.
Some see Mr. Trump as essentially political entertainment. Of course Mr. Trump who hosts his own TV show, The Apprentice, savours entertainment and relishes his celebrity stature and the immense attention it brings. So, there is a sense in which the man is having a ball while his opponents are griping over his excesses. It reminds you of Mr. Ross Perot, the Texas millionaire with oversize ears who ran as an independent in the contest between George Bush snr. and Bill Clinton. It was Perot that denied Bush snr a second term in the White House while vicariously ushering in the Clinton era with its record economic benefits for America. It would appear that wealthy political gadflies have a superior vision, which their political opponents may not be equipped to grasp immediately. When M.K.O Abiola vied for the Nigerian presidency, he probably saw his long term significance ahead of the rest of us. His entry into Nigerian politics redefined Nigerian democracy and re-drew the political map of the country. The voiding of his election (by the ruling military council) denied the military the honour of exiting the political stage in a blaze of glory. I would not know what Donald Trump has foreseen in the clear and present possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency from 2016.
But Mr. Trump is first and foremost a very shrewd businessman. He takes his profit from the outset. He has already achieved a major victory: he is currently the issue among most Americans, both Republicans and Democrats. In addition, what happens to him and his political adventure will largely determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Trump may not clinch the Republican nomination. Even if he did, he is less likely to end up in the Oval Office in 2016 because of his inherent political liabilities and personal negatives. I doubt that he is himself too intent on a job that would condemn him to the boredom of flying to places he would rather not go to make speeches he does not necessarily believe in. But whether he gets the Republican ticket to challenge Hillary Clinton, the presumptive candidate of the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump has become a political factor. If his poll ratings remain as strong as they have been, he is on the way to emerging the Republican front-runner. If however the party shoots him down midstream, the possibility that he will run as an independent becomes real and imminent. That outcome may not get him into the White House but it will almost certainly deny the Republicans the key into the Oval Office. The votes lost to the Republicans will not necessarily go to the Democrats. They will merely degrade the chances of the Republicans and chaperon Hillary Clinton into the White House as the first American female president.
That outcome will be a personal victory for Mr. Trump. He will have stopped his fellow Republicans from the presidency because they ‘were not nice’ to him. He will however in the same breadth have ended up facilitating the emergence of Hillary Clinton. He will then enter the history books as the man who bloodied Republican politicians and assisted the Democrats in their bid to hang on to the Oval Office, an outcome into which the man can insert a nice business plan.
Instructively, the Times of London revealed about a fortnight ago that it was after a phone call seeking the counsel of ex-president Bill Clinton that Donald Trump decided to run. In Mr. Trump, then, I see a very brilliant and successful business mind engaged in a political project as long-term investment.
Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015
and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENTBILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
The MDC Alliance led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa is disputing the outcome of the polls alleging that they were rigged to the point of having more votes than registered voters.
While the winner, ZANU PF leader and incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, acknowledged that there were “challenges” he insisted the polls were free and fair.
The US Department of State said Zimbabwe’s 30 July elections presented the country with a historic chance to move beyond the political and economic crises of the past and toward profound democratic change.
“Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s success in delivering an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence and a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces,” the department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Six people were shot dead on Wednesday by soldiers and many others were injured. A seventh person is reported to have succumbed to gunshot wounds on Friday at a hospital in Chitungwiza.
The US said it welcomes the commitment by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release comprehensive election results in a form that provides full transparency. ZEC maintains that the election results were an accurate reflection of the voters’ will.
Former colonial master, Britain, also remained concerned about the developments.
“The UK remains deeply concerned by the violence following the elections and the disproportionate response from the security forces,” said UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
She, however, urged electoral stakeholders to work together to ensure calm.
“While polling day passed off peacefully, a number of concerns have been raised by observer missions, particularly about the pre-election environment, the role of State media, and the use of State resources. There is much to be done to build confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral process.”
Baldwin urged that any appeals against the results or the process be handled swiftly and impartially.– African News Agency (ANA)
Today, Monday July 30, 2018, Zimbabweans [went] to the polls to elect Robert Mugabe’s successor. For pretty much the average life expectancy of many Zimbabweans, one man has ruled the country with an iron fist. Eight elections were held during his rule – and every time, that fist ensured victory for Mugabe.
The current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, the man who finally ousted Mugabe in a bloodless coup last November, has also crushed his enemies ruthlessly in the past – but his iron fist lies within a well-padded velvet glove.
Mnangagwa goes head to head at the polls with Nelson Chamisa, 40, who took over as leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after Morgan Tsvangirai died earlier this year.
Whoever wins, this election heralds a new dawn for Zimbabwe. Mugabe has gone. Things will never be the same again. Certainly, Mnangagwa brings a lot of baggage from the Mugabe era – having been the former president’s righthand man.
But he is different in many significant ways – today, Mugabe even urged voters to turn their backs on his leadership, and went so far as to wish Chamisa well. Most importantly, Mnangagwa understands business and is determined to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s moribund economy and give the people what they so desperately want and need – jobs.
He is primarily a soldier, having left Zimbabwe as a teenager in the early 1960s for military training in China. He has fashioned himself after the former communist leader Deng Xiaoping, who modernised China and laid the foundations for the economic powerhouse it has become, while maintaining a strictly authoritarian regime.
Deng abandoned many orthodox communist doctrines to incorporate elements of the free-enterprise system. Mnangagwa seems determined to do the same for Zimbabwe. He is a wealthy man in his own right, having run Zanu-PF’s and his own businesses since the early 1980s. He has been mentioned in a UN report on the plundering of mining and logging resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo together with General Sibusiso Moyo, who is now the foreign affairs minister.
Over the eight months since he took the reins from Mugabe, Mnangagwa has given clear signals of a clean break with the past – actively courting the west, preaching and practising peace instead of violence, eschewing corruption, meeting business leaders and white farmers, and generally projecting himself as a reformist. He has met personally the many business missions that have visited the country this year, and has promised to get rid of the cumbersome bureaucracy that currently stifles new investment. He has suspended Mugabe’s populist indigenisation act, which required foreigners to cede 51% of their shares to locals (ZANU-PF, of course) in all sectors except gold and diamond mining. He has even made it his election slogan – with party supporters everywhere sporting T-shirts proclaiming “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
While Mugabe was a consummate manipulator, skilfully playing people off against each other and weaving a complex web of patronage, Mnangagwa is a much more of a strategist. He will be prepared to make tough decisions that could ultimately benefit the economy. He has certainly been more successful in attracting foreign investment in the short time he has been in power than Mugabe was in decades of berating the west.
The MDC’s Chamisa is just as pro-business as Mnangagwa, and to his credit has surrounded himself with several capable technocrats. There is no whiff of corruption about him and he has been drawing massive crowds in many rural areas which, under Mugabe, were no-go areas for his party. And of course the MDC’s democratic and human rights credentials are well established – while those of Zanu-PF are a constant cause for concern.
Should Chamisa win the election, there is no doubt that the world would welcome Zimbabwe back into the fold with open arms. But Mnangagwa is smart enough to realise that international recognition of his government can only come if this election is acknowledged as free and fair by the global community. While Britain has been unswervingly supportive of the post-Mugabe regime, the US has reserved judgment – recently renewing its sanctions on Zanu-PF leaders and companies, but promising to lift them once credible elections have taken place.
And there’s the rub.
Many believe it is impossible for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run a free and fair poll. It is accused of rigging every election since it was established in 2004; it is still staffed largely by the military and Zanu-PF loyalists; and it has shown shameful bias towards the ruling party in recent months. For example, the law says the ballot paper should be in alphabetical order, which places Chamisa second on the 23-person list. The commission cleverly formatted the paper into two lop-sided columns, in order to place Mnangagwa at the very top of column two.
So this election could bring three possible results: if Mnangagwa wins, the MDC already has enough ammunition against the electoral commission to cry foul.
If Chamisa wins convincingly, it will be a new dawn indeed – but the military might not accept this, as the Generals have already invested a lot in Mnangagwa.
But if there is no clear winner, the most sensible way forward would be for the two protagonists to agree to a marriage of convenience – otherwise known as a government of national unity.
• Wilf Mbanga, once falsely classified by Mugabe’s government as ‘enemy of the people’, is the founder, editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean weekly, published in the UK and Johannesburg
The founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has called on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, to resign due to what he considers to be the continuing failure of Buhari to stop the incessant killings by militant Fulani herdsmen.
Oyedepo who spoke on the theme, “Enough is enough” recalled that “When I was talking in 2015, people were saying my own was too much, now everybody can see what’s happening,” he said. ”What has moved forward in anybody’s life? You don’t know it’s war. Why are they attacking the Christian communities? Why has nobody been arrested? I can tell you this, the authorities and the powers that be are behind them.”
“We must wake up and push this evil back. Not one of those so-called herdsmen – they are jihadists – has been brought to book till date. Herdsmen don’t shoot; they have been here all along. They are just taking cover under the herdsmen to assault innocent citizens. They wake up in the night and slice innocent children to pieces. Yet, you have a government in place. What!
“The most honourable thing for any non-performing leader to do is to resign. The most honourable thing is to resign. That’s my own for Mr President. Resign! Get out of office! Even our Islamic friends in the North are calling on him to resign. Because that’s the noblest thing to do. Or are we going to look at one system destroy a whole nation?”
AFP: Hundreds of Nigerian troops are missing after Boko Haram jihadists overran a military base in the remote northeast, security sources said Sunday, in the second major assault on the armed forces in two days.
The militants invaded a base holding more than 700 soldiers in Yobe state — where they abducted over 100 girls from a school earlier this year — in an hours-long onslaught Saturday night, a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Fewer than 100 soldiers have returned following the attack, which took place just 24 hours after Boko Haram fighters ambushed a military convoy in neighbouring Borno state on Friday.
The two assaults have highlighted the tenuous hold Nigerian forces have on the ravaged region despite claims by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government that the country is in a “post-conflict stabilisation phase”.
“Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops of the 81st Division Forward Brigade at Jilli village in Geidam district. The terrorists came in huge numbers around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) and overran the base after a fierce battle that lasted until 9:10 pm,” said the military source.
“The base had 734 troops. Currently the commander of the base and 63 soldiers have made it to Geidam (60 kilometres away) while the remaining 670 are being expected,” he said, without elaborating on their possible fate.
“We don’t know if there were any casualties among the troops. That will be known later,” he said, adding that the base was new and the troops had recently arrived from Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
A leader of a local anti-jihadist militia said the soldiers sustained casualties, but was unable to give a toll, attributing the attack to the Abu-Mus’ab Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram, which is known for targeting Nigerian forces.
“We learned that they drove from Lake Chad through Gubio (in nearby Borno state) and attacked the base,” he said.
Geidam resident Fannami Gana said the jihadists “overwhelmed” the troops.
“We don’t know the details of what happened but we learnt they were overwhelmed by hundreds of Boko Haram gunmen,” said Gana.
Nigerian army spokesman Texas Chukwu said he did not know about the attack.
“I am not aware of the attack because (I) have not received information from there,” Chukwu said in a text message to AFP.
On Friday, 23 Nigerian soldiers went missing after Boko Haram ambushed a convoy outside Bama, leading to the loss of several military vehicles.
According to a military officer, “around 100 terrorists” attacked the convoy.
The sophisticated attacks highlight the continued threat — and evolution — of Boko Haram, an Islamic State group ally, said Yan St-Pierre, counter-terrorism advisor and head of the Berlin-based Modern Security Consulting Group.
St-Pierre suggested the attacks could be because Boko Haram fighters are vying for control of the faction led by Abubakar Shekau, the long-time jihadist leader who is reportedly ill.
“When a near-mythical leader is on his way out there’s always a battle to establish who could be next,” said St-Pierre.
The attacks show the persistent threat of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, he said.
As the jihadists exploit rampant poverty in the region, the Nigerian army, which is overstretched and under-resourced, struggles to keep the insurgency in check.
“The supply of Boko Haram fighters is always there, either through kidnapping or economic reasons, they tap into a wide pool of personnel, they find a way to replenish their strength,” St-Pierre said.
Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler, came to power three years ago on a promise to defeat Boko Haram.
But while there have been clear military gains since a counter-insurgency was launched in 2015, suicide bombings and raids remain a constant threat, particularly to civilians.
Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency has devastated the region since 2009, leaving at least 20,000 people dead, displacing more than two million others and triggering a humanitarian crisis.
By Rev Joshua Amaezechi, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com,Minister of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA) and Lead Chaplain, at the Kalamazoo County Jail
History, they say, often repeats itself. This happens because we fail to learn from it and avoid its pitfalls. A look at history may provide a path for President Trump to reshape the US foreign policy on Nigeria in a manner that promotes life and advances human progress. An alternative is to ignore history and follow the known path of executive and economic convenience as was done in the past and live with the outcome.
History is perhaps about to repeat itself. Igbo Christians as well as their neighboring Christians in the middle belt of Nigeria have been facing unchallenged terrorist attacks from radical Islamists “Fulani Herdsmen” who overrun Christian communities, killing women, men and children and seeking to take over their lands. There had been many cases in which the Nigerian Military under President Buhari had been accused of aiding and abetting these attacks as killers were neither arrested nor frontally confronted by the State Security. Official policies of the government of President Buhari to reduce arms in the hands of civilians ended up only disarming the natives, thereby giving the invading herdsmen an edge over their victims.
Like Nixon, president Trump has declared that the killing of Christians in Nigeria would no longer be acceptable to the US government. During a recent visit of President Buhari of Nigeria to the White House, president Trump was quoted to have said:
“Also, we’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem, and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen.”
President Trumps commitment to protect Christians in Nigeria was reaffirmed in his speech on the National Day of prayer and aligns with his campaign promise to tackle the problem of Boko haram and Islamic terrorism, twin problems which as believed by the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) are geared towards the Islamization of Nigeria. But Nixon’s declaration on Biafra is different from President Trump’s promise to protect Christians in Nigeria. While the later was a declaration of a high profile presidential candidate, the latter is the declaration of a sitting president. However, both declarations place similar moral obligation on the US government to act decisively to protect Christians, especially at this time when 99% of the strategic Armed forces of Nigeria are headed by Muslims and mostly kinsmen of President Buhari who is widely known for his nepotism and unflinching support for the spread of Islam.
The moral obligation of the US comes to the fore as the Igbo people and the peoples of the former Republic of Biafra who are mainly Christians and Omenana Jews gather on May 30 to remember the estimated 3.5 million of their folks who were killed during the Nigerian Biafran war. Already, Nigeria’s ‘President Buhari’s government has deployed Soldiers and combat airplanes to the region ahead of the May 30 memorial, even when that region is known to be the safest and peaceful part of Nigeria. While it is a moral tragedy that genocidists who should have been in jail, were allowed to become Presidents and heads of states in Nigeria, some with streets and public places named after them; it is even a greater moral evil for the bereaved to be denied the freedom and solemnity to mourn their dead.
It is the aggregation of the pains and sorrow of many Christian families who lost their loved ones due to Nixons dereliction of his moral obligation to save Biafra from genocide and its interplay with current persecution of Christians in Nigeria that makes May 30 a day to watch for President Trump. The moral burden of allowing 1967-1970 to repeat itself will be too much for the US to bear.
From 1967 to 1970, the Igbo people of the South Eastern Nigeria, with over 80% Christian majority faced the danger of extinction in an avoidable war between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra. The US presidential candidate, then former Vice President and front runner in the presidential election Richard Milhous Nixon attracted widespread attention and support when on September 8, 1968 he issued a statement calling on the US to intervene in the Nigerian-Biafra war, describing the Nigerian governments war against the Biafrans as a “genocide” and the “destruction of an entire people”. Following his declaration, the Christians of Igbo land felt a sense of relief with the expectation that Nixon’s victory at the poll would usher in a shift in US foreign policy on Nigeria and a departure from Lyndon Johnson’s half-hearted interestedness, evidenced by minimalist provision of relief to the starving Igbo in the Biafran territory.
Nixon won! Unfortunately, rather than act to end genocide in Biafra, President Nixon followed Lyndon Johnson’s policy. Not even the declassified memo from the former US Secretary of State and NSA, Henry Kissinger, describing the Igbo as “the wandering Jews of west Africa..” and calling for a more robust response turned the needle of President Nixon’s neglect to follow up on his campaign promises on Biafra. With these words “I hope Biafra survives”, he gave up Biafra. The result was that estimated 1 million children and civilians were starved to death following the official blockade of all access of food aid and medical relief by the Nigerian Military Government.
While the Watergate Scandal put the final seal on Nixon’s presidency, many would argue that his foreign policy failures, including his relative silence over genocide against Biafransate deep into his political capital leaving him with no significant goodwill. We know how it ended: President Nixon resigned!
The World Health Organisation says it is preparing for “the worst case scenario” in a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
WHO has recorded 32 suspected or confirmed cases in Bikoro, including 18 deaths, between April 4 and May 9. The cases include three healthcare workers, one of whom has died.
This is the country’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team. Efforts to contain the latest outbreak have been hampered because the affected region of the country is very remote.
“There are very few paved roads, very little electrification, access is extremely difficult… It is basically 15 hours by motorbike from the closest town,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama said.
Cases have already been reported in three separate locations around Bikoro, and Mr Salama warned there was a clear risk the disease could spread to more densely populated areas.
WHO is particularly concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, which has around one million inhabitants and is only a few hours away from Bikoro.
“If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak,” Mr Salama warned.
The organisation has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists to the region in the coming week or so.
Nigeria’s government this week ordered that travellers from DR Congo should be screened as an additional security measure after the fresh outbreak was confirmed, but the request was rejected by Nigeria’s health workers’ unions, who have been striking since April 18 over pay and conditions.
The country does not share a border with DR Congo but memories are still fresh of an Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed seven people out of 19 confirmed cases. ref: AFP
Who will succeed President Paul Kagame? Ask the ruling party – Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) – and Rwandan citizens, says the president.
“The succession plan is not mine. If it had been, I would not be here now; I would have left because that is what I intended to do,” President Kagame said last week during a panel discussion at the Mo Ibrahim Governance summit in Kigali.
President Kagame was elected to a third seven-year term in 2017, after a constitutional referendum led to the suspension of term limits.
Under the amended constitution, a presidential term was slashed from seven to five years, and set to be renewed only once. This allows President Kagame to run for two further five-year terms when his current term ends- potentially making him rule for 34 years until 2034.
But even after winning his third term with an enviable 99 per cent of the vote, President Kagame said he had no intentions of leading past two terms, and was only persuaded by Rwandans to stay on.
“I intended to serve the two terms and leave; that was my intention and it is clear, I don’t have to keep defending myself on it. I was deeply satisfied in my heart … until people asked me to stay,” he said.
“And even then, it took some time before I accepted; finally I did because of history — the history of my involvement in politics and being a leader which started from childhood.”
The Rwandan head of state argued that it was never his ambition to be president in the first place, and that he was not prepared to lead the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, turning down his party when they fronted him as a leader.
“In 1994, my party had taken it for granted that I was going to take the helm as the leader. I told them to look for someone else. I told them I wasn’t prepared for it; it was not what I was fighting for,” he said.
“I became vice president and Minister of Defence. Later, then president (Pasteur Bizimungu) had problems with parliament and was impeached. They turned to me and asked me to lead and I said yes.”
President Kagame warned that although it appeared as though his longevity in power has been left for him to decide, there will come a time when no amount of persuasion from his party or the citizenry will convince him to stay.
“If I were to reach a stage — and I will not reach that stage — where people ask me to continue… and when I feel I cannot do much for them, then I will tell them no. Even if they insist, I will also insist on going,” he said.
The president said that once he is out of power, he will support his successor.
But in a country where rights groups have alluded that the political climate only favours the ruling party, it is unlikely that President Kagame’s successor — whenever he or she comes — will come from outside the RPF.
On top of overseeing a strong recovery of the Rwandan economy, ensuring peace and stability, the RPF has consolidated political and financial power since taking over power in 1994.
This is to the point of having several other political parties seeking for coalition with RPF rather than contend for influence.
•Mugisha, Rwandan journalist and author Of Sheep That Smell Like Wolves is based in Kigali, Rwanda. He contributes to the East African.
Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 @USAfricalive
“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.
Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.
Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.
Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.
Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.
In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.
“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.
By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.
“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency
Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.
“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.
The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.
Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.
North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.
Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.
Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.