Saturday, December 16, 2017

Air Traffic Controllers Strike at New Senegal Airport, Want More Training

DAKAR — 
Air traffic controllers in Senegal shut down the capital Dakar’s newly inaugurated airport Friday, claiming they were striking to protect travelers after they received inadequate training before the facility opened this month.
The government says the new $680 million airport, which opened on Dec. 7, will help make Senegal a transport hub in West Africa and boost the country’s tourism sector.
But Mame Alioune Sene, the president of the union representing the airport’s air traffic controllers, said his members had called a 24-hour strike “for people’s security.”
“Senegal spent a lot of money on this new airport but we haven’t been trained for the installations at the control tower,” Sene told Reuters.
The union is also demanding increased stipends for employees’ transport to the airport, which lies some 45 km (28 miles) outside the city center, Sene said.

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UN Reports Grim Childhood for South Sudan’s Kids

GENEVA — 
More than half of South Sudan’s children have suffered abuse, trauma and hunger over the past four years of war, the United Nations Children’s Fund says.
According to the report “Childhood Under Attack” — released on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war — more than 2,300 children have been killed or injured since South Sudan erupted into conflict in December 2013. Among those who are living, around three million have very little to eat.
More than one million of those children are acutely malnourished, including 280,000 who suffer from acute severe malnutrition, said UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac.
“A child suffering from acute severe malnutrition is a child who is at risk of dying, at least nine times more likely to die than a child who has the correct nutrition,” Boulierac said.

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Some 1,500 Darfur Refugees in Central African Republic Go Home

GENEVA — 
The U. N. refugee agency has begun a mass voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic to the homes they fled a decade ago, in what was then war-torn Darfur.
The U. N. refugee agency said a first group of more than 230 refugees have arrived at Sudan’s Nyala airport from their camps in Bambari, Central African Republic. The UNHCR said it plans 66 more chartered flights to bring another 1,300 or so refugees to their homes of origin in Sudan’s Darfur region by the end of the year.
The refugees are among nearly 3,500 that have lived in Bambari since they fled fighting between Sudanese forces and armed groups in South Darfur. The war in Darfur, which broke out in 2003, has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions of people within and outside the country.

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ANC to Vote on Zuma Successor

JOHANNESBURG — 
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will announce current president Jacob Zuma’s successor as party leader on Sunday as it looks to conclude a bruising leadership battle and focus on policy, a party spokesman told radio station 702 on Friday.
“On Sunday morning as we arrive we should be able to make an announcement of the top six and take nomination of the rest of the leadership. We need to take out this item from the conference agenda as quickly as possible,” party spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.
The ANC holds an election this weekend to replace Zuma as party leader in a closely fought contest whose winner is likely to emerge as the nation’s next president.

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Cameroon Religious Leaders Call for Peace, Dialogue

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — 
Cameroon Christian and Muslim religious leaders are calling for peace and talks to end the crisis in English-speaking regions of the central African nation that has prompted secession calls.
The religious leaders say the crisis could add to the bloodshed from the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and the crisis in neighboring Central African Republic.
At Yaounde’s Catholic cathedral, the Saint Anne choir sang for peace in Cameroon at an ecumenical service attended by all Christian denominations and Muslims. Among the hundreds of priests, pastors and imams is Chieck Mohamadou Muktar of the Etoudi central mosque in the Cameroonian capital.
“Every one of us must apply the command of the almighty God to live in peace, in harmony with the other people everywhere we are, and we must be all of us, without any distinction, ambassadors of peace,” Muktar said.

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Zimbabwe Party Meets to Erase Last of Mugabe

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — 
In an open space that Zimbabwe’s ruling party has called Robert Mugabe Square, delegates gathered Friday to seal the fate of a man they had revered for decades but removed from power in dramatic scenes last month.
Emmerson Mnangagwa has been inaugurated as the new president and party leader, replacing Mugabe, who had led the party since 1975 and the country since independence from white minority rule in 1980.
Friday’s ZANU-PF party meeting is the final step in Mugabe’s fall from grace after the military put him under house arrest, hundreds of thousands rallied in the streets and lawmakers began impeachment proceedings. Under the growing pressure, the 93-year-old who had vowed to rule for life finally resigned.
The decision to remove Mugabe as party leader was made by the Central Committee, and “it is a foregone conclusion delegates will ratify,” party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said.

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Unprecedented Election Season Defines 2017 for Kenya

Kenya’s months-long political roller coaster finally came to an end in November, when President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for his second term. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has threatened to hold his own inauguration, but got a stern warning from the government not to do so. From Nairobi, Jill Craig recaps this historic year in Kenyan politics.

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Somalia Inaugurated a President, Dealt With Terrorism & Reeled From Drought in 2017

In 2017, Somalia elected a new president as it battled severe drought and a resurgent al-Shabab. In October, the worst terror attack in the country’s history killed more than 500 people. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is ramping up its military operations as the African Union draws down its 10-year-old peacekeeping mission. From Nairobi, Jill Craig has more.

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As Violence Flares in Ethiopia, Internet Goes Dark

Amid reports of violent clashes that have led to at least 15 deaths, the Ethiopian government has partially blocked internet access to its citizens, suppressing information about the exact scope of the violence and the response of the federal security forces.
​Ethiopians have been unable to reliably reach Twitter and Facebook since Tuesday, and other services may also be affected. The loss of service was believed to be a response to ethnic clashes earlier this week in eastern Ethiopia, home to the Oromo and Somali ethnic groups.
Restricting internet access is a common tactic for the government when protests break out and security forces crack down.

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Zimbabwe’s New Government Asks West to Stop Dictating

HARARE — 
Zimbabwe’s new foreign affairs minister says that the southern African nation will not allow the West to dictate its policies and that no country had a monopoly on how diplomacy should be conducted.
In a hurriedly called address to diplomats accredited in Zimbabwe, new Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo said there are “no angels” that should dictate any country’s foreign policy.
The address was delivered after Zimbabwe’s opposition and civic leaders testified Tuesday before the U.S. Congress and asked the international community to push Harare to ensure free and fair elections.
Moyo said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, which came to power last month with the backing of the army, had started reaching out to Western countries like the United States and Britain to normalize relations strained under former president Robert Mugabe’s administration.

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