Anti Zuma Protests Take Place in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa– 60,000 protesters marched in anti-Zuma protests on Friday April 7th after Zuma reshuffled his cabinet positions leading to yet another crisis during his presidency.  Protests took place across the country, but many were held in the country’s capitals Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

Protesters outside union building in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo Courtesy of ABC News)

The protests were triggered when President Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday.  This has not only caused distress among the public but also in the African National Congress party (ANC).  The ANC is calling on Zuma to step down as his leadership is continuing to affect the nation.  The firing of Finance Minister Gordhan caused S&P Global Rankings to downgrade South Africa to “junk”.  Other reasons were cited for the downgrade as well.

Although President Zuma is not set to leave office until 2019 protesters are still persistent.  Ailing anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu even made an appearance at protests, his foundations twitter posted “We will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us.”  Protests across the country carried on relatively peacefully on Friday, with a few clashes between police and protesters in Johannesburg.  Citizens continue to be frustrated with the Zuma administration and the civil disobedience will most likely throughout Zuma’s tenure as president.

For more information, please see: 

ABC News – South Africans protest Zuma as country downgraded to junk – 7 April 2017

BBC News – Anti-Zuma protests take place across South Africa – 7 April 2017

The Globe and the Mail – Thousands of anti-Zuma protesters march across South Africa – 7 April 2017

Reuters – Skirmishes in Johannesburg as South Africans protest against Zuma – 7 April 2017

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: Atrocity Alert

Atrocity Alert, No. 50, 12 April 2017

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Atrocity Alert

 

Atrocity Alert is a weekly publication by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect highlighting and updating situations where populations are at risk of, or are enduring, mass atrocity crimes.

 

South Sudan

Despite the growing risk of famine, South Sudan continues to experience a rise in targeted ethnic attacks conducted by the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and pro-government militias. On 3 April, during an SPLA offensive to force rebels out of the town of Pajok, Eastern Equatoria state, the SPLA allegedly killed at least 17 people. As a result, 6,000 civilians, mainly women and children, fled to Uganda between 3 and 7 April. According to the UN Refugee Agency, those who fled testified that during recent assaults pro-government forces have slit people’s throats and shot civilians trying to escape. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) attempted to follow up on these reports, but was denied access to the Pajok area. On 8 April the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan “demanded that all parties to the conflict uphold their responsibilities to protect civilians.”

On 10 April the SPLA and government-aligned ethnic Dinka militia groups attacked residents in the town of Wau, targeting members of the Lou and Fertit ethnic groups. UNMISS reported that at least 16 civilians were killed. Approximately 8,000 civilians were displaced by fighting, while a local resident described how “armed militias are moving from house to house,” and described the military operation as “an ethnic crackdown.”

A year and a half after the 2015 peace agreement brought a formal end to the conflict in South Sudan, civilians continue to be targeted because of their ethnic identity and perceived political loyalties. Despite increased armed violence, the UN Security Council has still not imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan.

 

Photo credit: UNMISS

Photo credit: International Organization for Migration

Populations at Risk: South Sudan

 

Burundi

On 5 April a disturbing video surfaced of the Imbonerakure, the paramilitary youth wing of Burundi’s ruling party, the Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie–Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD). The video, of an Imbonerakure gathering in Ntega, Kirundo province, shows rows of young men singing lyrics threatening to “impregnate the opposition so that they give birth to Imbonerakure.”

The UN has previously documented Imbonerakure perpetrating rape and other forms of sexual violence against female supporters of opposition parties, as well as women and girls attempting to flee the country. Despite initially denouncing the video as fake, the CNDD-FDD eventually verified the video’s authenticity, but declared the song to be inconsistent “with the morals or ideology” of the ruling party.

The emergence of the video comes amidst a new wave of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and the torture of opposition members in Burundi. The Imbonerakure, who often work in collaboration with the intelligence services and the national police, have previously been deployed to intimidate and terrorize sections of the civilian population presumed to be supporting the opposition.

The CNDD-FDD should immediately disband the Imbonerakure. The government should collaborate with the UN, African Union and other international partners to help end the political conflict in Burundi. All allegations of serious human rights violations in Burundi, including sexual violence and rape, should be subject to independent investigation and the perpetrators held accountable.

 

Populations at Risk: Burundi

 

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Situation in Congo Worsens as Aids Workers and Police Killed

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo– Violence has increased in the Kasai region of the Congo as more than 40 police officers were decapitated.  The police officers are said to have been fighting with regional militia known as Kamuina Nsapu.  The Kamuina Nsapu are also said to be responsible for the recent deaths of an American and Swedish aid worker.

UN vehicle in Tshimbulu, Kasai province, 20 March 2017
The United Nations Mission in Kasai. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

The situation in the Congo has worsened since the beginning of the year with violence escalating to include the death of two humanitarian aid workers: American Michael Sharp and Swede Zaida Catalan.  Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke after the two aids workers death “Michael and Zaida lost their lives seeking to understand the causes of conflict and insecurity in the DRC in order to help bring peace to the country and its people. We will honor their memory by continuing to support the invaluable work of the Group of Experts and the whole UN family in the DRC.”

The United Nations has continued its work in the country despite the increase in violence and has helped to uncover ten mass graves and seven other mass burial sites.  Since last October over 400 have been killed in the country and over 200,000 displaced.  This has only contributed to the many other humanitarian crisis’ that the United Nations is dealing with in Africa and around the world.  The United Nations has said that as of this year they are dealing with the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.

For more information, please see: 

ABC News – Congolese militia decapitates more than 40 police: Officials- 25 March 2017

BBC Africa – Militia fighters decapitate 40 police officers in DR Congo – 25 March 2017

New York Times – Congolese Militia Beheads Dozens of Police Officers – 25 March 2017

Washington Post – Congolese rebels behead 42 police officers in dramatic escalation of conflict – 26 March 2017 

 

Cameroon Forcing Refugees to Return to Nigeria

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

YAOUNDE, Cameroon– Word is spreading that Cameroon is returning refugees to Nigeria despite the fact the country is still facing conflict with Boko Haram.  UNHCR and other international organizations that work to protect refugees are deeply concerned by Cameroon’s actions.  According to reports 2600 refugees have been forcefully returned to Nigeria from Cameroon.

Refugees at a camp in Cameroon. (Photo Courtesy of UNHCR)

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch detailed a specific situation where Cameroon soliders forced refugees out of the country.  “UNHCR teams have heard and documented accounts about Cameroonian troops returning refugees against their will – without allowing them time to collect their belongings. In one incident on March 4, some 26 men, and 27 women and children, were sent back from the Cameroonian border town of Amtide, in Kolofata district, where they had sought refuge, according to UNHCR monitoring teams in the border regions.”  UNHCR has acknowledged Cameroon’s generosity in accepting 85,000 refugees but is calling upon Cameroon to be responsible for its obligations under international law.

Boko Haram has killed 15,000 and displaced 2 million in Nigeria.  While a regional coalition has been able to push back Boko Haram they have been successful in being more active in the the Lake Chad area.  Boko Haram is also not only an issue for Nigeria, but Cameroon.  200,000 Cameroonian’s have left their homes because they fear Boko Haram’s violence may spread.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Boko Haram crisis: Cameroon ‘forcing Nigeria refugees home’ – 21 March 2017

news 24 – Cameroon expelled 2 600 Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram: UN – 21 March 2017

Thomson Reuters Foundation – Cameroon forcing thousands of refugees to return to Boko Haram-hit Nigeria – UN – 21 March 2017

UNHCR – UNHCR concerned about return of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon – 21 March 2017

Lagos Settlement Destroyed Despite Court Order

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

LAGOS, Nigeria– A fishing community was demolished on March 17th, despite a court order not to do so. Residents of the Nigerian town of  Otodo-Gbame are in turmoil after a settlement was destroyed despite a court order that halted eviction of the settlement.  300,000 people are facing eviction across Nigeria in order to pave the way for development projects.

Residents after the demolition of the settlement. (Photo Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

Residents are in shock after the demolition, claiming that they received no notice from the government about the demolition of the settlement.  Amnesty International has condemned the forced evictions that are happening in order to clear the settlement.  In a statement Amnesty International said residents “are being forcibly evicted and their homes destroyed by bulldozers as security services used tear gas and live bullets to clear the area.”  Amnesty International is also calling on the state to provide emergency services to the residents that have been displaced by the demolition.  “The Lagos State Government should ensure that the families who have been rendered homeless this morning are given emergency relief including adequate shelter, water, food and any medical care they may require,” Amnesty International Nigerian Researcher Morayo Adebayo said.

30,000 people were already evicted by last November as Nigeria began to make way for development projects. Nigeria’s High Court in January ruled that the demolition of the settlement should be stopped so many residents remained in the area and also decided to rebuild their homes if they had already been demolished.  Many human rights advocates are calling for the evictions and demolitions to be stopped.  Advocates are saying that the destruction of property without the consent of the residents is a gross human rights violation.

For more information, please see: 

Al Jazeera – Police displace thousands in Nigeria’s Otodo-Gbame slum – 17 March 2017

BBC Africa – Lagos Settlement Demolished Despite Court Order – 17 March 2017

Channels Television – Residents Cry Out Over Demolition of Settlement in Lagos – 18 March 2017

Premium Times – Lagos govt ignores court order, commences fresh demolition of Otodo-Gbame, residents say – 17 March 2017

 

8 Dead as a Result of Stampede for Food in Zambia

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

LUSAKA, Zambia– 8 are dead after a stampede in Zambia.  The stampede happened as people were trying to receive food aid in the capital city of Lusaka.  A church called the Church of Christ was handing out food aid at the Olympic Development Centre to about 35,000 people when the stampede happened.  Many of the people the church hoped to serve are residents of Lusaka’s slums.

Police spokeswomen Esther Katongo. (Photo Courtesy of ZNBC)

Police spokeswomen Esther Katongo confirmed that eight were dead.  Six of the victims were female, one male, and one male juvenile.  Five died at the scene while the three other succumbed to their injuries at the hospitals that they were rushed to.  After the chaos police ordered the church to halt the handouts of food, but some still stayed hoping to still get food.  An official statement reads “The victims are among the 35,000 which the group called Lesedi seven, had invited for prayers at OYDC. The group had also organized food hampers to distribute to people. This Lesedi seven is a grouping under Church of Christ.”

Zambia like many other countries near the horn of Africa is experiencing an extreme drought that is crippling resources.  Food prices have also risen which has made food unaffordable for many.  Zambian police are inquiring into all eight deaths as well as the other twenty or so people that were injured.  Despite the chaos Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja has said he has had a hard time convincing people to go home.  Many families are so desperate for the food they will risk their lives to get it.

For more information, please see: 

Africa News – Zambia: 8 dead, 28 Injured in stampede for free Church food – 6 March 2017

Al Jazeera – Zambians seeking food aid killed in stampede – 6 March 2017

Stuff – 8 die in as crowd stampedes to get food handouts in Zambia – 6 March 2017

ZNBC – 8 die in stampede – 6 March 2017

Drought Worsens as 100 Die in One Region of Somalia

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia– The drought has worsened in Somalia leading to 110 deaths in the South Western Bay region, according to Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Haire.  The drought is caused in part by the El Nino weather pattern, and is wrecking havoc on an already struggling country.  Somalia has experienced low rain fall totals for the last two years.   While over a hundred have died, many thousands are still in need of food aid.

People travel long distances to reach this river near Dhudo, in northern Somalia, because it still has water.

Many travel long distances to this river that still has water.  (Photo Courtesy of CNN)

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared the drought a national disaster last week, hoping to show the rest of the world how bad the drought truly is.  Food is unavailable because of the drought and domestic livestock are also dying.  Thousands travel miles to the capital of Mogadishu for food aid, or to rivers that still have water.  Some of the water that remains is not clean, which puts citizens at risk for diseases like cholera.

United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq said that the drought has the potential to develop into a full blown famine.  de Clercq is scheduled to visit Somalia to discuss the humanitarian situation in the country.  Somalia is one of four countries, along with Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen that is in desperate need of humanitarian aid.  With limited resources Somalia will get more aid to help fight this drought, but it will most likely not be enough to save everyone.  Somalia is no stranger to drought and has lost over 400,000 citizens in droughts that happened in 2010 and 1992.

For more information, please see: 

AOL – Somalia Drought Threatens Thousands – 5 March 2017

BBC Africa – Somalia Drought: More than 100 Die from hunger in One Region – 4 March 2017

CNN – Somalia Drought: At least 110 Die as fears of famine grow – 4 March 2017

NBC – Somalia: 110 Dead From Hunger in Past 48 Hours of Drought – 5 March 2017 

South African Court Declares ICC Withdrawal Unconstitutional

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

CAPE TOWN, South Africa– The North Gauteng High Court in South Africa has declared that South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court unconstitutional.  The court’s reasoning behind this decision is that because the parliament was not consulted in making the withdrawal, the withdrawal is unconstitutional.  The court has ordered that President Jacob Zuma and the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs revoke their notice of withdrawal.

A picture of the ICC logo on a glass wall.

The ICC. (Photo Courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

This ruling comes at an interesting time in the international community.  The Gambia, which is under new leadership, just recently revoked its own withdrawal notice.  After the ruling in South Africa there is now only one African nation who wishes to withdrawal, the country of Burundi.  Many in South Africa are excited about the ruling, mainly because of South Africa’s human rights focused foreign policy.  South Africa has worked to keep good human rights record since the end of apartheid.

While this ruling is welcome by many the government can appeal the ruling to a higher court, which they most likely will.  The government is still reeling after the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s in 2015.  While the Sudanese President was visiting Johannesburg for an African Union summit the South African government openly ignored an ICC arrest warrant for al-Bashir.  The Sudanese President is wanted for alleged war crimes.

For now members of the international community are happy with this victory that will help save the International Criminal Court.  Until the government appeals South Africa will not be able to withdrawal from the court.

For more information, please see: 

Arab News – South African Court rules ICC Withdrawal Unconstitutional – 23 February 2017

BBC Africa – South Africa’s Decision to leave ICC ruled ‘invalid’ – 22 February 2017

Daily Maverick – Hasty, irrational and unconstitutional: High Court’s damning verdict on SA’s ICC withdrawal – 24 February 2017

Human Rights Watch – South Africa High Court Rejects ICC Withdrawal – 22 February 2017

The Gambia Rejoins the ICC

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–The Gambia has committed to rejoining the International Criminal Court.  The country formally recanted its original withdrawal from the International Criminal Court in a letter to the United Nations on February 10, 2017.  This decision comes after the inauguration of newly elected President Adama Barrow.

Judges at the International Criminal Court.  (Photo Courtesy of ENCA)

The Gambia’s recant of withdrawal leaves two African countries as outliers who are still pursuing withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.  Burundi and South Africa are still hoping to withdrawal from the court.  Both countries have unique reasons why they are trying to withdraw from the court, but one critique of the court has been that only African leaders have been held accountable through the courts justice mechanisms.  However, many of the individuals who have been held accountable were self referrals to the court from their country of origin.

The Gambia’s withdrawal has quelled concerns regarding the uncertainty of the International Criminal Court.  While there has been criticism of the courts jurisdiction, overall the court is the only of its kind that holds people accountable for international crimes.  Secretary General Antonio Guterres applauded the Gambia’s decision to stay: ‘‘The Secretary-General welcomes that The Gambia will remain a State Party to the International Criminal Court’s founding instrument, and remains confident that States Parties will continue to further strengthen the Court through a constructive dialogue.’‘  Clément Capo-Chichi, the Africa Coordinator for the Coalition for the ICC (CICC), a global NGO network, said the “decision to reverse withdrawal from the ICC is a crucial development for victims of grave crimes and the rule of law”.  For now the Gambia has helped quell fears of a collapse of the International Criminal Court, but whether or not this stability will continue remains to be seen.

For more information, please see: 

Africa News – ICC exit: UN chief hails The Gambia’s decision to stay – 17 February 2017

ENCA – Gambia to stay in ICC – 17 February 2017

Human Rights Watch – Gambia Rejoins ICC – 17 February 2017

News Ghana – Gov’t of Gambia to Rescind Decision to Live ICC – 17 February 2017

Kenya Declares Drought a National Disaster

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

NAIROBI, Kenya– Kenya declared a national disaster on Friday February 10th due to an ongoing drought that started in October.  By declaring a national disaster, Kenya will be able to receive aid and has called for international aid in order to help people across the country.  According to reports 2.7 million people are in need of food aid in the country.

Samburu pastoralists are allowed access on January 24, 2017 to dwindling pasture on the plains of the Loisaba wildlife conservancy

Herding cattle in Kenya. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

Kenya is not due for another rainy season until April, meaning that the drought will most likely remain in place until then.  Aid organizations fear that they will not have enough to contribute to Kenya’s needs.  The United Nations World Food Programme is running $22 million short for 6-9 months.  The World Food Programme works to provide children around the globe with a meal that is sometimes their only substantial meal of the day.

Kenya is also contributing its own funds to alleviate the drought.  President Uhuru Kenyatta released $70 million to be used to combat the drought while local governments released close to $2 billion total.  The country is also dealing with the loss of agricultural land and access to water.  Kenya is facing increased desertification and is experiencing a loss of access to water in the Mau Forest Complex due to human activity.

Kenya is not alone in their struggles with food insecurity and the effects of the long lasting drought.  All of East Africa continues to struggle with the effects of the drought.  The International Federation of the Red Cross stating that 11 million people across East Africa have been affected.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta declares drought a national disaster – 10 February 2017

News 24 – Kenya declares worsening drought a national disaster – 10 February 2017

Sputnik International – Kenya Appeals for International Aid as Drought Threatens Mass Famine – 12 February 2017

Yahoo News – Kenya  declares drought a national disaster, seeks help – 10 February 2017

Somalia Elects New President Amid Many Challenges in the Country

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia–Somalia elected a new President on February 8.  Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, a dual US/Somali citizen, won the election.  Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded the election after two rounds of voting stating: “History was made. We have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.”

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo. (Photo Courtesy of The Guardian)

Farmajo was sworn in on the same day that he was elected, bringing hope to a country that has not had a new President in over 10 years.  The country has long been seen as a trusteeship and has a weak central government.  Farmajo has in the past served as prime minister and brings a good background to the job.  He was educated in the United States and has promised to rule Somalia without undue influence from the neighboring countries.

Farmajo also begins his rule at an interesting time in Somalia.  Not only is Somalia one of the seven countries that is affected by President Trump’s travel ban, but Somalia also faces a refugee crisis at home.  Many Somali nationals live in the Dadaab refugee camp located in Kenya.  As of right now, it is uncertain whether the camp will close, leaving thousands in uncertain waters.  Farmajo will have to deal with that reality, as well as the relations with the United States regarding President Trump’s travel ban.  Refugees that may have been settled in the United States who are Somali nationals may become something that Farmajo has to worry about.  The crisis could get better or worse under Farmajo’s rule.

For more information, please see: 

Al Jazeera – Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo declared Somalia president – 8 February 2017

BBC Africa – Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo chosen as President – 8 February 2017

Chicago Tribune – Former prime minister, a U.S. citizen, wins Somalia presidential election – 8 February 2017

The Guardian – Somalis greet ‘new dawn’ as US dual national wins presidency – 8 February 2017

PBS Newshour – Somalia’s President sworn in amid Refugee Crisis – 11 February 2017

 

Cameroon Blocks Out Internet in Some Parts of the Country

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

YAOUNDE, Cameroon– Cameroon has blocked internet access in the North West and South West parts of the country.  These parts of the country have been home to anti government protests in the past few weeks.  Many feel that the blockages are unnecessary and counterproductive.

Demonstrators in Bamenda

Anti government protests in Bamenda. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

For many, the blockages are believed to target protesters, so they are not able to use social media. Some people with mobile cell phones have also received threatening text messages stating that if they post inaccurate information online they will be subject to excessive fines and even jail time.  Cell phone providers haven’t been helpful, replying to customer service complaints that there are other forms of communication available to those who have had the internet blocked.

Because the South West region of Cameroon is a major technology center in the region, some companies have been forced to relocate workers to other parts of the country in order to continue work.  While internet blockages have been common for the past 12 months, it is the blockages in the North West and South West, which are mainly English speaking, that have caused protests.  These protests have been happening since the beginning of the year and Cameroonians only become more frustrated by the lack of access.  Everyone from businesses to activists have been affected by this blackout.

For more information, please see:

BBC Africa – Why has Cameroon blocked the internet? – 8 February 2017 

Eyewitness News – Cameroon Torn By Protests Over Internet Blackout – 8 February 2017

Os News – Internet Shutdown Hits Businesses in Cameroon – 8 February 2017 

Quartz Africa – Cameroon has shut down the internet in its English-speaking regions – 23 January 2017

Global Gag Rule Could Affect Africa Putting Women’s Lives in Danger

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

AFRICA– President Donald Trump has reinstated the Global Gag Rule, a policy that affects many African abortion providers.  The Global Gag Rule puts a funding restriction on USAID funds that are distributed to foreign nations.  Under the Global Gag Rule, funds will not be provided to clinics that provide abortion or counsel patients on abortion.  The Trump Administration has gone even further by not only restricting funding for reproductive health services, but health services in general.

Dr John Nyamu

Kenyan gynecologist John Nyamu performs an ultrasound.

According to many different providers, this will lead to severe funding cuts as many African providers rely on these aid dollars.  Marie Stopes International is projecting that the funding restrictions will have a devastating impact on women’s health in Nigeria.

“Without US funding, from 2017 to 2020, over 1.8 million unintended pregnancies will probably occur; more than 660,000 abortions will happen and over 10,000 maternal deaths will not be averted,” says Effiom Effiom, a country director for Marie Stopes in Nigeria.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation regional office in Africa also stands to lose up to $100 million of US funding because they will not be able meet the requirements without compromising service.

In the end the policy which claims to help reduce the abortion rate will actually most likely work to increase the abortion rate according to the Economist.  Because clinics may be forced to shut down because of the funding restrictions which leads to a decrease in the availability of contraceptives such as condoms and birth control.  Without these protections unplanned pregnancies and abortions increase and women’s health is endangered.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – How Trump abortion funding cuts could affect Africa – 28 January 2017

The Daily Vox – When Men Make Decisions About Women’s Bodies, Nobody Wins – 28 January 2017

The Economist – A policy intended to cut abortions is likely to do just the opposite – 28 January 2017

Washington Post – Banning funding to foreign abortion rights organizations will cost women’s lives – 27 January 2017

Zambian Police Banned from Marrying Foreigners

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

LUSAKA, Zambia– Zambian police have been forbidden from marrying foreigners.  The Head of Police in Zambia issued a memo on Monday January 23 advising Zambian police to not marry foreigners effective immediately.  This ban is put in place in order to protect the Zambian people.

Zambian police officers arrive at the University of Zambia where students protest against the government’s removal of fuel and mealie meal subsidies on May 17, 2013 in Lusaka

Zambia police in the capital of Lusaka. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

For police officers who already have foreign spouses have to register their spouses by Monday January 29th.   If they do not register their spouses they will face disciplinary action.  Many are upset about this law which some are claiming is unconstitutional.  However, police spokesperson Esther Katongo defended the order by saying, ““Issues of security are delicate. If not careful, spouses can be spies and can sell the security of the country’’.

She also stated that this law has always been on the books, but given the new security situation in Zambia, it is now being enforced.  Action was being taken in order to ensure that police were complying with this previous requirement.  Some are criticizing the move saying that instead of worrying about spouses the police should better train their officers to be more professional.

For more information, please see: 

Africa Review – Outrage after Zambia police banned from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017

BBC Africa – Zambia police banned from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017

News Agency of Nigeria – Zambia police ban foreign wives – 23 January 2017

Vanguard – Zambia bans police officers from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017

 

The Gambia Missing $11 Million after President Jammeh Exile

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia– Former President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has finally relinquished the office of the President after the threat of military intervention in the Gambia.  West African leaders urged former President Jammeh to transfer power to President Adama Barrow.  Jammeh ultimately heard their calls and fled the Gambia on Saturday, two days after his term as President had ended.

Gambia's President Adama Barrow is seen in Dakar, Senegal January 20, 2017

The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

President Barrow has been in Senegal where he awaited Jammeh’s departure.  He was sworn into office in Senegal and will be returning to the Gambia any day now.  Security forces from other West African nations have entered the Gambia in order to ensure a peaceful transition.  President Barrow has promised to bring change to a country that has been ruled for 22 years by former President Jammeh.  Barrow hopes to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring to light some of the human rights abuses that Jammeh committed.  Many of these allegations stem from the 1994 Coup in which Jammeh seized power.

Former President Jammeh on the other hand managed to flee the country while also stealing from the Gambian people.  Jammeh was flown out of the Gambia on a jet reportedly with $11 million from the Gambia’s treasury.  He also made away with three luxury car and has ten more waiting to be shipped to him.  While Morocco has offered Jammeh asylum he is currently staying in Guinea.  It is unclear what country Jammeh will make his final destination.  President Barrow has made himself clear that he does not want Jammeh in the country.  The former President’s presence would be distracting and unhelpful to the new government.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – The Gambia ‘missing millions’ after Jammeh flies into exile – 23 January 2017 

Latest News New Zealand – The Gambia Missing Millions After Jammeh Flies into Exile – 23 January 2017

Voice of America – Regional Security Forces Arrive in Gambian Capital Ahead of New President’s Return – 22 January 2017

Washington Post – Gambia’s Defeated Leader Finally Gave Up Power-and took Luxury Cars and took luxury cars and millions of dollars with him – 23 January 2017