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African News

Tanzania to hold referendum on new constitution in April 2015

Reuters

Tanzania will hold a referendum in April on a new constitution, its Attorney-General said on Wednesday, angering opposition parties which boycotted the drafting process and reject the draft charter. The row over the new constitution, which would replace one passed in 1977 when the east African Tanzania was under one-party rule, risks intensifying political divisions ahead of elections next year. Main opposition party Chadema said it would ask a court to block the proposed constitution because it was passed without a quorum by an assembly dominated by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party on Oct. 2. The three main opposition parties walked out of the drafting body in April, saying President Jakaya Kikwete’s CCM, which has been in power since Tanzania’s independence from Britain in 1961, was ignoring their suggestions for political reforms. “The referendum date is set on April 30, 2015. The campaign period shall commence on March 30 and end on April 28,” Tanzania’s Attorney General, Frederick Werema, told Reuters. Werema said the government would hasten to update the electoral register to ensure the referendum goes ahead.    Before quitting the constitutional assembly, opposition parties and civil society groups had called for reforms including limiting presidential powers and the establishment of a federal system of government. “We are consulting with our lawyers to mount a legal challenge against the passing of the draft constitution by the Constituent Assembly because there were gross irregularities in securing the required two-thirds majority to pass the constitution,” John Mnyika, Chadema’s deputy secretary general told Reuters on Wednesday. “We also cannot expect a credible outcome of the referendum on the new constitution if it will be conducted without having in place an independent electoral commission.” The draft on which Tanzanians will vote retains some opposition proposals, including the establishment of an independent electoral commission and allowing for the first time legal challenges to presidential election results.  The new basic law also sets a limit on how many cabinet ministers can appointed by the president, introduces a 50-50 gender representation in parliament and gives women equal land ownership rights with men. Tanzania will hold presidential and parliamentary elections next year. No date has yet been announced but previous polls have been held in October. Kikwete cannot run again after serving two terms as president.

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Oscar Pistorius begins jail sentence for Reeva Steenkamp death

BBC

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has begun serving time in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He was driven to Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison where he is expected to be housed in the hospital wing.

Judge Thokozile Masipa gave Pistorius a five-year jail sentence for culpable homicide, but cleared him of murder.

His defence said it expected him to serve about 10 months, with the remainder under house arrest. His family say he will not appeal.

The parents of Reeva Steenkamp told the BBC they were happy with the sentence and relieved the case was over.

Prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence had argued for community service and house arrest.

Judge Thokozile Masipa hands down the sentence

Pistorius, 27, an amputee sprinter who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, killed Ms Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he shot her by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house in Pretoria.

Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets fired by Pistorius through a toilet door.

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At the scene: Andrew Harding, BBC News, Pretoria

Before he went down the stairs and out of court, Oscar Pistorius slipped off his expensive watch and handed it to a relative. It seems the athlete probably knew his sentence beforehand, which helps explains the subdued atmosphere in court today.

This case has revealed plenty about South Africa - its gun culture, the strengths and inadequacies of its police and prisons. But above all it has been a simple story, about the rise and fall of a global icon.

As the crowds and cameras drift away from the courthouse, what lingers is the sense of waste. Of lives and careers for sure. But of time too.

 

A man and a woman went into a bathroom. Only one came out alive. As the judge made clear - the trial should have been over in a matter of weeks. Instead it turned into a tortuous, overwrought epic.

Relief as justice is served

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‘Already accommodated’

Pistorius showed little reaction to the sentence other than to wipe his eyes before being led away to a holding cell downstairs.

He was then driven away from court in an armoured police van to Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison, where he was expected to undergo a medical assessment.

It is likely that he will be held in a one-man cell in the hospital wing, thought to be most appropriate for the athlete’s disability.

Correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela told AFP news agency Pistorius was “already accommodated at Kgosi Mampuru”.

He could be released after serving a sixth of his sentence, or 10 months, for good behaviour.

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Ebola: WHO set for emergency talks on travel curbs

BBC

Health workers transport the body of a person suspected to have died (out of shot) of the Ebola  on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Tuesday 21 October 2014. 

The current outbreak of the virus has already killed more than 4,500 people

The World Health Organisation is set to hold emergency talks to discuss the Ebola epidemic.

The meeting in Geneva will examine screening measures at borders and consider whether stricter travel regulations should be put in place.

New rules in the US require travellers from the worst affected countries to arrive at one of five airports.

A curfew has been imposed in a town in Sierra Leone after two people were shot dead in riots on Tuesday.

The current outbreak of the virus has already killed more than 4,500 people - mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Enhanced screening

The WHO has faced criticism it reacted too slowly to the spread of the disease.

Its emergency committee will meet to discuss Ebola for the third time with the aim of assessing the efforts so far to contain and control the virus.

A passenger arriving from Sierra Leone is screened at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on 16 October 2014.

Some travellers in the US will have their temperatures checked for signs of a fever

The riots in Sierra Leone’s town of Koidu began as protests against attempts to place an elderly woman, said to be 90 years old, under quarantine.

The woman has now died but it is not clear whether she actually had Ebola, the BBC’s Umaru Fofana reports from the capital, Freetown.

New rules are coming into force in the US requiring air passengers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to travel via O’Hare in Chicago, JFK, Newark, Washington’s Dulles or Atlanta airports, where they will undergo enhanced screening.

They will have their temperatures checked as part of other protocols despite experts warning such moves are unlikely to have an impact.

The new security measures come as public concern grows in the US, where three people have been infected and one person has died from the virus.

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How not to catch Ebola:

Avoid direct contact with sick patients as the virus is spread through contaminated body fluids

Wear protective cover for eyes

Clothing and clinical waste should be incinerated and any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated

People who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months

Ebola basics

How Ebola attacks

What virus has hit - in maps

Uncertainty over figures

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First batches of an experimental vaccine are also due to arrive in Switzerland on Wednesday, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes reports from Geneva.

The jab, developed by Canada’s public health agency, combines fragments of the Ebola virus with a non-fatal virus and could trigger the immune system to produce the necessary antibodies.

However, a fully tested and approved vaccine is not expected to become available for months or possibly years, our correspondent adds.

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Oscar Pistorius gets five years for Reeva Steenkamp death

BBC

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge.

The parents of Reeva Steenkamp told the BBC they were happy with the sentence and relieved the case was over. The defence said it expected Pistorius to serve about 10 months in prison.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide but cleared of murder.

Prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence had argued for community service and house arrest.

‘Feeling of unease’

Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his client was expected to serve 10 months in prison, with the rest under house arrest.

Also reacting to the sentence, Dup De Bruyn, a lawyer for the Steenkamp family, told Reuters that “justice was served”.

The BBC’s Nomsa Maseko, outside court, says opinion there was divided on the sentence, with some saying it was too light, others that it was fair.

She says Pistorius will be evaluated over the next few hours in prison to decide where he will be staying based on his disability.

Judge Masipa had begun reading the sentence by saying that, although she had been aided by assessors, the decision was hers and hers alone.

She said: “Sentencing is about achieving the right balance. Sentencing is not a perfect exercise.”

Louw also says Pistorius can be released at any time after serving one sixth of sentence - at discretion of head of priso…

Nomsa Maseko 

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The judge then summarised the evidence brought before the trial.

She described the evidence of defence witness and social worker Annette Vergeer as “slapdash and disappointing”.

Ms Vergeer had argued Pistorius would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” in jail.

But Judge Masipa said she was sure prisons were equipped to cater for the requirements of a special needs inmate.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, 16 Oct

Judge Masipa has ruled in a trial that has captured public attention in South Africa and beyond

She also said she had a “feeling of unease” at what she called an overemphasis on the athlete’s vulnerability.

However, she said Pistorius had made an “enormous contribution to society”, in his charity work and in changing the public perception of disability.

The judge then read out a quote from previous legal opinion, saying that if sentences were too lenient, the administration of justice may fall into disrepute.

She said she found the suggestions of sentences made by defence witnesses “not appropriate”.

A non-custodial sentence would “send the wrong message to the community”, she said.

The three-year suspended term was for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant, in a separate incident before the Steenkamp killing.

Appeals

Pistorius, 27, an amputee sprinter who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, killed Ms Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he shot her by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house in the capital, Pretoria.

Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets fired by Pistorius through a toilet door.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius, Jan 2013

Oscar Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year

Last month, Judge Masipa cleared Pistorius of murder, but convicted him of culpable homicide, saying he had been negligent.

The high-profile, seven-month trial has captured public attention in South Africa and beyond.

There was no legal limit on the length of a jail term, but experts say the typical maximum sentence for culpable homicide is around 15 years.

However, despite the sentencing being announced, the case may not be over.

Both the prosecution and the defence have the right to appeal against the sentence.

The prosecution service said it had not yet decided.

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Women appeal to African gov’ts over Boko Haram girls

Newvision

A Women’s Conference meeting in Midrand, South Africa has appealed to African Union (AU) member states to provide financial and logistical support to the government of Nigeria to support its efforts to free the girls held by Boko Haram rebel group in Northern Nigeria. The Conference, held at the Pan African Parliament headquarters from October 16-17 also condemned violence against women in particular and appealed to all organs of the AU, the United Nations Security Council and the wider international community to “impress upon Moroccan authorities to unconditionally release all Saharawi political prisoners.” The Conference was held to mark 10 years of existence of the Pan African Parliament (PAP). Uganda’s representative to the Conference, Rosemary Nyakikongoro (Ind., Sheema district) said there was need for African leaders to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian girls. “We should not look at this as an isolated case for Nigeria.  These are not Nigerian girls but African girls who are the future women and women leaders,” Hon. Nyakikongoro said. “They need to be rescued, reunited with their families, rehabilitated and continue with their education,” she stressed.  Nyakikongoro also asked leaders to be mindful of the high number of women and girls who are not secure and peaceful as they are trafficked from the continent.  As the two day conference was going on, the international media reported a deal between the Nigeria government and Boko Haram rebels that could lead to the release of some or all of the abducted girls. “Trafficking in persons in Africa has inflicted all forms of abuse against girls and women who have fallen victim to it. We can no longer tolerate this type of insecurity in Africa…governments across Africa need to be united to rescue those that have been trafficked,” she said, adding, “the world needs to treat human beings humanely and girls and women should be treated as human beings.” The delegates in the Conference resolved that “Recognizing the unique needs of women in armed conflict and other situations of violence, parliaments are called upon to increase engagement with regional and parliamentary bodies to find concrete measures to promote the special protection of women in armed conflicts and other situations of violence.” In addition, the delegates, who included PAP legislators, MPs in national parliaments and civil society, asked member states to provide services under the existing abortion laws in order to reduce the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion.

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Ebola crisis: Fresh UK deployment to Sierra Leone

BBC

About 100 soldiers from the Royal Army Medical Corps are travelling to Sierra Leone as part of the UK’s efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening will join the medics to see how Britain’s £125m aid package is helping to combat the deadly virus.

Her visit to West Africa comes as the UN said a third member of its staff in Sierra Leone had died from the disease.

In the UK, Gatwick has begun screening air passengers from at-risk countries.

The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, with Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone the three worst-affected countries.

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Nigeria - West Africa’s most populous nation - officially free of the virus after six weeks with no new cases. It comes after WHO officially declared Senegal Ebola-free on Friday.

‘Vital supplies’

Cabinet minister Ms Greening left RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Tuesday morning with the medics from Catterick-based 35 Squadron, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment and the Royal Army Medical Corps.

They will staff an Ebola training academy alongside some 90 personnel from 22 Field Hospital who left for Sierra Leone last week.

Ms Greening will visit the academy and the site of a 92-bed treatment facility in Kerry Town, which is in the final stages of construction.

A Sierra Leone Red Cross burial team at Jobo Farm in Waterloo outside Freetown 

The UK is leading the international effort in Sierra Leone

She said: “Halting the disease in West Africa is the most effective way of preventing Ebola infecting people here in the UK.

“That is why we are providing 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone, sending vital supplies such as chlorine and protective clothing, and training hundreds of health workers.

“I look forward to seeing for myself how British army medics and engineers, as well as our humanitarian and health workers, are spearheading the UK’s efforts to contain and ultimately defeat Ebola.”

British International Development Secretary Justine Greening speaks as she holds a press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond at an Ebola conference at Lancaster House in London

Ms Greening is joining British troops heading to Sierra Leone

The UK is leading the international response to the disease in Sierra Leone, where it has pledged a £125m aid package.

In all, Britain is deploying 750 military personnel, including the Royal Navy’s casualty ship RFA Argus.

European countries have committed more than 500m euros (£400m; $600m) - but the UK is pressing for that amount to be doubled.

A handout picture from Britain’s Ministry of Defence shows RFA Argus leaving Falmouth Docks, south-west England

The UN has said the outbreak is the most serious health emergency of modern times.

BBC international development correspondent Mark Doyle said the British contribution was significant, but it has come “very late” despite warnings from medical charities as early as April.

Ghana’s President John Mahama, meanwhile, has said vital supplies and resources to tackle Ebola are now beginning to reach the three worst-hit West African countries.

Mr Mahama told the BBC that the World Food Programme was airlifting humanitarian aid to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

In the UK, screening for passengers from affected countries started at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday, beginning at the north terminal and to be rolled out to the south terminal by the end of this week.

It comes after Heathrow began screening last week. Screening for Eurostar passengers arriving at London’s St Pancras station, along with passengers at Birmingham and Manchester airports, is expected to start soon.

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Ebola winning the race, says UN official

BBC

 

The UN’s Ebola mission chief says the world is falling behind in the race to contain the virus, with thousands of new cases predicted by December.

“It is running faster than us, and it is winning the race,” Anthony Banbury told the UN Security Council.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 4,447 people have died from the outbreak, mainly in West Africa.

Meanwhile, a second health worker in the US state of Texas has become infected with the virus.

Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have been hardest hit by the epidemic, which began in December 2013 but was confirmed only in March.

In other developments:

Liberia’s transport minister has gone into quarantine after the death of her personal driver from the virus

Guinea’s president has called upon the country’s retired doctors to help out in the fight against Ebola

A football player for Sierra Leone’s national team says his team-mates have been stigmatised and humiliated as result of the Ebola outbreak

‘Unprecedented situation’

US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that “the world as a whole is not doing enough” to contain the Ebola threat.

He will discuss the Ebola crisis in a video conference on Wednesday with British, French, German and Italian leaders, the White House says.

Mr Banbury issued a stern warning on Tuesday, telling the UN Security Council by video-link from West Africa that if Ebola was not stopped now, the world would “face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan”.

UN Ebola mission chief Anthony Banbury  speaks to members of the UN Security Council during a meeting on the Ebola crisis at the UN headquarters in New York , on 14 October 2014. 

Anthony Banbury addressed Security Council members via video link from Accra, Ghana

He called for more money to build treatment centres and for more medical personnel to staff them.

It follows the WHO’s latest projections suggesting the infection rate could reach 5,000 to 10,000 new cases a week within two months if global efforts to combat the spread of infection were not stepped up.

There have been 8,914 cases overall, including the fatal cases, and the WHO says it expects this number to top 9,000 by the end of the week.

The WHO estimates its figures by taking the numbers of confirmed cases and multiplying them - from Guinea by 1.5, from Sierra Leone by 2 and from Liberia by 2.5 - to account for under-reporting.

WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward said on Tuesday that the rate of infections appeared to be slowing in the “historic epicentre” of the outbreak, but warned that it was too early to read this as success.

The progress towards an Ebola vaccine - in 80 seconds

In the US state of Texas, a second health worker has tested positive for Ebola. The worker’s identity has not been revealed but the person is said to have cared for a Liberian man, Thomas Duncan, who later died from the virus.

The first health worker to have been infected in Texas, 26-year-old Nina Pham, is receiving treatment. The female nurse also contracted the disease after treating Mr Duncan, who was the first person to be diagnosed with the virus on US soil.

Her colleagues at a Dallas hospital say they worked without adequate protective clothing and received little guidance on preventing the spread of the virus.

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Thomas Frieden, has said there had been a breach of protocol by health workers that led to Ms Pham becoming infected.

However, the head of the national nurses union, Roseann DeMoro, questioned this. “The CDC is saying that protocols were breached, but the nurses are saying there were no protocols,” she told reporters.

Doctors at the Health Presbyterian hospital said Ms Pham was in good condition on Tuesday.

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Mozambicans begin voting in multiple polls

Al Jazeera A run-off will be held if none of the three presidential candidates garner more than 50 percent of the vote [EPA] Mozambicans have started voting for a new president, parliament and provincial assemblies in elections seen as the toughest test yet for the ruling Frelimo party that has been in power for almost 40 years. Polls opened at 05:00 GMT on Wednesday with 10.9 million people registered to vote for 27 parties and two coalition groups. Analysts say that while Frelimo is expected to win the election, the opposition is likely to make significant inroads, reducing the party’s overwhelming majority of 75 percent garnered in the last vote. The opposition ballots are likely to be split between the former rebel Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) and its breakaway Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). The presidential race pits Frelimo’s Filipe Nyusi, the former defence minister who is making his first bid for the country’s top job, against Renamo’s veteran Afonso Dhlakama and MDM founder Daviz Simango. If none of the three garners more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be held within 30 days after official final results. Call for change A desire for change has been driven by a wealth gap that persists despite huge mineral resources, with fast economic growth sidestepping the bulk of a population that is among the world’s poorest. Renamo, which has lost all elections since the end of the country’s 15-year civil war in 1992, has made something of a comeback, trying to spruce up its image after emerging from a low-level violent campaign waged in the centre of the country just weeks ahead of the election. The government amended election laws earlier this year as part of peace negotiations with Renamo, which demanded that the opposition be given greater control over the electoral process in a bid to improve transparency. Parties have the right to nominate staff and observers at polling stations and have more members sitting on the electoral commission. Official results are expected 15 days after polling.

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Oscar Pistorius trial: Prosecution sets out jail call

BBC Prosecutors are beginning to outline their case for South African athlete Oscar Pistorius to serve a jail term for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The first prosecution witness at the sentencing hearing is Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin, Kim Martin. Pistorius was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Ms Steenkamp last month - but was cleared of murder. Meanwhile the Steenkamp family released a new statement saying they wanted no money from Pistorius. The sentencing hearing is expected to last several days. The defence argues a custodial term is inappropriate. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that he would call three or four witnesses. The first to take the stand is Kim Martin. With her voice breaking, Ms Martin said Reeva was the first baby she had ever held. Ms Martin said Reeva was meticulous and hard working at school and that “family was everything to her”. ‘Carefully considered’ Wednesday’s hearing had begun with Mr Nel continuing to cross-examine social worker Annette Vergeer. The defence witness on Tuesday said that Pistorius should be placed under house arrest rather than sent to prison, because he would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” in jail. Mr Nel said her opinion of a sentence of house arrest plus community service was “shockingly inappropriate” and “cannot be considered”. “If the court sentence is too light, and society loses trust in the court, they will take the law into their own hands,” Mr Nel said. “That’s what the court has to guard against.” He said a suggestion of correctional duties working with underprivileged children would not take Pistorius out of his “comfort zone”. Ms Vergeer said there had been other cases of culpable homicide where the opinions she had put forward had been implemented. Meanwhile, the family of Reeva Steenkamp issued a new statement on Wednesday, via their lawyer Dup de Bruyn, following revelations in court on Tuesday that Pistorius had made them monthly payments. It had been revealed that the Steenkamps accepted monthly payments of 6,000 rand (£340; $540) from March 2013 to September 2014.

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Uganda’s MPs accuse DPP of selective prosecution

Newvision

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have accused the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of selective prosecution saying the directorate shelves cases on abuse of public resources and only deals with political cases as a matter of urgency. Speaking during a meeting with officials from the DPP’s office at Parliament on Tuesday, the MPs alleged that most of the cases that are considered as urgent, are politically motivated which they say has led to case backlog. “When it comes to political cases they rush, but on general cases which involve abuse of public resources they tend to delay prosecution,” said Paul Mwiru, the deputy chairperson PAC. According to the MPs, many of the people that have been implicated and remanded over abuse of public resources have ended up receiving bail and their cases adjourned without prosecution. “People like Chandi Jamwa are just out there enjoying themselves while others are just rotting in prisons, why have selective prosecution?” asked Mwiru. David Chandi Jamwa, the former NSSF boss was found guilty of causing financial loss of Sh 3bn and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Jamwa is currently out on bail. The MPs also cited political cases such as Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago verses Attorney General Peter Nyombi over his (Lukwago’s) impeachment as mayor which they said has been handled with a lot of zeal compared to other cases. The MPs cited the case of former NSSF boss David Chandi Jamwa who currently out on bail despite being handed a 12 year jail term.“DPP lacks standard of operating procedures you find that there are some people who have been charged and it takes very long to appeal. Someone can be out on bail for two to three years while others are forgotten about,” said Eddy Kwizera (Bufumbira County). However in response, Amos Ngolobe, the deputy DPP dismissed the allegations by the MPs saying they were equally handling all the cases as they are presented to the DPP. “The way we handle these cases depends on the gravity and personalities involved. We have been able to handle 80% of the cases at the Anti-corruption Court. Some cases take long to be heard by courts of law,” said Ngolobe. He added that the DPP’s office was facing a challenge of under staffing compared to the number of cases that need to be addressed. The MPs who were scrutinizing the Auditor General’s report for the year ended June 2013 observed that the DPP‘s performance was lacking in some areas such as case backlog and handling public complaints which they said needed improvement. According to the Auditor General’s report on DPP’s budget performance, a review of the planned activities against the actual performance revealed that some of the activities were partially undertaken, some of which fall below the 50% mark. Meanwhile the committee that was chaired by Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru also questioned DPP over Sh 236m spent on repairs and maintenance of motor vehicles which was paid to various service providers in respect of repairs and servicing of vehicles but with no pre and post vehicle inspections done. The directorate was also questioned about Sh 227m spent on advances to individual staff accounts contrary to the treasury accounting instructions.

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Kenyan Governors take referendum call to Nakuru

Standard- kenya Governors Isaac Ruto and Wycliffe Oparanya took the Pesa Mashinani campaigns to Nakuru County despite the so-called ban of such meetings in the region by Governor Kinuthia Mbugua. Saturday’s meeting in Njoro constituency was however marred by protests by a group of youth who attempted to disrupt it. Mbugua had two weeks ago warned that no groups would be allowed to hold referendum meetings in his county. But police acted swiftly and barred the group from accessing the venue at Kaptich Trading Centre in Mauche division. The placard-waving and slogan chanting youth were stopped by armed officers from accessing the venue of the meeting before Ruto and Oparanya addressed the rally. The youth wanted the meeting stopped because their local leaders were not involved in its planning. “Why is Ruto bringing the referendum campaign to Mauche without the blessings of Mbugua and area MCA?”posed Joseph Malel, who led the youth in the demonstration. But Wycliffe Nyagaya, an Inspector of Police, pleaded with the youth not to disrupt the meeting, urging them to organise their own on a different date. The meeting then went on smoothly. Ruto, who chairs the Council of Governors that is behind the Pesa Mashinani drive, dismissed the ban issued by Mbugua against proponents of referendum, saying the Constitutions allows every Kenyan to express his views. See also: CORD leader dares State to arrest governors “We are not holding our meetings for governors or MCAs, our rallies are meant to meet the common mwanainchi and explain to them the need to have the referendum,” he said. “We want to exercise our democratic right without being fought or insulted.” Popular vote Ruto said the two referendum agendas spearheaded by the governors and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) are meant for the benefit of Kenyans. “The initiative to have a national referendum is not about political parties or tribes. It is about the wishes of Kenyans to have more funds and functions devolved to counties,” he said. Ruto maintained that the governors prefer to have the Constitution amended through the popular vote because they have lost faith in the parliamentary process. “If Parliament wants to amend the law, the Bill has to originate from the County Assemblies and not from Members of Parliament,” the Bomet governor said. Share this story: He dismissed threats by the United Republican party (URP) to expel him from the party, and said he had not in any way supported ideologies or agenda for other political parties. Collective decision “This is not a URP, ODM, TNA or CORD affair. It is the wish of the people of Kenya and it should be viewed as such,” he said. Oparanya said URP should stop accusing Ruto of betraying the Jubilee Government by pushing for the referendum, and said that Pesa Mashinani was a decision of the Council of Governors. “All governors met and made a decision to call for a referendum and if any of them wishes to back down, they must wait until next week when we meet.” Oparanya said President Uhuru Kenyatta was aware of the governors’ demand and that is why he had set up a committee to look into the matter. See also: CORD leader dares State to arrest governors “The President is looking for a solution to the issues governors have been raising about more funds to the counties. If he offers a solution to our problems, then we have no need to continue with the referendum,” he said. Oparanya said the money governors were asking for had already been budgeted for in the current financial year and that it was Parliament that decided to slash the allocation by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA).

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Zambia denies rumours of president’s death

AFP

 

LUSAKA - Zambia on Friday denied rumours that President Michael Sata had died during a visit to New York after he failed to make a scheduled speech to the UN general assembly.

“The health of the president is entirely normal. I spoke to the president this morning,” Vice President Guy Scott told parliament.

He also denied international reports that the president had been hospitalised.

“He has not received any emergency or specialist medical treatment,” Scott said.

This is the second time in a week that the Zambian government has had to deny that the ailing president had died.

The first time it was Sata himself who made a rare public appearance on September 19 to tell parliament: “I am not dead.”

Sata, 77, who took power in 2011 ,is rumoured to be seriously ill, an allegation his office denies.

Scott gave parliament no explanation of why Sata failed to make his scheduled address to the general assembly on Wednesday night.

Sata’s son Mulenga, who called a news conference to also deny reports of his father’s death or hospitalisation, said the president would issue a statement in New York.

Zambian Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba was scheduled to speak to the assembly on Friday. 

Despite repeated denials that the president is ill, analysts say a power struggle is already underway behind the scenes for Zambia’s top job.

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More accountability, less greed, wealthier Uganda - Ntagali

New Vision

 

The archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali has said Uganda will transform into one of the richest countries on the continent if local leaders become more accountable and more transparent.

He said the east African nation will become wealthier if leaders do away with greed.

The religious leader made these remarks in front of several local leaders and civil servants of Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts at a meeting held at Kiboga headquarters mid-this week.

“I want to appeal to you to be accountable to God and to the people of Uganda. I dismiss corruption as a child of greed and self-centeredness. When you are put in a political office, you become a civil servant, and so you need to implement programs.”

Ntagali said leaders who make false accountability are “destroying Uganda”.

Earlier, in the previous two days, the Anglican Church head visited Bamusuta archdeaconry to, among others, address and solicit for funds for the 16-floor Church House project located opposite Bank of Uganda in Kampala.

The archbishop warned that those who swindle public resources will be held accountable by God and by their own children who will not be lenient to them for destroying Uganda.

On his tour of church-founded Bamusuta Secondary School in Kiboga town, Ntagali was shocked by the state of affairs at the government-aided institution.

For the last one year, according to a report by the school head teacher, the school had not received capitation grant.

School head John Njirabakunzi revealed that up to 36 teachers at the school had not been paid yet, affecting the studies of some 800 students.

In response to the report, Israel Yiga, who is Kiboga’s district LCV chairperson, said a mistake was made last year during the verification of government-aided schools and Bamusuta was left out. But he said authorities are working to rectify the error.

On his part Ntagali pleaded with the ministry of education and sports to immediately work to rectify the problem to enable the school activities continue uninterrupted.

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Ebola crisis: Liberia finds ‘missing patients’

The health minister said the attack It is transmitted by direct contact on the West Point health facility on Saturday was prompted by fear Fear factor Seventeen suspected Ebola pa- tients who went missing in Li- beria after a health centre in the capital was attacked have been found, a minister has said. “They were traced and finally they turned themselves in” at a treatment centre, Lewis Brown told the BBC. The government had previous- ly denied they were missing. New UN figures show that 1,229 people have now died since the beginning of this year in the outbreak that has also hit Sier- ra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were 84 deaths reported between 14 and 16 August. Liberian Police dressed in riot gear deploy at a Doctors Without Bor- ders Ebola treatment centre in Monrovia, Liberia (18 August 2014) Security has been stepped up at health centres treating Ebola patients in Liberia Ebola has no known cure, but the WHO has ruled that untested drugs can be used to treat patients in light of the scale of the current outbreak - the deadliest to date.

with the body fluids of an infect- ed person. Initial flu-like symp- toms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can cause organ failure. ‘A hoax’ The Liberian health minister said the missing patients were now at the newly expanded treatment unit opened over the weekend at the John F Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in the capital, Monrovia. Mr Brown also said the health of three Liberian doctors infected with Ebola had improved after they receiving the experimental drug Zmapp. Two US missionaries, who were flown home from treatment from Liberia, are reportedly recov- ering from the virus after taking doses of the same medicine. The drug was also given to a 75-year-old Spanish priest who contracted Ebola in Liberia, but he died in Spain last week. The attack on the quarantine centre, where 37 people were being held in Monrovia’s densely populated West Point township, took place on Saturday evening. There are conflicting reports over what sparked the riot, in which medical supplies were also stolen. Officials said the protesters were un- happy that patients were being taken there from other parts of the capital. Other reports suggested the protesters had believed Ebola was a hoax and wanted to force the centre to close.

The BBC’s Jonathan PayeLayleh in Monrovia says there are also reports that the mattress- es and linen being used by patients were taken during the attack.

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Kenya’s anti-terror unit guilty of abuses, says HRW

BBC

 Kenya’s Western-funded anti-terrorism unithas carried out aseries of killingsand “enforced dis-appearances” during its fight againstmilitant Islamists,a rights group says.“Horrendous” activities were taking place “rightunder the noses”of the government,Western embassiesand the UN, Hu-man Rights Watch(HRW) said.TheUS and UK fund the unit. The unit was set up in 2003, five years after al-Qaeda simultaneously bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. More than 200 people were killed in what was then the most high-profile attack by al-Qaeda. ‘Suspects shot dead’ Kenyan, US and UK officials have not yet responded to HRW’s report. It had documented evidence of “at least 10 cases of killings, 10 cases of enforced disappearances, and 11 cases of mistreatment or harassment of terrorism suspects”, mainly in the capital, Nairobi, since 2011, HRW said. “Suspects were shot dead in public places, ab- ducted from vehicles and courtrooms, beat- en badly during arrest, detained in isolated

blocks, and denied contact with their families or access to lawyers,” it said in a report. “Donors need to carry out their own investigations of these abuses and suspend their assistance to abusive forces, or risk being complicit in Kenya’s culture of impunity,” HRW added. The “horrendous conduct” of the unit would not protect Kenya from terrorism, it said. “It simply undermines the rule of law,” the New York-based group added in a statement. Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked alShabab group has carried out a wave of attacks in Kenya since 2011. Last year, 67 people were killed after the group launched an assault on the upmarket Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi. Al-Shabab said the attacks were in response to Kenya’s decision to send troops to Somalia to bolster the weak UN-backed government.

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Uganda's long-serving leader faces challenge

Al Jazeera

Kampala, Uganda - In his office on the eighth floor of a 14-storey building in central Kampala, Uganda's capital, Olara Otunnu is preparing to meet journalists, but he has allowed them only 10 minutes as he has a "marathon" of meetings lined up for the day.
Otunnu, a former undersecretary-general at the United Nations and leader of the opposition Uganda People's Congress (UPC), returned to Uganda from self-imposed exile in 2010. He vowed to infuse new energy into the battle to dislodge President Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president and one of Africa's longest serving leaders.
Otunnu now coordinates a campaign that brings together members of civil society organisations and other opposition leaders looking to push through an electoral reform agenda that government spokespeople say targets Museveni, who has been in power for 28 years.
"This is a non-partisan, national social movement," Otunnu, 64, says. "It is about all the patriotic forces coming together to demand free and fair elections."
Although he tried unsuccessfully to convince other opposition leaders to boycott the 2011 elections, saying that they would be a "sham", Otunnu belatedly flung himself into the presidential race and finished a distant fourth. Museveni won 66 percent of the vote.
The president, a former rebel leader who governed unelected for 10 years starting in 1986, has won four elections since 1996, three of them disputed, and critics say he is turning the country into a political dynasty.
Museveni's wife is now a cabinet minister and his son, a brigadier, is the commander of the Special Forces Command, the elite force that protects the president and resources like the country's oil reserves.
Museveni was due to step down in 2006, but the two-term limitation was removed from the constitution, allowing him to contest again in 2006 and 2011. The current campaign aims to scupper his bid for re-election.

"Under the new dispensation, no person who has ever served or will have ever served as president of Uganda for two terms would be eligible to contest the presidency," reads one of the proposals in the concept paper on The Call for Free and Fair Elections Now issued in February.
Otunnu is working with Kizza Besigye, Museveni's main challenger in 2001, 2006, and 2011.
Besigye, 58, a retired army colonel who was also Museveni's Bush War doctor, has since retired from the leadership of the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change, now led by Mugisha Muntu, a former army commander.
Muntu, 55, together with other opposition party leaders and leaders of civil society organisations, has been addressing rallies and town hall meetings to gain support.
The challenges are daunting, and opposition politicians reckon Uganda cannot hold free and fair elections under Museveni's leadership.
"I went across the country sharing my ideas on how to run the country [but] one challenge I confronted consistently was how to convince the voters that the elections wouldn't be stolen again," says Besigye, adding that he will "never" run again against Museveni.
Besigye claims that he has won before but that the results were changed. This view has been given impetus by statements by General David Sejusa, who on falling out with Museveni and going into exile in 2013, claimed that Museveni lost to Besigye in 2006 but that the results were altered.
In 2001 and 2006, Besigye contested the results in the country's highest court and on both occasions lost in split decisions. The court ruled that the irregularities were not "substantial" enough to affect the final result.
Museveni's opponents now propose radical changes not only to how the elections are managed, but also on how election disputes are adjudicated upon. They have called for the appointment of a new electoral commission under new rules, compiling a new voters' register, redefining the role of security forces and militia in elections, and addressing the question of using public resources for campaigns.
The current commissioners of the electoral body were nominated by Museveni and approved by parliament. The parliamentary appointments committee, chaired by the speaker, has some opposition MPs. However, it mirrors the composition of the whole house, over two-thirds of which are ruling party members. The opposition MPs therefore cannot on their own block any appointments.
Otunnu's team says the demarcation of electoral boundaries also needs revisiting, just like they want the selection of polling officials done differently, together with new rules to govern the processing of electoral materials and ensuring the integrity of the tallying process.
Should the results of the elections be contested, particularly the presidential elections, the crusaders want a new mode of dispute resolution adopted.
Parallel agenda
The campaigners, on issuing the demands, had given the ruling party up to the end of April to respond lest they pursue their own agenda. The ruling party did not respond.
Rose Namayanja, the government spokesperson, says that the campaigners "did not even have the courtesy to inform [the] government officially about their demands".

As far as the government is concerned, she says, it is its duty to "update" electoral laws and that this will be done in due course.
Museveni has promised that his government will soon table before parliament proposals to amend the electoral laws.
Otunnu, however, says that what the government will propose will be "predictably" cosmetic. He says that his team will, in the coming months, convene a national consultation to discuss the way forward as far as proposed electoral reforms are concerned.
But Otunnu would not be drawn into discussing what they will do should Museveni refuse to give in to their demands.
The opposition, though, has pursued a two-pronged approach to the issue in recent months. On the one hand, they have been discussing possibilities of fielding a joint candidate in 2016. On the other, they have talked about possibilities of boycotting the election if their demands are not met.
Meanwhile, Museveni has been busy consolidating his position amid suspicion that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who was for many years regarded as Museveni's most trusted confidant, is likely to challenge him for the top office in the next election. Mbabazi remains tight-lipped on the matter.
Ruling party MPs have come up with a resolution, in the presence of Museveni and Mbabazi, calling for Museveni to be declared the sole presidential candidate for his party for the 2016 election.
Mbabazi says that the resolution is not legally binding because the MPs' caucus is not a party organ. Museveni, on the other hand, has facilitated the MPs to popularise it among the citizens.
'Misguided' civil society
Otunnu says that their demands are "supported by some people within the ruling party", although he does not say who they are. Calls for reforming the electoral laws have come to be expected whenever preparations for elections gather steam, but the opposition has traditionally taken the lead. 

The open involvement of some leaders of the civil society organisations has ruffled people close to the president.
"Some of them [civil society leaders] are failed lawyers; others are failed medical doctors; while others are non-entities. They are misguided and are venturing into something whose dynamics they don't understand," Tamale Mirundi, the presidential spokesman, said.
He said that the civil society leaders involved in The Call for Free and Fair Elections Now act in breach of the rules that govern civil society.
But Bishop Zac Niringiye, who retired early to take up a role in the civil society as an agitator for the restoration of presidential term limits, disagrees.
"To say that President Museveni should finish peacefully is the most non-partisan statement one can make. Civil society strives to ensure a civil society; that is an organised society that ensures rights and responsibilities of citizens are exercised," he told Al Jazeera.

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Chadian soldiers 'rescue 85 Nigerians from Boko Haram'

Nigeria imposed a state of emergency in Borno state last year to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency

BBC

Boko Haram militants have carried out a series of audacious attacks in recent years

Reports are emerging of the rescue by Chadian troops of some 85 Nigerian villagers abducted earlier this week by suspected Boko Haram militants.

A Nigerian security official told AFP that they had intercepted a convoy of buses transporting gunmen and the villagers in a routine security check.

Neither the Nigerian or Chadian militaries have confirmed the reports.

Boko Haram is accused of kidnapping hundreds of people in the north-east of Nigeria, and neighbouring Cameroon.

The group, which wants to create an Islamic state in the region, sparked international outcry when they abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in April in Nigeria's remote down of Chibok in Borno state.

Speedboat escape

Dozens of men, women and children were seized from the remote fishing village of Doron Bag by boat across Lake Chad on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses said 26 people were killed in the raid.

A senior Nigerian security official told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Saturday that 85 people abducted in the attack were had been found by Chadian troops.

 

Nigeria imposed a state of emergency in Borno state last year to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency

"The convoy being led by six Boko Haram gunmen was stopped on the Chadian part of the border along Lake Chad for routine checks and the huge number of people in the convoy raised suspicion," the unnamed official said.

The six suspects were giving conflicting information on the hostages and their destination, he added.

Another official with the National Human Rights Commission in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, said some militants had escaped on speedboats when they saw the convoy being stopped.

He said the rescued villagers, totalling 65 men and 22 women, were still in Chadian custody but that 30 people were still being held by the militants.

News of the raid on Doron Bag took days to emerge, due to the remote region's poor communication links.

The militants burned down some of the houses in the village, and took mainly women and some boys and girls, a village elder told the BBC.

Other survivors said young men were also taken possibly to be turned into Boko Haram fighters.

A state of emergency was declared in Borno and two other north-eastern states last year to help the military crush the insurgency but the militants have stepped up attacks since then.

The schoolgirls abducted in April are thought to be held in the vast Sambisa forest, along Nigeria's border with Cameroon.

The group has also carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations, including that of moderate Muslim leaders opposed to its ideology.

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Ugandan Police Abusing Street Children

KAMPALA — Human Rights Watch is accusing Ugandan au- thorities of widespread abuse of street chil- dren. No one knows how many children are living on the streets of towns and cities through- out Uganda, but one thing is certain: their lives are very hard. Along with hunger and ne- glect, these children also suffer physical abuse. In a new report by the New York-based Hu- man Rights Watch released Thursday, many of

the abusers are police and local authorities. The report says the abuse includes beatings with batons, whips and wires, as well as detention in police cells, often with adult suspects. Police also extort money from street children, it adds, forc- ing them to hand over the little cash they have. Maria Burnett from Human Rights Watch said many communities, as well as local authorities, see street children as a source of crime. This percep- tion, she added, puts them at even greater risk.

Uganda kids
Street Kids in Kampala

“Some of these children that we interviewed were very, very young - they’re 10, 11 [or] 12 years old. They’re working hard to be able to just find enough to eat. So when they can’t turn to the police or local officials for protec- tion, it puts them in real jeopardy,” said Burnett. Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with more than half of the pop- ulation under the age of 15. Poverty tends to hit children the hardest, says Burnett. According to Ugandan police and civil socie- ty groups, the number of street children is on the rise. Ugandan authorities need to create shelters where these children will not be treat- ed like criminals, Burnett said, but more per- manent solutions need to be found as well. “They need to address the root causes that force impoverished and vulnerable chil- dren onto the street, not sort of beat them into submission. Because by beating them, it clearly doesn’t resolve the problem, and it puts them in further jeopardy,” said Burnett. A spokesman for Uganda’s Ministry of Gen- der, Labor and Social Development denies that street children are being abused. He said home- less children are placed in a rehabilitation center for counseling and resettlement, and that the ministry has plans to address the issues that push them onto the streets in the first place. 

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Rwanda to market its potential at the India

Rwanda will use the forth coming India Automation expo in Mum- bai to root for investors in the manufacturing sector, private sec- tor federation officials have said. The country has been invited to participate in the industrial tech- nology exposition, Automation 2014, in Mumbai from October 15-18 as a partner country to pro- mote Indian industries in Africa. “Rwanda will participate in the ninth edition of Automation as a partner country with other Afri- can countries,” the organisers said in a statement released on Monday.

worker
Worker Operating Machine

Ephrem Karangwa, the in charge of Trade exhibition at Private sec- tor federation said that the expo is an opportunity for local man- ufacturers to market their prod- ucts and forge business partner- ships with Indian manufacturers. “Any business expo is an opportu- nity for the private sector in terms of business partnerships, sharing knowledge and most important- ly trying to use the platform to market our locally made products. “As an attractive destination for foreign investments, Rwanda offers a great opportunity for Indians to do business. Ranked as the third best African country in the latest global competitive index report, it has a new Special Economic Zone in Kigali and plans to have more such zones in the districts,” India Expo Department managing director Arokia Swamy said in the statement.

Indian investors are looking ahead to exploit the country’s conducive business climate and scale up
investments in the agriculture, construction, mining and energy other sectors.
This is therefore an opportunity for the private sector to target some of these investors during the expo.
Meanwhile, the country has also
retary general, Rwanda man- been invited to be part of the re- ufacturers Association Press.  

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Uganda: 600 university students get police training

Kampala- At least 600 university students have been passed out after undergoing a one-week training in policing and political ideology. The training was part of a wider plan to encourage youth to participate in government programmes.

While passing them out at the Police Training School at Kabalye, Masindi District at the weekend, President Museveni said youth should identify and solve societal challenges and help awaken the population to exploit available resources for wealth creation.

"Similarly for leaders, citizens and academicians, you must do a diagnosis of problems in your society and find solutions to those problems," the President said. The students were from Makerere University, Uganda Christian University, Gulu University, Makerere University Business School, among other institutions.

ugandaarmytraining

A police officer instructs university students in fitness exercises at the Police Training School in Masindi last week

President Museveni presented a paper titled: "Historical mission of our generation: The role of intellectual youth in Uganda and Africa". Meanwhile, last Tuesday, Gen Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, held meetings with LC3 chairpersons and councillors from the central region at the same school.

Although the meeting was closed, Gen Kayihura said it was in preparation for the roll out of the community policing strategy countrywide. "Community policing is about building partnership between the police and different communities. We must look at vulnerable communities first," Gen Kayihura said.

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Tanzania: Elders increasingly killed over witchcraft suspicions

Dar es Salaam. As the world marks Elder Abuse Awareness Day today, senior citizens in Tanzania are increasingly persecuted over witchcraft practising allegations. Data from Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) revealed that between 2005 and 2011, an average of 500 elderly people were killed due to suspicions that they were witches.

The LHRC figures also showed that in 2012, six hundred and thirty people were killed due to witchcraft beliefs, a figure that rose to 765 (505 of them women) in 2013. An NGO which advocates for the rights of elders, HelpAge International Tanzania, said although violence against older people is a global issue, the situation in Tanzania must be properly addressed.

tanzaniaelders

Activists take part in the Age Demands Action for Rights campaign in Dar es Salaam recently.

Today, older activists from Tanzania join 40 countries to call for a UN convention on the rights of older people to protect them from abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice. A convention that prohibits discrimination on the basis of age would help to protect older people in Tanzania in the same way as there are UN conventions for women and children, says HelpAge International Tanzania.

This, it says, would bind the Government to formulate legislation, policy and practice in line with the standards of the convention.

"It is often the most marginalised in society and those that are least able to defend themselves that are accused of witchcraft. No one should have to live in fear of growing older. Leaders in Government, educators and the media should use their influence to challenge the beliefs and practices that violate the human rights of older men and women," said Amleset Tewodros, Country Director at HelpAge International Tanzania.

Clotilda Kokupima, an 80 years-old-granny from Kasulu in Kigoma region said women are often accused of practicing witchcraft because they have red eyes, but she said that is because, "Women do the cooking at home and the redness comes from cooking with firewood, not from witchcraft...We need a programme for older people to help stop the killings so we can live in peace."

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