Weekly anb07056.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 05-07-2001      PART #6/7

* Swaziland. Threats over monarch's decree - Swaziland's trade union movement warned on 2 July that the tiny African kingdom faced a series of mass protests similar to that last year when several people were injured in clashes with the police and army, news agency DPA has reported. A spokesperson for the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) said a mass meeting organised by the SFTU and political parties would be held this weekend to finalise mass worker protests. Tension has been building in the country for the past week, since King Mswati III's issued a decree giving him more powers, the report said. Spokesmen for the SFTU and political parties were quoted saying the protests would also be connected to a raging chieftaincy dispute in the Macetjeni and KaMkhweli areas. Two traditional chiefs, Mvuso Dlamini and Mliba Fakudze were removed last year to make way for the king's elder brother, Prince Maguga, according to the report. The two chiefs on 2 July refused to meet the king and his advisory body, the Swazi National Council Standing Committee, to explain why they went into exile in South Africa for over nine months. "We will not entertain such harassment because it's them who expelled us with our followers last year. We did not leave on our own, they forced us to leave," Fakudze said. According to reports from within the royal family circle, a clash was looming between the king, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini and his legal advisor, Phesheya Dlamini, for formulating the controversial decree purported to extend the powers of the king, the report said. The decree, issued on 22 June, removed powers from the courts from hearing certain traditional and civil matters pending before Mswati and his advisory body. It also gave the government the power to ban newspapers and books at will. (IRIN, Southern Africa, 3 July 2001)

* Tanzania. $1bn needed to fight AIDS - Tanzania's President Benjamin Mkapa says his country needs $1bn a year to fight AIDS. In an end of the month address, Mr Mkapa said his government would make anti-retroviral drugs available to all those infected with HIV. The president also urged pharmaceutical companies to support Tanzania's efforts to fight the disease. "We must now rise up to the challenge and (take) collective responsibility for saving ourselves and our society from imminent extinction," said Mr Mkapa in his speech broadcast by state-owned radio and television. "This is a very heavy burden for us because the amount (needed) is equivalent to the government's annual revenue collection," he added. President Mkapa said the best way to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS was through a change of sexual habits. (BBC News, UK, 1 July 2001)

* Tanzania/Zanzibar. Zanzibar Film Festival - The Zanzibar film festival, the largest cultural event in East Africa, opened in historic venues across the Indian Ocean archipelago. At least 40 countries are participating in the fourth film-and-music festival, dubbed Festival of the Dhow Countries, which opened on 19 June. The festival, which runs through July 14, includes film, video, music, dance and theatre performances, events for women and children, seminars and workshops for artists, and village cultural events in rural areas.Some 100 films and documentaries will be screened and judged for awards. Sorious Samuro, a documentary film-maker from Sierra Leone, is screening three films about his war- ravaged West African nation. (InfoBeat, USA, 2 July 2001)

* Tanzania. Vice-President dies - Tanzania's Vice-President, Dr Omar Ali Juma, has died of a heart attack at the age of 60. Dr Juma, who comes from Pemba, was a veterinary surgeon before entering politics. He served as the Chief Minister for Zanzibar for the ruling CCM party before moving to Dar-es-Salaam to become President Mkapa's Vice-President. Seven days of national mourning have been announced. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 5 July 2001)

* Tchad. Le dispositif Epervier - Le délégué national à l'Afrique du Parti socialiste français (au gouvernement en France), M. Guy Labertit, a suggéré le retrait du Tchad du dispositif Epervier, dans un article publié à Paris en début de semaine. "Paris entretient toujours un dispositif coûteux mis en place à titre provisoire... en février 1986 pour aider les autorités tchadiennes à préserver la souveraineté de leur Etat", constate M. Labertit qui précise que "rien ne justifie aujourd'hui, sur les plans politique et militaire, pareil dispositif". Même si aucune réaction officielle tchadienne n'a pu être obtenue ce 3 juillet à Paris, les observateurs estiment que cette prise de position compliquera encore davantage les relations entre Paris et N'Djamena. Au lendemain de la dernière élection présidentielle tchadienne, le Parti socialiste français avait, rappelle- t-on, dénoncé des fraudes massives. (PANA, Sénégal, 3 juillet 2001)

* Tunisie. Prisonniers d'opinion - Appel commun - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch et la Fédération internationale des droits de l'homme se sont associés, le 29 juin, aux organisations de défense des droits de l'homme tunisiennes afin de demander au gouvernement tunisien la libération immédiate et inconditionnelle de tous les prisonniers d'opinion et la fin du harcèlement quotidien subi par les anciens prisonniers d'opinion et les opposants au gouvernement. Depuis deux semaines, la répression à l'encontre des opposants au gouvernement s'est durcie, et des personnalités importantes ont été arrêtées, poursuivies en justice ou bien arbitrairement empêchées de voyager. Près de mille prisonniers politiques, pour la plupart des prisonniers d'opinion, se trouvent dans les geôles tunisiennes, où ils reçoivent un traitement cruel, inhumain et dégradant, poursuit la déclaration des trois organisations, qui demandent au gouvernement tunisien de "libérér tous les prisonniers d'opinion et de mettre fin à toutes les formes de harcèlement. Toute autre mesure constituerait un manquement à ses engagements internationaux". (AI, HRW et FIDH, 29 juin 2001)

* Tunisia. Human rights organisations call for release of prisoners - In a joint statement on 29 June, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Federation of Human Rights, joined Tunisian human rights organisations today in calling on the government of Tunisia immediately and unconditionally to release all prisoners of conscience and end the routine harassment of former prisoners of conscience and critics of the authorities. The three organisations said the move must cover all known or suspected government opponents or human rights activists who have been imprisoned, prosecuted or harassed simply for the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of opinion, expression or association. (Amnesty International, 29 June 2001)

* Tunisia. Human rights quandary - The arrest on 26 June of Sihem Ben Sedrine, journalist and spokesperson for the National Council of Liberties in Tunisia (CNLT), has yet again focused international attention on the political situation in Tunisia. The arrest was condemned as a flagrant violation of civil liberties by several human rights organizations. Ben Sedrine's arrest also triggered a series of demonstrations in several European cities over the weekend and spurred the ruling Socialist Party in France, which still has strong economic and political ties with its former North African colony, to call for more respect for people's rights in Tunisia. Ben Sedrine was arrested after a Tunisian judge sued her for defamation. During a TV debate on the London-based Al-Mustaqilla Arabic TV Channel late last month, she quoted the judge as saying the Tunisian judiciary was controlled by the government. The statement led to a lawsuit against her and drew an indignant reaction from the Association of Tunisian Judges which accused Ben Sedrine of making unsubstantiated claims and spreading false information. The case will be tried on 5 July. But human rights activists say Ben Sedrine's case is the latest in a series of arrests, which suggest that the Tunisian authorities are determined to stifle liberties and crack down on dissent. They point to the arrest of several prominent opponents including Mohamed Moada, a former political prisoner and seasoned politician who sent a letter to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali condemning the "lack of political pluralism" in Tunisia. Ben Ali has led the ruling Rassemblement Démocratique Constitutionnel since his 1987 take-over from the late President Habib Bourguiba who was declared unfit to rule by his doctors. Last February, Ben Ali told the Party that it will remain "the party of leadership today and tomorrow" because it helped the country make giant steps on the road of progress. Tunisia today is one of Africa's success stories. The economy has consistently grown at a rate over four per cent in recent years supported by a dynamic tourist industry which attracts an annual four million foreign visitors. But government critics say to achieve this economic success the government sacrificed political freedom. Many Tunisians who may have supported the President's crack down on the Islamists in the late 1980's and early 1990's now say more human rights and freedom of expression are the real guarantors of political stability. (AllAfrica, 3 July 2001)

* Ouganda. Résultats des législatives - Victoire plutôt amère pour Museveni. Le président garde une majorité parlementaire, mais l'opposition prend un place importante. Les élections se sont déroulées dans un contexte un peu particulier. Les candidats se sont présentés individuellement en non en tant que représentants de partis, le multipartisme étant interdit. La presse rapporte que l'opposition est passée de 14 sièges à près d'un quart de l'Assemblée, qui compte au total 295 députés. Au moins une douzaine de ministres et une cinquantaine de parlementaires influents sortants ont subi une défaite retentissante. Les résultats officiels n'ont pas encore été annoncés, mais il semble que les opposants à Museveni ont triomphé dans un grand nombre de circonscriptions. La participation électorale n'aurait pas dépassé les 50%. (Misna, Italie, 28 juin 2001)

* Uganda. Mountains of the Moon park reopens to tourists - The Ugandan government reopened the Rwenzori Mountains National Park to tourists on 2 July, nearly four years after rebel activity forced the closing of one of the country's premier tourist attractions. "There has been a 100 percent reassurance that it is safe and you can all come and visit," Tourism Minister Edward Rugumayo said at the official reopening in the Ugandan capital. The snow-clad Rwenzoris, also known as Ptolemy's Mountains of the Moon, have been used since 1996 as a base for the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group seeking to overthrow the Ugandan government. But the army says it has been able to reoccupy the mountains and purge the rebels. "There is not a single ADF in the Rwenzoris," army chief of staff Brigadier James Kazini told tour operators and reporters at the opening ceremony. About 2,000 soldiers will remain permanently in the mountains and the army says it will build helicopter landing sites at strategic locations to allow for speedy troop deployment. The army also continues to occupy the part of eastern Congo adjacent to the mountains. (CNN, USA, 3 July 2001)

* Zambie. Sommet de Lusaka - Le 29 juin, la Zambie a annoncé que 41 pays avaient confirmé leur participation au sommet de l'OUA à Lusaka, prévu du 9 au 11 juillet, et dont l'un des temps forts sera le remplacement de l'organisation continentale par l'Union africaine. Ces pays seront représentés par leur chef d'Etat ou de gouvernement. Entre 2.000 et 3.000 délégués devraient arriver à Lusaka à l'occasion de ce sommet historique. L'Acte constitutif de l'Union africaine a été adopté par les gouvernements africains en juillet 2000 à Lomé, et est entré en vigueur le 26 mai 2001, quand 45 des 53 pays membres de l'OUA avaient ratifié cet Acte, ce qui permettait juridiquement la création effective de l'organisation. Le 2 juillet, s'est ouverte à Lusaka une réunion du comité des ambassadeurs et plénipotentiaires accrédités auprès de l'OUA, qui doit notamment préparer les détails de la mise en oeuvre effective et la création des institutions de l'Union africaine. La réunion soumettra son rapport au Conseil des ministres qui entameront leur réunion le 5 juillet en prélude au sommet. (PANA, Sénégal, 29/6-2/7 2001)

Weekly anb0705.txt - Part 6/7