Weekly anb07125.txt #5

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 12-07-2001  PART #5/5

* South Africa. A painful church split is being healed - Apartheid divided many churches in South Africa along racial lines. But the struggle against apartheid also caused tensions and splits in South African churches. One such church is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa (EPCSA). Now leaders in the EPCSA have committed themselves publicly to bring healing and reconciliation to their church and to work together towards unity and renewal. The World Alliance of Reformed Churches warmly welcomes this development. The EPCSA (formerly the Tsonga Presbyterian Church) resulted from the work of the Swiss Mission in South Africa which began in the Northern Transvaal in 1875. The church became autonomous in 1962, but continues to have close links with the Swiss churches. In the 1980s, some of the EPCSA leaders were jailed by the apartheid government because of their opposition to the regime. In 1988, when the South African Council of Churches launched its "Standing for the Truth" campaign, some EPCSA members called on the church to adopt a similar stance. They felt that there was a need within the church to "clean house"; others felt that whatever house cleaning was needed should be done within and through the existing church structures. By 1991, division in the church was a reality. Congregations which remained under the jurisdiction of the church synod were loosely referred to as the "Establishment", while those who found themselves outside the structures of the church became known as the "Standing for the Truth Movement" of the EPCSA. A mediating team led by Dr Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the Alliance, brought the opposed leaderships together for a three-day meeting at the end of June. In a memorandum of understanding signed by all participants, they affirmed that "we all belong to the one Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa" and acknowledged that the division of the last decade had brought "pain, suffering and much hurt to many". The conference, held in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, agreed to appoint a joint commission for unity and renewal in the EPCSA, with leading representatives from both groups. The joint commission will report to the synod of the EPCSA in October 2002, by which time the groups which emerged in the last decade will have been unified. (Paraic Reamonn, WARC, Switzerland, 3 July 2001)

* Afrique du Sud. Le rêve des sans-terre - Le mercredi 5 juillet, la police sud-africaine a procédé à plusieurs dizaines d'arrestations sur un terrain proche de Johannesburg où, depuis le week-end, des milliers d'occupants illégaux ont érigé des baraques, après avoir symboliquement "acheté" ces lopins de terre distribués illégalement par le Congrès panafricain (PAC). Le terrain, inoccupé, appartient en partie à des sociétés d'Etat. Déployée en force, avec des dizaines de voitures et véhicules blindés légers, la police a arrêté environ 70 personnes pour violation de propriété privée, et les a transférées au poste de police de Kempton Park (nord-est de Johannesburg). Le PAC entend protester contre la crise de logement de la communauté noire. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 6 juillet 2001)

* South Africa. ANC hits at rival's land settlement programme - The South African government on 5 July accused the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), its political rival, of inciting Zimbabwe-style land occupations by openly supporting an informal resettlement scheme on government and privately owned land. Motsoko Paleko, the deputy president of the PAC, and its general secretary, Thami ka Plaatjie, had voiced their support for a scheme in which 2,000 people bought a plot of land in Kempton Park, to the east of Johannesburg, for R25 ($3.10). The PAC said the resettlement programme was undertaken in response to delays in the government's housing and land redistribution programmes, which have fallen behind ambitious targets. The party said the R25 charged for access to land was taken by a civic organisation for the provision of services and had not been for party use. The government said it would charge those who orchestrated the resettlement scheme. However, the police began removing people from the area on 5 July. About 200 people were arrested, among them PAC organisers. The PAC has its roots in the black consciousness movement and represents more racialised politics in South Africa. It has not enjoyed strong support in the past two parliamentary elections, but could garner more support from those frustrated by the pace of change and wealth redistribution in South Africa. (Financial Times, UK, 6 July 2001)

* Swaziland. King urged to reconsider law - In a press release, Human Rights Watch urged King Mswati III of Swaziland to reconsider a recent royal decree eliminating bail for some crimes, banning two publications, and making the punishment for defamation more severe. In a letter to the King, Human Rights Watch called on the Swaziland government work with the Constitutional Reform Commission to ensure basic human rights. (HRW, 11 July 2001)

* Togo. President to quit in 2003? - The Togolese President, Gnassingbe Eyadema, is reported to have confirmed that he intends to step down in two years time. He told the French news agency AFP he would retire in 2003, when his second term in office comes to an end. Mr Eyadema said that as the constitution's guarantor, he would respect it. The constitution says a presidential term lasts five years and is renewable once only. President Eyadema also said that he would not impose a prime minister on the country if his ruling Togolese Peoples' Rally party lost the legislative elections due in October this year. (BBC News, UK, 5 July 2001)

* Tunisie. Bensedrine reste en prison - Le 5 juillet, après une audience d'une quarantaine de minutes, Sihem Bensedrine, journaliste et militante des droits de l'homme, arrêtée le 26 juin à Tunis, a été reconduite à la prison pour femmes de Manouba (banlieue de la capitale). Le juge dispose de quatre jours pour répondre à la nouvelle demande de libération provisoire. A 47 ans, la porte-parole du Conseil national pour les libertés en Tunisie (non reconnu) et directrice du magazine Kalima, a été arrêtée et placée en détention pour avoir participé à une émission sur une télévision privée arabe de Londres, Al-Mustaquilla. (Libération, France, 6 juillet 2001)

* Tunisie. Plainte contre Sharon - Le parquet de Tunis a accepté une plainte déposée contre le Premier ministre israélien par l'Organisation arabe des jeunes avocats et l'Association tunisienne des jeunes avocats. Ariel Sharon est accusé de crimes de guerre et d'implication dans 13 massacres dont celui de Sabra et Chatila, au Liban, en 1982. (La Croix, France, 10 juillet 2001)

* Zambie. Meurtre d'un ancien proche du président - Peter Tembo, ancien proche du président zambien Frederick Chiluba, qui avait rejoint récemment les rangs de l'opposition, a été abattu par deux hommes le 6 juillet au matin à son domicile de Lusaka, a annoncé son épouse. Selon elle, deux hommes armés de pistolets, auraient fait irruption dans la maison, réclamant de l'argent que Tembo aurait reçu du président Chiluba, avant d'exécuter l'homme politique à bout portant. M. Tembo était sur le point de témoigner dans une affaire de corruption impliquant trois ministres. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 7 juillet 2001)

* Zambia. Political campaigner killed ahead of tribunal - The former campaign manager of Zambian President Frederick Chiluba was shot dead in his home on 6 July. He had been due to give evidence at a tribunal investigating corruption allegations concerning three cabinet ministers. Paul Tembo, 41, was killed in front of his wife, Mr Tembo's lawyer Sakwiba Sikota said. Mr Tembo steered Mr Chiluba's re-election campaign in 1996 and also his unsuccessful bid to change the constitution to allow him a third term as president. However, last year he joined the opposition Forum for Development and Democracy party, formed by government ministers expelled from the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy party after they campaigned against Mr Chiluba's third term. Mr Tembo had been scheduled to give evidence on Friday to the Anti-Corruption Commission on allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Katele Kalumba, the finance minister, Peter Machungwa, the home affairs minister and Godden Mandandi, the works and supply minister. Mr Sikota said the killing appeared to be political. "He had a wealth of information which was going to guarantee that a good number of powerful people in the ruling party would be locked away in jail for their corruption and other thefts," he said. (Financial Times, UK, 7 July 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Harare seeks food aid in move to avert crisis - The Zimbabwe government on 5 July acknowledged the country faces a food crisis, announcing that it is approaching donors for funds to finance food imports. At a media briefing on 5 July, Simba Makoni, finance minister, contradicted his cabinet colleague Joseph Made, the minister of agriculture, who until this week had insisted there would be no food shortage. Independent estimates suggest that Zimbabwe will need to import a minimum of 450,000 tonnes of grain -- at least 350,000 tonnes of maize and probably 100,000 tonnes of wheat. The decision to seek donor funding for food imports has had a mixed reception from opposition groups, who are convinced that any food aid provided will be used by the Mugabe government to win votes in next year's presidential election. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change supports the call for food aid but wants the assistance to be channelled through NGOs and not the government. Giving further details of the government's new export incentive scheme, the minister added to the confusion surrounding the proposal. Last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials told bankers that the incentive rate for foreign currency lent to the central bank for three months would be Z$120, compared with the current official rate of Z$55. But on 5 July, Mr Makoni said the RBZ would buy the foreign currency at the official rate of Z$55 to the US dollar, repaying the loan three months later at a higher exchange rate, though precisely what this would be had not yet been decided. (Financial Times, UK, 6 July 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Almost all white-owned farms are listed for take-over - Agricultural officials have said that almost all of Zimbabwe's white-owned farms have now been listed for take-over by the government. On 6 July, another 529 farms were added to the number. Previously, President Mugabe had said that only half of the 12 million hectares of white-owned land would be seized. Now it has been made known that nearly all the 6,000 white-owned farms have been earmarked for resettlement. Zimbabwe's government has been warned repeatedly by experts, donors and the Opposition that such a radical programme of land reform would cut deep into Zimbabwe's food production. This warning has been ignored by the government. Many of the 104,000 black families who have been resettled on 3.5 million hectares of land in the past year have complained that they have been "dumped" with no government aid. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 6 July 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Soutien de l'OUA - Les ministres de l'OUA ont soutenu le Zimbabwe à propos de son programme controversé de réformes foncières. Ils ont accusé la Grande-Bretagne de tenter d'isoler et de calomnier son ancienne colonie en Europe et en Amérique du Nord. Les ministres ont désigné l'Afrique du Sud, le Nigeria, l'Algérie, le Cameroun, le Kenya et la Zambie comme membres d'un comité de soutien au Zimbabwe lors de futures discussions sur la réforme foncière avec l'Union européenne et avec d'autres parties. Des diplomates africains ont indiqué que cette résolution avait été adoptée le 8 juillet à l'unanimité par le conseil des ministres de l'OUA. Elle sera soumise aux chefs d'Etat de l'OUA réunis en sommet le 9 juillet. Dans leur projet de résolution, les ministres estiment que la question foncière découle du colonialisme. (Reuters, 8 juillet 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Vague de répression - A moins d'un an de l'élection présidentielle, le président Mugabe semble prêt à tout pour museler l'opposition. Arrestations et procès se multiplient au Zimbabwe, menacé par la grève générale. Le 11 juillet, un dirigeant syndical a été arrêté pour sa responsabilité dans le mouvement social des 3 et 4 juillet qui a paralysé le pays. La police a également procédé à une perquisition, assortie de onze arrestations, le même jour, dans les locaux du Mouvement pour le changement démocratique (MDC), le principal parti d'opposition. Morgan Tsvangirai, son président, a prédit que des "violences sans précédent" auraient lieu lors de la campagne présidentielle après l'annonce de la destitution de tous les policiers soutenant l'opposition. Une purge qui intervient alors que les forces de l'ordre souffrent déjà d'un fort discrédit. M. Tsvangirai doit être entendu ce 12 juillet pour "trahison, terrorisme et incitation à la violence" par la Cour suprême. (Libération, France, 12 juillet 2001)

Weekly anb0712.txt - Part 5/5


Un homme meurt chaque fois que l'un d'entre nous se tait devant la tyrannie (W. Soyinka, Prix Nobel litterature) - Everytime somebody keep silent when faced with tyranny, someone else dies (Wole Syinka, Nobel Prize for Literature) *
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