Weekly anb01247.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 24-01-2002      PART #7/7

* Tanzania. President announces deaths inquiry - 16 January: President Benjamin Mkapa has announced the formation of a body to investigate the killings of opposition demonstrators in Zanzibar. The government says that a total of 27 people died during a police break up of a political demonstration last year. Mr Mkapa's announcement of the inquiry commission came as a surprise, just 10 days before the first anniversary of the deaths. People, generally, have expressed pleasure at the president's move despite the lateness of the setting up of the probing body. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 18 January 2002)

* Tanzania. Chaos as Tanzania provides free schooling - Tanzania's plans for free education for primary school students has hit a snag. The compulsory scheme re-introduced by President Benjamin Mkapa last year requires all seven-years-olds to register at primary schools across the country. But so widely observed has this been by parents, that they have found schools ill prepared to handle the huge extra numbers. Consequently, in the capital, Dar es Salaam, some of the students have been taking refuge under trees to escape either the blistering hot sun or they have been cramming into classrooms to escape the heavy downpours hitting the city recently. Kiburugwa Primary School in Dar es Salaam, which normally accommodates 3,500 pupils, has now registered a further 1,200 children. Head teacher Mr Yassini Shaban says the school cannot cope with the influx. "What am I going to do with these children?" he asks. "We have followed the government directive, the children have been registered, and now they sit under trees." The school needs 32 new classrooms to add to the current 11 classrooms in order to cope, he says. (BBC News, UK, 22 January 2002)

* Chad. Lawyer for Hissène Habré's victims honoured - On 17 January, Human Rights Watch hailed the announcement that Jacqueline Moudeina, a lawyer from Chad who was almost killed because of her work on behalf of torture victims, had received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The award is presented yearly by ten of the world's leading human rights organisations. Jacqueline Moudeina is the lawyer for the victims of the exiled former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré. He is now in exile in Senegal. Lawyer Moudeina had taken an enormous personal risk by filing criminal complaints in Chad itself against a number of Habré's accomplices, many of whom are still in positions of power in Chad. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 17 January 2002)

* Uganda/Congo (RDC). Ugandan troops sent back to Congo - 17 January: The Ugandan army says it is sending troops to the east of Congo RDC to stop factional fighting from spreading to areas near the Ugandan border. The army says the move is precautionary because of the difficult situation in eastern Congo. The deployment follows attacks by tribal fighters on a military camp about 60 kilometres west of the Ugandan border, belonging to a rebel group backed by the government in Kampala. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 17 January 2002)

* Ouganda/Congo-RDC. Envoi de troupes - L'Ouganda revient au Congo-RDC. A force d'avoir manipulé, dressé les uns contre les autres les groupes ethnico-politiques de l'est de ce pays, l'Ouganda est obligé aujourd'hui d'intervenir pour éviter que les troubles entre factions rivales ne franchissent la frontière. "La situation là-bas était confuse; nous ne pouvions pas accepter une telle confusion près de nos frontières, qui mettrait en danger la sécurité dans cette zone, sans prendre des précautions", a expliqué un porte-parole de l'armée. Kampala a envoyé des troupes dans trois villes congolaises proches de la frontière, Aru, Ariwara et Mahagi, sans préciser combien d'hommes étaient déployés. Des centaines d'hommes appartenant aux milices tribales congolaises Maï-Maï ont attaqué la semaine dernière à Butembo une position militaire d'un petit mouvement rebelle soutenu par l'Ouganda. L'année dernière, l'Ouganda avait retiré 12 de ses 14 bataillons de la RDC, conformément à l'accord de paix de 1999. (Libération, France, 18 janvier 2002)

* Zimbabwe, Help needed to trace Mugabe funds - International auditing firms operating in southern Africa said on 17 January that an investigation into the assets of Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, and those of his associates would be strengthened by the co-operation of international donor agencies. John Roux, the head of PricewaterhouseCoopers' forensic unit in Johannesburg, said the international banking community's co-operation in tracking funds belonging to Zimbabwe's ruling elite depended on donors, such as the World Bank or the European Union, raising concerns about the abuse of their funds. The US and the UK have launched an investigation into the assets held abroad ahead of a possible decision to impose targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe to put pressure on the government to hold free and fair elections. The US said that capital outflows from top officials to tax havens in Europe and the US had been increasing in the months before the presidential elections in March. Ed Royce, chairman of the Africa Committee of the US House of Representatives, warned of the danger of officials stripping the Zimbabwean national treasury. "There is nothing to prevent them [Zimbabwean officials] from doing it [moving money offshore]. It's very difficult to investigate. To get the Swiss banking authorities to co-operate, you would need some official backing and a criminal prosecution. The banks are not going to disclose for the sake of disclosing," said Mr Roux. (Financial Times, UK, 17 January 2002)

* Zimbabwe. Violence at rally - 20 January: Violence has erupted in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo ahead of a visit by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to discuss the nation's deepening political crisis. Police fired tear gas to disperse rival party supporters who clashed before an opposition rally, witnesses said. At least 18 people were injured. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said its supporters were attacked by militants from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party trying to prevent them from entering a sports stadium for the rally, at which MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was due to speak. About 150 militants camped in the stadium overnight to block the entrances and stop an expected crowd of 15,000 from attending, the MDC said. Eddie Cross, an opposition official at the stadium said police refused to remove the militants and "clearly were in cahoots" with them. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 20 January 2002)

* Zimbabwe. Media law again delayed - 22 January: Zimbabwe's parliament adjourns until 23 January without holding a long-awaited debate on a controversial media bill, which critics say is part of President Mugabe's drive to silence opposition to his bid for re-election in March. Under the controversial proposals, foreign journalists would not be allowed to be based in Zimbabwe. All local media organisations would have to apply for annual government licences or face two years in prison. Reports deemed to cause alarm and despondency would be forbidden. The bill is one of several pieces of legislation which analysts say are key to Mr Mugabe's campaign to win the 9-10 March presidential elections, when he is likely to face a strong challenge from the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change. The proposed legislation has been criticised by foreign governments and media organisations. Zimbabwean journalists have vowed to carry out protests. Parliament was expected to pass the bill last week, but Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa delayed its introduction, saying the government was considering several amendments. (ANB-BIA, Brussels 23 January 2002)

* Zimbabwe. Vers les élections - Face au tollé provoqué par son nouveau projet de loi sur l'information, le gouvernement zimbabwéen a décidé, le 22 janvier, d'en modifier le contenu, notamment au sujet des journalistes étrangers, indique le quotidien français Le Figaro. Ces derniers pourraient être autorisés, sous certaines conditions, à exercer leur activité au Zimbabwe, ce que la précédente mouture interdisait. Le texte, qui doit être voté cette semaine par les députés, reste toutefois largement répressif. - D'autre part, selon l'agence PANA, le gouvernement a demandé à la Commission de supervision des élections d'élaborer un code de conduite réglementant le comportement de tous les partis politiques dans la perspective de l'élection présidentielle des 9 et 10 mars prochain. Malgré les appels au calme et à la non-violence lancés par les principaux partis, les affrontements liés à la campagne électorale continuent à augmenter entre militants rivaux. - Par ailleurs, pour faire face à la grave crise alimentaire, le gouvernement a confisqué 36 mille tonnes de maïs récoltées par des cultivateurs d'origine européenne, rapporte l'agence Misna. La confiscation concerne des fermiers blancs dont les propriétés ne figurent pas parmi celles qui sont en phase d'expropriation. Plus d'un demi million de personnes souffrent de carence alimentaire, surtout dans les régions méridionales et occidentales. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 23 janvier 2002)

* Zimbabwe. Programme to send food to Zimbabwe set for clearance - 18 January: The World Food Programme (WFP) is expecting to get clearance, today, to send its first consignment of maize to Zimbabwe, where food shortages are worsening and an estimated 500,000 people are on the brink of starvation. The first load of 8,470 tonnes of maize meal donated by the US will leave Tanzania by train as soon as Zimbabwean inspectors in Dar-es-Salaam have declared it "acceptable and bacteria-free", said Judith Lewis, WFP regional director for eastern and southern Africa. "You could say it is a drop in the ocean, but I prefer to call it a start," said Ms Lewis. "The situation in Zimbabwe is bad and deteriorating fast." The WFP estimates that at least 116,000 tonnes of maize is urgently needed. Other organisations put the total food import bill for the year at $750m, while 3.5m Zimbabweans have applied for food handouts. The consignment marks the return of the WFP to Zimbabwe, which it had left in 1996, and is the outcome of often difficult negotiations with the government. "We have been working on a memorandum of understanding with the authorities since November," said Ms Lewis. "They were concerned at how we would actually operate. But we have opened an office in Harare and, despite a slow start, the programme is now shifting into high gear." Zimbabwe normally produces a surplus of food but this year a combination of negative factors has brought the country to the brink of famine. The maize shortage, initially caused by drought, has been exacerbated by politically motivated violence, as agricultural production has been severely hampered by farm invasions and commercial farming has been disrupted by the government's "fast-track" land reform programme. 23 January: The WFPsays it has made its first delivery of food aid to Zimbabwe. Trucks from neighbouring South Africa delivered the first of 5,200 tons of corn meal -- the region's staple food -- to warehouses in the second city of Bulawayo. Further consignments of beans, ground nuts and vegetable oil would be delivered soon, said Anna Shotton, a WFP spokeswoman in Harare. This evidence of Zimbabwe's economic devastation came as southern African church leaders called on President Robert Mugabe to step down. And the British Government said political conditions in Zimbabwe had worsened in the last two weeks, and threatened that it would press for the country's suspension from the Commonwealth unless the situation improved. The UN food agency has appealed for $60m from international donors to feed 558,000 rural Zimbabweans in need of immediate aid. The government blames the food shortages on poor rains, but critics say that the invasion of white-owned farms by militant supporters of Mr Mugabe has worsened the situation. Zimbabwe has traditionally been a major exporter of food to the region. On 21 January, state media reported that the authorities had seized 36,000 tonnes of grain from white farmers who were accused of hoarding it to create artificial shortages. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 24 January 2002)

Weely news - anb0124.txt - #7/7