Weekly anb03276.txt #6

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 27-03-2003      PART #6/6

* South Africa. Pay apartheid victims now - 21 March: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called for reparations to be paid quickly to victims from the apartheid era. The TRC;s chairman, Archbishop Tutu, recommended a sun of $270 million to be paid to the 20,000 victims who, he said, had waited "too long". He also called on big business, who'd been beneficiaries of apartheid, to contribute to the reparations process. 22 March: Former president F.W. de Klerk rejects the TRC's report on his role in apartheid-era rights abuses and says the Commission's reconciliation campaign has failed. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 22 March 2003)

* South Africa. Peaceful protest should be allowed - On 21 March, Human Rights Watch said the South African Government should not respond with violence to HIV/AIDS demonstrators seeking medical treatment. On 20 March, police in Durban opened water cannons on some 70 peaceful demonstrators who were urging the government to provide antiretroviral treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS. (HRW, 21 March 2003)

* South Africa. ANC tightens grip on power - 25 March: South Africa's ruling African National Congress has gained control of 10 of the country's 11 provinces. This follows the defection of two Members of Parliament from the Western Cape province. The shift in political power was made possible by new floor crossing legislation which allows politicians to defect to opposition parties. The law which effectively came into force last Friday gives politicians 15 days from that date to switch parties without losing their seat. Since Friday, three New National Party members and one from the United Democratic Movement have joined the ANC in the Western Cape, effectively handing control of the province to the ANC. Currently the New National Party (NNP) leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk is the Western Cape provincial premier. The NNP's recent alliance with the ANC means that van Schalkwyk will probably hold on to his position until general elections next year. But the defections have hit the NNP hard, turning it from its position as a once-powerful national party into a much weakened regional force. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 25 March 2003)

* Soudan. Peu de progrès - 22 mars. Selon le coordinateur des négociations, représentant l'IGAD, M. Sumbeiywo, "peu de progrès" ont été accomplis à Nairobi durant les entretiens entre les autorités de Khartoum et une délégation du SPLA. Les parties ont discuté de trois régions convoitées, Abyei, Kordofan (la zone des montagnes Nuba) et la région du Nil Bleu. Toutefois, selon un représentant du gouvernement soudanais, les entretiens ont eu de bons résultats, et pour un porte-parole du SPLA, ils ont "permis de prendre acte qu'il existe un problème dans ces trois zones". Les négociations devraient reprendre le 24 mars. Les parties doivent encore affronter la délicate question de la distribution des revenus du pétrole provenant de la riche aire méridionale du pays. (Misna, Italie, 22 mars 2003)

* Sudan/Zimbabwe. Church joins protests against unjust policies - While Iraq grabs headlines worldwide, long-standing problems in two African countries, Sudan and Zimbabwe, remain unsolved. Even as Sudanese peace talks resume in Kenya, the Khartoum government is continuing to violate a peace accord which it signed on 15 October with the rebel Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army and which it reaffirmed on 4 February according to a report released on 6 March by the International Crisis Group. A key aim of government forces is to gain control of the oil fields of the Western Upper Nile. (...) Religious leaders, including Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loru, president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, gathered in South Africa from 24-26 February to reflect on the situation in Sudan. The final declaration issued by the 8th Assembly of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum noted the progress made in the peace talks being hosted by the Kenyan government. At the same time the religious leaders drew attention to a number of violations of the peace agreements. They noted the continuing conflicts in the Western Upper Nile and Akobo regions, the ongoing mobilization on both sides, and the use of proxy forces to prolong the war. (...) In Zimbabwe, the decision by the Mugabe government to expropriate the properties of white farmers sparked off a crisis that is still under way. Although a constitutional referendum in 2000 rejected the expropriation policy, the government went ahead with it, invoking special powers and then ignoring a Supreme Court ruling of unconstitutionality, the Washington Times noted on 14 January. It turns out that a third of the expropriated farms have gone to President Robert Mugabe's political supporters, and that the upheavals have led to 150,000 black farmworkers losing their jobs and homes. The expropriations also caused the gross domestic product to shrink 7.3% in 2001. About half the population now needs food aid. (...) (Zenit, Italy, 22 March 2003)

* Swaziland. Parliamentary elections in October - Swaziland is to hold parliamentary elections in October, the Chief Electoral Officer Robert Thwala has confirmed. On 25 March, Thwala said that an enlightenment campaign was already underway in all constituencies for the polls, whose exact dates would be announced soon. There are no official political parties in the Kingdom and candidates have to campaign independently in the 55 constituencies to fill the 65-member parliamentary seats. Ten MPs are appointed by King Mswati III on the advice of his Counsellors. Meanwhile, ex-convicts are demanding to be allowed to vote after a government gazette ruled out a category of ex-prisoners from the electoral process. (PANA, Senegal, 26 March 2003)

* Swaziland. Le jet royal décommandé - Le 20 mars, le Parlement swazi a approuvé un rapport bloquant l'achat d'un avion privé de 750 millions de rands pour le roi Mswati III, mettant ainsi fin à un projet controversé, largement condamné à l'intérieur comme à l'extérieur du royaume. Une commission parlementaire a trouvé cet achat déplacé, au moment où le pays est confronté à des problèmes bien plus pressants. La commission a d'ailleurs accusé le Premier ministre d'avoir abusivement débloqué l'argent en vue de l'achat et a recommandé au gouvernement de recouvrir l'argent avancé. (PANA, Sénégal, 21 mars 2003)

* Tunisie. Contre la guerre en Irak - La population tunisienne continue de manifester sa colère à l'endroit de "l'agression américano-britannique" contre l'Irak. Après les manifestations de samedi et lundi organisées à l'initiative des partis politiques et des organisations non gouvernementales, un grand rassemblement syndical a eu lieu le mardi 25 mars à Tunis, avec la participation de plus de 10.000 travailleurs. Outre la capitale, des manifestations se déroulent ces jours-ci dans la plupart des villes tunisiennes. Par ailleurs, le mardi, dans une déclaration publiée à l'issue d'une séance plénière, les députés tunisiens ont exprimé leur "grande préoccupation" et leur "inquiétude" devant "les développements dangeureux des événements résultant de la guerre contre l'Irak". (D'après PANA, Sénégal, 25 mars 2003)

* Uganda. Multi-party future - 21 March: A court in Uganda has ruled as unconstitutional a law which prevents political parties from carrying out their activities. Under the law passed last year, parties are not allowed to hold rallies, take part in elections or have offices outside the capital, Kampala. But the court has agreed with the petitioners who had insisted that the law is "unjustifiable, non functional and inoperative". The court also agreed that the act, known as the Political Organisations Act 2002, effectively makes Uganda a one-party state in favour of the government-sponsored system of government -- a non-party political system known as the "Movement". 26 March: The top body of Uganda's ruling "Movement" has started discussions over whether to allow multi-party politics. The 150 members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) are meeting for three days of closed door talks in the remote town of Kyankwanzi, 130 km north-west of the capital, Kampala. The meeting is going to be a lively affair, which will shape Uganda's future political landscape. The law which stops political parties from holding rallies, taking part in elections or having offices outside Kampala was last week declared unconstitutional. The court also agreed that the Political Organisations Act 2002, effectively makes Uganda a one-party state under a non-party political system known as the "Movement". (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 26 March 2003)

* Uganda. Peace envoy killed - 26 March: The Ugandan army has said rebels in the north of the country have killed a government envoy sent to initiate dialogue between the two sides. Army spokesman Lieutenant Paddy Ankunda said the intermediary, Captain Okech Kuru, was shot by rebels of the Lords Resistance Army on 24 March in the northern district of Pader. The deceased is said to have quit the rebels LRA to join the army. He is reported to have gone to meet rebel representatives to deliver a letter and two mobile phones. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 26 March 2003)

* Zambia. 10,000 left homeless - 26 March: Some 10,000 people have been left homeless after heavy rains in southern Zambia, which is already suffering from acute food shortages. Webster Mulubisha, permanent secretary in the vice president's office, told Reuters news agency that floods had destroyed huge fields of maize and infrastructure in Gwembe district, 380 km south of the capital, Lusaka. Some areas were cut off, with roads impassable and electricity and telephone supplies down, he said. The flooding follows a severe drought which left more than a quarter of Zambia's 10 million people in need of food aid. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 26 March 2003)

* Zimbabwe. L'opposition se mobilise - Le lundi 24 mars, la police zimbabwéenne a confirmé l'arrestation dimanche de deux députés et quelque 200 militants du Mouvement pour le changement démocratique (MDC, opposition) pour leur implication présumée dans la vague de violences qui a accompagné la grève générale de la semaine dernière. Les députés sont soupçonnés d'avoir ordonné aux jeunes du parti de se livrer à des violences qui ont débouché sur l'incendie de plusieurs bus et l'agression de personnes ayant ignoré l'appel à la grève. Celle-ci a dégénéré en violence dans certaines parties du pays, entraînant des attentats au cocktail Molotov contre les bureaux et entreprises qui ont ouvert au mépris de la grève. Les responsables du MDC ont nié avoir lancé ces violences. -- Le 26 mars, l'opposition zimbabwéenne a appelé les populations à se préparer à la confrontation avec le gouvernement dans le but de lui arracher des réformes politiques. Les forces de sécurité ont été placées en état d'alerte en prévision des manifestations de masse envisagées par le MDC. Dopé par le succès remporté par la grève générale, le MDC a donné au gouvernement un ultimatum de 2 semaines pour mettre en oeuvre des réformes, notamment la reprise de l'élection présidentielle controversée et la libération des membres du MDC emprisonnés. Le président Mugabe a refusé de céder à ces exigences et promis de briser toute tentative d'installer le chaos et le désordre dans le pays. (PANA, Sénégal, 24-26 mars 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Brutal repression after strike - 20 March: Zimbabwe's main opposition party has threatened to repeat the strike action of the past two days if their demands for political change are not met by the end of the month. Most shops and industries in Zimbabwe's main cities remained closed on 19 March, the second day of a strike, which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) hailed as an overwhelming success. The MDC said million of people had shown they were "no longer willing to live under tyranny and poverty". And it demanded that the regime of President Robert Mugabe "immediately embark upon a programme to dismantle the basis of its tyranny. The events of the last two days are simply the beginning of the march towards freedom," it said. 24 March: Opposition groups in Zimbabwe say that government security forces have arrested and beaten hundreds of people following last week's widely observed general strike. Amnesty International says that up to 500 people have been detained in "a new and dangerous phase of repression". Following the strike, President Robert Mugabe warned the opposition Movement for Democratic Change not to instigate violence, saying: "Those who play with fire will not only be burnt but consumed." All the evidence points to a new crackdown of unprecedented brutality. A doctor working in a hospital in the capital, Harare, said more than 250 people have been treated there after being beaten by the security forces; many had broken fingers or toes, some had broken legs. Two women described how men in military uniforms stripped them, beat them, and used guns to sexually abuse them. The MDC says that children of opposition activists have been assaulted. Lawyer and director of the publishers of the Daily News, Gugulethu Moyo, says she was beaten by five men in Harare central police station after going there to enquire about a Daily News photographer who had been arrested. Zimbabwean police spokesmen Bothwell Mugariri said about 400 opposition members have been arrested since last week's strike. 25 March: The United States says the Zimbabwean Government is using "unprecedented violence" against political opponents and demands that the Zimbabwe Government "immediately cease its campaign of violent oppression". -- Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the crisis of governance in the country is deepening. He calls for principled dialogue between his MDC and the government to prevent anarchy and chaos. Mr Tsvangirai tells a news conference during a lunch break in his treason trial that the opposition will continue with protests. "No amount of brutality and arrests of opposition supporters will discourage people, and the more repression there is, the more it will rebound. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 25 March 2003)

Weekly News anb0327.txt - 6/6


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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