Weekly anb0430_03.txt #5

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 30-04-2003      PART #3/5

* Ghana. Curfew ordered in Tamale - 24 April: A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed on the Dagbon traditional area of Tamale in northern Ghana. Four people have died there during two days of pitched battles between government and opposition supporters. Several houses belonging to supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) were vandalised and party billboards and flags were also destroyed. A number of motorbikes and bicycles were burned. Several people including a soldier were wounded. More than 100 people have been arrested by joint operations between the military and police which are continuing. There has been simmering tension in the region since the killing of the Dagbon king last year. The disturbances appear to have flared up again this week following the lifting and then re-imposition of the state of emergency which began after the king's death. On 24 April, armed soldiers cordoned off the Tamale abattoir as members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who had taken part took part in the violence, gathered to take their meat to market. Some were arrested, beaten up and made to remove their shirts. They were forced to lie on their backs and face the sun with eyes open in temperatures of about 35C. The security forces, with reinforcements from other parts of the country, have now been able to bring the situation under control. Some semblance of calm has slowly returned to the municipality with armed soldiers and police patrolling the town. The banks and some shops have re-opened. The northern regional security committee met the leadership of all political parties in Tamale on 23 April to try to find a solution to the disturbances. They all condemned the violence and political leaders went to the two local radio stations in Tamale to appeal for calm. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 24 April 2003)

* Ghana. Couvre-feu dans le nord - Un couvre-feu, valable du coucher au lever du soleil, a été imposé dans la région de Dagbon, nord du Ghana, suite aux affrontements survenus à Tamale, la capitale régionale. Le 22 avril, des violences entre jeunes du Nouveau parti patriotique (NPP) et du Congrès national démocratique (NDC) y ont fait un mort, un jeune homme de 18 ans. La police a dit avoir arrêté 88 personnes soupçonnées d'être impliquées dans les violences, au cours desquelles plusieurs maisons ont été incendiées. Les activités commerciales à Tamale sont presque paralysées. (Misna, Italie, 24 avril 2003)

* Ghana. Jail sentences for rice fraud - 29 April: Two former Ghanaian ministers and a senior civil servant have been sent to prison for their part in a failed scheme to set up a rice plantation. Former Finance Minister Kwame Peprah was sentenced to a total of four years in prison, while former Agriculture Minister Ibrahim Adam and a former finance ministry official, George Sikpah-Yankee, got two years each. Two other officials were cleared. All three Ghanaians had pleaded not guilty of "causing financial loss to the state". (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 29 April 2003)

* Guinea-Bissau. Changing a capital city - 23 April: President Kumba Yala of Guinea-Bissau has said he is changing the country's capital from Bissau to a small town with only a few thousand residents. He says the new capital will be Buba, about 200 kilometres south-east of Bissau. The change will become effective after the construction of a deep-water port in Buba and when a railway line linking it to Mali's capital, Bamako, is completed. President Yala says Bissau will remain the commercial capital of the former Portuguese colony. But opposition leaders have condemned the plan as a political gimmick. The proposal comes ahead of the twice-postponed legislative election now scheduled for 6 July. Francisco Fadul, leader of the United Party for Social Democracy of Guinea-Bissau, said the planned capital switch was an electoral ploy designed to distract attention from the country's economic problems. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 23 April 2003)

* Kenya. Increasing AIDS drugs availability - On 25 April, Kenya announced plans to sharply increase the availability of key anti-AIDS drugs by 2005 to try to curb the spread of the disease and ease pressure on crowded hospitals. Kenya has about 2.2 million people with HIV/AIDS but only 7,000 currently receive anti-retroviral drugs, an expensive, life-prolonging treatment. The government has asked the health ministry to raise that number to 40,000 by mid-2005, said Kenneth Chebet, director of the ministry's National AIDS and STDs Control Programme. "We went through a period of advocacy (of safe sex), but we have realized that hospital beds (with AIDS patients) are getting to 50 to 60 percent (of hospital capacity)," Chebet told a news conference. "So we are now looking at issues of treatment and access to therapy," he said, adding the treatment would be subsidized. With nearly half of Kenya's 30 million people living off less than a dollar a day, most patients cannot afford the drugs. "The lowest price of triple combination therapy we have in Kenya is costing about 3,000 shillings ($40) per month," said Christa Cepuch, a pharmacist with the medical charity Medecins sans Frontières. (CNN, USA, 25 April 2003)

* Kenya. Vers une nouvelle Constitution - Désaccord interreligieux - Le Kenya va se doter d'une nouvelle Constitution. Les 629 membres de la conférence nationale constitutionnelle doivent se réunir ce lundi 28 avril, pour préciser l'avant-projet de la loi fondamentale publié en septembre dernier par une commission à partir des propositions émises par les citoyens kényans. Les membres de la conférence, où siègent des délégués élus dans les districts du pays et des représentants des minorités et des Eglises, transmettront le texte au Parlement qui devra l'adopter avec une majorité des deux-tiers. Le président Kibaki avait promis de faire adopter une nouvelle Constitution et de démocratiser le pays. La Constitution actuelle a été rédigée juste avant l'indépendance en 1963, mais le texte a été plusieurs fois amendé pour créer un Etat fort, doté d'un président puissant. -- Les musulmans et les chrétiens qui jusqu'à présent avaient travaillé ensemble pour la révision de cette Constitution, sont en désaccord. Les chrétiens refusent qu'elle puisse accorder un système légal spécifique pour les musulmans, a indiqué l'agence catholique Cisa le 23 avril. L'Eglise catholique rejette toutes les sections du projet ayant trait aux tribunaux islamiques. Certaines Eglises pentecôtistes et évangéliques vont plus loin et demandent que la nouvelle Constitution déclare le Kenya un Etat chrétien. Pour marquer leur désaccord, les musulmans se sont retirés, le 22 avril, de l'Ufungamano, organisation interreligieuse qui a conduit le processus de révision constitutionnelle et dont faisaient partie toutes les Eglises, les musulmans et les hindous, ainsi que les organisations civiques du pays. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 28 avril 2003)

* Kenya. Tackling the new Constitution - 29 April: In Kenya, more than 600 delegates are expected to begin debate on a draft constitutional document today. President Mwai Kibaki is expected to officially open the session in the capital, Nairobi. The debate, which will last for several weeks, finally kicks off after several legal attempts to scuttle a process which began early last year. The draft calls for radical changes on issues of governance and accountability, and is a reflection of the persistent clamour for change in the country. The document was drawn up by the Constitutional Review Commission under chairman Yash Pal Ghai after a consultation exercise involving members of the Kenyan public. The delegates include the 223 members of parliament and representatives from political parties, religious groups and members of the civil society. There has been a heated public debate on some of the contentious issues in the draft even before the conference kicks off. The creation of the post of a prime minister and the entrenchment of the Islamic Kadhi courts into the new constitution are some of the key issues likely to be debated intensively by delegates. The issue of putting a maximum age limit on presidential candidates has also created a storm, because its adoption would automatically rekindle a succession debate in the country. President Mwai Kibaki is 71 years old and he would be barred from seeking a second term if the clause were adopted. There has been intense lobbying among ruling party members of parliament and those from the Kanu opposition, especially on the issue of whether there should be an executive prime minister. The Christian and Muslim religious groups have also differed over whether the Islamic Kadhi courts should have their jurisdiction expanded. At the moment, the Kadhi courts deal with domestic issues such marriage and divorce. (BBC News, UK, 29 April 2003)

* Kenya. Des milliards détournés - De gros pillards de l'ancienne administration du Kenya auraient mis en lieu sûr 160 milliards de shillings kényans (2,1 milliards de dollars) de fonds publics dans des banques étrangères, a révélé Kiratu Murungi, le ministre des Affaires constitutionnelles. Une réunion de cabinet sur la corruption a porté sur la nécessité de retrouver des comptes secrets appartenant à 10 milliardaires kényans. M. Murungi a assuré que le gouvernement ferait en sorte que tous ceux qui sont impliqués dans des affaires de corruption soient poursuivis, ajoutant que le président Kibaki a donné l'autorisation de poursuivre tout le monde, y compris les actuels ministres, s'ils sont impliqués dans des mauvaises pratiques financières. (PANA, Sénégal, 29 avril 2003)

* Liberia. New rebel group approaches capital - A new rebel group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) on 26 April attacked the strategic southeast coastal town of Greenville, provincial headquarters of Sinoe County. Several armed groups are reported to be operating in eastern Liberia and western Côte d'Ivoire: forces loyal to the Ivorian government; Ivorian rebels; forces opposed to Liberia's President Charles Taylor; armed groups which work for one or other of the belligerents or for themselves. MODEL comprises former supporters of the late President Samuel Doe. (IRIN, Kenya, 28 April 2003)

* Libya. Libya says it will pay families of Lockerbie victims - Libya is willing to pay close to $3 billion to the families of victims of Pan Am Flight 103 after accepting "civil responsibility" for the 1988 explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, its foreign minister said on 29 April. The payout was agreed to during negotiations last month between lawyers representing the families and Libya, and is conditional on the lifting of sanctions, Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam told The Associated Press. The family of each of the 270 victims will receive $10 million in three instalments, he said. After the first payment of $4 million to each family, UN sanctions on Libya would be lifted, he said. After the second $4 million payment, US sanctions would go, and after the final payment, Washington would remove Libya from its list of states that sponsor terrorism, he said in a telephone interview. In London, the British foreign office said it had received no confirmation from Libya about a final agreement on paying the Lockerbie victims. There was no immediate comment from Washington. (CNN, USA, 29 April 2003)

* Libye. Lockerbie: responsabilité civile acceptée - Le 29 avril, le ministre libyen des Affaires étrangères, Abdel Rahmane Chalgham, a déclaré que son pays acceptait de prendre la responsabilité civile des actions de ses fonctionnaires dans l'affaire de Lockerbie. L'attentat perpétré le 21 décembre 1988 au-dessus de la ville écossaise avait fait 270 morts. La justice écossaise a condamné un ancien agent secret libyen à la prison à vie. La Libye versera 10 millions de dollars aux familles de chacune des victimes. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 30 avril 2003)

* Madagascar. Ravalomanana à Paris - Le dimanche 27 avril, le président malgache Marc Ravalomanana est arrivé à Paris pour une visite de travail de quatre jours en France. Au cours de son séjour, il rencontrera les plus hautes personnalités françaises. Accompagné d'une délégation d'une quinzaine de personnes, parmi lesquelles de nombreux ministres, il s'adressera en outre aux investisseurs publics et privés français auxquels il exposera les potentialités économiques de Madagascar. La visite devrait permettre de parachever la normalisation des relations franco-malgaches. On rappelle que durant les démêlés politiques de 2002, la France avait d'abord pris fait et cause pour le président sortant Didier Ratsiraka, actuellement réfugié à Paris. Après avoir ensuite reconnu le président "auto-proclamé", Paris plaide aujourd'hui pour une reconnaissance du régime d'Antananarivo par l'Union africaine. (D'après PANA, Sénégal, 27 avril 2003)

* Mali. Prêt de la BADEA - La Banque arabe pour le développement économique en Afrique (BADEA) vient d'octroyer un prêt de 2,4 millions de dollars au Mali pour le financement du projet de routes urbaines à Bamako. Le prêt est remboursable sur une période de 26 ans, avec un taux d'intérêt annuel de 2%. Le projet tend à résoudre les problèmes de transport dans la capitale malienne, et aura aussi des effets indirects sur les activités commerciales et sur l'environnement. (PANA, Sénégal, 29 avril 2003)

Weekly News - anb0430.txt - #3/5