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All Africa News Agency 20/03 May 26 2003 (a)
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Tue, 27 May 2003 17:15:08 -0700
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AANA BULLETIN No. 20/03 - May 26, 2003 (a)
AANA Bulletin is an ecumenical initiative to highlight all endeavours and
experiences of Christians and the people of Africa. AANA Bulletin is
published weekly and, together with the French Edition - Bulletin APTA - is
also available through e-mail. For editorial and subscription details,
AANA Bulletin Bulletin APTA
Editor -Elly Wamari Editor -
Authorities In Uganda Detain Two Terror Suspects
KAMPALA (AANA) May 26 - Ugandan authorities are holding two suspects
accused of planning to blow up some installations in Kampala, a source from
military intelligence has disclosed.
A Pakistani national, Captain Santeh (full names unknown), a pilot and
proprietor of Santair Cargo, is being detained at one of the Chieftaincy of
Military Intelligence units in Makindye, in Kampala. The other is an
unnamed Somali national.
Santeh deals in exportation of commodities like salt, sugar, soap and other
basic necessities to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Security units
suspect that he is linked to international terrorism.
Preliminary information is that the two suspects were part of a large group
whose mission was to carry out an aerial bombardment of Uganda's
parliament, a few metres from the British High Commission, on May 12.
Ugandan security was tipped by Australia's intelligence four days before
the date. There is still heightened alert in the city, and the presidential
guard is reinforced with armed personnel carriers.
Joint civilian and military police patrols are common and a few roadblocks
have been erected on some highways.
Ugandan security has already detained 200 aliens, mostly Arabs, Asians and
Britain named Uganda as one of the countries under terrorist threat.
British Airways had to cancel one of its flights from Entebbe to Heathrow,
during this heightened concern.
There is a sense of satisfaction though, that Uganda foiled this attempt.
Minister of State for Defence, Ruth Nankabirwa, attributes this to
alertness of the Ugandan intelligence system.
She observes that it was not out of luck that Uganda was spared in the 1998
bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, rather, terrorist
moves were frustrated out of preparedness.
Uganda has six military and civilian intelligence outfits, namely, Internal
Security Organisation, External Security Organisation, Special
Investigative Branch (military), Special Branch (police), Chieftaincy of
Military Intelligence, and Criminal Investigation Department. All these are
under an umbrella organ, the National Security Council. However, beneath
this formidable array, there is rising concern that they are less
Reported by Crespo Sebunya
Fighting In Volatile Ituri Province Displaces Thousands
ITURI, DRC/GENEVA (AANA) May 26 - Fighting between rival militia groups in
Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has displaced more
than 22,000 people.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Goma, a member of Action by Churches
Together (ACT) International (a humanitarian agency), has confirmed that
displaced villagers have been pouring into Beni territory from Ituri. They
have now reached about 22,515.
According to information from a church in Beni, Eglise du Christ au Congo
(ECC), this number includes 10,132 children, 7,494 women and 4,434 men,
mainly from Bunia, Mungbalo and Drodro. LWF and ECC say the displaced
people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Ituri province has been subject to inter-ethnic fighting between the Hema
and Lendu communities. The former are cattle raisers, while the latter are
farmers. Both groups were backed and armed by Uganda.
Violence erupted in May 2002 as Ugandan troops left Ituri province due to
international pressure. The situation seemed to have stabilised in January
this year as the Army of Congolese Patriots (APC) of Thomas Lubanga (a
Hema) took full control of Bunia town.
Later, Lubanga signed a bilateral agreement with the Rwanda backed RCD-Goma
for military assistance.
This agreement angered the government of Uganda, which is engaged in a
power struggle with Rwanda over the region. Each country claims to be
acting in the interest of their own security.
Last February, Ugandan troops expelled the Union Patriotique Congolaise
(UPC) from Bunia town and restored a fragile peace in the town.
However, Rwanda balked at the thought of Ugandan control over Ituri
province, employing the help of the international community to force
Ugandan army out of the province.
Again, Ituri was left without a proper interim organised armed force to
maintain stability. The 200 policemen sent from Kinshasa were not up to the
Thomas Lubanga again moved in, attacking Bunia. Meanwhile, four other
independent militias had formed. The fighting in Bunia was uncontrolled and
killings and atrocities reached an unprecedented level. Thousands of people
were once again displaced.
And now, just when different political factions are meeting in Kinshasa to
try and unify the country, following resolutions of the Global and
Inclusive Agreement signed in South Africa in March 2003, renewed conflict
has beset Ituri.
Reported by Callie Long
ACT Communications Officer
Women Caution President Against 'Offensive' Remarks
BLANTYRE (AANA) May 26 - Leading women rightists in Malawi have cautioned
President Bakili Muluzi against using abusive language towards women at
political rallies, a practice they claim frustrates efforts to uplift their
Muluzi provoked the anger of civil society organisations representing
women, when at one of his recent rallies, he accused women of immorality
and yielding to sexual advances easily.
Not amused, the organisations termed the president's utterances as
derogatory, demeaning and disrespectful to all women in the country.
Civil Liberties Committee (CILIC), Society for the Advancement of Women
(SAW) and National Women's Lobby and Rights Group (NWLRG), condemned the
president's negative attitude towards women, noting that it was unfortunate
at this time when the country was gearing up for elections next year, and
women needed encouragement to participate in the process.
Emmie Chanika, CILIC executive director, said it was disappointing that the
head of state was in the forefront of violating the rights of women. She
advised him to censor his speeches if he were to command confidence from
"It is sad to note the president insults women in the presence of his wife,
the clergy and leaders of the Muslim society," charged Chanika, accusing
also the first lady, Patricia Shanil Muluzi, for not checking the
SAW director, Catherine Munthali reminded Muluzi, that he must set example
in respecting women's rights. "We have never before heard a president
talking about undressing women in public. He is creating a gap between men
and women. With this attitude, there cannot be any empowerment for women in
this country," complained Munthali.
Faustace Chirwa, director of NWLRG, held the president responsible for
fuelling violence against women with his demeaning remarks, which
discouraged them from participating in political activity and
"The president's remarks are offensive. He better check his jokes and make
sure he upholds women's rights," cautioned Chirwa.
Meanwhile interest groups are teaming up to press Muluzi's administration
to abide by a 1997 Gender and Development Declaration, signed by 12
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) governments, to improve the
number of women by 30 percent at decision-making levels by 2005.
Malawi has done poorly in implementing the declaration, while South Africa
and Mozambique are the only countries in the region making meaningful
headways in placing women in influential positions.
Reported by Hobbs Gama
Mugabe Bows To Pressure To Hold Talks With Opposition
HARARE (AANA) May 26 - President Robert Mugabe's government has bowed to
international and national pressure to hold dialogue with Zimbabwe's
opposition, in an effort to contain the country's dilapidating political
and economic crisis.
Mugabe, who in the past refused to engage in talks with leader of
opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, on claims that Tsvangira's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) was fronting British and American neo-colonial
interests, admitted that there was an urgent need to initiate dialogue to
solve the country's problems. This, he did after meeting three visiting
African heads of State.
Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and
Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, met Mugabe and Tsvangirai for separate talks in
Harare on May 7, in efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table.
"A more stable political dialogue is possible. We should never get to a
point where we feel incapacitated to deal with our problems. Our problems
are better resolved through dialogue," said the Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, when briefing
parliamentarians on the visit by the three presidents.
The minister, an ardent Mugabe loyalist, said lack of dialogue between the
ruling ZANU-PF and MDC was the cause of most problems affecting the country.
The MDC, civil society and the international community is demanding that
Mugabe hands over power to a transitional government, which will facilitate
the holding of fresh elections.
But Mugabe, who analyst say is now feeling the effects of British and US
pressure for him to resign, insists that he can only engage the opposition
if it recognises him as the legitimate leader of the country.
However, last month, Mugabe approached the Archbishop of Cape Town, the
Most Reverend Njongonkulu Ndungane to mediate between the two sides.
Archbishop Ndungane said after the meeting: "He has said quite openly that
he is open to diversity of political participation in this and I think the
fact that he has invited mediation shows he appreciates the problems
The country is facing its worst economic depression since independence from
Britain in 1980, after being plunged into turmoil in 2000 when the
government embarked on an agrarian reform programme aimed at transferring
land from the minority white commercial farmers to landless blacks.
Subsequent general elections won by Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), were dismissed by the
international community as fraudulent, further pushing the once prosperous
southern African country into political and economic turmoil characterised
by a shortage of foreign currency and alarming job losses.
On these problems, Archbishop said: "From my initial meeting with President
Mugabe, his indication is that both internal and external problems flow
from the unfinished business of Lancaster House (where independent
Zimbabwe's Constitution was drafted)."
Mugabe claims the British agreed to fund the phased transfer of land from
the minority white population, who owned 75 percent of the productive
land, to landless blacks.
Reported by Kholwani Nyathi
Govt Extends Arm To Faith Leaders In War On Corruption
LILONGWE (AANA) May 26 - Authorities in Malawi have opted to take advantage
of the respect religious leaders command in society, to partner with
faith-based organisations in anti-corruption campaigns.
Cases of rising corruption among high ranking public officials, such as
cabinet ministers accepting kick backs, and students illegally accessing
examination papers, immigration officers in passport issuance scandals,
among others, are becoming a way of life here.
Church-owned Public Affairs Committee (PAC) said during the recent launch
of a faith-based programme to tackle corruption, that Malawi would not
develop if people in high office abused their influence for political gains.
PAC vice-chairman, Rev MacDonald Kadawati, said since the issue of
corruption had profound impact on development, as a religious organisation,
PAC was geared to be in the forefront in war against the social evil.
"Leaders who succumb to offering bribes as political strategy, and those
who receive such bribes, have no place in the new democratic Malawi,
because they have no principles," charged Rev Kadawati.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), established through an Act of Parliament,
is seeking co-operation with the Church through PAC, the Episcopal
Conference of Malawi (ECM), the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), and
traditional leaders, to enable religious organisations take an influential
role in the country's campaign against corruption.
Emphasis is on encouraging religious leaders to use sermons and scriptures
of their choice to pass messages against corruption.
Director of ACB, Justice Michael Mtegha, said there was need to build a
coalition of as many organisations as possible.
"The bureau has realised the need to involve religious leaders, so they can
bring back morals in people," said Mtegha.
Latest reports by the Berlin-based Transparency International, rated Malawi
as among the three southern African countries badly hit by corruption.
South Africa and Botswana were named as the other two, where bribes,
kick-backs, fraud and all forms of corruption were rampant.
Reported by Hobbs Gama
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