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AANA BULLETIN No. 32/03 August 18, 2003 (a)
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AANA BULLETIN No. 32/03 August 18, 2003 (a)
AANA Bulletin Bulletin APTA
Editor -Elly Wamari Editor - Silvie Alemba
How About Use Of Magical Powers To Eliminate Kony?
KAMPALA (AANA) August 18 - A recent meeting between a Government minister
and witchdoctors to discuss the use of magical powers to dispel the Lords
Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group, underlines growing concern that the
Government is desperate to fight the insurgents, whose menace has spread
eastwards, from their northern territory.
Defence Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, met the Uganda Traditional Healers
Association, led by their chairman, Ben Gulu, and asked for help over the
"Since Kony uses spirits, it is appropriate that witchdoctors cast their
spell and defeat Kony," Nankabirwa is reported to have said.
Musanje Kyabaggu, General Secretary of the traditional healers association
said they could use spirits as done during their forefathers, in addition
to deploying "killer bees".
The witchcraft strategy caused widespread concern, forcing the minister to
swallow her words. She wrote to the media, denying such a scheme, as FM
stations broadcast quotes by her.
Pointing out that she was misunderstood, she elaborated that she felt there
was need to counter pervasive belief in superstition rampant in the north,
if government was to make headway in its fight against Joseph Kony, the
leader of LRA.
"Many people are reluctant to volunteer information, fearing that Kony's
spirits will note them and target them for revenge," she explained.
It is also alleged that Kony's moves have had an impact within the ranks of
Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), who believe that Kony has
However, some intelligence sources dismiss witchcraft powers in the war,
arguing that Kony's informers are quite numerous to the extent that three
out of four who attend local meetings in Gulu and Kitgum districts in the
north, are LRA informers.
Nevertheless, the use of witchcraft is widespread in Uganda. According to
UNICEF statistics, 67 percent of Ugandans consult witchdoctors on all
matters, including politics and wealth creation.
Though it is widely accepted at individual level, what has raised concern
now is that witchcraft could become part of government policy, if the
defence minister's move is anything to go by.
While many Government officials may not feel uneasy about application of
witchcraft, religious leaders are worried about the trend in this mostly
Critics say the widespread belief in witchcraft is indicative of failure by
religious institutions to have practical solutions against the practice.
Reported by Crespo Sebunya
Conflict Resolution Gets The Spotlight In Key Discussions
MAPUTO/NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - Ministers for defence, security and
foreign affairs from countries of the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) have agreed on a deal aimed at eliminating conflicts within the
The pact, which is to be endorsed during the Heads of State and Government
Summit scheduled for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from August 25 to 27, will
enshrine the principle of strong regional action against conflicts.
SADC is made up of Angola, Botswana, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), Malawi, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles,
Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
After its endorsement, the agreement is expected to be ratified by national
assemblies of SADC countries.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concluded its
discussion in Nairobi with calls to all African leaders to create an
enabling environment for a peaceful and democratic continent.
The conference, which brought together 120 delegates comprising legislators
and observers from 16 African countries, agreed on the need to develop
common efforts of conflict resolution in Africa.
There were unanimous calls for the legislation of an action plan that will
ensure peaceful conflict resolution in the continent.
The chairman-elect of the commonwealth legislators, Francis Ole Kaparo, who
is also the Speaker of Kenya's National Assembly, prevailed upon African
members of parliament to ensure the continent sets standards on
democratisation and conflict resolution.
Reported by Herman Kasili
African Assemblies Lack Skills To Gag The Executive - CPA
NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - Parliaments in Africa must strive to address the
balance of power to overturn the historically strong Executive, otherwise
they may end up ratifying Executive preferences only.
The warning was echoed during the 34th Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association (CPA) meeting here, August 1-9.
Parliaments, especially in new democracies across Africa, the meeting was
told, are ill equipped and lack the experience and know-how to gag the
power of the Executive.
Presenting a paper on the subject Speaker of Ghanaian National Assembly,
Peter Ala Adjetey, said parliaments have been facing special challenges in
countries where a strong Executive dominated the political system, and its
powers deep-rooted in legal and cultural structures.
In an opening speech, Kenya's Minister for Education Prof George Saitoti
reiterated the importance of involving parliaments in regional bodies like
the Africa Union, East African Community, Southern African Development
Community and Economic Community for West African States, rather than leave
participation squarely on the Executive.
The incoming CPA chairman, Francis ole Kaparo, said: "Parliament, being
the voice of the common people, has the responsibility of ensuring the
Executive does not encroach on the power of legislation and scrutiny of
financial estimates, and in this regard, parliament can make Africa better
Reported By Herman Kasili
Third Round Of Sudan Peace Negotiations Kicks Off
NANYUKI, Kenya (AANA) August 18 - The third round of Sudan peace talks
between Khartoum Government and the Sudanese People's Liberation
Movement/Army (SPLM/A), kicked off here on August 11, with its principal
mediator, Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo expressing optimism.
Issues expected to be discussed during this phase of the talks include the
sensitive subject of power and wealth sharing.
A day before the peace talks opened, a group of Sudanese Christians living
in Kenya held a thanksgiving prayer service in Nairobi, Kenya's capital,
for peaceful deliberations at the talks.
Delivering a sermon, Sudanese clergyman, Rev Paul Pitya Benjamina, moved
the congregation by recalling the atrocities meted on southern Sudanese
people as they struggled to liberate themselves.
"As you travel in southern Sudan, you are likely to come face-to-face with
bones of human beings, scattered around," he told the attentive congregation.
He went on: " The dry bones are not just bones, but clear indication that
hundreds of our people have lost lives [in attempts] to liberate themselves."
SPLM/A spokesman, Dr. Samson Kwaje, speaking to journalists after the
prayer service, expressed hope that delegates at the peace talks will stick
to issues and that nobody will attempt to "sneak in" new matters.
Dr. Kwaje was alluding to reports that Khartoum Government had dismissed
some sections of a draft document that delegates were expected to base
their deliberations on.
On August 9, Sudanese President, Omar el-Bashir was reported to have
slammed the document as put forward by the mediating Inter-Governmental
Authority on Development (IGAD), charging that it was "aimed at dismantling
not only the present regime but the whole of Sudan".
"We are not going to sign any peace agreement that does not implement
justice," the Sudanese head of State was reported to have remarked in an
interview with an Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram.
Reported by Osman Njuguna
Agencies Outline Plan To End Ethiopia's Recurrent Famine
ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - Observing that long-term
interventions could solve Ethiopia's food crisis, eight aid agencies
working to avert a catastrophe in the country have reaffirmed their
commitment to address immediate, as well as long-term needs.
A ghastly famine has been threatening the lives of about 12.5 million
people for some years now, despite earlier warnings by Christian aid
agencies. Observers say this is the greatest humanitarian crisis facing
any single nation in the world today.
Accordingly, eight humanitarian organisations, led by Catholic Relief
Service (CRS), an American agency, said on August 6 that the new commitment
was a significant step to save lives and lay the groundwork for Ethiopia's
CRS is the lead agency in a consortium of relief organisations, known as
Joint Emergency Operational Plan (JEOP), that is reaching 4.5 million of
the 12.5 million people in need of relief in Ethiopia.
Other agencies in the consortium include Save the Children-USA, Lutheran
World Relief, Africare, CARE-USA, International Orthodox Christian
Charities, World Vision, and the Church of Latter-day Saints.
The eight offered specific recommendations, including the immediate
provision of seeds, tools, livestock and fertilisers, to enable farming
communities resume food production.
Other long term measures outlined in the plan are construction of
reservoirs, small dams, bore-holes, wells and other water conservation
structures; improvement of transport and storage facilities to strengthen
agricultural markets; and across-the-board investments in community
Aid agencies working in Ethiopia have in the recent past said that food
alone was not enough to combat hunger.
In 1984, famine killed close to a million people, sparking off a large
international relief effort to introduce famine prevention programmes. Even
though the country has implemented most of these recovery efforts,
recurrent droughts have made progress difficult.
Reported by Muuna Wamuli
Mugabe Utterances Threaten To Scuttle Dialogue Plans
HARARE (AANA) August 18 - Prospects for talks between the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), being initiated by local church
leaders here, are now bleak, following the declaration by President Robert
Mugabe that the opposition party should first "repent" before any serious
The President, speaking at an occasion to mark the country's Heroes' Day
celebrations here on August 11, said he would give "the enemies of unity
and independence" a chance to repent.
There have been hopes that the two political parties would return to talks,
which were abandoned last year after some misunderstandings.
Church leaders, led by the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches,
Bishop Sebastian Bakare, have been shuttling between the two political
parties in a bid to revive the talks.
"Those who go together with our enemies abroad cannot at the same time want
to march alongside our partners in nation building efforts that are
underway. There is room for them to repent, there is room for them to say
we were wrong yesterday, we shall not be wrong tomorrow," said Mugabe last
Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic and political turmoil since
independence and it is expected that the talks between the two political
parties would help in the recovery of the country.
It has been reported that some members of ZANU-PF are sceptical about the
talks, a factor that has seen the party failing to submit its agenda for
the talks by an August 8 deadline.
MDC has already submitted its agenda to the church leaders, and it has
removed the issue of questioning the legitimacy of President Mugabe.
Relations between the two parties thawed last month, after opposition
Members of Parliament (MPs) attended the official opening of the Fourth
Session of the Fifth Parliament by Mugabe.
MDC MPs had boycotted previous openings, but decided against it this
time. Even the president of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai ,was present,
though he is not an MP.
Political analysts have pointed out that the talks between the two parties
is the only way forward for a country that is facing serious foreign
currency and cash shortages, and an annual inflation rate of 360 percent.
Reported by Namutatanga Makombe
Zimbabwe Moves To Fight Poverty With Irrigation
HARARE (AANA) August 18 - An idea of a winter maize crop mooted by
Zimbabwean Government has brought in a new agricultural dimension, which
could turn the country into the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Having endured long periods of drought and famine, Zimbabwe has now
embarked on an irrigation programme that is expected to turn around the
country, whose agriculture is on the brink of collapse.
The Government has embarked on a plan to clear 150,000 hectares (ha) of
prime farming land as a pilot project, in partnership with Chinese Water
and Electrical International.
The Chinese company has moved onto the site, signalling the start of a
multi-million dollar project that would see the southern region regaining
its breadbasket status of the 1980s. When fully implemented, the scheme
will produce about three million tonnes of maize every year.
This yield is enough to meet the annual national requirements of between
1.8 million to 2.1 million tonnes. It would transform Zimbabwe into a
regional net exporter of maize, a privilege currently enjoyed by South
Zimbabwe, which introduced land reforms in 2001 to economically empower its
indigenous citizens, has redistributed land proportionately by sub-dividing
large commercial farms previously owned by white farmers. Indigenous
farmers have been busy clearing land for irrigation farming.
More than 300,000 people have been resettled on fertile land under the land
redistribution programme. Although the programme offers hope to fight
poverty in a country of 11 million people, mismanagement of resources
earmarked for the programme threatens its success.
There have been reports of high-ranking government officials giving
themselves more than one farm, thereby depriving the majority poor peasants
Recently, President Robert Mugabe appointed a committee to review the land
reform programme to ensure that only one farm was allowed per person. He
admitted that all had not been well with his agrarian revolution.
Reported by Tim Chigodo
Regional Fellowship Lauds Taylor For Stepping Down
ACCRA/NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - The Fellowship of Christian Councils and
Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA) has lauded the immediate former president
of Liberia, Charles Taylor, for taking the bold step to hand over power to
his deputy, Moses Blah, to give leeway to peace in Liberia.
A press release form FECCIWA, availed to AANA, said: "The recent departure
of Mr. Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, has indeed been welcome
news to peace loving people around the world. Despite the many allegations
against Mr. Taylor, his decision to comply with demands of the
international community for the sake of Liberia ought to be applauded by
The statement, signed by FECCIWA's Secretary General, Baffour Dokyi Amoa,
went on: "The symbolic act of a democratically elected President handing
power to his successor irrespective of the circumstance must be lauded and
encouraged across Africa."
The organisation also paid tribute to the new political leadership in
Africa, for the efforts made by them in finding solution to Liberia's
crisis, saying it demonstrated their commitment to see change in the way
problems are solved in "our continent".
Before Taylor stepped down, he had indicated in a passionate message
recorded for broadcast that he was stepping down and moving out of Liberia,
not out of fear but for the love of the people of Liberia. He called
himself the "sacrificial lamb... for the sake of peace".
Taylor, who came to power in 1990 with the backing of Libya, blamed United
States of America (USA) for the current stalemate, alleging that America
orchestrated the Liberian crisis in order to benefit from the latter's gold
and diamond, among other reserves.
FECCIWA, however, has acknowledged USA's role in bringing peace to Liberia,
and has pleaded with the country to continue its involvement in Liberian
Other institutions acknowledged by FECCIWA for their role in seeking
solutions to Liberia's crisis include, Economic Community of West African
States, Africa Union, the United Nations, All Africa Conference of
Churches, World Council of Churches, and Church World Service.
Reported by Joseph K'Amolo
Kenya, Sudan To Combat Cross-Border Arms Spread
NAIROBI (AANA) August 17 - Kenya and Sudan should work out measures to
enforce cross-border security, delegates at the 8th Kenya-Sudan Joint
Ministerial Committee meeting held here August 11-12, have recommended.
The two delegations expressed concern over cattle rustling and
proliferation of illicit arms within the region, and their impact on
communities living along the common border, namely the Toposa in Sudan, and
the Turkana in Kenya.
The meeting was chaired jointly by Kenya's minister for Foreign Affairs,
Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, and his Sudanese counterpart, Dr. Mustafa Osman
In a press statement issued at the end of the meeting, both delegations
underlined the need to resolve the conflict in southern Sudan, pointing out
that it had compounded the problem along the border region.
There were also proposals that a Sudanese consulate be established at
Lokichogio, to facilitate relief operations in southern Sudan, as opposed
to the current situation where liaison with the Kenyan Government has to be
conducted in Nairobi, almost 1000km away.
Reported by Osman Njuguna
Meeting Adopts Cattle Branding To Curb Rustling
KAMPALA (AANA) August 18 - An ambitious plan aimed at combating cattle
rustling in East Africa was hatched here on August 8, by East African
regional police chiefs.
The scheme, which involves branding animals to make them easier to
identify, is expected to deter potential rustlers, because their loot would
be tagged, making it easier for police to recover stolen cattle and punish
In a statement released at the end of a three-day intensive consultations
involving seven countries and several international bodies, the police
chiefs acknowledged that while branding herds was not an easy task, "member
states should urgently try to put in place mechanisms that would facilitate
identification of herds".
This, they said, could either be by family, clan or district for ease of
restitution after recovery.
The recommendation was part of a parcel of reforms aiming to lessen
insecurity in the regions within East Africa that are affected by cattle
Besides branding cows, the police also proposed co-ordinated training
schemes to help regional forces investigate allegations of cattle rustling
more efficiently. Delegates also suggested that border controls be
tightened to curb arms trafficking.
Countries involved in drafting the plan included Kenya, Tanzania,
Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda and South Africa. International organisations
represented were the East African Community, Inter-governmental Authority
on Development, and the Hague-based Institute of Social Studies.
Reported by Henry Neondo
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