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AANA BULLETIN No. 33/03 August 25, 2003 (b)

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AANA BULLETIN No. 33/03 August 25, 2003 (b)

AANA Bulletin			     Bulletin APTA
Editor -Elly Wamari		  Editor - Silvie Alemba


Rwanda Finally Goes To Polls After Years Of Transition

After nine years of transitional governance, Rwanda is finally set to go to 
the polls. The small central African state bordering Uganda to the north, 
Burundi to the south, and Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo to the 
east and west respectively, is due to experience its first democratic 
elections since the infamous 1994 genocide. As presidential polls proceed 
today (August 25), AANA Editor, Elly Wamari, takes a look at the scales in 
the country's political landscape.

Four candidates are bidding for Rwanda's presidency. They are the 
incumbent, President Paul Kagame of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Faustin 
Twagiramungu and Jean Nayinzira as independent candidates, and Alivera 
Mukabaramba, a lady, of Partie Pour Progres et Concorde (PPC).

The striking factor about these polls is that they are expected to come up 
with a democratically elected government to replace a transitional 
leadership, which was put in place nine years ago to forestall further 
turmoil in a hitherto volatile socio-political situation.

The country had just emerged from a horrendous genocide.

Secondly, the polls are being held under a new constitution, which is only 
about two months old, therefore, being practically put to 
test.  it  requires an elected president to form a government of national 
unity, incorporating members of the opposition in Cabinet positions.

According to Seth Kamanzi, Rwandan Ambassador to Kenya, it is this concept 
of national unity that has steered the country clear of further turmoil 
since the National Transitional Government took office on July 19, 1994, 
after the RPF, led by General Paul Kagame, drove out genocide perpetrators.

The development marked the beginning of Rwanda's recovery.  An Arusha Peace 
Accord recommended "a broad-based government incorporating those parties 
created in the context of unity, and which had no role in the genocide," 
said Ambassador Kamanzi, in an interview with AANA.

Eight parties were incorporated, including Twagiramungu's Republican 
Democratic Movement (MDR), now disbanded for having strayed back into 
"politics of ethnicity", the very factor that the country has had to muzzle 
over the years, according to Ambassador Kamanzi.

Led by President Pasteur Bizimungu up to the year 2000, and by Kagame to 
the present time, the transitional government is acclaimed to have steered 
the country into economic growth and political maturity.  Kagame took over 
as Interim President after Bizimungu resigned following sustained pressure 
from his own party (RPF), which accused him of opposing anti-graft 
policies.  Kagame had been Vice-President.

His (Kagame's) three-year leadership at the top, comment political 
observers, has been smooth, apart from occasional flexing of muscle against 
Uganda over eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where the two countries 
have competitive interests.

On internal stability however, Rwanda has realised commendable strides. 
According to Ambassador Kamanzi, the country has achieved an economic 
growth swinging between 8 and 13 percent.  This he says, has been so over 
the past five years.

Security is also good, he asserts, pointing out: "Rwanda has the least 
crime level in East and Central Africa, if not in Africa." Given its dark 
history, these are formidable achievements, notes Kamanzi.

Kagame's major opponent, Twagiramungu, is a man whose background is filled 
with controversies. He was appointed Prime Minister at the inception of the 
transitional government in 1994, but resigned hardly a year later. He 
immediately fled to Belgium over unclear disagreements with the ruling party.

He only resurfaced recently to announce his interest in the country's top 
seat.  Political observers acknowledge that he is the only candidate posing 
a challenge to President Kagame.

Having been a fiery critic of Government of the day and a pioneer of 
multi-party ideology in Rwanda, Twagiramungu no doubt has some good 
following.  He is remembered as the only person who fearlessly challenged 
President Habyarimana's regime, and moved crowds to mount pressure on the 
then government to accept multi-partyism.

But presently, perhaps due to lack of adequate resources, he has not been 
able to attract a following of the magnitude seen in Kagame's rallies. 
According to a Rwandan national, the fact that Twagiramungu appeared just 
in the "knick of time" to contest the presidency, make many view him as an 
opportunist. His being away for long in Belgium, is thus a major factor 
that could tilt the scales against him at the polls.

Political analysts also see his alleged policy of seeking votes along 
ethnic lines as a major undoing.  Ambassador Kamanzi says that 
Twagiramungu's strategy of appealing to Hutu majority has not augured well 
with the Government because it is being viewed as divisive, and could 
easily plunge the country back into the dark ages of ethnic hatred.

It is this factor that led parliament to disband MDR recently, following 
recommendations of a parliamentary committee formed to investigate the 
party's ideologies. Twagiramungu was thus left without a party.  Luckily, 
the constitution allows independent candidates to contest for the presidency.

Interestingly, Alivera Mukabaramba, a member of parliament, also contesting 
for the presidency, was a member of MDR before she quickly moved to form 
her own party, PPC.  However, she and Nayizira, a former legislator, are 
considered less significant in the elections. They have hardly conducted 
public campaigns.

According to Ambassador Kamanzi, Alivera represented a progressive element 
within MDR, and was also critical of Twagiramungu's strategies of character 

Indeed, the latter has been reported to have claimed time and again, that 
key opposition supporters are mysteriously disappearing in the country, and 
blaming the Government. To this, Ambassador Kamanzi responds: "Nobody has 
been killed.  We do not know where they are.  This is Twagiramungu's 
strategy of seeking sympathy. These people are going to resurface after the 

Twagiramungu's allegations has had far-reaching effects. Acting on these 
allegations the Dutch Government withdrew at the last minute, promised 
funding the elections. They had pledged US$ 4.5 million.

Following this development, Rwandans at all social levels, keen on the 
elections, have made significant contributions to facilitate 
elections.  Just about two weeks ago, the Rwandese community in Kenya 
raised about three million Rwandese Francs (approximately US$ 7,000) 
towards this effect.  Communities on the ground have also gone to the 
extent of donating structures to serve as polling booths, says Kamanzi.

As the country sails through elections, it is widely acknowledged that the 
incumbent is likely to earn a landslide victory, judging from the turn out 
at campaign rallies. "Moreover, Rwandans have no reason to vote out the 
present leadership, given its track record," says a Rwandese national.

Battle Against Malaria Is Still A Nightmare - Experts

Conflicts, civil unrest, emergence of drug-resistant strains of parasites 
and insecticide-resistant vectors, mass population movements worsened by 
the refugee situation, and disintegration of health services, is 
exacerbating malaria situation in sub-Saharan Africa, reports AANA 
Correspondent, Henry Neondo.

A one week workshop held in Nairobi between July 30 and August 4, bringing 
together regional heads of malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa, concluded 
that malaria is still "an unfinished agenda in sub-Saharan African 
countries, and needs more attention than it has so far received".

The statistics are indeed disturbing. According to a World Health 
Organisation (WHO) report released on April 25 during this year's Africa 
Malaria Day, 90 percent of the more than one million deaths that occur 
world-wide as a result of malaria happen in Africa, south of Sahara.

The report further states that about 3,000 African children die daily as a 
result of the disease.

African malaria experts now agree with claims by the United Nations 
Environment Programme (UNEP) that climatic changes due to global warming, 
coupled with environmental degradation, and heavy mining activities like 
gold mining, exaggerate the malaria situation.

At the workshop, the experts noted that examples from Sudan, Ethiopia, 
Eritrea and Sierra Leone, show that conflicts, civil unrest and mass 
movement of populations does not only disrupt malaria control measures, but 
also over-stretch programmes against the disease.

According to Dr Marero M. W, head of Malaria Case Management at 
the  National Malaria Control in Tanzania, malaria, being an endemic health 
problem in the region, is now undoubtedly one of the worst scourges.

He notes that by far, the largest burden of malaria is borne by children 
under five and pregnant women.	Pregnancy, he says, lowers immunity of 
women, making them vulnerable.

Dr Marero says that malaria is now the major cause of morbidity and 
mortality in countries within sub-Saharan Africa.

"While malaria is the leading cause of out-patient attendance in health 
facilities and also the leading cause of admissions and deaths in 
hospitals, countries are still struggling to find suitable drugs for 
treatment in an environment of a fast development of drug resistance," he 

In most of these countries, the preferred drug of choice, Chloroquine and 
Sulfa-pyranimidine combinations have either been abandoned, or are in the 
process of being abandoned as first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria.

In Kenya, for example, points out Dr Sam Ochola, a malaria expert in the 
country, chloroquine has been abandoned as first drug of choice since 1997 
due to increasing resistance and unacceptable level of overall treatment 
failures. Similar situations apply in Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana and a host 
of other countries within the region.

Dr Peter Langi, head of malaria control unit in Uganda, notes further that 
the disintegration of health services in the region are well typified by 
the inaccessibility of populations to health services for early diagnosis, 
combined with shortage of health manpower and of anti-malaria drugs, as 
well as lack of enough laboratory equipment.

In addition, he adds, the poor referral system within the health care 
delivery systems in most sub-Saharan countries, and inadequate community 
awareness and mobilisation for malaria control have not made matters easier.

Dr Langi further points out that regional states exhibit weak by-laws for 
environmental management and have inadequate resource allocation for 
malaria control at district levels.

He contends that weak health management information system for monitoring 
and early detection of epidemics, and emergence and spread of resistance by 
parasites and vectors, make the fight against malaria a nightmare for many 
countries within the region.

According to statistics presented at the workshop, malaria is now 
responsible for between 20 to 50  percent of all out-patients, and 19 to 30 
percent of all deaths among the hospitalised patients in sub-Saharan Africa.

The situation in Tanzania is particularly worrying. Here, malaria is 
responsible for 43 percent of admissions among children below five years of 
age in Tanzania, and 34 percent of deaths of children in this category.

"Unpredictable pregnancy outcomes, including anaemia, premature birth, 
abortion, stillbirth and low birth weight are just some of the risks 
associated with adverse malarial attacks in the region," says a researcher 
with Tanzania's National Medical Research institute, a Mr Mutabingwa.

According to Dr Langi, malaria has remained a major threat to the economic 
growth, which is dependent on agriculture. "Most of the traditional crops 
like coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco are labour-intensive. Workers 
suffering from a malaria bout can lose 5-20 days," he explains.

Malaria-affected families, he goes on, can only harvest 40 percent of crops 
harvested by healthy families.

In view of these, persistent malaria can lead to famine resulting from low 
food production, which leads to low income and low standards of living, he 

Indeed, malaria is a major underlying cause of poor socio-economic 
development in Uganda, according to Dr Langi.  He maintains that malaria 
and poverty tend to go together.

"The poor are more affected due to limited access to health services, 
information and protective measures," he explains.

WHO estimates that direct and indirect costs of malaria in the region is 
about US$ 0.05 - 2.08 per person per month.

The same organisation states that malaria related treatment costs between 
US$ 0.39 - 3.84 per person. Economic loss due to the disease is estimated 
at 1-3 percent of average Gross Domestic Product in the region.

The workshop was attended by 14 Anglophone countries from West, East and 
Southern Africa, and was organised under the framework of China-Africa 

It discussed at length, possibilities of integrating a Chinese "wonder 
drug" against malaria, Artemisinin, and its derivatives (Artesunate, 
Artemether and Dehydroartemisinin), within public health systems, against a 
background of increasing drug resistance to the orthodox medication 
currently in use in sub-Saharan Africa.

Uproar Against WTO Begins To Ring Across Africa

Alleged dirty tricks by the rich nations of the world at the international 
trade arena is draining Third World nations of their resources with no 
respite. It is a game of the winner takes it all.  Apuko Nyandolo reports 
on the happenings at the World Trade Organisation, that seem inclined to 
marginalising developing countries, mostly African.

In 1995, developed nations of the world came up with an idea of expanding 
space in the international trade arena, to "open space" for Third World 
goods. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was thus, born.

But this was not before some developments dating back to late 1940s, when 
the United States (US) unilaterally squashed a Bretton Woods initiative to 
establish an International Trade Organisation (ITO) as a rule-based global 
trading agency.

US had regarded such an institution as a possible threat to her economic 
ambitions.  In its place therefore, came the General Agreements on 
Tariffs  and Trade (GATT), a system of multilateral trade pacts, which had 
the blessings of President Harry Truman's administration.

But with increased competition from other Northern countries and rising 
imports from the South, the US sought to adjust the GATT system of 
international free trade in the 1980s.

With this in mind, the country promoted the concept of a global trading 
organisation that would provide a forum to settle trade differences with 
its economic rivals, and which would more closely "integrate" developing 
countries into a global free-market economy.

The ideology culminated in the birth of WTO, which today has a membership 
of 146 countries, among them developing countries, which joined en mass 
because of attractive promises.

But unfortunately, trade co-operation via WTO has not yielded the desired 
goal, particularly to Africa. Instead, developing countries have continued 
to experience declining export earnings.  This can be explained.

First, the WTO has not facilitated a level trading field as touted upon its 
formation. There is a clear imbalance in the trading system, where the 
developed world have employed the use of agricultural subsidies, thus 
putting at disadvantage, commodities from Africa, where such subsidies have 
been discouraged by World Bank and IMF policies.

While in Kenya alone, where about 60 percent of the population live on less 
than a dollar a day, in Europe, each cow receives US$ 2 a day in the form 
of subsidy, says Oduor Ong'wen of EcoNews Africa, a non-governmental 
organisation (NGO), and chairman of the NGO Council in Kenya . He alleges 
that half of European budget goes toward subsidies.

Under such circumstance, Africa, whose many countries depend on agriculture 
for economic growth, has as a result continued to experience devastating 
socio-economic crises.

Living conditions of its people have deteriorated dramatically, in spite of 
its nations being members of the so-called supranational institutions like 
WTO, among others.  According to World Bank projection, about 30 percent of 
the poor in the world by the turn of the century was African.

Yet the continent is potentially the richest in the world. Diamond from 
Sierra Leone alone, earns the US and Europe US$50 billion a year.  It is 
Africa that produces coltan, a mineral that is used for making parts of 
computers and cell phones. The same Africa produces uranium that US relies 
on to build its a military might.

Clearly, the rules by WTO are unfavourable to Africa. One condition is that 
countries of the continent have to export goods in their raw form, and not 
as manufactured goods.	That is why Ghana has to continue exporting cocoa 
and import chocolate, a product of cocoa.

Economic analysts question how Germany has become the leading exporter of 
manufactured coffee, yet the crop is not grown in the country.	Belgium is 
the leading exporter of diamond, which is not available in its land.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which is marketed as an 
institution meant to offer opportunities to developing countries to access 
the United States markets in a bid to promote Africa-US trade relations, is 
beginning to raise suspicion.

Analysts argue that AGOA has political strings attached to it. Countries 
enlisted under this privilege must align themselves toward US political 

For this reason, organisations sympathetic to the plight of Africa feel 
that the continent needs a revolution of perception, and build a strategy 
of collective self-reliance. This calls for a new way of doing things, 
which must be people driven, since government representatives appear to 
have failed championing the interest of their countries.

It is for this reason that Heinrich Boll Foundation, Oxfam Great Britain, 
and EcoNews Africa, resorted to creating awareness amongst the ordinary 
public on the goings on at the international institutions.

At a workshop they organised in Kenya recently, they revealed how the WTO 
rules are designed and made by the rich countries, noting that the interest 
of the developing countries was not a priority at the institution.

For example, when a trade dispute occurs, not every member is involved. The 
powerful nations resort to the Green House, an inner unit within WTO, where 
only the privileged are allowed participation. This breeds suspicion among 
many members, but then, they are coerced into accepting the decisions made 
in the Green House.

"While lack of staff, capacity, and financial resources is a factor for 
many developing countries, the primary reason for this system of 
exclusionary consensus making is that the Quad countries assume that, as 
the main forces in the global economy, they have the right to formulate its 
rules," says Aileen Kwa, a policy analyst with Focus on Global South, a 
Bankok-based policy and activist institute.

The scenario described indicates that the rule-based system of WTO is in 
fact based more on power than on rules, so that the powerful nations make 
the rules at the WTO, just as they do at the IMF and World Bank, argues 

Organisations like the Heinrich Boll Foundation are urging the public to 
join the big noise to demand that trade be made fair.  On the same 
wavelength, the public have been prevailed upon not to buy foreign products 
if the same can be produced locally.

"Kenya is not for sale!" was their rallying slogan at the workshop, held to 
stir the public into action.

Since there is going to be a meeting in Cancun, Mexico next month, Africa's 
negotiators are being urged to demand fairness in WTO.

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