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

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Date Mon, 25 Aug 2003 18:05:10 -0700

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

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


Botswana Rebuts Role In Alleged Plans To Oust Mugabe

GABORONE (AANA) August 25 - Botswana has denied involvement in alleged 
plans to topple the Government of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Speculation over such a plan emerged following the visit to Botswana last 
month, of United States (US) President, George W. Bush.

"We are outraged by these statements of vilification," Mompati Merafhe, 
Botswana's Foreign Minister, said in Maputo during the fourth meeting of 
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Defence, 
Security and Politics recently. The text of his speech was released by the 
Government last week.

"This is a matter of serious concern to our Government. We are being 
accused of working with the Americans and the British to bring about a 
forceful regime change in a friendly SADC member state, our friendly 
neighbour Zimbabwe," Merafhe complained.

He continued: "It is alleged a US military base in Botswana will be used to 
launch such military attacks."

There have been reports alleging that meetings had taken place in Botswana, 
between Walter Kansteiner, a US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, 
and Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, to hatch the plan.

Kansteiner was in Gaborone in May to open a US trade office, but, said 
Merafhe, "Jack Straw has never been to Botswana."

The only visit on record of a British government minister this year is that 
of Baroness Valerie Amos, who was in the country in April.

Merafhe gave assurance that even if America and Britain were planning 
action to topple Mugabe, it would not be mounted from Botswana. "Botswana 
would never allow itself to be used for such treacherous activities," he 

Since the Bush visit, Botswana has had to repeatedly deny any links between 
the US and a military air base about 100km north-west of Gaborone.

Thebephatshwa base was opened in August 1995 by Merafhe, who was then 
Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). Speculation that it had been 
funded by the US resurfaced.

"The US does not own any military base in Botswana. Thebephatshwa air base 
is wholly owned by the Government of Botswana," he said, and added: "It was 
constructed during my term as Commander of the BDF, with our own resources."

Reported by Rodrick Mukumbira

Churches In High State Of Readiness For AACC Assembly

YAOUNDE (AANA) August 25 - Cameroonian churches are in high state of 
preparedness to host the 8th General Assembly of the All Africa Conference 
of Churches (AACC), scheduled for November 22-27.

This was reported by the co-ordinator of the Assembly Local Organising 
Committee, Rev Salla Abondo.

"All the people of Cameroon are enthusiastic about the Assembly, being the 
first in Central Africa," he said.

He pointed out that the local national Christian council, Federation des 
Eglises et Missions Evangeliques du Cameroun (FEMEC), "has [sensitised] all 
its member churches about the Assembly".

"For Cameroonians, it is like God has chosen to come and bless Cameroon," 
he noted.  This, he went on, will be an "empowering gift to FEMEC from AACC".

Referring to issues to be discussed at the Assembly, Rev Abondo observed 
that churches could play an effective role in the war against HIV/AIDS, yet 
they were often ignored by the funding agencies.

"Churches, for long, have maintained networks from the national to the 
grassroots levels through the parishes," he noted, and posed, "Which other 
NGOs can claim such a network?"

Rev Abondo said that the majority of Africans live in the rural areas. 
"That is where HIV/AIDS bites most; that is where the poor of the poor are, 
and that is where the Church is too," he pointed out.

He said he would like to see "coming out of the Assembly, a concerted 
continental voice of the churches in Africa addressing continental issues."

Referring to aspirations towards a united Africa, Rev Abondo expressed 
concern that instead of moving towards unity, African nations were erecting 
higher immigration barriers against their own Africans from different

"We should not be complaining against Europe and United States about their 
barriers until we dismantle our own," he noted.

He expressed the hope that "AACC, having been founded to champion the unity 
of the African Church", should also promote the unity of the people of 

"For this reason I am encouraged by the establishment of the regional 
bodies such as ECOWAS (Economic Community for West African States) and East 
African Community," he said, adding: "Though belatedly, they are good 
starting points for the African Unity, as sub-regional Christian 
fellowships also play their roles."

Reported by Mitch Odero

It's Uncertainty Over Talks As ZANU-PF Disappoints Clerics

HARARE (AANA) August 25 - Church-mediated talks between the main political 
parties in Zimbabwe now appear headed for the rocks, after the ruling 
Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) failed to submit 
its agenda by last Monday's deadline.

ZANU-PF failed to meet the church leaders on August 18, during which the 
party was scheduled to submit its proposals.  The opposition party, 
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had submitted their agenda at an 
earlier date.

The action by ZANU-PF has raised doubts over possibilities of resumption of 
the much anticipated talks. Political analysts now say that there is a high 
probability that the negotiations between the two parties will not take off.

Just before last Monday, MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, reportedly said 
that his party was mulling a stay-away if ZANU-PF did not submit its 
agenda, as scheduled.

Hopes over resumption of the talks first went dim after President Mugabe 
made some utterances on August 11, that expressed strong displeasure over 
the opposition, terming them "enemies of unity and independence".

Said he: "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."

Talks between ZANU-PF and MDC were initiated last year after the latter 
disputed results of the presidential elections held then. But the 
negotiations stalled after both parties failed to agree on some sticking 

Reported by Namutatanga Makombe

Rightists Blame Govt, Donors For Sketchy AIDS Projects

KAMPALA (AANA) August 25 - Failure by Uganda Government to protect women 
from domestic violence and discrimination has been named by Human Rights 
Watch (HRW) as a factor that continues to increase women's risk of 
contracting HIV.

In a new report released August 13, HRW documents widespread rape and 
brutal attacks on women by their husbands in Uganda, where legislation on 
domestic violence has not been enacted, and where spousal rape is prevalent 
and not considered criminal.

The 77-page report is thus, aptly titled, Just Die Quietly: Domestic 
Violence and Women's Vulnerability to HIV in Uganda. "The Uganda 
Government's failure to address domestic violence is costing women their 
lives," said LaShawn R. Jefferson, Executive Director of the Women's Rights 
Division of HRW.

She warned that the success Uganda has experienced in its fight against 
HIV/AIDS will be short-lived if the Government does not address this urgent 

According to HRW, the fear of violent repercussions impede Uganda women's 
access to HIV/AIDS information, testing and counselling.  The report also 
presents harrowing accounts of women who possibly acquired HIV after 
undergoing brutal sexual violations in the hands of their infected husbands.

One particular experience stands out.  Hadija Namaganda (not her real name) 
endured repeated beatings and rape by her HIV-positive husband. That was 
before he died of AIDS.

Namaganda, now HIV-positive, told HRW: "He used to force me to have sex 
with him after he became ill. If he wanted to, he would force me and accuse 
me of having other men."

Based on these findings, the HRW report says that HIV/AIDS programmes 
focusing on fidelity, abstinence, and condom use do not account for the 
ways in which domestic violence inhibits women's control over sexual 
matters in marriage.

Yet the United States Government has proposed a dramatic increase in such 
programmes as a way of combating AIDS in Africa. Uganda is included among 
fourteen countries slated to receive five years of AIDS programmes support 
from the United States.

The rights body has therefore urged the Ugandan Government to enact 
legislation on domestic violence, and to make equal rights in marriage a 
central focus of AIDS programming.

In addition, HRW is urging the US Government  and other donor institutions 
to ensure that AIDS-prevention programmes also target sexual violence in 
marriage, as core components of their strategies.

For more than a decade now, Ugandan women's rights advocates have urged the 
Government to enact legislation addressing domestic relations, including 
rape and battery of women by their intimate partners. But Bills towards 
this effect continue to languish in parliament.

Reported by Henry Neondo

  Regional MPs Lay Down Strategy For Strengthening AU

NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) 
has acknowledged the New Partnerships for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as a 
turning point in the socio-economic and political landscape in the continent.

In a communiqui issued on August 9 at the end of a nine-day CPA meeting 
here, members noted that parliament had a vital role to play in ensuring 
progress towards the development of the African Union (AU).

The members, who were drawn from 16 commonwealth nations, agreed that 
parliaments must strengthen the AU and its programme of economic 
development and poverty eradication, such as the New Partnerships for 
Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Giving a talk on how to strengthen the AU to promote democracy, peace, good 
governance and accountability in the context of NEPAD, J. Sithole, a 
legislator from South Africa, described the creation of AU as a political 
and economic indication of commitment to eradicate poverty and conflict 
from the continent.

The South African Member of Parliament outlined key aspects to good 
political governance that should be focussed by African countries to 
promote democracy and its core values, that will ensure stability, peace 
and security.

He named these as upholding the rule of law, equality of all citizens, 
collective freedom, equal opportunity, democratic elections, and adherence 
to the separation of powers, including the protection of the independence 
of the Judiciary.

The 120 delegates further called upon the Heads of State in Africa to be 
committed in the fight against corruption, and promote transparent 

Said Sithole:  "The issue confronting us today is how we as parliaments can 
ensure that AU [becomes] a vehicle for promoting democracy, peace, good 
governance and accountability and, in addition, examine the role of NEPAD 
in promoting this important objective".

Given the prevalence of conflict in the continent, parliaments were asked 
to focus on supporting strategies aimed at peacekeeping, under the umbrella 
of AU, in collaboration with the United Nations as well as established 
sub-regional organisations.

To strengthen AU, the commonwealth parliamentarians resolved to ensure that 
they, as public representatives, work towards ratifying protocols that seek 
to bring to life, structures that are necessary to give effect to all 
objectives set out during the formation of AU in July last year.

Ugandan parliamentarian, Nelson Wambuzi, highlighted some of these critical 
issues.  According to him, they include creation of a pan-African 
parliament, a peace and security council, and an economic, social and 
cultural council to enhance good economic and corporate governance.

The CPA further recommended that parliaments in member countries should 
establish committees focussing on AU and NEPAD in order to expand their 
outreach. In order to achieve such objectives, the CPA members emphasised 
that African countries must firmly commit to pursuing a shared continental 

Reported by Herman Kasili

Christian Communicators To Prioritise War On HIV/AIDS

LILONGWE (AANA) August 25 - Christian communicators in southern African 
have prioritised HIV/AIDS as an area of focus in the next three years, 
beginning this year.

In a communiqui issued here at the end of an August 11-16 workshop, 15 
Christian communicators stressed the need to set up an effective 
communication strategy to fight the scourge in the southern Africa region.

Meeting under the auspices of a regional Christian body, the Fellowship of 
Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), participants noted a "lack 
of weight and seriousness to HIV/AIDS" within the New Partnerships for 
Africa's Development (NEPAD) framework.

The communicators were drawn from FOCCISA's member councils in Botswana, 
Malawi, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to 
share experiences on issues affecting Africa, and to sharpen communication 
skills of Christian communicators.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by Ecumenical Documentation and 
Information Centre in Southern Africa (EDICISA) and the London-based World 
Association of Christian Communication (WACC).

The participants committed to, among other things, embark on a multi-media 
multi-level campaign against HIV/AIDS, and to engage church leaders in 
dialogue on NEPAD matters to ensure the Church is not left behind in the 

At the end of the workshop, a committee of three persons, led by Rev. Joe 
Mhdlela of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), was elected to 
drive and monitor implementation of the suggested strategies.

"We agreed that Zimbabwe, represented by Ms. Shupayi Mpunga spearhead the 
HIV/AIDS strategy, Rev. Mhdlela (to handle) NEPAD, while Rev. Kayanula of 
Malawi Council of Churches, would direct the emergency strategy," said the 

  Reported by Osman Njuguna

  Botswana Government Steps Up Antiretroviral Therapy

MAUN, Botswana (AANA) August 25 - The opening of a new HIV/AIDS care clinic 
in Maun, a resort town in north-western Botswana, has helped to extend the 
reach of the Government's HIV/AIDS control and prevention programme.

The Infectious Diseases Care Clinic at Maun General Hospital was officially 
handed over to the Government less than a week-and-a-half ago by the 
African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP), a public-private 
partnership backed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Last November, the Government asked ACHAP to assist with the construction 
of four infectious diseases care clinics and sixteen satellite clinic 
extensions, to be ready by the end of 2003. I am happy to report that we 
are on track," ACHAP's team leader, Dr Donald Korte, said.

He added: "The clinic will extend the Government's capacity to reach out to 
those infected and affected across north-western Botswana. We also hope 
that this will help the existing capacity of the clinic to act as a 
referral facility for voluntary counselling and testing centres, such as 
Tebelopele, and four ARV administrative sites."

Tebelopele is an NGO providing voluntary HIV counselling and testing to 
augment the Government's efforts.

The Maun clinic is also expected to play a key regional role in supporting 
the Government's prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMCT) 
programmes provided through the public health service.	ACHAP is also 
organising a  small grants project to ensure grassroots ideas on fighting 
HIV/AIDS are captured and, if feasible, supported.

"Maun is currently providing treatment for over 450 patients. This new 
building will enable [the town] to do even more, and enable the site to 
provide services in a comfortable and appropriate environment," said 
Mathius Chakalisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

"The world is finally taking note of Botswana's [ARV] programme, and the 
country is now recognised as a global leader in the provision of ARV 
therapy in resource-constrained settings," Chakalisa added.

Botswana has the world's highest HIV infection rate, but also the fastest 
growing treatment programme. Princess Marina Hospital in the capital, 
Gaborone, is currently the largest single provider of ARV therapy in 
Africa, with over 2,000 patients receiving antiretrovirals.

Reported by Rodrick Mukumbira

  Fresh Impetus On Rape Claims Against British Military

NAIROBI (AANA) August - About 100 of some 650 women claiming to have been 
raped by British Soldiers training near their homes in Laikapia, Samburu 
and Marsabit districts towards northern Kenya, took to the streets of 
Nairobi on August 14 to demand an inquiry into their plight.

The women, who had come with their mixed-race children as evidence to their 
rape ordeals, called for an end to British military training on their lands.

Presenting a written petition to Sir Edward Clay, the British High 
Commissioner here, the women demanded that the fathers of their children 
start supporting them.

In a statement, the High Commission said it was determined to look into the 

The light-skinned children with curly hair, some toddlers and others young 
adults, accompanied their mothers to the streets, carrying placards with 
messages such as, "British Soldiers - Rapists," and "Britain, these are 
half your kids, take responsibility".

The women have come out in the open in defiance to cultural traditions 
where rape ordeals are not spoken about in public.  They want compensation.

Early last month, the women's demand got a boost when British Legal 
Services Aid Commission, a publicly funded organisation that finances such 
litigation, awarded them 25,000 British Pounds to pay their lawyers.

They had applied for the money through their British lawyer, Martin Day, to 
enable them sue the British Ministry of Defence.  "I am now calling on the 
Ministry of Defence to immediately compensate the cases that have been 
proved to be genuine," said Day on August 14.

Amnesty International, a London-based global human rights organisation, has 
also corroborated the claims.

On July 5, the agency called on the British Government to establish a free 
and independent commission of inquiry into the claims by the women, 
expressing disappointment that both Kenya and Britain had failed to 
investigate the cases.

"Both women and the children born out of these, have been suffering in 
silence for close to thirty years, stigmatised, discriminated, and outcast 
in their own community," said Amnesty.

Great Britain contracts with Kenya, its colony until 1963, to conduct 
artillery training in rural regions, despite objections from impoverished 
herders who allege that military operations begin without warning, that 
heavy machinery destroys their environment, and that pregnant women 
miscarry due to the noise of mortar and gunfire.

But even now as the women in these areas come forward to say they have been 
raped, the Kenya Government has not isued a statement.

A number of Kenyan lawyers have said, however, that the Kenyan constitution 
would not be suitable for such suits. According to them, the allegations 
can best be handled in Britain, where there are statutes allowing claims.

Joyce Majiwa, chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya 
Chapter, is convinced that the case will yield some compensation to the 
women due to the overwhelming evidence.

Majiwa revealed that FIDA was planning to work with the British lawyers to 
ensure the women got compensated.  "We have already entered into 
correspondence with the British lawyers and we hope to meet soon over the 
issue," she said.

Reported by Muuna Wamuli

Appointing Gay Priests Cannot Be Condoned In Africa - Gitari

NAIROBI (AANA) August 25 - Retired Kenyan Anglican Archbishop, Rt Rev Dr. 
David Gitari, has advised Anglican faithful to desist from preoccupying 
themselves "too much" with the raging homosexuality debate "as there are 
many things to tackle, including evangelism and preaching the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ".

In an exclusive interview with AANA, Gitari expressed support to the stance 
taken by the Kenyan clergy over the issue, stating that "appointing gay 
priests, deacons or allowing same sex marriages cannot be condoned in 
Africa, since the Bible does not encourage such".

He, however, expressed the opinion that there was no need to sever links 
with the Episcopal Church of United States of America (ECUSA) for having 
appointed a gay bishop, as some Provinces have already done, unless it was 
clear that "assistance from them had attached strings of homosexuality".

He regretted the decision taken by ECUSA to ordain Rev Canon Gene Robinson, 
a homosexual, as bishop, but pointed out that the action was not a 
Communion decision, but one done at Province level.

Gitari explained: "The Lambeth Conference resolutions are not binding to 
the provinces, for it is up to the provinces to discuss further and 
implement what they deem fit for them. Probably, the American church 
(ECUSA) had discussed this for many years, and had decided that gay bishops 
are better for them."

Rt. Rev Gitari was among the bishops present at the 1998 Lambeth Conference 
that proscribed ordination of gay priests.

Asked about his views on the scheduled October meeting of bishops called by 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to discuss the ongoing 
homosexuality conflict, the retired archbishop said the intended meeting 
will have no impact on the African Church.

According to him, homosexual priests "had been rejected a long time ago and 
should not resurface again".

Reported By Herman Kasili

Kenya Seeks Tutu's Input On Reconciliation Commission

NAIROBI (AANA) August 25 - Retired South African Anglican primate and a one 
time Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has commended Kenya 
for having proposed a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) 
to confront a distressing past.

Archbishop Tutu, a 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was in the country to 
crown the opening of a three-day conference here on August 14, held to 
brainstorm the need for the establishment of a TJRC in Kenya.

"In transitions, many countries have to come to terms with huge emotional 
challenges, where people have been killed, tortured, and lost material 
properties.  This is a delicate situation because the victors do not share 
the platform as the vanquished, but it becomes necessary to know the 
truth," he said.

Kenya had invited the famed retired primate to the conference to share his 
experience in such matters, having been head of South Africa's Truth and 
Reconciliation Commission, established in 1995 to investigated atrocities 
committed during the South Africa's apartheid era.

Tutu, however, pointed out that the South African example was not a design, 
which must be followed. He said the most crucial part was that it allowed 
the victims a chance to tell their story.

"I was surprised how therapeutic it was. Truth was important for a nation 
that did not want a future that carried burdens of unexamined past," he 

The idea of a truth commission in Kenya was mooted by Church leaders, human 
rights groups, and victims of alleged misdeeds of the previous regimes.

A TJRC Task Force was thus appointed by the Government, to look into the 
possibility of establishing one.

Rev. Gideon Ireri, an Anglican bishop, said during the conference that 
those who had been victims of the last regime, had often expressed to him 
that they would welcome a commission of that nature.

"I had spent time with some victims of the 1992 and 1997 tribal clashes. 
They have indicated to me that they wanted this horrifying past addressed," 
he told AANA.

Revealing some of its findings just before the three-day conference, the 
task force said 90 percent of Kenyans wanted a truth commission to be 

A report of the task force, scheduled for presentation to the Government on 
August 26, is expected to suggest etablishment of a commission with powers 
to recommend redress and demand that people alleged to have been involved 
in gross public misconduct be called to account.

Reported by Muuna Wamuli

Ingenious Poachers Resort To Lethal Booze To Trap Monkeys

ACCRA (AANA) August 25 - In a certain area of Takoradi, a harbour city in 
Ghana's Western region, the sight of drunken monkeys wobbling across the 
streets has become common.

These monkeys, which live in a nearby sanctuary known as Monkey Hill, 
located at the heart of the harbour city, do not intend to bluff anybody by 
their strange behaviour.

They are victims of the latest poaching tactic in the region. Poachers drug 
them by lacing bananas, a monkey delicacy, with a powerful local alcoholic 
drink known as akpeteshie.

The booze renders them helpless against the poachers, who then easily trap 
them, either for their meat, which is a delicacy to some natives, or for 
sale to tourists, whose demand for the animal is high.

According to Jacob Oti-Awere, Western Regional Manager of Ghana Tourist 
Board, the indiscriminate drugging and killing of the monkeys has reduced 
the once highly populated monkey family in the area to only 70.

The situation, he said recently, calls for concerted efforts on the part of 
stakeholders and residents of the Monkey Hill community, to prevent the 
possible wiping out of the endangered species of Olives Colobus and African 
Green monkeys in the forest reserve.

Condemning the poachers, Oti-Awere, expressed concern that the Monkeys Hill 
Eco-tourism Project, which aims at capitalising on the unique location of 
the reserve in the heart of Takoradi, was under threat.

The project is a collaborative effort between Ghana Tourist Board, 
non-governmental organisations and the local communities, towards 
preserving the sanctuary.

Donors in Finland and the Netherlands are considering supporting the 
project with funding to the tune of 60,000 Euros. But the lates development 
has raised concern among the project's development partners, prompting 
Oti-Awere to intensify appeals to the public to assist the police to arrest 
the poachers.

Reported by Felix Amanfu

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