By FUMBUKA NG’WANAKILALA, Reuters
DAR ES SALAAM - The Tanzanian navy has captured a suspected Somali pirate after a gun battle in the Indian Ocean, police said on Monday.
The incident occurred on Sunday about 70 nautical miles off the Mtwara coast in southern Tanzania, in an area where London-based, Africa-focused oil and gas firm Ophir Energy has an exploration vessel.
“The Somali pirate boat opened heavy fire on the Tanzanian navy vessel on Sunday night. The navy vessel was seriously damaged and was pierced, with at least 50 bullet holes,” Mtwara Regional Police Commander Steven Buyuya told Reuters.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that the Somali pirates could have been planning to kidnap expatriate workers taking part in the oil exploration activities in Tanzania.”
Two Tanzanian soldiers were wounded. After the clash, navy and police boats were deployed to chase the pirate boat. They arrested one suspected pirate, who was brought to Dar es Salaam for interrogation, but the others escaped, Buyuya said.
Tanzania has attracted increased exploration interest in recent years. The Ophir Energy vessel was anchored at Mtwara port while police continued to patrol the area.
The East African country said in May it had agreed to prosecute Somali pirates in response to a European Union call for other nations in the region to share the financial and security burden with Kenya and the Seychelles.
Kenya has borne the brunt of catching and prosecuting sea bandits seized by foreign navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden’s busy shipping lanes, which link Europe with Africa and Asia.
In a separate development, the European Union Naval Force said it would hand to Kenya four suspected pirates whom Spanish naval ship SPS Galicia seized off eastern Somalia on Friday upon establishing they had taken hostage nine Kenyan crew and a Somali translator on a Kenyan dhow.
EUNAVFOR said in a statement the four would be transferred to Kenyan authorities in Mombasa. “The former hostages will be transferred to the Kenyan Police and Prosecutor to give their statements, and thereby assist in building the prosecution case,” it said.
The naval force said that since it signed an agreement with Kenya, 75 suspected pirates had been handed over. So far 14 had been convicted and sentenced to five years each.
The MMD has described as over ambitious the decision by former Finance minister Ng’andu Magande to form another political party and warned that he will sink into political oblivion.
Mr Magande confirmed yesterday that he was one of the pioneers of the National Movement for Progress (NMP).
MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya said Mr Magande’s party would only be at the provincial level with little influence and that the MMD would defeat him in any election.
She said Mr Magande had given an impression that he was the best minister of Finance Zambia ever had when he was just given an opportunity to serve in the position.
Ms Siliya said there were thousands of Zambians who were better than Mr Magande and held higher qualifications than the former Chilanga Member of Parliament. "Mr Magande confirmed yesterday that he was one of the pioneers of the National Movement for Progress (NMP)."
And Evangelical Church in Zambia bishop Paul Mususu criticised Mr Magande for forming a political party.
Bishop Mususu said there were many political parties in the country which the former Finance minister should have joined.
He said even though democracy allowed people to form political parties of their choice, there was need to reduce on the multiplicity of political parties.
It would not be possible for newly formed parties to have unique manifestos from the existing ones.
Mr Magande said in an interview that he would offer himself as a presidential candidate in the 2011 elections.
“The movement has been established by my supporters who feel that they needed a forum to continue discussing. Even me I need to find a channel through which to communicate.
“In fact this movement started in North-Western Province and it is countrywide,” he said.
Mr Magande said he had done everything and that now it was time for him to lead Zambia.
He said it was a fact that he was part of the Government that helped the country attain the Highly Indebted Poor Countries completion point, and that it was also during his time that Zambia attained single-digit inflation in 30 years.
North-Western Province NPM pioneer Logan Shemena, who is a former United Party for National Development (UPND) secretary general, said the movement was spreading “like a bushfire”.
“With the cracks in the UPND and the confusion in MMD, the movement is spreading like fire. For now we are not focusing on leadership but to grow the movement,” he said.
[Times of Zambia]
Accra, Sept 27, GNA - The Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on Monday called for establishment of a joint Upper Volta Basin Management Agency (UVBMA) by Ghana and Burkina Faso.
"The UVBMA would be mandated to set up action plans by the appropriate governmental agencies within each country to control the perennial floods in the northern parts of Ghana due mainly to excess water spilled from the Bagre dam as well as free flow of water from rivers that have their source in Bukina Faso.
"A clear policy to mitigate floods and manage water flow, as well as preparation of a national framework for the integrated development and utilization of the Volta and Oti Water Basins in Ghana would serve as a measure to reduce the impact of the spillage," Dr. Sulley Gariba, Development Policy Advisor, of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) stated in a statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
This is compounded by siltation of the major and minor rivers, due in part to deforestation and farming on the river beds. This situation makes it difficult for rain water to flow through the normal drainage channels, causing floods.
The statement emanated from a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a four-day working visit to parts of the three northern regions worse affected by recent floods by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises; Minister of State in the Office of the President responsible for Public Sector Reform and SADA officials.
The team led by Mr Charles Hodogbey, Vice Chairman of the Committee, visited the Central Gonja District in the Northern Region; the Talensi-Nabdam and Bawku-West districts in the Upper East and the Funsi and Sissala East Districts in the Upper West Regions. The Communiqu=E9 called for immediate establishment of a monitoring system that is accountable to the people; Construction of Dams and provision of other water management, harvesting and conservation devices.
"In the long term there is the need to strengthen the institutions responsible for managing Ghana's major rivers and water basins, especially in the northern savannah which is prone to perennial floods and droughts," the Communiqu=E9 stated.
"We urge Government and the relevant agencies to undertake effective design and supervision of social and economic infrastructure such as road infrastructure in flood prone areas to avoid the extensive destruction of these facilities due to floods. "We recommend the need to design a comprehensive housing scheme for the flood-prone areas. Such a scheme should take into consideration the life-styles, culture and tradition of the various communities. The design should also improve upon foundation and roofing materials. "Flood resistant species of crops should be cultivated along the banks of the major rivers in the Northern Savannah areas," the Committee stated.
The committee is of the view that with the passage of the SADA Law, it is now time to move from emergency solutions to a longer-term developmental approach. It therefore tasked SADA to work with relevant professional bodies and agencies to develop a long-term planning and design for a comprehensive investment on water resources for the entire northern savannah.
It also tasked the Government to expedite the implementation of the recently passed SADA Law and provide the needed long-term and sustainable funding to enable the development initiatives to start-up. The Committee after the visit pledged its commitment to become advocates for SADA and explain to other Members of Parliament as well as the general public the conditions in the SADA areas to promote national understanding of the need for urgent action.
The Committee commended the tireless efforts of thousands of women and men who are mainly farmers in the areas for their hard work and resilience."We also note the efforts of the District Assemblies, Members of Parliament and the Regional Coordinating Councils of the three regions as well as NADMO, in managing the emergencies over the last four years since the major floods of 2007". The committee notes that while NADMO has been committed to disaster relief, members did not see a comprehensive work plan and appropriate targeting of the relief items. "We also noted that several farms and some communities had been submerged by the flood waters, and no meaningful economic activities had been provided to sustain lives and livelihoods among those affected. "People have therefore resorted to harvesting potentially unwholesome maize and other cereals affected by the floods," the Committee noted. The committee observed several collapsed bridges and some washed-off roads. We noted that these were as a result of poor design and construction, as well as weak supervision and quality assurance of works in the flood-prone areas. The committee noted local knowledge and experiences in the flood-prone areas are high; yet for all these years, no appropriate measures, or a comprehensive plan had been put in place to provide a long-term solution.
"Many farmers, especially women, who have taken loans to farm have expressed their concern about their capacity to repay. Many school children in the affected areas are unable to go to school. In some places, the schools are being used as temporary shelters, rendering regular schooling difficult," the Committee stated. On the basis of these findings and observations, the Committee strongly recommends for immediate disaster relief preparedness and management, development of the capacity of NADMO to more effectively coordinate and implement emergency disaster as well as preventive measures to control the situation.
People affected by recent floods need immediate and adequate support in terms of food, water, and shelter. An emergency relief program should be put in place including support for households that take care of people who are displaced the Committee noted. It added that the current system of emergency relief focusing on displaced persons does not seem to capture all affected persons. This needs to be re-examined to develop better targeting tools. Flood affected communities especially women should be given special consideration under Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty for emergency food crises (LEAP-FEFOC). NADMO needs to beef-up its coordination to involve other agencies, notably NGOs and also disinfect potable water sources which may have been polluted. The Committee noted the participation of the World Food Program (WFP) in the mission. WFP pledges its support to implement food for work initiatives based on demand from the communities and their commitment to undertake communal work on flood mitigation and related public works. This will also serve as a measure for food security.
By Marissa Charles
Naomi Campbell says she felt that SHE was on trial when she had to testify at the war crimes tribunal of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.
The 40-year-old supermodel - who was called to testify in August about allegations that Taylor gave her a blood diamond - makes her comments in a profile in Interview.
Campbell tells the US magazine: 'You know, I felt like I was on trial myself - and this was not my trial.
'I don't condone what this man has done.
'I don't condone what anyone does in being responsible for the deaths of kids and families and their own people - allegedly, that's what I've read. 'That's what we've all read.
'But I just saw the whole thing become a complete media circus. 'I felt very disappointed that people couldn't really see what was going on. This wasn't about me. 'This was not my trial. This was his trial. But anyone looking at it would think it was about me.'
Campbell took the stand at The Hague to answer allegations that Taylor gave her a blood diamond after they both attended a dinner at Nelson Mandela's home in South Africa in 1997.
Former SPLA child soldiers may return to barracks if alternatives to life in army not available.JUBA Sudan - Southern Sudan’s promise to divest its army of all children by November has to be backed by a comprehensive strategy to give them opportunities in civilian life, say analysts. "People, even children, need alternatives," Obwaha Claude Akasha, acting director-general for operations at the Southern Sudanese Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, said. “Many children joined the army because their parents couldn’t afford to feed or support them. They need to see that it is better being out of the army than in it.” At the launch of the Southern Sudan People's Army (SPLA) Child Protection Unit on 30 August in Juba, General James Hoth Mai, chief of staff, said the army was doing its part to rid its ranks of children, but he warned that the former child soldiers might return to barracks if alternatives to life in the army were not available or adequate. “[What] we are doing now is... social work, social welfare. We are taking care of children and the elderly,” Mai told members of the international community working on DDR in southern Sudan. “And we have been crying, ‘you people help us, take these categories [of combatants] away from us’.” Effective demobilization, he added, was a “huge task” for which the army and the international community needed to prepare. "Concrete measures must now be taken to ensure that all within the SPLA understand and respect their obligations," the UN Children’s Fund's (UNICEF) Catherine Mbengue said at the launch.