Category Archives: Politics

U.S. Refusal to Be Investigated By the ICC Redeems African Leaders


America’s contemptuous dismissal of the International Criminal Court’s attempts to investigate allegations of torture against US soldiers in Afghanistan demands a relook of African leaders’ long-standing criticism of this institution.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002, in terms of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute defined four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

For a long time the ICC has been condemned for its one-sided prosecution of Third World leaders accused of such crimes. While it has investigated and jailed warlords like Charles Taylor, and even declared Omar Al-Bashir a wanted man, the court’s attempt to investigate the crimes of American soldiers in Afghanistan has led to a nasty response from the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Late last year the ICC opened a file to investigate the allegations that US military and CIA personnel committed acts of torture in the 17 years that the US has operated in Afghanistan. The investigation was opened by an ICC prosecutor from The Gambia, Fatou Bensuda.

The US is not a state party to the ICC, but Afghanistan is. The ICC therefore asserts jurisdiction over Afghanistan, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator. In response to the ICC’s move to prosecute US military men who were involved in detainee abuse in Afghanistan, John Bolton said, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by the illegitimate court.”

While attempts by African countries like Burundi and South Africa to withdraw from the ICC was heavily condemned, it is noteworthy that the ICC has often come under criticism from African leaders. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni once referred to the ICC as “a bunch of useless people”. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ICC was a “tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense”. It is also interesting to note that the cases handled by the ICC were mainly instigated by the African countries involved.

Adotei Akwei, managing director for government relations at Amnesty International, rebuked the US position, saying its rejection of the ICC’s legitimacy “is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of ground-breaking work by the international community to advance justice.”

Given America’s flagrant dismissal of the ICC, African leaders seem justified in their distrust of the court. The question that arises is this: If the court can’t deal with the powerful, how can its existence be justified?

By CR
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Zambia ex-VP avoids jail thanks to church


Former Zambian Vice-President Nevers Mumba has avoided prison after pleading that as a pastor, his congregation would suffer if he went to jail.

The cleric and politician was convicted on two counts of abuse of the authority of office by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The charges relate to his time when he served as Zambia’s ambassador to Canada between 2009 and 2011.

He was found guilty of awarding a contract to a Canadian company to do electrical works at the official residence of the high commissioner.

He was also found guilty of not following the correct procedure in the awarding of another contract for electrical and carpeting work, as well as the construction of a desk at the same residence.

After his guilty verdict was announced, Mumba pleaded in mitigation that his church members could not do without him.

The magistrate accepted this and Mumba, who served as vice-president between 2003 and 2004, will not serve any sentence as he was granted an absolute discharge.

Mumba is still involved in politics, and is now a faction leader of the former ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

MP takes HIV test after Twitter ‘rumours’


An MP in Zimbabwe has taken a public HIV test to counter accusations made on social media that he had the virus.

Temba Mliswa, an independent legislator, tweeted a photo of a medical slip showing his negative result:

He said in a statement:

“ I do not usually respond to social media slurs. It has been been peddled that I have been in the habit of consorting with underage girls. I categorically deny such frivolous claims with the contempt they deserve”.

Mr Mliswa urged Zimbabweans to get tested and not to stigmatise those who have HIV.

(OPEN LETTER): PLEASE SHOW EMPATHY, LIVES ARE INVOLVED – BY. DR. ALEX OTTI OFR


Dr Alex Otto OFR

Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.

My dear brother, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I beg to let you know that even though this letter of appeal I am sending across to you bothers on issue of governance in our dear state of Abia, it bears little resemblance to my previous interventions that sought to assess your performance or criticize your programs we found fault in.

I must also plead with you to ensure that this letter is not politicized or trivialized like my previous releases so that its essence would not be lost to attacks and counter media attacks.

My dear brother, facts on ground show that Abia Civil Servants are presently owed up to ten months salary arrears, while pensioners are owed up to sixteen (16) months pension arrears. I do not intend to delve into the issues of Leave Allowances and Gratuity which are also as neglected as Salary and Pension.

I chose to make this passionate appeal at this point in time because facts available show that the situation has become very critical and pathetic for serving and retired Abia civil servants.

Like me, I am sure you must have read or been informed of series of reports concerning the untimely, and avoidable deaths of Abia civil servants and pensioners who had need to take care of their health, but had no money, because government chose to owe them unjustly.

I do not just read this sad situation only in the newspapers and on social media, I get text messages and calls that are painful and very pathetic, and which convinced me that the situation has indeed taken a dangerous dimension and thus must not be allowed to continue.

I would not want to bandy figures of Abia’s statutory monthly allocations for the state and the seventeen (17) local governments, internally generated revenues and oil derivation funds, but I do know that they have been more than enough to execute monumental projects as well as pay Abia workers and pensioners up to date if your government had managed such resources with high sense of frugality and responsibility.

Is it not such a provocative tragedy of immense proportion that the state under your watch received little over Thirty Billion Naira (N30B) Naira in Bailout fund and Paris Club Refunds from the Federal Government, and yet could not pay salaries or clear the pension arrears even when the government repeatedly assured it would do so?

Does it mean that Abia State government would have been owing more than one year salary arrears if the Bailout fund and Paris Club Refunds didn’t come in the first place?.

This sincere letter is not anchored on rumour or driven by hearsay, thus I wouldn’t want to believe the insinuation and alleged boast by some agents of your government that you intend to clear the salary arrears just before the 2019 election so as to get the support of civil servants for your re-election bid.

Such selfish political strategy, if it is true, would only increase the number of deaths arising from hunger and sickness due to prolonged non payment of salary arrears. It is only the living that can vote.

It would also confirm the generally held view that your government has the capacity not to owe salaries but intentionally chose to.

In one of my articles, published in my Thisday Column and republished by numerous other media platforms who found it very interesting, I harped on the moral and economic obligations that would have been met when salaries are paid promptly and I would like to revisit and restate a few lines here.

The Bible reminds us that ” We should not muzzle the ox while it threads out the grain, and that the labourer is worthy of his wages”. 1 Timothy 5:18.

God went further to sound more angry as if he was referring to the case of Abia workers when he warned that “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who moved your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty”. – James 5:4.

The Quaran was also very much in agreement when it stated that “The Prophet said, you should pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries up”. Sunan Ibn Majah (Volo 3) (2443)

A similar injunction was made in the Quaran with the message that says “And oh my people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people, the things that are their due”. Quran 11:85

From the economic point of view, I comprehensively explained the positive impacts of payment of workers’ salaries on the economy in times of recession.

Even though our economy has recovered a bit few months after I wrote that piece, yet my argument on the timely payment of workers salaries and positive impacts of money circulation on a struggling economy like ours remains valid. It therefore follows that the failure of your government to prioritize the payment of workers’ salaries and pension arrears, hurts the economy of the state.

One of the most dangerous developments arising from the failure of your government to pay salaries as has been discovered is that, workers now go about begging and borrowing to sustain their families, only to pay back with interest when they manage to receive the meager salaries behind time, thus they are usually left with nothing. The long term implication of this is that, there would be no room for savings and investment, because they were indebted with interest, but owed by the government without interest; what an injustice!

Another dangerous implication of the maltreatment of Abia workers by your government is that it kills their service morale, slows productivity, destroys patriotism and creates room for corruption.

What of the children and wards of civil servants who have been forced to miss exams, miss academic sessions or completely drop out of school because you failed to pay their parents and guardians?

You can see that the spiral effect of your government’s failure to pay Abia workers and pensioners their salaries and pension arrears is horrendous and far reaching, therefore I am appealing to you to have mercy on Abia workers and show some humanity.

Dear Governor Ikpeazu, even if your government can’t do any other thing, let it try and pay workers’ salaries because lives are involved.

Let me thank you in advance for your anticipated immediate action on this matter.

Signed

Dr. Alex Otti OFR

12/07/2019..

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US President Donald Trump has vowed to help end “vicious and violent” conflicts in Africa.


“Africa right now has got problems like few people would even understand,” he said at a Nato summit press conference.

“It is so sad, it is so vicious and violent,” he said, promising that his goal was to build up the US military and bring peace to the world.

The US is active in counter-terrorism operations and training African troops to fight jihadists in the Sahara

Nigeria’s first metro line opens


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has opened the country’s first metro-rail service in the capital Abuja – some eight years after the project was initiated.

“The completion of this very important project is a dream come true,” Mr Buhari said during the opening ceremony.

“This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects,” he added.

Mr Buhari and other digntaries took a ride from the Abuja Metro Station to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. A second line runs between the central business district to northern neighbourhoods.

The entire metro system, comprising 290km (180 miles), is being built by a Chinese firm at a cost of $824m (£623), Bloomberg news agency quotes officials as saying.

It will cover the entire city and will be developed in six phases.

Source: Bloomberg

Deraa, birthplace of Syria uprising, retaken by government forces


Syrian government forces are retaking control of the rebel-held part of Deraa, the birthplace of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Troops, accompanied by Russian military police, entered the area and raised the national flag, state media reported.

Rebels there have reportedly agreed to surrender in return for an amnesty or safe passage to the rebel-held north.

The army has recaptured large swathes of Deraa’s surrounding province since launching a major offensive on 19 June.

By CR