Thursday 22 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
A United Nations torture prevention panel has suspended a trip to Rwanda, citing obstruction by the authorities and fears that interviewees would suffer "reprisals", a statement from the UN rights office said. The move came less that two weeks after Human Rights Watch reported it had confirmed 104 cases of people being illegally detained and tortured in Rwandan military detention centres between 2010 and 2016, a charge denied by Kigali. The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture had been in the East African country for five days before deciding it could no longer continue its mission "due to a series of obstructions imposed by authorities", the statement said. "We have been barred from completing our work in some places, and...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(The Herald Online 10/20/17)
TO make a particular point during his address at the swearing-in ceremony at Amahoro Stadium on August 18, President Kagame referred to a gospel song that had been adapted and sung by supporters during the election campaign. “When we are fighting for a just cause, there is nothing to fear whatsoever, because God is always on our side . . .” His voice was drowned out by a chorus from the gathering in the stadium, who spontaneously took up the refrain. Religious leaders — Christian and Muslim — seated in the VIP seats, clapped hands in accompaniment to the crowd’s singing. The moment, as much as any other, symbolised the new Rwanda. To have the leaders of the Islamic faith...
(Xinhuanet 10/20/17)
KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is looking for big investments in renewable energy sources in order to stimulate the country's green economic development, top government officials said Thursday. Rwanda has a lot of untapped investment opportunities in the renewable energy sources, said Claire Akamanzi, chief executive officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) at a renewable energy conference held in Rwanda's capital, Kigali. She said Rwanda is looking for investors in various renewable energy options available across the country. Rwanda has set clear targets in renewable energy and other power generation sources, as it is targeting to achieve 100 percent access to electricity countrywide by 2024. Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente in September presented the government's development strategy up to 2024,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(The Associated Press 10/18/17)
KIGALI, Rwanda — A jailed critic of Rwanda’s government said Monday she was detained because she tried to run against longtime President Paul Kagame in the recent election. Diane Rwigara, who faces charges of inciting insurrection against the state and forgery, spoke out in a courtroom in the capital, Kigali. She said she was charged “because I spoke about crimes committed by this government. Nobody has talked about Rwandans who disappear without a trace.” “The government should address the issues I raised because they are legitimate, instead of persecuting me and my family,” she added. Rwigara’s sister Anne and their mother, Adeline, also face criminal charges. All three women have denied the charges. Rwigara was disqualified from running in the...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/17/17)
A critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame asked him to free her and her detained mother and sister as she stood in court on Monday charged with forgery and "inciting insurrection". Diane Shima Rwigara, who was barred from running against Kagame in August elections, moved to comfort her mother Adeline and sister Anne as they cried during the hearing. ”I request the president release me and my family,” she said. She told the court she was “being victimised ... because I have political ambitions”. The 35-year-old accountant is accused of faking the registration papers she filed to stand in the election that Kagame went on to win with 98.8 percent of the vote. Rwigara has regularly said Kagame stifles dissent...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
A Rwandan court on Monday began hearing a case against a woman who showed interest in August's presidential election for inciting insurrection and forgery. Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old businesswoman, appeared with her mother and sister on Monday at Intermediate Court of Nyarugenge in the capital city of Kigali and denied the charges. Prosecutors provided whatsapp audio messages retrieved from suspects' mobile phones which were played in court to prove their allegations. Some 12 audio messages were played. The hearing is scheduled to continue on Wednesday. The hearing started days after court postponed four previous sessions on being asked by the defence. Rwigara were arrested on Sept.
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Africa needs to fast-track the adoption of key policies and legal frameworks to facilitate free movement of migrants in the continent, Khabele Matlosa, director of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission said Monday in Rwanda's capital city Kigali. Speaking at a meeting on an AU's procedure on migration, refugees and internally displaced persons, Matlosa explained that protocols would facilitate use of African passport, visa-free Africa, free trade area, meant to ease integration across the continent. The meeting attracted more than 200 participants from across Africa, including ministers and experts in the areas of migration, refugees and forced displacement. The meeting is meant to consider and discuss adopting the Protocol...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/13/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The mother and sister of a prominent critic of Rwanda’s president said on Friday all three of them had been tortured and deprived of food as they were held in jail on charges of forgery and inciting insurrection. Adeline Rwigara told a court she and her daughters were handcuffed day and night. She is being held alongside her daughter Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant who tried to stand against President Paul Kagame in August elections. Diane Rwigara, who is accused of faking the registration papers for the election, was eventually barred from running and Kagame went on to win with 98.8 percent of the vote. She has repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and criticized his...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
Rwanda denied Wednesday that its military used torture to extract confessions from detainees, calling a scathing report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) "baseless". In a 91-page report published on Tuesday, the rights watchdog said it had confirmed 104 cases of people being illegally detained and tortured in Rwandan military detention centres between 2010 and 2016, estimating the true figure to be much higher. The report said victims were usually accused of collaborating with "enemies" of the Rwandan government, taken to unknown locations and tortured by asphyxiation, electric shock and mock executions until they signed a confession document or incriminated others.
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Rwanda's military has used asphyxiation, electric shock and mock executions to torture confessions out of detainees, Human Rights Watch said in a report published Tuesday. The rights watchdog confirmed 104 cases of people being illegally detained and tortured in Rwandan military detention centres between 2010 and 2016, according to the 91-page report, which estimates the true figure is much higher. It said that systematic torture by the military was often ignored by judges and prosecutors whenever complaints were made. "Research over a number of years demonstrates that military officials in Rwanda can use torture whenever they please,"...
(The Associated Press 10/10/17)
Rwanda’s military routinely tortures detainees with beatings, asphyxiations, mock executions and electric shocks, Human Rights Watch alleged Tuesday, ramping up accusations of serious abuses that have dogged the government over the years. A new report by the rights group describes unlawful detentions in military camps and widespread torture, including tying objects to inmates’ genitals. There is “an environment of total impunity” in the small East African nation, with judges and prosecutors ignoring complaints from current and former detainees about ill treatment, the report says. “Research over a number of years demonstrates that military officials in Rwanda can use torture whenever they please,” Human Rights Watch’s Ida Sawyer said in a statement. Many victims have given up “all hope for justice.”...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...
(AFP (eng) 10/09/17)
French judges have heard from a new witness who claims to have seen missiles allegedly used to kill former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death sparked genocide in 1994, a source close to the case told AFP on Monday. The witness says he saw two surface-to-air missiles at the headquarters of the Tutsi militia headed by current Rwandan President Paul Kagame which were later used to take down Habyarimana's plane. The missile strike near the airport in the capital Kigali sparked 100 days of slaughter of the Tutsi ethnic minority by members of Habyarimana's Hutu ethnic group, leaving an estimated 800,000 people dead. The French judiciary, who are acting on a complaint from French citizens killed aboard Habyarimana's plane, decided...
(Reuters 10/06/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - A prominent critic of Rwanda’s president appeared in court alongside her mother and sister on Friday, all charged with forgery and inciting insurrection. Diane Shima Rwigara is accused of faking the registration papers she filed to stand against President Paul Kagame in an August election. She was eventually barred from running and Kagame went on to win with 98.8 percent of the vote. Rwigara, 35-year-old accountant, has repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and criticised his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s tight grip on the country since it fought its way to power to end Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. On Friday, she told the packed court room she had been forced to appear without her lawyer because authorities had not...

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