News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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Central Africa

A new study in central Africa suggests that the onslaught on wild game, for what is generally known as bushmeat, threatens wildlife and poor households that depend on it as a source of food and cash income, the Zoological Society of London reported on September 11.

The society s research results suggest that the current situation is even more serious than previously thought.

"Bushmeat can be a very emotive issue, and some of the pictures that come out of the bushmeat markets can be quite horrifying to western eyes, but the important thing to remember is that people who are hunting and eating bushmeat generally do not have any other options," Dr Guy Cowlishaw, a research fellow at the society, said.

"It would be a crisis if the bushmeat resource disappeared. We have a duty to make sure it remains for local people and is sustainable for the future of the species affected by it," he added.

The society said that the scale and severity of demand for wild game meat was perhaps most devastating in tropical Africa, where the unsustainable hunting of animals had led to a "bushmeat crisis" that threatened a myriad of species with extinction including humankind's closest relatives, the great apes: gorillas and chimpanzees.

"The hunting of vulnerable species and the illegal hunting of all species in protected areas must be stopped," the society said. (Source: IRIN)


A national human rights NGO in the Republic of Congo launched a programme on September 5, supported by the US and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), to fight the exploitation and trafficking of children in the country.

The project, led by the Association panafricaine Thomas Sankara (Apts), will focus on the dissemination of information to, and the training of, government officials, journalists and civil society organisations. They, in turn, would be responsible for disseminating this information to the public.

"Originally, the project was to have targeted Brazzaville and the departments of Kouilou and Bouenza in the south, and Likouala in the north, with a financing of US $24,800 from the US government," Cephas Germain Ewangui, the association s president, said.

"However, with the additional support from UNICEF of 12 million francs CFA ($20,100), we can extend activities to the departments of Niari and Lekoumou in the south, and to Plateaux [in central Congo] and Sangha [in the north]," he added.

The association said although a proper study of the situation had yet to be conducted in the Congo, evidence suggested that hundreds of children from Congo, the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as from West Africa were being used as domestic servants and commercial hawkers on the streets.

"What is truly incredible is that all of this takes place right before our eyes, in flagrant violation of international charters and conventions ratified by our country, among them the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the ILO [International Labour Organisation] convention on child labour regarding minimum working and school leaving age," Ewangui said. (Source: IRIN)


Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) called on September 11 for greater humanitarian intervention in northern Katanga Province of southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where civilians were still suffering the consequences of armed conflict and untreated diseases.

"Although this government-controlled part of the country has been considered peaceful during the past years of war, civilian populations are subjected to extremely violent attacks and suffer from gravely insufficient assistance," the international relief NGO reported.

It recounted numerous instances in which various armed groups had pillaged and burned down villages as well as beaten and killed civilians, causing tens of thousands in the region to flee to areas often inaccessible to aid groups because of continued hostilities. It warned that this lack of access could allow otherwise treatable diseases such as cholera to erupt, "with catastrophic consequences".

Among others, it cited Malemba Nkulu, Kikondja, Kitenge, Mukubu and Mukanga as areas that had been particularly hard-hit by fighting.

"It is high time that the public authorities assume their responsibilities with regard to the abandoned Congolese people of northern Katanga," MSF said. It also urged UN agencies and international donors to lend their support. (Source: IRIN)


A human rights group has called for the immediate release of nine human rights activists arrested for protesting school fees in the city of Lubumbashi, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Association Africaine de Defense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO/Katanga) said the nine men and women were arrested by the Police Nationale Congolaise on September 8 after organising a peaceful protest against what they believed to be unreasonable school tuition fees. They were demanding that the state assume its responsibilities in supporting education, as many children had been forced to leave school, unable to pay the fees.

However, as they were marching to the provincial governor's office to present a memorandum of their grievances, they were arrested and detained in a jail located at the junction of Tabora and Sendwe avenues in Lubumbashi commune. The protest coincided with the nationwide opening of public schools in the Congo. (Source: IRIN)


As part of the Kenyan government's efforts to regain vast wealth stolen by corrupt officials and politicians, it is encouraging "whistle blowers" to come forward with information, Assistant Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Robinson Githae, told a news conference on September 12.

He said people giving evidence would receive "protection" and that they should approach either the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General or the Anti-Corruption police directly.

Kenya was focusing on the "Philippine method" of asset recovery, said Githae, which involved seeking redress through the courts. This method was slow, he said, and the danger remained that the accused would hire "top lawyers" to delay the process in the courts, as they had done for 10 years in the Goldenberg "circus" - Kenya's most infamous scam in which millions of dollars were looted through an export compensation scheme.

On a positive note, the government would be availing itself of expertise in the form of forensic auditors to chase money trails as well as international law firms which specialise in the recovery of assets, he said.

Under current legislation - the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act - the government could apply to have illegal assets forfeited, Githae said. People could also come forward and volunteer to return assets or money they had stolen, but there would be no amnesties granted, he added. "We don't want to be seen to be condoning corruption." (Source: IRIN)


Rwanda's incumbent President Paul Kagame was sworn in on September 12 as the country's first democratically elected president since the tiny central African nation gained independence from Belgium in 1962.

Leaders from nine African nations were present for the inauguration, held in a sports stadium in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, with an estimated 30,000 people in attendance.

Kagame, a Tutsi, won a landslide victory in a presidential election on 25 August with 95 per cent of the vote against two Hutu candidates. His party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, hailed the victory as proof that ethnic-based divisions had been overcome in Rwanda. Some 800,000 Tutsis and politically-moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

"I, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, swear to respect the constitution and work with my whole heart for the unity of Rwandans," he said.

While delivering his message, Kagame, 46, promised to improve the justice system, boost the economy and continue to build the unity of Rwandans.

"We have built the foundation, now is the time to redouble our efforts to fulfil our pledges in the next seven years and beyond," he said. "We shall institutionalise fairness and justice for all our citizens, for they are the pillars of the new democratic order."

Among the African heads of state in attendance were South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

It was the first time that Museveni had visited Kigali since the two former allies clashed repeatedly in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, in a war that erupted in August 1998 and which was ostensibly brought to an end with the inauguration on 30 June of a transitional national government. (Source: IRIN)

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