BurundiBurundi's political groups have still not agreed on a post-transition constitution, less than two months before planned elections and the transitional period is set to end.
Ministers from six Tutsi-dominated parties are boycotting the Council of Ministers meeting that has been in session for the last two weeks to create the constitution.
The constitution is to be based on a power-sharing accord that 20 political parties and former armed movements signed on 6 August in Pretoria, South Africa. But the six Tutsi-dominated parties have not signed the document and are demanding further negotiations.The other parties will not comply.
"We have had enough talks," WeLeonce Ngendakumana, the secretary-general of the Front pour la démocratie au Burundi, said on Wednesday in a joint news conference of the groups that signed the Pretoria accord. "The constitution [being draft] results from a consensus."
Under the terms of the Pretoria accord the country's political institutions are to be made up of 60 percent Hutus and 40 percent Tutsis while the Senate is to be 50-50. Tutsi-dominated parties say further talks are needed to determine how the various parties will allocate the percentage.
The groups that signed the Pretoria object to this demand. "The [Tutsi-dominated parties] want to win the elections before they have been organised," said Jerome Ndiho, from the Hutu-dominated Kaze-Forces de défense de la démocratie, at Wednesday's joint conference. "How can we determine the share of each party before the elections are organised?"
The Pretoria accord, as well as an accord signed in Arusha in 2000, stipulates that all parties winning 2 percent in the elections must get a seat in the National Assembly while all parties wining 5 percent must get a post in the government.
Ndiho said if Tutsi-dominated parties feared that they could not capture the 2 percent then "they are not worth representing Tutsis, let alone the Burundi people".
The chairman of the Tutsi-dominated Union pour le progrès national (UPRONA), Jean Baptiste Manwangari, denied the charge. "One cannot know who is going to win but there is a socio-political reality in this country which is deeply divided on the basis of ethnic politics," he told Radio Bonesha on Thursday.
UPRONA has proposed that out of the 40 percent allocated to Tutsis, three-quarters goes to Tutsi-dominated parties and only one-quarter to Tutsis in Hutu-dominated parties. Other parties say this proposal is unacceptable because it would marginalise the Tutsi in the non-Tutsi parties. (Source: IRIN)
Cameroon-NigeriaNigeria will not hand over the disputed and potentially oil-rich Bakassi Pensinsula to Cameroon on 15 September, the date previously agreed with UN mediators, Nigerian officials said on 6 Setember.
Speaking after a series of closed door meeting members of the federal parliament in Abuja, they said the 15 September deadline for Nigeria to withdraw its armed forces and its civilian administration from the swampy neck of jungle jutting into the Gulf of Guinea would be ignored.
Ani Eric Essien, who heads the local administration in the Bakassi Peninsula, said Nigerian troops and government officials were staying put in the 1,000 sq km territory.
"As we speak now Nigerian troops have not been withdrawn from Bakassi," Essein told reporters as he emerged from a series of meetings at the House of Representatives.
"We're going back home satisfied that the government is behind us, that we 're not going to move from there," he added.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ)in the Hague ruled in October 2002 that the Bakassi Peninsula belonged to Cameroon, even though most of its inhabitants considered themselves to be Nigerian. (Source: IRIN)
South AfricaTraditional healers in South Africa were formally recognised this week after parliament approved
legislation to regulate the industry.
According to the Department of Health, an estimated 70 percent of South Africans consult the country's 200,000 healers. But until now, this sector of healthcare had been largely ignored.
The Traditional Health Practitioner's Bill will ensure that traditional medicine and its practitioners are integrated into the country's healthcare system.
The bill was passed by a near unanimous vote in parliament, with Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang describing it as "groundbreaking legislation."
Under the new legislation a statutory council for traditional healers will be created, and a registration mechanism for traditional healers, birth attendants and surgeons set up. Only those registered with the council will be able to practice.
The council will also act as a "watchdog" by setting ethical standards. (Source: IRIN)
ZambiaThe Zambia National AIDS Network (ZNAN) has provided a cash injection to support organisations implementing HIV/AIDS programmes in rural areas.
Sam Kapembwa, ZNAN's communications officer, said the network had set aside close to US $480,000 to help the various NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) scale up their HIV/AIDS interventions.
He told a local newspaper, The Times of Zambia, that qualifying organisations were those currently providing home-based care, and working with orphans and vulnerable children, and high-risk groups.
Support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS and private-sector organisations with AIDS intervention programmes are also among the groups eligible for funding.