Zimbabwe's ruling party, African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) is having nightmares of political defeat in the March Presidential poll. The mounting internal and external pressure has led the party to turn to the church for support. Our Correspondent, Rodrick Mukumbira, reports that efforts to woo the Church began in early January when the party’s government Youth development, Gender and Employment Creation Ministry organised a national day of prayer.
Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Alick Mvundla Ncube of Bulawayo is the latest scapegoat over the unpopularity of ZANU-PF. His problems begun when he condemned the state terrorism that killed, maimed, and displaced thousands of Ndebele people in Matabeleland in 1983. President Robert Mugabe labelled him a hypocrite and “a Jeremiah” prophesising for the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, a revered nationalist and leader of the Ndebele. Since then the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation police have been monitoring his movements.
Ethiopia is demanding the return of the Obelisk, a cultural and historical artefact, believed to have been stolen by Italian troops acting on orders from the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. They carried it to Rome where Mussolini wanted it to mark fifteen years of his “March to Rome” that brought him to power in 1922. Over the years, the Obelisk has graced the spot where Mussolini indicated it should be erected, Rome’s central Piazza di Porta Capena. For over 50 years, the two countries have engaged in inconclusive discussions concerning the Obelisk’s return. AFRICANEWS staff writer Mathias Muindi reports.
That Kenya is Africa’s leading exporter of cut flowers and other floricultural products is good news. The country supplies approximately 25 per cent of all flowers imported by the European Union. Within 48 hours of being harvested, flowers are shipped from Kenya to European markets, primarily in Holland, Germany, and England. It is a $110 million-a-year business, with exports exceeding 38,000 metric tons last year.
Life is not all that rosy though. Cathy Majtenyi, AFRICANEWS Managing editor reports that according to Kenya Human Rights Commission, workers in the lucrative industry face a number of labour violations. These include: “Starvation wages” that are as low as Ksh70 a day, arbitrary dismissal for such things as leaving the greenhouse when it becomes unbearably hot, the use of casual workers who do not receive health, maternity, or any of the other benefits that their permanent counterparts receive, sexual harassment of women workers and, being denied the right to form or join unions.
When will peace ever prevail in Sudan? A new report by International Crisis Group entitle God, Oil and Country: Changing the Logic of War in Sudan, argues that the shock effects of the 11 September terrorist attack in the US has now provided a window of opportunity to construct a viable peace process. AFRICANEWS editor, Clement Njoroge and special correspondent, Boro Klan reports.
Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum has announced that it is suspending its operations in Sudan. It is not known who should get the credit for Lundin’s second exit in two years between the human rights, church, and relief workers groups that have been calling for a stoppage of oil exploration until peace reigns in Sudan, or southern rebels who have declared oil installations legitimate military targets. Whatever the case, the suspension of Lundin’s operations not only confirms that oil and war in Sudan are interrelated but it could be also an indicator that dramatic changes in the country’s oil industry are on the way, reports Mathias Muindi.
Ghana’s government departments are full of ghost workers. Our Correspondent Amos Safo reports that the so-called “ghosts” have become the most lucrative channel for siphoning state money into private pockets. The practice involves accountants and heads of departments in the public sector inserting “ghost names” into government payrolls or failing to delete names of people who are no longer in employment. The government has however moved swiftly to stamp out the evil.