Analysis and reporting on key policy issues from Southern and Central Africa

v21/21 20 October 06

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CONTENTS

Congo:

Confident Kabila lays out his ‘contract for the new Congo’

Congo:

Reshuffle indicates ‘militarisation’ say Kabila's opponents

Congo:

SA observer team prepares for poll

Congo:

Mining staff accused of war crimes complicity

Angola:

Election campaign begins in slow motion

Angola:

Catholic Church remains divided in Cabinda

Namibia:

Nuclear power plans are based on export hopes and unease about regional security   

Zambia:

War of words grows between president and rival

Lesotho:

New party challenges government

International:

Swaziland, Malawi still backing Taiwan

Zimbabwe:

Russian ‘infrastructure deals’ may be scams

Mozambique:

Landmines estimate is revised sharply downwards

Mozambique:

Sena rail line will open way for coal exports

SA development:

AIDS mortality still obscured by doctors’ certification

SA politics:

Only 100 in new elite says report

 


Congo:

Confident Kabila lays out his 'contract for the new Congo'

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] A supremely confident Joseph Kabila this week laid out for European officials and journalists a 'contract for the new Congo'. It seemed an election manifesto calculated to appeal to foreign investors.

On the first day of the official campaign for the presidential election on October 29 the three main figures in his 'Alliance for the Presidential Majority' (AMP) were presented to a press conference at the Brussels Conrad Hotel at the end of their European visit to Paris, London and Brussels.One of the main emphases will be on infrastructure, which also has a political dimension since the collapse of the road and railway systems has meant the outlying provinces increasingly trading through neighbouring countries....

Not rhetoric

Mabunda insisted that the AMP's programme was not mere rhetoric but relied on the credibility of the transitional administration and was based on a number of real achievements. ...

Confident of winning

The delegation was intent on giving an unequivocal message to the international press and to foreign diplomats and top politicians (including Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt) that the AMP government would be in charge for the next five years.Meanwhile Kamitatu warned that though the Kabila camp had "an open hand policy", the AMP side would not behave like angels if its adversaries began using "terrorist methods". Kamitatu made a specific reference to the street attack in London on October 11 on Okitundu, former ambassador in UK Henri Swana, and the representative of Kabila's 'People's Party for Reconstruction and Development' (PPRD). In an exclusive interview with SouthScan Okitundu blamed Bemba's supporters for the attack and said a similar confrontation had been narrowly avoided in Paris. He had lodged a formal complaint in the UK and  the British ambassador had been summoned to give an explanation to the DRC foreign ministry.... >>> Full report


Congo:

Reshuffle indicates 'militarisation' say Kabila's opponents

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] Joseph Kabila has appointed the hardline General Denis Kalume Numbi as the new minister of the interior and Admiral Liwanga Maata as governor of Kinshasa.

Supporters of Kabila's rival, Jean-Pierre Bemba said this indicated a "militarisation" of his regime and expressed fears about a possible coup before, during or after the October 29 election. Others, such as the head of the 'Voice of the Voiceless' rights group, Floribert Chebeya agreed. ...

Mounting violence

The choice of military men for the ministry of the interior and the governorship of Kinshasa also reflects Kabila's concern about the mounting violence in various parts of the country in the run-up to the elections, say observers.  ...

UN monitors deployedThe UN is also trying to defuse tensions between the two presidential candidates. On Wednesday (October 18) the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that the UN had offered each a helicopter to enable them to carry on campaigning. Bemba's helicopter was destroyed by the Republican Guard during the attack on his residence on the August 21 and the offer should forestall him from claiming that he has not been given the same chances as his adversary....

>>> Full report


Congo:

SA observer team prepares for poll

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] South Africa is to send a National Observer Mission to observe the upcoming presidential run-off. The mission will be deployed in all 11 provinces from October 22 to November 2, according to SA deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad last week.

He congratulated the SA air force for its successful transportation of the presidential and provincial ballot papers, completed on September 29, five days ahead of schedule. The ballots had to be delivered to 14 hubs in the DRC by October 2 to ensure further distribution by the DRC elections commission and MONUC to over 50,000 voting stations before the October 29 election.Last month the SA defence minister, Mosioua Lekota said the elections in the DRC had involved the largest air operation ever carried out on the African continent, including air operations during the second world war. South Africa had delivered 1,250 tons of election material to the DRC for the second phase of the presidential elections.,,,

>>> Full report


Congo:

Mining staff accused of war crimes complicity

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] A Congolese military judge last week (October 12) recommended the prosecution of three former employees of the Australian company Anvil Mining. They were accused of "complicity in war crimes", together with a Congolese army colonel called Ademar Ilunga and eight of his subordinates.

The issue is a delicate one not only for Anvil but also for the World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which provides Anvil's Dikulushi project with political risk insurance. ...

MONUC report

The decision concludes a two-year investigation into extrajudicial killings in the town of Kilwa in south-eastern Katanga in late 2004, perpetrated by the Congolese army during the suppression of a rebel insurgency. ...

>>> Full report


Angola:

Election campaign begins in slow motion

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] A slow motion electoral campaign for 2007 is beginning in Angola with the ruling MPLA party taking some steps towards the preparation of the legislative and presidential poll due next year.

It has launched a "national campaign of civic education" to encourage Angolans to vote. Yet the election dates have not been fixed by President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos who said only that the elections initially scheduled for 2006 would take place in 2007 at the latest. ...

Little trickle-down

These dividends are not trickling down to the poor, say local NGOs and international charities. The government has just announced a 3.1 percent rise in social spending to 28.1 percent of the US$25bn budget; military spending remains at 12.7 percent.  ...

Military support for Kabila

But for the time being the need to curb illegal immigration is the major priority for the government. For it one of the risks is that some of the immigrants could register and influence the results of the vote. ...

Obstructive measures

The MPLA is also creating obstacles for the opposition. The main opposition party Unita recently complained about "acts of political intolerance" including attacks on September 28 by some 30 thugs on one of its representatives in Benguela province. Five people were hurt in the incident, according to reports. ...

NGOs face clamp-down

In addition the government, through Territorial Administration Minister Virgilio de Fontes Pereira, has begun to clamp down on local NGOs whose "social objective does not fit with the electoral campaign".In Benguela the local governor banned a manual of civic education published by the 'Accao para o desenvolvimento rural e ambiente' (ADRA) that called the citizens to "vote and change the order of things"....

>>> Full report


 

Angola:

Catholic Church remains divided in Cabinda

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] The crisis continues in Angola's Cabinda enclave, where the local Roman Catholic Church remains divided after the replacement of Bishop Dom Paulino Fernandes Madeca in February by Dom Filomeno Vieira Dias, who is supported by the MPLA and by the church's hierarchy in Luanda.

According to the official news agency ANGOP, a group of "vandals" have been creating trouble during church services, threatening the faithful and the priests, throwing stones on the roofs and squatting illegally in some churches. ,,,

>>> Full report


Namibia:

Nuclear power plans are based on export hopes and unease about regional security

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] The Namibian government is to begin a feasibility study for a nuclear power plant because of the projected electricity shortfall in the region.

Officials quoted the power outages anticipated next year throughout the region, but at the same time cited uncertainty about the future stability of the DR Congo and Angola, through which proposed hydro-electric power lines will run. ...

Uranium producer

Driving home the argument for nuclear power are the attractions of Namibia beneficiating its massive uranium reserves and selling energy to the region. ...

Enrichment expertise

Nuclear enrichment could be a long-term goal for Namibia and a significant money-spinner as demand rockets. Iita, the permanent secretary in Namibia's ministry of mines and energy, said Namibia would seek expertise from countries with experience in uranium enrichment. ...

'Political will' lacking

Most revealing about the Namibian announcement has been its view on the future security of its energy from other SADC states. SA has focused attention and resources on getting the Inga construction scheme in the DRC off the ground; this will involve hydro power being supplied to all of the Southern African Development Community, with the line bringing power to Namibia going through Angola. ...

>>> Full report


 

Zambia:

War of words grows between president and rival

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] President Levy Mwanawasa has threatened his opponent Michael Sata with treason charges if he follows through with his threat to collect funds independently of the central government (SouthScan v21/20).

Announcing his new ministers last week at State House, Mwanawasa warned Sata not to seek to frustrate government development projects in the localities his members of parliament control. But Sata insisted no-one could stop him from running these municipalities. ...

>>> Full report


Lesotho:

New party challenges government

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] A leading member of Lesotho's cabinet resigned last week and announced plans for a new party to challenge the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in elections next year.

Science and Communications Minister Tom Thabane, an ex-foreign minister who was regarded as number three in Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's administration, led a group of 17 dissident LCD MPs and by this week was in a position to challenge the government's overall parliamentary majority. ... 

>>> Full report


International:

Swaziland, Malawi still backing Taiwan

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] Malawi and Swaziland are among the five African allies of Taiwan that have refused invitations to a major Beijing-organised conference next month. China plans to launch a diplomatic offensive to isolate Taiwan at the up-coming China-Africa Cooperation Forum, according to Taiwanese officials.

The issue blew up last month when the Chinese ambassador to Zambia threatened reprisals because the opposition leader Michael Sata had sought support from Taiwanese officials in Malawi (SouthScan v21/18). ...

>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Russian 'infrastructure deals' may be scams

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] Considerable uncertainty surrounded alleged deals cut last week between Zimbabwe and Russian companies and worth US$300 million in the tourism, aviation and power generation sectors.

Memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed last week at the end of a visit by a 48-member Russian business delegation comprising both business representatives and journalists....

China plea

Meanwhile Zimbabwe has been trying to persuade its ally China to help construct houses for more than a million people in need. Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told the head of a visiting Chinese delegation that he was particularly interested in high-rise construction on the Chinese model.The government last year demolished shacks in a campaign that the UN said left up to 700,000 people homeless and jobless. The government promised more than a million new houses but so far only 3,000 have been confirmed built. Local authorities have instead been handing out plots of land....

More power cuts

In another development this week Zimbabwe's power company warned of massive power outages due to a breakdown at the main thermal power station together with the cutting of the line drawing power from the DR Congo (SouthScan v21/20). ...

>>> Full report


Mozambique:

Landmines estimate is revised sharply downwards

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] Mozambique's National De-mining Institute (IND) has revised sharply downwards the estimated number of landmines in the country. It says an average of 5.5 million sq. metres a year have been cleared since 2000, but adds that the real area contaminated by mines may be much smaller than was once believed.

The figure of two million mines often mentioned in the mid-1990s has been abandoned, and estimates of the area affected have been sharply reduced. ...

>>> Full report


Mozambique:

Sena rail line will open way for coal exports

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] The strategically important Sena rail line linking the Moatize coal deposits to the coast has been cleared of unexploded landmines and ordnance after 20 years, the US State Department said on Tuesday.

The US contributed some US$13 million to the project a significant part of the approximately $46m given in aid to Mozambique since 1993. ...

>>> Full report


SA development:

AIDS mortality still obscured by doctors' certification

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] South African doctors are still not filling in accurate details of the cause of death in their certificates, making exact figures on AIDS mortality difficult to ascertain.

However, the official statistics agency Stats SA says that female deaths due to HIV/AIDS had quadrupled from 1997 to 2004. It had been expected that when insurance regulations were changed doctors would be less hesitant in describing AIDS as the cause of death. Earlier any indication that a patient had died from an AIDS-related illness meant they were disqualified from insurance payouts; this was changed two years ago (SouthScan v20/03;19/24)....

>>> Full report


SA politics:

Only 100 in new elite says report

[© SouthScan v21/21 20 Oct 06] About 100 people form the core of South Africa's new elite network which combines economic and political leverage, said the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) last week.

The new South African elite was perceived as closed, leading to anger among those who had expected to benefit from democracy but were still excluded, said IJR director Charles Villa-Vicencio. "It should be wider, it should not exclude and it's an interesting group to monitor," he said.The IJR said it was difficult to tell where "moral elasticity" crossed the line and became corruption....

>>> Full report