Posts tagged as: democratic

Muntu, Nandala Contest Not FDC’s Biggest Challenge

Photo: Daily Monitor

Determined. FDC party president Mugisha Muntu addresses a rally recently.

opinionBy Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) will hold its 4th presidential elections in November this year.

The party, registered on December 16, 2004, celebrated its 12th birthday last year. The current president, Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu, and Nathan Nandala-Mafabi, the party secretary general, are likely to be the main contenders.

The party’s National Council will meet early next month to draw the agenda of the November National Delegates’ Conference, which will elect the FDC president.

The FDC National Council is chaired by Ambassador Wasswa Biriggwa and it comprises district chairpersons, MPs and National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

The delegates’ conference comprises the abovementioned individuals plus district secretaries, secretaries for mobilization, district secretaries for youth and women and constituency chairpersons. These are the people who will elect the next FDC leader.

If he offers himself, Muntu will become the only person who has participated in all FDC presidential elections and national presidential primaries as a candidate.

The last election exposed the FDC fault lines and nearly brought the party to a standstill. Reconciling the party automatically became FDC’s main activity for a number of months.

Holding fairly organized and credible elections has distinguished the FDC from other parties. Of course only stupid people expect the NRM to ever hold credible internal elections when Mr Museveni is still breathing.

The FDC deserves credit. And, for me, that is where FDC and Uganda’s problem lies – transition and continuity. I consider this a bigger problem than torturing the mayor of Kamwenge or the kidnap of 12 children belonging to a murder suspect by police.

Africa has remained behind because we don’t know and never prepare for transitions. In Uganda, it is only Asian businesses that usually survive beyond two generations. Here, I talk about Madhvani, Mehtha and Aga Khan.

I hope the Mulwana empire will survive beyond its founders. Already, the Mukwano empire is being run by the second generation, at least guaranteeing its survival beyond the founders.

The colonial administration, with all its shortcomings, laid a very formidable foundation for us but we have systematically destroyed it (foundation). They built and handed over Mulago hospital in 1962.

After running it down, we recently borrowed more than $100 million to repair it. Mind you, in 1962 Uganda had just about six million people.

Today, we are 37 million and our leader lists renovation of Mulago as an achievement, moreover on borrowed money!

Colonialists built for us the first hydropower dam in Jinja with a capacity of 180MW using the Coffee Stabilization Fund. Power from the colonial dam is sold at three US cents per unit while that of Aga Khan from Bujagali is at 13 US cents.

Look at all our towns: Kampala, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka, Tororo, Soroti, Mbale, etc. The only parts of these towns that are planned are those that were built by the colonial administration.

That, for me, is the biggest challenge. People who started the FDC have slowly exited or retired from active involvement. Here, I talk about Augustine Ruzindana, Amanya Mushega, Dan Wandera Ogalo, Anang Odur, Wafula Oguttu, Jack Sabiiti, John Kazoora, etc. Others such as Sam Njuba and Sulaiman Kiggundu have died.

But even those who are still on the scene such as Salaamu Musumba, Reagan Okumu, Kasiano Wadri, Alice Alaso, and Bwanika Bbaale are less active.

We are lucky that Gen Muntu and Mafabi are still interested in running the FDC. We are even blessed that Col Kizza Besigye has refused to give up the battle.

The real challenge is going to be the human resource still available to serve the FDC and the country. Between Muntu and Mafabi, whoever wins, who will they work with? I mean a set of skilled human resource willing to sacrifice for the FDC and for the country.

At the risk of being reprimanded, I think the current quality of FDC leaders in some positions is no match for its founders. And Museveni, whose duty is to murder institutions, has already identified the weak points.

Look at the NRM leaders today and compare them with those who ushered it in. I keep laughing each time I look at James Waluswaka in parliament, the chap who defeated Emmanuel Dombo in Bunyole East. What about Ibrahim Abiriga, who now represents the mighty Arua municipality?

Countries don’t die but I think Uganda is going to break that record one day. The reason I say countries don’t die is because one still needs a visa to go to Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, etc.

There is absolutely no doubt that Mzee is about to transit. Trouble is that he doesn’t want this even discussed. There are no tested mechanisms that we will employ.

Already, each passing day, Mzee is creating another warlord. What will happen, for example, between Gen Kale Kayihura and Gen Henry Tumukunde when he finally leaves?

Let us, therefore, have a dialogue on who takes charge when the current crop of leaders has gone. At least that should be the debate in FDC.

The author is Kira Municipality MP.

Nigeria: Senate Summons Amaechi Over ‘Exclusion’ of Eastern Corridor From Rail Project

By Hassan Adebayo

The Senate has resolved to invite the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, for briefing, after a Senator said the eastern corridor rail line had been excluded from the federal government’s proposal for loan to finance railway projects across the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in April sought the approval of the National Assembly for the federal government to secure loan from the China EXIM Bank for modernization of Lagos-Kano modernisation projects, Lagos-Ibadan segment $1.231 billion; Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project, Kano-Kaduna segment $1.146 billion; and coastal railway project, the Lagos-Calabar segment, N3.474 billion.

But while the request is still pending legislative approval, a senator of the Peoples Democratic Party Senator from Abia State, Eyinnaya Abaribe, raised the matter on Tuesday, praying the Senate to suspend the consideration of the loan bid in view of the exclusion of Eastern corridor line.

“The Eastern section of the rail segment which has link between South-Eastern and North-Eastern segment if the rail line is completely left out,” Mr. Abaribe said.

“The loan being a federal government would be paid by all sections of the country; therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.

“For the railway project to have meaningful impact on the development of the country it should cover all parts of the country.

“Exclusion of the Eastern section which links four zones of South-South, South-East, and North -Central and the North-East, and the key cities such as Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, Markurdi, Lafia, Gudi, Bauchi and Maiduguri is inexplicable,” submitted Mr. Abaribe.

Although he included in his prayers that the consideration of the loan request be suspended pending “correction”, the Senate decided to delete that prayer.

It however uphold the prayer that Mr. Amaechi “appear and explain” reason for the exclusion of the Eastern rail corridor.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said already the leadership of the Senate had been making efforts to address the concern.

When Mr. Buhari sought the approval on April 26, he asked quick approval to enable Nigeria access the China-Africa fund package already included in 2016-2018 external borrowing plan which was forwarded to the National Assembly last August.

The Senate had rejected the borrowing plan entirely in November last year.

Mr. Buhari explained that the funds accessible under the package were limited and that applications from other African countries were treated on first-come first-serve basis.

Nigeria: Ebola – Medical Association Urges Govt to Step Up Surveillance At Borders

By Chioma Obinna

Lagos — Following the recent outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to step up surveillance and strengthen response team across the borders and other national routes of entry into the country.

In a statement jointly signed by the President, Dr. Mike Ogirima and Secretary General, Dr. Yusuf Sununu, the NMA also called for vigilance on the part of the Federal Government.

According to them, NMA is ready to partner with the Federal Ministry of Health to achieve another resounding success on the prevention and control of the fresh outbreak.

The statement read: “We also wish to call on all health teams to refresh their knowledge on clinical presentation of Ebola, apply universal basic precautions in patients’ care and use the standard protocols of management and reporting of suspected cases.”

It further urged Nigerians not to panic but cooperate with government in securing the nation, especially during surveillance at entry points if the need arises.

“The NMA assures all Nigerians of the readiness of her members to do more to safe guards the health of the nation.”

The duo, further restated that the recent declaration of outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was another major setback to the world.

“The devastation brought about by the last outbreak still remains fresh in our minds. West Africa was worst affected with more than 11,000 deaths recorded in the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“Efforts by the Government of Federal Republic of Nigeria had been acclaimed as one of the best moment the country demonstrated-That where there is political will success is assured. The role of our fallen heroes especially Late Dr. Adadevoh in the control of the spread of the disease is not only worth remembering but remind us on the need to make sacrifices for our country.”

Nigeria

After Buhari… ?

With the president on medical leave again, ambitious figures are positioning themselves favourably for what might happen… Read more »

Nigeria: Ebola – Authorities Still Foot-Dragging Over Screening At Airports

By Ejike Ejike and Anthony Awunor With Agency Report

Days after an outbreak of Ebola disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo fuelling fears of possible spread, authorities at the different international airports across Nigeria are still foot-dragging in directing for immediate screening.

LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported that in spite of assurances by government, checks for the disease are yet to begin at airports.

Although officials of both the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and National emergency Management Agency assured that screening at the airports will commence yesterday, it was observed that international airports across the nation are yet to commence the screening.

Checks at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and the Murtala Mohammed International airport Lagos revealed that although various stakeholders are said to be putting final touches to the preparations for screening of international passengers, actual screening has not yet begun.

Our correspondents who visited the two famous and indeed, largest airports, discovered that while all the scanning machines were available, there was no obvious screening of passengers.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, yesterday, the spokesperson of the FAAN, Abuja Airport, Mrs. Voke Hope said meetings and consultations are still ongoing, while all preparations have been made.

She further explained that the agency had finished a meeting with the Ministry of Information so as to ensure that every area is covered assuring that soon, the screening will commence.

At the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, it is observed that screening points and detecting machines were in place but actual screening has not yet began.

Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) said that its experts had not yet decided whether to use newly developed vaccines to try to contain an outbreak of Ebola in Congo, but said officials were making preparations just in case.

A spokesperson for the Geneva-based WHO told Reuters that the organisation was working with specialists to conduct an epidemiological investigation “to better understand the extent of the current outbreak”.

The spokesperson also added that the organisation was investigating to establish who was at risk of becoming infected with Ebola.

The GAVI global vaccine alliance said on Friday that some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak, but it would be up to the WHO and others to determine “if and when deployment of vaccine into this outbreak is warranted”.

The WHO spokesman said “preparations are being accelerated to ensure that vaccine and equipment be available on site” and “appropriate ethical and regulatory authorisation are being sought”.

He added that “if pertinent” an immunization strategy known as ring vaccination would be the recommended approach.

Nigeria

After Buhari… ?

With the president on medical leave again, ambitious figures are positioning themselves favourably for what might happen… Read more »

Tanzania: All Is Set for a Free Ebola-Alert Mission

Photo: OMS/S. Hawkey

(file photo).

By Jimmy Lwangili

A six-member team of health experts embarks on an Ebola sensitisation mission embracing five Tanzanian regions bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The government says during the itinerary in Kagera, Kigoma, Katavi, Rukwa and Songwe regions, its members will interact with members of the public by mobile phone.

Through free connection by Number 117 on all networks, the team members will respond to public enquiries about the swiftlyspreading, fast-killing disease.

The focus will include safety precautions and response procedures. At a media briefing session yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Mpoki Ulisubya,said the mission comes on the heels of reports of an Ebola outbreak in DRC.

Initial reports were released by the International Health Regulations (National Focal Point), and subsequently confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last Friday.

Three out of nine initial patients have died. Dr Ulisubya said Ebola, which had initially struck the West African region, spread to North-East Uele in the Central African Republic (CAR), and subsequently to DRC. He said experts in Tanzania’s team that will soon embark on the educative mission, were part of a larger group that had been on an experience-acquiring experience in West Africa.

The PS pointed out that, although not a single person in Tanzania had been reported to have been infected by the disease, state had to be on full alert and take precautions.

He said since human interaction was one of the agencies for swift infection, people in Tanzania, especially those bordering DRC, should be extra cautious.

Tanzania

Zanzibar President Pledges Relief to Ease Ravages of Rain

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has pledged his government’s resolve to repair infrastructure damaged by… Read more »

Why All the Effort to Sanitize Genocide Ideologue and Convicted Criminal Victoire Ingabire?

opinionBy Peter Mugabo

Victoire Ingabire was tried and convicted of complicity in acts of terrorism, conspiracy against the government by use of war and terrorism, and genocide ideology, and in October 2012 sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. Fifteen months later, an appeal to the Supreme Court led to her sentence being increased to 15 years.

Since then some media, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations have struggled to sanitize her genocidaire background, and portray her as woman who is no more than a political opponent and head of a coalition of Rwandan opposition parties calling itself Unified Democratic Forces (UDF).

Three years ago an appeal case was filed by Ingabire against the Government Rwanda at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), marking yet another campaign to rebrand someone who is by all known definitions, a leading genocide ideologue and convicted terrorist planner.

Victoire Ingabire happened to be in the Netherlands before the Genocide against the Tutsi and remained there before she returned to Rwanda in January 2010. But her real story does not begin when she landed in Kigali, accompanied by her deputy who later confessed to genocide and is serving a prison sentence. It begins in the refugee camps of Zaire, now Eastern DRC, in which the remnants of Rwanda’s genocidal government settled after fleeing Rwanda. .

Her official narrative says that in August 2000 she was elected president of the Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda (RDR) – now known as the Republican Rally for Democracy in Rwanda – with its headquarters in The Hague. What her resume doesn’t say is that RDR was actually born in April 1995 in Mugunga Camp in Eastern DRC.

The original RDR that Ingabire prefers to shun, merged with other Hutu extremist ideologues to form her current party, United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi). Although Ingabire masquerades as an opposition politician, the party she heads has genocide denial and genocide ideology as its founding doctrine.

In January 2010 Ingabire was reminded by the interviewer on a BBC Kinyarwanda language show “Imvo n’Imvano” that she was a member of an organization called the RDR created by “extremist Hutu” in the former Zaire. She denied it and instead said she was from a non-existent “Rally for Democracy in Rwanda.”

On 16 June 2006, the ICTR Appeals Chamber Judicial Notice stated that it was a “fact of common knowledge that between 6 April and 17 July 1994 there was a genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group” in which “more than a million people were killed during the genocide.”

But this and many more court rulings, have not stopped Ingabire and her colleagues from denying the obvious. A similar Judicial Notice of the Holocaust was made by Judge Johnson of the California Superior Court on 9th October 1981 ruling “The Holocaust is not reasonably subject to dispute… it is simply a fact.”

But the RDR to which Ingabire belongs and has led for over a decade, has maintained that “there is no evidence of the preparation of the genocide on the part of the Rwandan people and their leaders.” Rather, their position is: “it is true that massacres occurred and that the RPF must mainly be held responsible for the tragedy that befell Rwanda.”

The ICTR has ample evidence which shows who, when and how genocidaires were the real founders of the RDR. After all, many among them were eventually tried and convicted by the Court, including General Augustin Bizimungu, Colonels Theoneste Bagosora and Tharcisse Renzaho, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, Dr. Ferdinad Nahimana, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza and Laurent Semanza.

It is this very group that herded millions of ordinary Hutu citizens to refugee camps across the border to the DRC, and kept them as hostages for over two years and where the RDR provided political guidance to invigorate Hutu Power extremism.

Ingabire was schooled by these brains behind the genocide, the masterminds who fine-tuned the propaganda which justified and rationalized the slaughter, and provided training and logistics to the Tutsi extermination enterprise.

In May 1995, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report which described that part of the DRC was as a bastion of “the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide” who had “openly declared their intent to return to Rwanda and … “kill all Tutsi… “. But the very same HRW condemned her trial which they said was “unfair” and used “unreliable” evidence. HRW conveniently failed to mention that some of the most damning evidence used by the prosecution was provided by the Netherlands.

Last year, the EU parliament arbitrarily raised her status to “political opponent”, and condemned her trial as “politically motivated… based on vague and imprecise laws”.

But if Victoire Ingabire had been in Europe as a “politician” and speaking of the Holocaust, the authorities of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, all countries with laws against denial would arrest and charge her. If there was evidence linking her to terrorist activity, she would be paraded on our TV screens as a threat to world peace. So, why Rwanda should be expected to hold itself to lower standards of memory and security?

South Africa: Opposition Files Application to Block Energy Utility Chief’s Return

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday filed an urgent two-part application with the North Gauteng High Court, opposing Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom as chief executive.

“The first part of our urgent application seeks to interdict Brian Molefe from performing any duties or functions as group chief executive at Eskom, as well as to prevent him from receiving any benefits associated with the position,” explained James Selfe, chairperson of the DA’s federal council.

“The second part requests that the court review and set aside the reappointment of Mr Molefe as CEO of Eskom, as we believe this reappointment to be irrational.”

Molefe agreed to return to the post of Eskom CEO last week after resigning as an ANC Member of Parliament. He had resigned as chief executive in November 2016 after former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela connected Molefe with the Guptas in her report on state capture.

Last month, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown blocked a R30m retirement payout for Molefe. However, on Friday, she defended Molefe’s reappointment, saying it was better than paying him the R30m.

Selfe seemed unimpressed.

“The fact that … Brown attempts to justify this ludicrous decision by claiming that it ‘represents a significantly better value proposition’ to paying out the obscene and possibly illegal R30m pension benefit, simply does not hold water.”

‘Saxonwold shebeen defence’

He said it was common cause that Molefe was deeply and fundamentally connected to the Gupta family – “the chief suspects in the capture of state institutions and enterprises for their own personal benefit”.

“Mr Molefe was forced into contriving, on live television, one of the most bizarre and outlandish explanations for his frequent visits to Saxonwold, where the Gupta compound is located; the notorious ‘Saxonworld shebeen’ defence.”

On Friday, Brown maintained that Molefe had not been found guilty of anything and must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty.

Selfe said he may well not have been found guilty in a court yet, but that the Public Protector’s findings against him were binding and had not been overturned.

“Mr Molefe, therefore, remains thoroughly implicated in the dodgy Tegeta and Optimum Coal contracts which benefited the Guptas directly. He is therefore not fit to head up any state-owned enterprise, let alone one responsible for driving economic growth through energy security.”

Selfe said the “unprecedented recycling of such a compromised individual, by the ANC, most certainly warrants intervention by the court”.

“If all goes well, we expect the matter to be on the court roll in the next two weeks and look forward to presenting our arguments.”

Minister to meet ANC leaders

Meanwhile, Molefe reported for work on Monday at Eskom headquarters, Megawatt Park. Videos on social media revealed how Molefe received a warm welcome from some staff members, who greeted him with singing and dancing, while Molefe shows off some dance steps himself.

Opposition party COPE wanted to prevent Molefe from showing up at work on Monday morning.

Spokesperson Dennis Bloem condemned in the “strongest possible terms the intimidation and harassment” of COPE supporters, who were stopped several times on their way to Megawatt Park.

“We were informed that police with traffic cops were full out to disrupt our blocking of the gates at Eskom. Therefore, our people were not there at the scheduled time, many of our people didn’t even reach the Eskom offices,” said Bloem.

According to Bloem, COPE had been reliably informed that Molefe had received VIP protection, and had arrived at the office at 05:00 to avoid their blockade.

“Brian Molefe must not think that this is the end of our protest. It is just the beginning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Brown was due to meet ANC leaders at Luthuli House on Monday. The governing party condemned Molefe’s reappointment on Friday.

Source: News24

Malawi: Govt to Send Delegation to Brazil to Learn How to Deal With Army Worms

Photo: Derrick Sinjela

An army worm attacks maize crops.

By Mary Makhiringa

Lilongwe — Malawi Government is said to be set to send a Malawian delegation to Brazil to learn how to deal with army worms.

This was disclosed in Lilongwe during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the government of Malawi and Brazil.

Both Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil Aloysio Nunes Ferreira and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation of Malawi Francis Kasaila witnessed the signing of the MOU.

According to the two foreign Ministers, the bilateral relations of Malawi and Brazil dates back to independence but the relations were dormant.

Said Kasaila; “His Excellency Prof. Peter Mutharika has been urging us to make bilateral relations to countries which Malawi can benefit from and one such country is Brazil.

“They are experts in agriculture which Malawi can learn from and also deals with army worms which is a problem in Malawi.

“So the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security will soon identify people to go to Brazil to learn on how to deal with these army worms.”

According to Kasaila, government also intends to connect the northern region of Malawi with a railway line that will help reduce the number of goods that come to Malawi by road.

On his part the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Brazil Aloysio Nunes Ferreira said Brazil has been supporting Malawi on school feeding program.

“We would like to invest in trade and investment to see more investors from Brazil come to Malawi,” said Ferreira.

In the MOU the two governments have agreed to shorten the process of visa for investors, process of visa for diplomatic passport holders as well as spouses for diplomats are free to work in their diplomatic country to contribute to nation development.

Malawi

‘North Malawi Will Never Produce a President Until Jesus Comes’

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General Grizeder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey has attacked the Karonga… Read more »

Nigeria: Ebola – Nigeria Steps Up Surveillance At Airports

The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured Nigerians of adequate surveillance at the nation’s airports following the outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, saying that at least one person had been confirmed dead due to the virus in the country’s north-east.

Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN’s Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, saying that there was no direct flight from Congo to Nigeria.

Ms. Yakubu also assured that all the preventive measures being put in place at the airports were still in place.

She said that the Port Health officials were at alert at all airports, adding that the authority had also informed them of the need to increase surveillance.

“We don’t have direct flights from Congo, we only have from Rwanda but I want to assure members of the public that we still have all preventive measures in place at our airports.

“There are sanitizers at our arrivals with the scanning apparatus called Thermal scanners being installed by the Port Health Services.

“The scanners have camera monitors that display pictures aside the capturing of temperature.

“Passengers still fill that form to ensure that everybody arriving the country through our airports are not potential carriers of deadly diseases.

“The port health officials are always at alert and we will also inform them of the need to increase their surveillance.

“So, there is no cause for alarm,” she said.

Nigeria experienced the Ebola outbreak in July, 2014 when a Liberian American, Patrick Sawyer, who had the disease flew from Liberia to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and died five days later.

Nigeria was able to curtail the disease and was subsequently declared Ebola free by WHO.

NAN

Nigeria

Nigeria On Red Alert As Who Declares Ebola Outbreak in Congo

The Management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured Nigerians of adequate surveillance at the… Read more »

Congo-Kinshasa: Ebola Outbreak Declared After 3 Deaths in DR Congo

Photo: Luis Encinas/MSF

(file photo).

An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after one person who died of hemorrhagic fever tested positive for the virus. Two others may have also died from the disease.

The case was confirmed following tests on nine people who came down with hemorrhagic fever in Bas-Uele province, in the northeast of the country, in late April, according to a statement from the country’s health ministry.

Dr Allarangar Yokouide, WHO’s representative in Congo, said the first teams of specialists should arrive in the affected area of Likati on Saturday. The zone is some 1,300km from the capital, Kinshasa.

Out of the nine cases, three people have since died, including one who tested positive for Ebola, according to WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier.

“We need to take this very seriously,” Lindmeier told Al Jazeera on Friday.

“It’s very important to find all the possible contacts of people who have been infected, who has been in contact, and see whether there is a possible continuation of infection and limit it as much as possible.”

Without preventive measures, the virus can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. There is no specific treatment for the disease.

The last outbreak of Ebola in the DRC in 2014 killed at least 42 people. The country has been hit by Ebola about nine times in all.

“This is not the first outbreak for the DRC so its health system has experience in dealing with it,” Lindmeier said.

Ebola killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013 as it swept through the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and caused alarm around the world.

“Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of international significance,” the health ministry said.

The WHO’s Congo spokesman, Eugene Kabambi, said, “It is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. We always take this very seriously.”

The new cluster of Ebola cases will again test one of the world’s least equipped health systems. The US Agency for International Development has said an estimated 70 percent of the population has little or no access to healthcare.

In June 2016, WHO declared Liberia free of active Ebola virus transmission. Liberia was the last country still fighting the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

A major trial last year showed a prototype vaccine to be “very effective” against the deadly Ebola virus, according to WHO, which co-funded the study.

The GAVI global vaccine alliance said some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak.

The vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, was shown to be highly protective against Ebola in clinical trials published last December.

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