Posts tagged as: revolution

Africa: Africa’s Agric Take-Off to Make Billionaires, From ‘Poor Men’s Fields’

By Boaz Blackie Keizire

Asked where the next crop of African billionaires will come from, president of the African Development Bank, Nigerian Dr Akinwumi Adesina, without batting an eyelid, declared that they will be farmers.

And he is not the only person in his class endorsing agriculture as the next frontier.

Technology success Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean, has indicated more than once that if he was to start over, he would go into farming. Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, too, is now venturing into farming, just recently investing $4.6bn in Nigerian agriculture.

Dangote plans to invest $3.8bn in sugar and rice and $800m in milk production in the next three years. Already greatly involved in agriculture, Dangote, through his Dangote Group conglomerate, is out to increase his sugar output by 50 per cent (from 100 000 tons), rice yield by 1 million tons, and start producing 500 million litres of milk a year by 2020.

Masiyiwa and Dangote are successful businessmen in their own right, and being billionaires, they must know something that the average African doesn’t.

Yet, for years, and even with front-seat access to data and consultant-advice from real billionaires, the majority of African governments have done little to reposition their economies as agricultural powerhouses. But things may now be set to change.

In 2014, African heads of state met in Equatorial Guinea, and vowed to work together to open up the potential of the region’s agricultural industry. This agreement was put into a document, now popularly known as the Malabo Declaration, which stipulated the specific commitments with clear indicators for tracking and measuring agricultural practice that needed attention.

Further, the Malabo Declaration, agreed that a new monitoring system would be set up to ensure that the Heads of State, and their respective authorities, maintained accountability to peers, and to their citizenry in delivering this agricultural transformation.

For this purpose, the Heads of State agreed to review their achievements every two years; popularly known as the biennial review. The first such review is now underway, with a final report set for presentation at the next African Heads of State Summit.

In the same way, the Heads of State agreed that there was an urgent need to create a scorecard that would show countries how they are faring on the different goals of the Malabo Declaration.

The scorecard, the first ever pan-African co-operation of its kind, is now under development and will be ready before the January 2018 African Union Summit of Heads of State.

Once presented, it will provide a new and powerful tool for all stakeholders in identifying the specific areas of agricultural transformation that need attention.

A complementary tool for the Biennial Review process, the scorecard is powered by data submitted by respective countries on their performance in the 43 agriculture growth indicators agreed on in Malabo.

The beauty of the new agriculture scorecard is that it is least concerned with how countries perform against each other and provide an opportunity for sharing lessons.

The hope is that countries that are struggling to reposition their agricultural sectors for take-off will use it to reach out to those who are proving successful for guidance, allowing the region to grow together, as a bloc.

This function of the agriculture scorecard, therefore, represents the intent and purpose of the discussions in Malabo, as a pan-African drive, where it has become clear that success is not owed to any country in Africa, and that the only way up is by nations becoming pillars of support for each other.

The scorecard will also be available online to encourage public participation in the interrogation of the information gathered, in the knowledge that by engaging with citizens, Heads of State can benefit from expert advice that may not be immediately available to them.

The key principle for presenting the information publicly, however, is rooted in Jürgen Habermas’ articulation that public engagement can influence decisions in ways that see key national objectives met more swiftly.

The ultimate goal remains to dispel the myth that scorecards are complicated documents whose aim is to vilify non-performers while rewarding success.

The leaders’ meeting in Malabo rightly confirmed that Africa is moving into a space where competition in development no longer matters, and that the failure of some countries adversely affects the reputation of the region as a whole.

By the end of the second biennial review process, and with countries actively engaging with the agriculture scorecard, it is foreseen that further improvement in regional integration will have been secured, with key successes in intra-African trade and increased investment in agriculture and hunger reduction efforts.

However, the speed at which the scorecard fuels that success depends on support, from governments and other stakeholders, in pursuing its underlying objective.

The active interaction of Heads of State with the tool will introduce them to a new line of questioning that will allow them to identify the specific weaknesses they need to overcome for further development.

The hope is that by easily identifying critical areas of failure, the Heads of State can encourage both a policy and attitude shift that will eventually drive the desired changes.

Opinion leaders, such as Dangote, Adesina and Masiyiwa, are helping fellow Africans to appreciate the importance of achieving the Malabo goals.

Masiyiwa has already emerged as a major influencer through his interaction with the youth on social media, and his voice is now gradually inspiring a radical shift in favour of agriculture.

So are Adesina and Dangote, who are driving a new admiration for farming through their views voiced on television and radio. More of their peers are following suit too, but a lot more mouthpieces are needed around the continent to drive this revolution with the speed it deserves.

As experts note, it is only when the average African realises that digging dirt is an honourable job, and develops the desire to be actively involved in it because of the financial liberation it comes with, that the continent will begin to achieve its economic development goals.

The Malabo Declaration and its biennial review process, as well as the new agriculture scorecard, are now providing a new base to drive that change.

Boaz Blackie Keizire | Head, Policy and Advocacy |Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

East Africa: EA Region to Benefit From Agricultural Financing

By Victor Kiprop

East African countries are among the beneficiaries of a new multibillion agricultural funding programme aimed at increasing incomes and improving the food security of 30 million households in 11 African countries by 2021.

Ethiopia, Kenya Tanzania and Rwanda are among the priority countries set to benefit from the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (Piata), which will provide up to $280 million for agricultural transformation.

The project, which was launched a week ago at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum, is from a partnership of the Rockefeller Foundation, USAid and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that have been supporting agricultural initiatives separately in Africa.

According to Mamadou Biteye, the managing director of the Rockerfeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, the partnership will allow the partners to complement efforts and leverage on their networks for greater impact.

“We are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have helped develop over the years, to gather our shared knowledge and grant support to work with our esteemed partners.

Together we hope to catalyse Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture,” Mr Biteye said.

The launch of the project is in line with the goals laid out in the 2014 Maputo declaration to enhance investment finance and resilience in livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other shocks.

Sean Jones, the senior deputy assistant administrator at USAid said Piata offers a new way of doing business to ensure food security and economic growth.

Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, hailed the partnership, saying that the partnership would contribute significantly towards accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity by growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

“Piata will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s smallholder farming and agribusiness,” she said.

Other beneficiaries of the strategic partnership are Ghana,Mali, Burkina Faso, Malawi, and Mozambique.

East Africa

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East Africa: Global Mobile Awards By Gsma Now Open for Entry

By Lilian Murugi

The 2018 Glomo Awards honour the greatest achievements and innovations across the mobile industry, with 38 awards in over eight categories are open for entries 22nd November, 2017. The winners will be announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress taking place 26 February – 1st March, 2018 in Barcelona.

For 2018, the GSMA has refreshed the Glomo Award categories to reflect the changing shape of the mobile industry worldwide, and introduced new awards that highlight the most cutting-edge developments impacting the industry. The 2018 Glomo Awards shall in the overall comprises the following categories:

Mobile Tech: This category will recognise the companies that are revolutionising the capabilities and reach of mobile and digital technologies. This category includes the coveted “Outstanding Mobile Technology Award (The CTOs’ Choice)”.

Consumer: As consumers migrate to the connected age, this category will honour companies that have redefined the business-to-consumer relationship. Features include an award for “Best Overall Mobile Consumer Innovation (The Judges’ Choice)”.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: This award category will distinguish key companies at the forefront of the digital shift, across seven market verticals. Highlights include a new award for “Best Mobile Innovation for Enterprise”, as well as the “Smart City Award (The Judges’ Choice)”, which will recognise the city authority that has raised the bar and embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Device: This category has a strong reputation for recognising market leaders and celebrates achievements in hardware developments that are stimulating advances across the globe. For 2018, there will be a focus on new technologies that change how consumers interact with devices.

Content and Media: This category will award the companies who are truly innovating and creating platforms that inform, educate and entertain everyone, everywhere. This category will showcase the imagination within this global trend with two new awards for “Best Mobile Game” and “Best Content and Media Innovation”.

Social Good: ‘Creating a Better Future’ is the overarching theme for Mobile World Congress 2018, and this category underscores the mobile industry’s commitment to connecting everyone and everything to a better future. Awards in this category will honor the companies who are dedicated to this ideology and improving the lives of communities most in need.

Government Excellence Awards: Traditionally, this award category honors governments that have fostered the true spirit of digitisation in their national agendas. This year, an additional award has been introduced to recognise the government that has pushed the boundaries of innovation.

Outstanding Achievement: This category celebrates individuals and organisations that have made a remarkable contribution to the digital community.

The Glomo Awards 2018 are open to companies across the entire mobile ecosystem and may be entered online; complete information on the Glomo Awards, including the full list of categories, award criteria and deadlines, can be found here.

be judged by independent experts, analysts, journalists, academics, and, in some cases, mobile operator representatives. The winner of the “Outstanding Mobile Technology Award (The CTOs’ Choice)” will be selected by a panel of industry-leading CTOs from the worldwide operator community.

Kenyan Scholar Wins Africa’s Top Food Prize

By Mwangi Muiruri

Prof Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o has jointly won the Africa Food Prize at the just concluded African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

She won the prize alongside Ms MmeMaimouna Coulibali of Mali.

Born on November 9, 1946, Prof Oniang’o made her appearance at the forum as the founder and leader of the Rural Outreach Programme, a community based organisation that supports farmer groups in production and agro-processing at the grassroots.

The scholar beat 643 other outstanding individuals, projects and institutions nominated for the prize.

Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Botswana had the highest number of nominees.

The judges found that her desire to feed the continent at the grassroots stood out. She is also the editor-in-chief and founder of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, which she started in 2001.

She served as lecturer and professor of food science and nutrition at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology from 1990 to 1996.

A holder of a doctorate in food science and nutrition from the University of Nairobi, she inherits the prize from the former president of the International Fund for Agriculture Development Dr Kanayo Nwanze, who was last year’s winner.

Prof Oniang’o carved a niche for herself as a nominated MP in the ninth parliament from January 2003 to December 2007.

Her contributions on the floor of the House mostly touched on food security, family nutrition as well as innovative ideas on boosting agricultural benefits to the society.

A career tutor, she has taught at tertiary level since 1978 and received her first and second degrees from Washington State University, Pullman, USA in 1972 and 1974.

HARNESS THE INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES

“Prof Oniang’o fully deserves the honour today. She is a strong and focused woman who has made Africa proud in that she has influenced the development of nutrition training, research, development discourse both in her home country and in Africa,” outgoing Liberian President Sirleaf Johnson said at the forum.

The judges were unanimous that Prof Oniang’o has participated in consultations at the international level and helped to generate decisions that have shaped global food security and nutrition.

“Her grasp of African food and nutrition issues has enabled her to be Africa’s voice at many international forums such as the World Nutrition Conference in 1992 and the World Food Summit in 1996,” said Johnson.

Prof Oniang’o says her journey this far has been phenomenal.

“This achievement is a culmination of a longtime dedication to a worthy cause. It was consolidated into an action plan in 1993 when following an action research project whose findings catalysed my founding of Rural Outreach Programme,” she says.

She adds that the programme’s main goal was to harness the intellectual resource of the university, connect it with the various capacities within communities to try to improve rural poor people’s livelihoods.

“Charity had of course to start at home, the reason why my most successful sensitisation programmes are to be found in my rural roots of Butere-Mumias and the immediate neighbourhoods,” she says.

Her pet subjects, she concedes, are nutrition and food security, wealth creation, women economic empowerment, environment, health and sanitation including HIV/AIDS, housing, education, and poverty.

At home, she has been awarded a certificate of recognition by the government as well from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Prof Oniang’o currently sits on the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Fertiliser Development Centre, and HarvestPlus Programme Advisory Committee boards.

Southern Africa: Minister Ayanda Dlodlo – Roundtable Discussion On Roaming At SADC ICT Ministers’ Meeting

press release

Opening remarks by Minister Dlodlo during the roundtable discussion on roaming at the SADC ICT Ministers’ Meeting, Fairmont Zimbali Resort KZN

Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers from SADC Member-States

Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Regulators present

The SADC Secretariat together with the subsidiary bodies (CRASA & SATA)

Representatives of Regional and International Organisations present

Representatives of Mobile Operators and GSMA

Ladies and gentlemen

It is my honour on behalf of the Host Country, Republic of South Africa and its people, to welcome and thank you all for attending this SADC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Communications, ICT and Postal.

We meet here at Zimbali in the year that South Africa celebrates the Centenary of one of Africa’s finest sons, President Oliver Reginald Tambo, the longest serving President of the ANC. Next month President Tambo would have turned 100 in October and he carried our pain, anxieties, hopes and aspirations as he led us into liberation. Some developed long lasting relationship and bore children in the countries that hosted us. Families were established and some among us boast two homes.

Those of us who were in exile have family relations with many in the SADC region. These are people who have become family.

As we meet here we as South Africans celebrate Heritage Month and for us in the SADC region we have a shared heritage. We also have a common ancestral background.

We also meet in the month where South Africans celebrate their heritage, a heritage that spans the region. Many in our respective countries have relationships and families including businesses across our borders. Batswana in North West have family in Botswana, the Basotho in the Free State have family in Lesotho. Malawians in South Africa have family in South Africa and Zambia. Our heritage is the same, we are family and not just neighbours.

With this brief background given, our conversation this evening is all the more important, as we deliberate, let us think of all these interconnected relationships we have with one another across the SADC region. The cost to communicate across countries to families and friends as we interact is made so much more difficult by the near prohibitive costs on roaming.

As we meet here as business, government and the regulators, we need to seriously ponder on how we can make interconnectedness easier for the people of the SADC region. We owe it to them.

We meet tonight to discuss an issue most pertinent to infrastructure development, communication and opening possibilities: SADC Roaming

The Republic of South Africa as the Chair of SADC, wish to reiterate the importance of coming together to map a way forward for the ICT sector.

ICTs have and continue to be catalysts for development. Our sector contributes largely to GDPs of our national economies and has been pillar for infrastructure development in the region.

As we all know that in November 2014, in Mangochi – Malawi, the SADC Ministers directed National Regulatory Authorities (NRA’s) in the Region to intervene and regulate both the wholesale and retails roaming tariffs using the glide paths provided for the next three (3) years. The objective being to reduce the cost of roaming, so to increase investment in the region as well as ensure that citizens also have affordable communication as they travel and work within the region. To ensure this, we must facilitate “Roam Like at Home” (RLAH) principle.

Currently, SADC citizens avoid using roaming services while travelling across the SADC states, due to the excessive pricing of the service. This has resulted in financial burdens for many consumers and families of migrants.

So our meeting today is critical as we have social obligations. But further, reduced communication costs will also enable other critical developments in the ICT Sector for our region. These include universal broadband roll-out and universal broadcasting services. We will also during this year’s meeting, discuss strategies and programmes for the 4th Industrial Revolution in our region. All these require efficient, affordable, reliable and universal broadband access and services.

It has become clear that the ICT regulatory scene is not static but so fluid that our current legislations are no longer able to cope, thus new strategies are required to ensure stability.

As we advance with the work on the roaming initiative, and consider the different approaches to ensure integration of the different work programmes of SADC and other developmental projects, such as Industrialization Revolution, it has become clear that there are emerging technologies that we need to also consider that may have not been part of our work initially.

These technologies and applications thereof have become so topical thus requiring inclusion in debates at our forums. They have influenced fluctuations to traffic volumes of the communications operators. These have been both positive and negative depending on which revenue line is under consideration.

I am happy to announce that South Africa is fully compliant with the Roaming Glide Path. I hope that this commitment will be permanent so we can achieve the objectives of regional integration.

I am confident that during our discussion and over the next 3 days, we will collectively identify solutions as well as adopt programmes and strategies that will fast-track connectivity, integration, and development so we can achieve Digital SADC 2027.

I wish us all fruitful engagement and look forward to positive outcome.

I thank you and Welcome to South Africa.

Issued by: Department of Communications

Tanzania: Experts Hype ICT Role in Industrialisation Drive

By Bernard Lugongo

EXPERTS in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) yesterday underscored the need to focus on more integration of ICT across social-economic sectors to support the country’s industrialisation drive.

At the third ICT summit in the city, industrialisation and digital entrepreneurship were embraced as two compatible issues. The experts’ views come as yet another spice towards the 2025 when the country believes it will fully adopt industrial economy.

Acting Rector of the Institute of Finance Management (IFM), Dr Imanueli Mnzava, pointed out that ICT has a significant role to play in facilitating socio-economic development. But, he quickly mentioned the issue of promoting innovation as an important aspect.

“The debate on ICT and industrialisation should move together especially now that the country is turning industrious,” Dr Mnzava said. Officially opening the summit, the Chairperson of the IFM’s governing council, Dr Lettice Rutashobya, said every sector now was going up for digitisation, describing the theme of the summit – ICT for Digital Entrepreneurship and Industrial Revolution – as timely.

She called for adoption of ICT in all sectors to speed up transactions. She was certain that the experience obtained from the summit will serve as catalyst for innovation in the ICT. Dr Peter Raeth, US based consultant in computational science, argued that ICT can provide great support to Africa, especially if combined with other domains and linked to businesses and other technical skills.

Another expert from the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, Dr Sam Takavarasha, stated that since there is relationship between ICT access and development, Africa must foster affordable access.

He further pointed out that ICT for development uptake requires digitisation of the entire agribusiness value chain.

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Africa: What Africa Can Learn From India’s ‘Green Revolution’ – the Good and the Bad

analysisBy Renu Modi, University of Mumbai

Sub-Saharan Africa has huge potential to become a global food basket, but it is far from being realised. The region is estimated to have 60% of the globally available and unexploited arable land yet it remains food deficient.

Even when arable land is cultivated, hurdles such as limited irrigation, small sized farms, lack of fertiliser and modern agro-technology has kept productivity low. Currently, Africa’s shortfall in agricultural output is met by food imports that are expected to grow from USD$35 billion in 2015 to approximately USD$110 billion in 2025.

Low productivity and increasing food demand – due to a 3% per year population growth rate – requires that food production be increased by 60% over the next 15 years.

India’s “Green Revolution” could be a useful model if adapted to African conditions. Half a century ago the country too had an underdeveloped agriculture sector. In the mid 1960s and early 1970s, the it faced serious food shortages. And then severe famines in 1965-1966 in eastern India compelled the country to look to food aid.

The severity of the crisis gave birth to a new approach to agriculture. Known as the Green Revolution, the policy involved improvements in technology combined with state led initiatives to support farmers. Less than 10 years later India was self-sufficient in cereals.

Though imperfect, the “Green Revolution” model offers important lessons for countries in the sub Saharan region. It underscores the importance of government support for agriculture as well as investment in technology such as irrigation, mechanisation and inputs to improve yields. Sub-Saharan Africa should learn from the Indian experience.

The Indian ‘Green Revolution’

India began to increase budget allocation to the agriculture sector when it realised that excessive dependence on food imports wasn’t viable. In 1961, at the outset of the Third Five Year Plan, it set about increasing agricultural productivity with limited land. Interventions focused on modernising the agricultural sector by:

introducing high yield varieties of seeds,

making fertilisers and insecticide more widely available,

manufacturing farm equipment,

upgrading irrigation practices, and

providing institutional support to farmers.

Institutional support played a critical role. It included government subsidies for inputs, research and development to produce new varieties of seeds and provision of irrigation facilities. Access to credit and markets, extension of minimum support prices and good infrastructure were key to the success of the Green Revolution.

A combination of increased investments and institutional support led to an overall increase in productivity.

Today, India is self-reliant in food grains. It has shortfall in a few agro-commodities, mainly oilseeds and pulses, which are imported from various sources, including countries in Africa.

In 2015, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, called for a second Green Revolution. This is set to engage new strategies to revitalise the agricultural sector.

Weaknesses

India’s Green Revolution came with its own limitations. Its effects were selective as only a few pockets in the country benefited. Only irrigated areas benefited while water scarce drylands lagged behind.

The states of Punjab and Haryana, which were suitable to wheat cultivation and had access to irrigation, flourished. The rice producing areas in the south and east of the country, trailed behind.

The Green Revolution also exacerbated the rural divide. Most agriculturists were small holder subsistence farmers who could not afford expensive inputs and capital investments. This segment of farmers couldn’t access credit in the same way as large farmers who are generally landowners from the higher caste. As a result rich farmers were the main beneficiaries of increased productivity and profits.

Other problems emerged too. The capital intensive technology led to soil erosion, reduced genetic diversity and soil fertility, displacement of small farmers, rural impoverishment and increased conflict in rural settings.

Lessons for Africa

African countries can benefit from India’s “triple A” approach. This denotes “appropriate, adaptable and affordable” technology for equipment and irrigation. With some adaptation to local rural conditions, these “triple A” technologies can benefit large numbers of small holder farmers who depend heavily on income from agriculture.

And countries on the continent can avoid the shortcomings of the Green Revolution by planning ahead and ring-fencing pitfalls from the outset. This would include managing the high costs of inputs and the negative effects of excessive use of chemical fertilisers. Africa needs to recognise that the shift today is towards organic farming.

Political will, state and institutional intervention are essential. This is to ensure that farmers with small farms and meagre incomes can also be part of the Green Revolution.

The crucial questions African governments should ask are:

Should the agriculture sector be viewed solely as a “business sector”?

What approaches should be adopted for financing small holder agriculture? cx

How can small holder farmers with limited collateral (or none), access credit to combine agriculture and entrepreneurship, and also be able to add value to agricultural products?

One key lesson is that governments should work with the private sector by providing incentives to invest in agriculture and allied industries. This partnership will ensure that small farmers enjoy access to markets, price stability, minimum post harvest losses and value-addition to their agricultural products.

At the same time the private sector needs to be closely regulated to ensure that the social agenda and profit making motives are carefully balanced.

Africa has the benefit of hindsight in learning from India’s Green Revolution- its advantages and shortfalls. Countries can objectively weigh the pros and cons of technological intervention and adapt them to suit the local conditions, to attain food sufficiency and shape the future of food in the local contexts and world.

Rhea D’Silva, an M.Phil. candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, and a research associate at the Centre for African Studies contributed to this article.

Disclosure statement

Renu MODI receives funding from: Indian Council for Social Science Research, ICSSR, New Delhi. University Grants Commission, New Delhi.

Ndiringiye Dreams of Breaking Music Boundaries

By Sharon Kantengwa

Devis Ndiringiye is one of the popular music producers in Kigali. He’s the man behind songs such as ‘Revolution’ featuring all Rwandan rappers, Mariya Yohanna’s ‘Ndabakumbura,’ ‘Uza mbabarire’, as well as singer Dr Annely Uhorasenga’s latest music album.

The 26-year-old, who is also an actor and filmmaker, started off at the age of 21 as a producer at Bridge Records before finally joining Top five Sai.

He acted in various films such as ‘Ejo Heza’, ‘Umushibuka’ and ‘Umutima’ before venturing into filmmaking and music production.

“For five years now my focus has been mainly on music production because this is where I see my future. It is not about the money even if I am benefiting financially. I’m passionate about my job. The beginning wasn’t easy, but I undertook several courses in music production and filmmaking which helped me improve in my work,” he says.

While Ndiringiye’s work can be described as a struggle to gain ground in the emerging industry, he is optimistic about his future and believes that music production has no formula but is rather about creativity.

“Artistes’ creativity is a contribution to the growth of the entertainment industry and we have to be ready to compete with anyone,” he says.

This is the reason why he wants to compete with international musical producers.

“I don’t see why local musicians have to work with Nigerians to produce their music. As producers, we ought to do more and take our work to the international level… with commitment and hard work we can break the boundaries,” he says.

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Opposition Alliance Threatens to Quit Poll in Row Over Results Announcements

Photo: Macharia Mwangi/The Nation

National Super Alliance supporters follow proceedings during a rally at Afraha open grounds in Nakuru on May 14, 2017.

By Caroline Wafula And Eric Matara

The National Super Alliance has threatened to withdraw from the August 8 elections if the High Court decision allowing announcement of results at polling and constituency level is overturned.

Led by their presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga, Nasa principals converged in Nakuru where they demanded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) withdraws its case filed in the Court of Appeal challenging the decision.

They threatened to hold countrywide protests if this is not done.

ELECTIONS

The opposition chiefs, addressing their first rally since they unveiled Mr Odinga as their presidential candidate, warned the electoral commission against pushing for the changes to have the final results announced at the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya.

“We shall not accept to have the courts change the earlier decision,” Mr Odinga said during the rally at Afraha Stadium.

“There will be no elections in Kenya if it is changed. That will not be our election, but theirs as it will not be under Kenyan law or Constitution.”

WABUKATI’S ARGUMENT

The Orange Democratic Movement leader was accompanied by Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress’ Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, and Chama Cha Mashinani’s Isaac Ruto.

The IEBC has filed a petition before the Court of Appeal, challenging an April 7 High Court decision that declared presidential results announced at constituencies as final, hence removing secondary tiers like, say, the national tallying centre.

The IEBC is seeing the ruling as a recipe for chaos, and its chairman, Mr Wafula Chebukati, argues that presidential results should be announced at the national tallying centre by the national returning officer, who is the chairman of the IEBC.

CREDIBLE POLLS

Nasa however claims that the IEBC could be used by the government to change the results and help it rig the General Election.

“We are telling Mr Chebukati to forget about this (appeal). Do not accept to be used by Jubilee to tamper with the votes. This is the people’s revolution,” Mr Odinga said.

Mr Musyoka said Nasa has no problem with the IEBC announcing the final results, but insisted that the Opposition was within its constitutional right to demand that this is done at the polling stations and constituency tallying centres.

“Nasa appreciates that announcement of results falls within the IEBC’s mandate. But this is also our constitutional right.

“Mr Chebukati has the mandate, so why is he against announcing the results at the constituency level and insisting that it must be at the Bomas of Kenya? That is a plan to rig.

“If they don’t withdraw the appeal we will hold protests countrywide,” he said.

NASA CANDIDATES

Mr Mudavadi said Nasa’s agenda was to stabilise the country’s economy and accused the government of over-borrowing.

He further claimed that the government had tripled the cost of building the standard gauge railway to $8 million dollars per kilometre, up from $3 million dollars during the Kibaki administration.

Also, Mr Wetang’ula warned the Court of Appeal against granting the IEBC request.

“I have no doubt the IEBC is watching the people’s verdict and has no business going to court because we know some of those in court are compromised,” he said.

Nasa used the rally to unveil and endorse its candidates for the gubernatorial, senatorial and woman representative seats in Nakuru county.

Dr Peter Koros of CCM will contest for the Nakuru governor’s seat while Dr Omondi Ogada of ODM will go for the senate seat.

Ms Gladys Kamuren of CCM and Ms Asha Rashid Kurwa of ODM are eyeing the woman representative position.

FOOD PRICES

The Nasa principals took advantage of the high food prices and high cost of living to hit out at the government, claiming it is unable to drive the country’s economy.

Mr Musyoka announced an Unga Revolution, saying Nasa would send Jubilee home as the coalition has failed to fulfil its promises to Kenyans.

Mr Ruto, who played host to the group, claimed the government was raising money to rig the elections through the high food prices.

“They lied to us they are going to get us ugali from Mexico, and after one day they said it had arrived. Is Mexico Kisii or Naivasha?” he asked.

“Give us ugali and eat your meat, give us flour and we shall make porridge with it. Keep eating your meat, but we are coming for it on August 8.”

On the high cost of living, Mr Wetang’ula said the government was committing an economic crime against Kenyans, adding that “a government that commits economic crimes on its people doesn’t deserve to be called a government”.

“This is the first time since 1963 that the price of milk has exceeded that of petrol. They buy milk at Sh30 and sell it to Kenyans at Sh80,” he added.

Celebrating the 53rd Union Anniversary – Has the Country Succeeded in Meeting the Union Goals?

columnBy Pius Msekwa

I am very happy to be back in this ‘Current Affairs’ column, after a temporary absence of a few weeks during the month of April, 2017.

It is during that temporary absence that the country celebrated a major national event, namely, the 53rd anniversary of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was marked on 26th April, 2017.

As usual, the newspapers were awash with comments regarding this event; with most of the commentators concentrating on the achievements of this Union during the past 53 years.

For example, the Daily News of Wednesday, 26th April, 2017′ reported the statement made by Hon January Makamba (the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Union Affairs), that “the Union Government has made positive headways in addressing the Union challenges”.

The Daily News also reported the comments made by Dr Bashir Ally, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, who generally concurred with Minister Makamba, but added that “each issue which is resolved adds value to the sustenance of the Union”; and further that “building the Union is something sustainable, and the country must not relax upon successfully addressing a specific number of challenges . . .

It is better to look at whether the country has succeeded in meeting the Union goals, particularly regarding the state of peoples’ lives”. It is this last sentence of Dr Bashir Ally’s comments which quickly caught my attention. Namely, his pertinent question : “has the country succeeded in meeting the Union goals”?

But in order to answer this question correctly, one needs to know exactly what, specifically, were ‘the goals’ of this Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

The search for an answer to this crucial question, is the subject of my article today. What, indeed, were the goals of this Union?

It must be remembered that the main product of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was the creation of an entirely new nation of “Tanzanians,” which emerged out of the previous two separate nations of “Tanganyikans” on one side, and “Zanzibaris” on the other.

It is easy to identify what the goals were when the previous two nations of ‘Tanganyikans’ and ‘Zanzibaris’ were created, which, in both cases, were, quite simply, ‘to get rid of colonial domination’; under which the entire life of the people of these nations had been shaped by foreign rulers, who had totally different customs and beliefs.

These foreign rulers had determined the forms of government, the type of economic activity, and even the amount of education and health services to be provided to the indigenous people of these previous nations. But we are now talking about the new nation of “Tanzanians”. What then, were the ‘goals and objectives’ which were envisaged in creating this new nation of “Tanzanians”?

The most reliable answer can only be found in the statements made at the material time, by the founding fathers of this Union, Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika, and Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar.

These can be found in the relevant records, a reading of which reveals that according to the founding fathers of the Union, there were three substantive reasons which created the basis for the formation of this Union.

One was the ‘burning desire, (shauku kubwa) for African Unity; the other was the existence of ‘a long beneficial association between the peoples of these two countries,’ plus their ties of kinship and amity; and the third was the urgent need to enhance the defence and security status of these two nations. The desire for African Unity, and the need to strengthen the existing ties of kinship and amity.

These twin goals, or objectives, are readily confirmed by the following records. One is the preamble to the “Articles of Union” (which were signed by Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika, and Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar).

That preamble reads as follows: “WHEREAS the Governments of the Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar, being mindful of the long association which has existed between the peoples of these lands, and of their ties of kinship and amity; and being desirous of furthering that association and the strengthening of these ties; AND of furthering the unity of African peoples; . . .

It is therefore AGREED between the Governments of the Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar as follows: (i) The Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar, shall be united into one Sovereign Republic . . .”

The second relevant record is President Nyerere’s article which was published in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Cambridge University Press,1963. In that article, President Nyerere stated as follows: “There is one sense in which African Unity already exists.

There is a huge sentiment of ‘African- ness’, or a feeling of mutual involvement, which pervades all the political and cultural life of the African continent. . . Our goal must be a United States of Africa.

This does not mean that we can achieve this goal tomorrow, in one single step. We must make progress towards it as and when we can, by taking appropriate steps towards African Unity in different areas of Africa . . .”

This is what explains President Nyerere’s great enthusiasm for the quick formation of the East African Federation, as an important step towards the eventual unification of all the African countries.

But when that goal appeared to fail, his enthusiasm quickly turned to the Union with Zanzibar, in the same hope that this would constitute one positive step towards the desired unity of all African States, or the United States of Africa.

The third relevant record is President Nyerere’s address to the Tanganyika Parliament on 25th April, 1964, when he was asking the Parliament to ratify the said Articles of Union; in which he said the following: “Leo hii kuna tamaa kubwa sana ya umoja katika Afrika. Mioyo ya Waafrika ina shauku kubwa ya ajabu ya kuungana ili tuwe kitu kimoja.

Lakini pamoja na kujivunia shauku hii, yafaa tukumbuke kwamba umoja huo hautakuja kwa sababu ya shauku tu, na maneno matupu. “Hatua mahsusi lazima zichukuliwe za kuonesha kwamba shauku hii, na matumaini haya, si ndoto tu isiyowezekana, bali ni jambo halisi linaloweza kutimia.

Hivyo basi, ikiwa nchi mbili ambazo ni marafiki, na ni jirani, zikiweza kuungana; muungano huo utakuwa ni uthibitisho wa vitendo kwamba matumaini ya umoja wa Bara letu si ndoto tu. “Kwani kama nchi mbili zikiweza kuungana na kuwa nchi moja, basi nchi tatu pia zinaweza.

Na ikiwa nchi tatu zinaweza, basi hata nchi zote thelathini za Afrika pia zinaweza kuungana.” President Nyerere elaborated further as follows: “Tanganyika na Zanzibar ni nchi ndugu.

Tunashirikiana kwa historia, lugha, mila, tabia, na siasa. Udugu wa Afro-Shirazi Party na TANU wote mnaufahamu. Udugu wa viongozi wa vyama hivi viwili haukuanza jana. Basi tunazo sababu zote hizo za kutufanya tuungane na kuwa nchi moja.

“Na juu ya yote hayo, kuna shauku ya Umoja wa Bara la Afrika. Basi, kwa kuzingatia yote hayo, mimi kwa niaba yenu, na Rais Karume kwa niaba ya ndugu zetu wa Unguja na Pemba, tulikutana mjini Zanzibar siku ya tarehe 22 mwezi huu, tukatia saini mkataba wa umoja baina ya nchi zetu mbili.

“Endapo Bunge hili, pamoja na Baraza la Mapinduzi la Zanzibar, yatakubali kuridhia mkataba huu, nchi zetu hizi mbili zitakuwa zimeungana na kuwa ni nchi moja.” The need to enhance the defence and security of these countries. We have listed this as the third principal objective for the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

It will be remembered that President Karume was ushered into power by the success of the Revolution which took place on January 12th, 1964. Hence, during the short period immediately following the said event, there was, quite understandably, considerable fear and apprehension among the Zanzibar Authorities, of the possibility of a counter revolution being organised by the forces which they had just overthrown, as a result of the success of their Revolution.

Furthermore, during that short period following the success of that Revolution, the new Government of Zanzibar had not yet been able to put in place its own defence and security forces, which would have the capability to repel any such counter- revolutionary attempt.

Thus, Zanzibar’s security threat was a real threat, and must have influenced the decision made by Presidents Karume and Nyerere, to seek Zanzibar’s ‘security assurance’ by uniting that country with Tanganyika, in compliance with the wise old adage, that “in unity, there is strength.”

Have these Union goals been met? That is precisely the point which was raised by Dr Bashir Ally, whose comments are quoted above.

In his remarks, Dr Bashir Ally asks whether our country has succeeded in the fight against the three enemies of poverty, diseases, and ignorance.

With regard to this point, I would like to remind our readers that the Constitutional structure of our Union provides for a two-government structure; whereby the Union Government has responsibility for the said matters (i.e. the fight against the said three enemies) only in the Mainland part of the United Republic.

Responsibility for such matters in Zanzibar is the exclusive reserve of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government, hence any assessment of the success or failure in this particular endeavour, must be carried out separately in respect of each of the two Governments.

This is because such matters are described in the Union Constitution as “non-Union matters” which, in the case of Zanzibar, fall under the exclusive responsibility of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government. The goal of African Unity has not been met.

The goal that our Union was intended to be just one step towards the unity of all African States, has obviously not been met.

This is because the ‘burning desire’ for the unity of all African States which, we are told, had “pervaded all the political and cultural life of the people of the African continent” which was so candidly described by President Nyerere in his article quoted above, has now completely disappeared!

However, the remaining goals and objectives of our Union, have indeed been accomplished. The ‘long established beneficial association between the peoples of these lands, and the ties of kinship and amity between them’ have been successfully maintained and strengthened.

Similarly, the important objective of enhancing the safety and security of our United Republic has also been achieved, as was exemplified by the total defeat and annihilation of Uganda’s armed forces, which were under the command of Iddi Amin Dada, the then President of Uganda, which had invaded the Kagera Region of our country in 1978; and resulted in the said Iddi Amin fleeing his country and running to a foreign country, where he lived in exile for the remainder of his life.

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