Archive for October 23, 2011

Gaddafi’s ‘last will’ to the Libyan People

Posted: October 23, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Muammar Gaddafi’s website, Seven Days News, says it has published the last will of the deceased former leader of Libya.

Still image from amateur video shot of Colonel Gaddafi after his capture in Sirte on 21 October 2011 In his will, Gaddafi urged Libyans to fight on

The document was reportedly handed to three of his relatives, one of whom was killed, the second arrested and the third managed to escape the fighting in Sirte.

Here is the English translation:

“This is my will. I, Muammar bin Mohammad bin Abdussalam bi Humayd bin Abu Manyar bin Humayd bin Nayil al Fuhsi Gaddafi, do swear that there is no other God but Allah and that Mohammad is God’s Prophet, peace be upon him. I pledge that I will die as Muslim.

Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives.

I would like that my family, especially women and children, be treated well after my death. The Libyan people should protect its identity, achievements, history and the honourable image of its ancestors and heroes. The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people.

I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow and always.

Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honour.

Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honour and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise.”

When liberators turn into despots

Posted: October 23, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Photo | AFP Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters after pulling ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi from a culvert and killing him in the coastal city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. An NTC commander had told AFP that Gaddafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded.

Photo | AFP Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters after pulling ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi from a culvert and killing him in the coastal city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. An NTC commander had told AFP that Gaddafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded.

Posted Sunday, October 23 2011 at 10:05

In Summary: The tragic death of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi puts on the spot the iron-fist rule of a number of African leaders

The world watched in disbelief last week as the self-declared “African Kings of Kings” was flushed out of a culvert in his hometown of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and dragged through the streets by National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters before being shot dead.

The reaction among many Libyans, both within and beyond Libya, was hysterical, with celebratory gunfire renting the air.

But, despite the new-found sense of hope and a new beginning for the North African state, history warns that it is still too early for citizens to pop the champagne.

The NTC might be putting on a saintly face, but the taste of power is likely to go it’s leaders’ heads. You do not have to go far to see how power corrupts hitherto noble men.

Africa is littered with messiahs who, either by the bullet or the ballot, came to power quoting the biblical Moses and vowing to take their nations to the Promised Land, only to turn into tyrannical Pharaohs along the way.

Robert Mugabe and Yoweri Museveni were once celebrated icons of the struggle against oppression and dictatorship.

But today they preside over some of the most repressive regimes in the continent. And the duo is not short of company in this infamous club of liberators-turned-tyrants.

To his cronies, Isaias Afewerki is a freedom fighter who deserves a place of honour in history. But to observers and the thousands of Eritreans who have fled the country to seek refuge in foreign lands, he is a ruthless despot who spares nobody or nothing in his quest to retain power.

His biography points more to the latter than the former. After abandoning academia to join the Eritrean Liberation Front in 1969 in the fight against Ethiopian occupation, it took Afewerki a few years to rise through the ranks and command enough following to break away and form his own Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).

Three decades down the line, the man became the chief architect in a pact where Ethiopia granted the region the privilege to decide whether to secede through a referendum.

Many Ethiopians have never forgiven their government for “amputating” a region they consider to be part of their country’s history.

Upon independence in 1993, Afewerki became the president and promised democratic elections. The country is yet to hold the promised polls, 18 years later.

Besides being the only African country without independent media, human rights reports claim that the Eritrean regime has established soviet-style labour camps in the desert region of Wia near the Red Sea port of Massawa, where dissidents are worked to death.

Hundreds of students from the Asmara University, including their union leader Semere Kasete, were deported to this notorious camp in July 2001 after protesting against the mandatory summer work sessions.

Many are believed to have died of sunstroke in this region where temperatures often hit 38 Celsius.

Tens of thousands of Eritreans have fled the country to seek refuge in Sudan, North Africa, and Europe and Human Rights Watch has termed the country the most paranoid in Africa.

Last year, the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute termed food shortages in this country of five million “extremely alarming” since few aid agencies are allowed in.

Afewerki invaded Ethiopia in 1998, sparking off a bloody war in which estimates claim 100,000 lives were lost on both sides and millions displaced.

Tensions still remain high between the two neighbours, especially with Eritrea holding on to the Red Sea port of Assab and making Ethiopia landlocked.

After ordering the arrest of 11 high ranking members of his government and former comrades in the liberation war for demanding democratic reforms, the reclusive leader postponed elections for “three or four decades” because they “polarise society”.

In his self-praising Facebook page where he says “a constitution is just a piece of paper”, Afewerki explains his philosophy on democracy as “allowing the majority to participate in the politics of every country… but it should not be allowed to polarise the country”.

The Eritrean leader has also been accused of destabilising the Horn of Africa region by supporting terror groups like al Shabaab and the pirates of the Red Sea.

The UN has placed an arms embargo on the country as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on Eritrean political and military top brass.

After rejoining IGAD in July, four years after walking away in protest against Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia to oust an Islamist administration, President Afewerki recently embarked on a three-day state visit to Uganda in what many political commentators have termed as a tactical move to win back former allies.

His eastern neighbour and comrade-turned-enemy Meles Zenawi was equally hailed as a messiah during his fight against the murderous Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg regime in the 1980s.

But during his 20-year reign, many Ethiopians claim the highly learned and eloquent leader has done their country more harm than good.

Sporadic jailing of opposition leaders, clamping down on protesters after the controversial 2005 elections that left more than 190 people dead, and the closure of 15 independent newspapers are examples of high-handed tactics with which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has sustained its grip on power for the past two decades.

The premier has been accused by fellow countrymen of dragging his feet in mobilising the national army during the war with Eritrea until the tiny neighbour’s air force massacred dozens of school children and teachers in an elementary school in Northern Ethiopia.

Having been comrades-in-arms for decades, critics, including members of his ruling EPRDF, have claimed that Dr Zenawi, whose mother is Eritrean, is being too soft on the that country’s regime.

A 2003 BBC monitoring report alleges that he blocked $4 million of support being transferred from Yemen and Sudan to the Eritrean National Alliance group, which was trying to overthrow Afewerki.

Political scientists have predicted that the Horn of Africa will never know peace as long as the two long-time friends-turned-foes, who unconfirmed reports claim are blood relations, are in power.

The same scene is replayed in the Great Lakes Region, albeit with different players. Just like Afewerki and Zenawi, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame are both former guerilla kingpins and long-time comrades, with the latter being mentored by the former.

Although the duo have never declared war on each other, they are no longer the bosom buddies they once were.

After clinching power through protracted bush wars against murderous despots, these “saviours” have now turned into big thorns in the flesh of their fellow countrymen in recent years.

Many Ugandans who lived before the Museveni era celebrated joyously when the National Resistance Army marched into Kampala in January 1986.

Before that time, many residents of the Pearl of Africa had lost their lives in the hands of dictators like Idi Amin and Milton Obote.

But over the years, the Ugandan leader has consolidated immense power around himself through personality cults and ruthless reaction to opposition.

This was particularly evident early this year when security personnel violently smashed an opposition campaign dubbed “Walk to Work”.

The demonstrators and their leaders, who were protesting against rising food and fuel prices, were beaten and arrested in a crackdown that left opposition leader Kizza Besigye seriously injured.

Apart from the merciless annihilation of dissidents, President Museveni has also been accused of nepotism and cronyism, with rumours doing the rounds that he is grooming his son Kainerugaba Muhoozi, who commands an elite division of the army, to succeed him.

While First Lady Janet serves both as a minister and a member of Parliament, there are other relatives holding powerful positions in the civil service.

In Rwanda, although voices in some quarters claim that he has gagged the media and left little room for opposition, many observers concur that Museveni’s former protégé and comrade Paul Kagame has, to a great extent, fulfilled a great deal of his peoples’ expectations since leading the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) into Kigali and cutting short the 1993 genocide.

Besides political stability and having one of the only two parliaments in the world with a women’s majority, the Kagame administration has also introduced a culture of entrepreneurship and individual self-reliance, which has seen the country’s economy grow tremendously in the past few years.

“In the old Rwanda, everyone looked for a job in government because of the benefits and the security. But nowadays they are thinking that the private sector holds the promise of a better life for their families and themselves,” Kagame notes in the River They Swim, a book he co-authored with several other African luminaries.

“This, in turn, will create the basis for further innovation, creative thinking, and a host of progressive human values: interpersonal trust, tolerance, and civic-mindedness.”

But despite gaining many supporters for lifting Rwanda from the precipice of destruction in 1993 to the shining example that is the Land of a Thousand Hills today, the rate and manner in which those opposed to his rule meet their doom have made even the most ardent of his admirers queasy.

Jean-Leonard Rugambage, the editor of Umuvugizi, a paper that was banned for being critical of the government, was shot dead outside his house in Kigali a few months before last year’s elections.

Around the same time, the beheaded head of the opposition Green Party’s leader Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was found in the country’s south.

The president’s long-time comrade and former chief of Rwandan intelligence, Lt-Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, was shot and critically wounded in South Africa in what his family termed an attempted assassination.

Although the government of Rwanda vehemently denied any involvement, several of the people arrested in connection with the case were Rwandese.

“People want to taint this regime,” Kagame told the press. “They want it to be seen as tightening up, repressive, killing people… Rwanda was not involved in the shooting. We want to know what happened, but South Africa has not been forthcoming.”

Hutu opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, who had hoped to stand against Kagame in the elections last year, was hauled to jail, where she is facing, among other charges, the crime of “denying the genocide” while in exile.

Pro-government newspapers have been labelling the opposition “cockroaches” and “traitors”, terms used by the genocidaires before the 1993 bloodshed.

Even the president seems to have realised the servility of Rwandan newspapers towards him because he is said to have invited a regional media magnate to set up a feistier alternative in Kigali.

Many leaders of the liberation struggles in the south of the continent also turned into despots upon ascending to power.

Although Kenneth Kaunda and Fredrick Chiluba betrayed the trust that Zambians placed in them, the best example of a political Moses-turned-Pharaoh in southern Africa is Robert Daniel Mugabe.

After being hailed as a hero by fellow countrymen and many Africans across the continent for his role in the Zimbabwean war of independence in which he spent 10 years in prison, Mugabe took over power in 1980 to preside over an era of political unrest, murder, intimidation, corruption, and terminal economic decline.

From the infamous Gukurahundi in the early 1980s, where the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade liquidated an estimated 20,000 dissidents in Matabeleland to subjecting opposition luminaries to detention and humiliation at the hands of police, Mugabe has over the years morphed into what the global media has often termed “a colossal political monster”.

During his bush war and the controversial seizure of white farms, the combatant leader claimed to be championing the rights of poor Zimbabweans, but the actions of his administration seemed hell bent on achieving the opposite.

The Mugabe government turned its wrath on slum dwellers across the country in 2005 during the infamous Operation Murambastivina (clear the mess) in which thousands of slum houses were burnt, families uprooted, and lives shattered.

According to United Nations estimates, at least 700,000 people lost their homes while millions more were affected through loss of their livelihoods.

Although the government claimed the operation was an “urban renewal campaign”, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri put things straight when he said Murambastivina was meant to “clean the country of the crawling mass of maggots bent on destroying the economy”.

Political activists and non-governmental organisations claimed this was punishment to the country’s poor for voting overwhelmingly against Mugabe’s Zanu-PF during the disputed 2005 elections.

US approves $54m aid to Juba’s troubled state

Posted: October 23, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

An internally displaced Sudanese eats tree leaves in Akobo town in south Sudan’s Jonglei state on May 8, 2009. US has committed $54 million to set up modern agricultural projects aimed at improving food security and tackling cattle rustling in the region. FILE|AFRICA REVIEW. |

By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Saturday, October 22 2011 at 11:49

Washington, through its Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed $54 million to set up modern agricultural projects aimed at improving food security and tackling cattle rustling in South Sudan’s Jonglei state.

The U N estimates that over 3,000 people have been killed and more than 300,000 others displaced in violence associated with militia fighting and cattle rustling in the country since January, with the highest percentage in Jonglei state.

More than 600 were killed in Pierri village in August when armed Murle youths staged a dawn cattle raid in Uror County.

The grant will be used for human resource development, improve access to the market, build roads and introduce new food technology in the region which is occupied by armed pastoralists.

The country’s USAID Mission Director, Kevin Mullally, said the project is aimed at improving the food security of nearly 150,000 households in the state by mid-2014.

“We will strengthen household and community resiliency to food insecurity by increasing crop and livestock productivity and by helping livestock owners to build their production capacity and business skills,” Mr Mullally said at the launch of the project in Bor, the Jonglei state capital.


The grant will also be used to set up modern crop and animal farms that will encourage the cattle rustlers to abandon raiding and embrace peace.

According to the state governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, the funds will be used to purchase tractors, training tractor operators and viable seeds.

By Ngor Arol Garang

October 22, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s government has ordered an investigation into suspected black market foreign currency trading by employees at its Central Bank, as inflation and the price of basic goods continues to increase in the fledgling country.

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A picture shows freshly-minted notes of the new South Sudan pound, which pictures the late South Sudanese independence leader John Garang, in Juba on July 18, 2011.(Getty)

"Employees are able to buy dollars at the official rate of between 2.9 to 3.3 pounds to the dollar and sell them on the black market, where a dollar rate goes beyond 4 pounds," Marial Awuou Yol, a deputy minister of finance and economic planning, said on Friday.

He said his ministry has asked South Sudan’s security services to investigate all businesses involved in foreign exchange including banks, insurance companies and exchange bureaus.

“We have ordered them to be placed, or be incorporated into the central bank, because it looks like there is connivance between some staff of the central bank and these mobile bureau exchange owners operating on the street,” the minister explained.

The senior official’s statement comes after the National Bureau of Statistics on 18 October released an analytical report revealing an inflation rate at 61.5% in September, up from 57.1% in August.

Yol said the government would employ detectives to conduct “thorough” and “tactical” investigations to bring to light this “invisible group” involved in illegal foreign exchange and currency speculation.

The week more than 20 people were arrested for involvement in illegal money changing, the government has said.

Prices of basic commodities in country have tripled prompting president Kiir on Friday to issue a presidential decree forming a economic and security monitoring committee.

The committee includes five ministers: Garang Diing Akuong, minister of commerce, industry and investment; Stephen Dhieu Dau, minister of petroleum and mining; Kosti Manibe minister of finance; Deng Alor Kuol, minister of cabinet affairs; Nhial Deng Nhial, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation.

President Kiir also established a security committee, which includes Gen John Kong, minister of defense and veteran affairs, Gen Alison Manani Magaya, minister of internal affairs, and Gen James Hoth, the Chief of General Staff for South Sudan’s army (SPLA). The term of the references include identifying, analysing and evaluating issues pertaining to security and economics. They are to report their findings to the president within three weeks.

As part of the government’s effort to address soaring food prices, the central bank last week also announced a weekly injection of $200 million into financial establishments including the foreign exchange market in the capital Juba.

However, the deputy minister observed that this would only be effective if security agencies are able to prevent illegal speculators from profiting on the black market.

“If no safety nets are out in place, it will be like pouring water into a bottomless hole, so we have to safeguard against more leakages in the currency market,” he said.

He attributed the increase in food prices to closure of border trade between South Sudan and Sudan after fighting erupted between government forces and rebels in Sudan’s border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

He also blamed illegal checkpoints within South Sudan which demand payments on imports from the neighbouring Uganda, where most food items are imported from.

The ministry of internal affairs in collaboration with the ministry of finance this month, however, announced it was acting to close the illegal roadblocks.


Sudan bans edition of newspaper, editor says

Posted: October 23, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

KHARTOUM Oct 23 (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces banned an independent newspaper from publishing its Sunday edition, its editor said, in the latest crackdown against media in the African country.

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedom but journalists complain of increasing pressure since South Sudan became independent in July. Some reporters say they avoid writing critically about sensitive issues such as an economic crisis or violence in northern border states.

Security forces closed the independent al-Jarida daily last month and on several occasions have confiscated editions of other newspapers in the past few months, according to editors.

On Sunday, the independent Alwan newspaper said security forces arrived last night and banned the daily from distributing its Sunday edition.

"They told us the edition would be confiscated. Until now I have no ideas why they did that. I think they just want put pressure on the publisher," editor Ahmed Younis said.

Sudan’s security forces were not immediately available to comment.

In July, two female journalists were sentenced to one month in prison for writing about an alleged rape case.

One day before the independence of South Sudan in July, Khartoum also suspended six newspapers because southerners were among their publishers or owners. (Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Lost Boy thanks Sioux Falls for assisting village

Posted: October 23, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Moses Joknhial II speaks Saturday about projects in his village of Panyang, South Sudan. They were sponsored by members of the church of the Holy Apostles in Sioux Falls and other South Dakotans. Peter harriman / argus leader

Moses Joknhial II speaks Saturday about projects in his village of Panyang, South Sudan. They were sponsored by members of the church of the Holy Apostles in Sioux Falls and other South Dakotans. Peter harriman / argus leader

Written by: Peter Harriman

As a pilot, Moses Joknhial II knows the moment when a plane goes wheels up, breaks free from the earth and soars.

It is the arc of his life as a Sudanese Lost Boy. He spent 14 years in refugee camps after fleeing civil war in Sudan before coming to South Dakota in 2001.

Now, he is completing an aviation degree at South Dakota State University as a U.S. citizen.

But because of who he is, Joknhial, 33, is not reveling in his astonishing change of fortune. He’s taking some South Dakotans along for the ride.

As the new nation of South Sudan began to take shape in the aftermath of decades of war in Africa, Joknhial decided to give something back to his native village Panyang.

"In 2009, I came up with the idea. I’ve got to do something," he said.

Education in the U.S. had transformed his life. It would be a good place to start to help Panyang, he figured.

And then his philanthropic impulse went wheels up. A goal to raise school supplies, in which he enlisted members of the Church of the Holy Apostles who had taken him under their wing when he came to Sioux Falls as a Lost Boy, expanded dramatically when Joknhial decided to build a school for Panyang.

Gary Stanley, a Sioux Falls architect, designed the building. Stanley’s wife, Myrna, joined Rhonda Morse and others in raising money for it. Morse had helped Joknhial settle into life in South Dakota when he came to Sioux Falls as a refugee.

In 2009, she accompanied Joknhial to Africa on his first trip back since leaving as a 9-year-old, and Myrna Stanley followed a year later when the school was built.

This was just the start. Joknhial and his allies raised money to staff the school and to buy gristmills so girls who traditionally ground corn by hand would be able to attend school.

People in Watertown raised money to drill a well in Panyang, and United Thank Offering is providing money for a second well, a medical clinic and a women’s center. Joknhial also started what essentially is a revolving loan fund with goats. Widows are given a goat to become the foundation of a herd that will give them a livelihood. Each goat’s first kid, though, goes back to the program to be given to another widow.

Plans also are in the works to replace a truck used for hauling goods to the village, to build a fence around the new school and to hire more teachers.

Joknhial and some of his friends spoke Saturday about the work in South Sudan at Church of the Holy Apostles.

"You have to convince people of your planning, tell them what you want to do and how you will get it done," Joknhial said. "Today I report, where did I put the money. I get to thank people and show them where we put the money."

The presentation in the church sanctuary and a subsequent party in the church basement was hardly an audit, however. It was a celebration, and many saluted the fact they were drawn into Joknhial’s orbit and saw their own lives expand.

Ellie Keirnes met Joknhial in 2008, and it made her recall hosting an Ethiopian immigrant in the early 1990s.

"God called me back to these wonderful, wonderful people," she said. "I told Rhonda, ‘When you go again to South Sudan, I want to be on that plane.’ "

Keirnes was able to use her training as a nurse when she went to Panyang last year.

"What an experience. It changed my life," she said. "It’s part of my being right now."

The Rev. Warren Shoberg at Church of the Holy Apostles when the congregation reached out to the Lost Boys, noted that Joknhial had fled Panyang as a barefoot kid.

"He had the privilege of piloting the plane that landed in his village" upon his return, Shoberg said.

From the chaos of civil war, new opportunity through education and medical care has settled on Panyang "thanks to you and hundreds of people who helped with this project," Shoberg told the group.

A gentle chuckle rolled through the church as he added, "See what happens when the phone rings, and you say, ‘Yes?’ "

Reach Peter Harriman at 575-3615.