RWANDANS IN A MEMORIAL REMEMBER THEIR DEAD
Apr. 13 (GIN) – A somber national memorial marked the 16th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide when close to a million people died in civil strife that pitted a Hutu-dominated government against majority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Triggered by the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, at least 800,000 people were killed, or according to some estimates, as much as 20 percent of the total population..
The memorial witnessed an outpouring of anger by Rwandan President Paul Kagame who scolded local politicians and foreign critics for interference in the nation’s affairs.
Foreign governments, he charged, were pressing their political agendas on Rwanda. He also recalled the failures of the outside world at the country’s time of great need, and said they lacked credibility to interfere now.
The country is at a crossroads, with local genocide courts scheduled to end, the country ascending to the British Commonwealth, and pressure from ethnic Hutus seeking better treatment by a largely-Tutsi dominated government.
Meanwhile, according to a new study, over 28 per cent of those who survived are still battling with trauma. Close to 60 percent of those affected are young women who also take care of households. w/pix of Pres. P. Kagame
BUY A TICKET, PLEASE! WORLD CUP NEEDS YOU!
Apr. 13 (GIN) – With less than two months before the World Cup of soccer kicks off, FIFA – the sport’s governing body – and the South African local organizing committee are pleading with South Africans to buy the remaining 500,000 tickets that have been made available.
Fewer than the 450,000 foreign visitors initially expected will be coming to the games – Africa’s first World Cup. “This final ticket phase is very important,” said FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke at a press conference in Soweto. “We will not want to give that picture of empty seats to the world; all will need to be done in these last days.”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo is ending a world class career in soccer due to trauma. Adebayor was in the bus with teammates going to play the Africa Cup when they were caught in a deadly ambush in Cabinda, Angola. An assistant coach, press officer and driver were killed and two players were shot and injured in the Jan. 8 attack.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the killers were aiming for journalists travelling with the convoy.
“I have made the very difficult decision to retire from international football,” the 26-year-old striker told the Web site of his English club Manchester City. “I have weighed up my feelings in the weeks and months since the attack, and I am still haunted by the events which I witnessed on that horrible afternoon on the Togo team bus.
“It is a moment I will never forget and one I never want to experience again.” w/pix of of E. Adebeyor
WORLD BANK BILLIONS FOR CONTROVERSIAL COAL PLANT
Apr. 13 (GIN) – A $3.75 billion loan from the World Bank for a massive coal-fired power plant has run into a hornet’s nest of opposition from South Africa’s labor unions and environmentalists.
US, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway abstained from vote amidst sharp criticism from the Obama administration that the project would fuel climate change.
The loan was approved for the government-controlled Eskom, Africa’s largest carbon emitter – responsible for 40% of South Africa’s total emissions.
“Access to energy is essential for fighting poverty and catalysing growth, both in South Africa and the wider sub-region,” said Obiageli K Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for the Africa region in defense of the project.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa opposed the loan as did the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and the South African Council of Churches, which played a key role in criticizing the World Bank in the past due to its apartheid financing.
“Giving the go-ahead to the Medupi coal plant, which will release massive amounts of greenhouse gases for decades… amounts to a step backward when the world is moving forward to a clean energy future,” said Peter Goldmark, director of Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and air program.
w/pix of World Bank VP for Africa, Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili
INDEPENDENCE-ERA BISHOP ABEL MUZOREWA PASSES
Apr. 13 (GIN) – Bishop Abel Muzorewa, leader of a brief interim administration before being swept away by liberation movements ZANU and ZANU-PF, died in his Harare home at age 85.
Muzorewa, a Methodist bishop, joined the government of the short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in a deal with Ian Smith, the last white prime minister. The deal included moderate black leaders who were opposed to the armed independence struggle.
But the deal was rejected by liberation movements which continued with the armed struggle. The elections also were not internationally recognized and the United Nations said the polls in 1979 were illegal.
In 1980, Bishop Muzorewa’s party won only three parliamentary seats to 57 won by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF. Mr. Mugabe became prime minister of independent Zimbabwe on April 18.
Bishop Muzorewa was briefly arrested after independence and accused of plotting against Mr. Mugabe. He was later released and the charges were dropped. Seldom seen in public, Muzorewa formally retired from politics in 2001.
SOMALIA RADIO SHOWS CHAFE UNDER TOTAL MUSIC BAN
Apr. 13 (GIN) – Under orders from the Hizbul-Islam insurgents, all but two of Mogadishu’s 13 radio stations have silenced their music programming, muting even the jingles played before the news, education and other programs.
The stations said they had to comply with the ban or put their lives at risk.
Islamist militants control large parts of the nation’s territory. The transitional government (TGF) – backed by African Union troops and UN funds – controls only a small part of the capital, Mogadishu.
The ban has inspired some creativity among the radio producers.
Abdulahi Yasin Jama, head of radio Tusmo: “We’re using other sounds such as gunfire, the noise of the vehicles and birds to link up our programs and news.” Sounds of chicken or horses have replaced other familiar tunes.
The TFG’s Information Minister, Dahir Mohamud Ghelle, called the media bans an abuse against press freedom and invited affected broadcasters to set up stations in areas controlled by the government.