Nelson Mandela’s Health status: President Zuma says no cause for alarm

Nelson Mandela is treated for recurrence of a lung infection and is responding positively to treatment.

Nelson Mandela is treated for recurrence of a lung infection and is responding positively to treatment.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa assured South Africans and the entire African continent that Nelson Mandela is treated for recurrence of a lung infection and is responding positively to treatment.

President Zuma told the BBC African Service that people must not panic and that the former president was doing very well so far in hospital.

“Of course I have been saying to people, you should bear in mind Madiba is no longer that young and if he goes for check-ups every now and again, I don’t think people must be alarmed about it. I would like to really say the country must not panic,” Mr. Zuma said.

The 94-year-old former President of South Africa was admitted to hospital before midnight on Wednesday and it caused people to be worried amid rumors that his condition is deteriorating.

He spent 18 days in hospital in December undergoing similar treatment for a lung infection and gallstones.

But when President Zuma was asked if people should prepare for if something happen, President Zuma said: “In Zulu, when someone passes away who is very old, people say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be thinking about.”

But President Zuma stressed that Mr. Mandela had been able to handle the situation “very well” so far and that is a good sign.”Very few outstanding personalities in the world live to his level,” he said.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama sent his best wishes on late Thursday to the former South African President and described him as an inspiration to many others.

“He is as strong physically as he’s been in character and in leadership over so many decades, and hopefully he will … come out of this latest challenge, “President Obama told reporters in Washington.

“When you think of a single individual that embodies the kind of leadership qualities that I think we all aspire to, the first name that comes up is Nelson Mandela. And so we wish him all the very best,” President Obama added.

Mr. Mandela is regarded by many South Africans as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid.

Mr. Mandela was also imprisoned for 27 years by the then South African apartheid government and later became the nation’s first black president in 1994 and stepped down five years later.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

Tanzania Disaster-Breaking News: Collapsed Building Trap Dozens in Dar es Salaam

A 16-unit storey building has collapsed and trapped dozens in the Tanzanian Capital Dar es Salaam

A 16-unit storey building has collapsed and trapped dozens in the Tanzanian Capital Dar es Salaam

Rescue workers say at least three people have been killed and dozens more are trapped after a multi-storey building collapsed in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.

The collapsed building was near a mosque, as well as other residential and commercial properties in central Dar es Salaam where commercial activities take place.

Officials say about 13 people have pulled out from the debris so far with many more still trapped under the building.

The building is believed to be 16-unit story building which was uncompleted and was closed to a Koranic school building.

Some 45 people, including construction workers, residents and children from a Koranic school, are believed to be missing for now.

“I thought there was an earthquake and then I heard screaming. The whole building fell on itself,” eyewitness Musa Mohamed told local reporters.

Huge crane and several rescue workers are pulling out a mass of iron bars to get access to the centre of the building where some people are thought to be still alive.

Those trapped under the debris are said to have been making phone calls to friends and relatives to be rescued according to reporters at the scene.

There are large crowds of onlookers, as well as rescue workers and armed police officers at the scene to make sure that there is law and order.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

 

 

Mali Conflict:Mali needs 11,000 peacekeepers-UN

The United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moon has said that about 11,000 peacekeepers will be needed in Mali to help curb threats posed by militant

The United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moon has said that about 11,000 peacekeepers will be needed in Mali to help curb threats posed by militant

The United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moon has said that about 11,000 peacekeepers will be needed in Mali to help curb threats posed by militant who took over the country in January this year.

Mr. Ban said the peacekeepers will have to be backed up by a second force that will focus on combat operations especially in the north of the country.

Former colonial master France, sent troops to Mali in January to re gain control of the north from militants who were causing chaos and confusion.

France now aims to start withdrawing its 4,000-strong force next month and has appealed to the UN to take over the rest of the mission.

French troops, backed by Malian and Chadian forces, have been attacking the militants in desert and mountain hide-outs after they fled the major northern cities, including Timbuktu and Gao.

In a report to the 15-member UN Security Council, Mr. Ban proposed that African troops in Mali should operate under a UN mandate as requested by France.

It would “operate under robust rules of engagement, with a mandate to use all necessary means to address threats to the implementation of its mandate, which would include protection of civilians,” Mr. Ban said in a statement released to reporters on late Wednesday.

Mr. Ban also added that there may also be a need for a second parallel force that would conduct major combat and counter-terrorism operations and provide specialist support beyond the scope of the United Nations mandate and capability.

Diplomats have said France is likely to provide troops for the smaller parallel force, which could be based in Mali or elsewhere in the West Africa region, according to local reports.

The army led by Captain Amadou Sanogo seized power in a coup last year and instituted an interim civilian government that has promised to hold elections in July this year.

Islamist insurgents and Tuareg separatists took advantage of the coup to seize control of the whole of northern Mali.

France deployed troops in January to Mali saying the militants could turn Mali into a terrorist state and eventually use it to destabilize other West African Nations.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

Central Africa Republic crisis: Fighting between pro ousted President Militia and rebels continuous

Fighting between pro ousted President Militia and rebels continuous in the Central Africa Republic

Fighting between pro ousted President Militia and rebels continuous in the Central Africa Republic

Rebel forces who ousted President Francois Bozize over the weekend in the Central Africa Republic are still battling pro Bozize militia in the capital and other towns.

About 5,000 rebels swept into the riverside town on Sunday, killing at least 13 South African soldiers in intense fighting forcing President Francois Bozize to flee to neighboring Cameroon for protection.

Local reporters say the rebels are struggling to stamp their authority in the country as there is still chaos amid looting of shops, hospitals and the UN offices in the capital.

The rebels therefore appealed to peacekeepers from neighboring central African states to help control the chaos and put the country in order.

But believe their appeal will come to nothing as the African Union has imposed sanctions on the rebels for ousting a constitutional elected government. The African Union urged its members to cut ties with the rebels immediately they overthrew the government.

“Security is okay but it is not perfect. There are still some pockets of resistance,” said a senior United Nations official, adding there were still the dregs of pro-Bozize militias.

“Arms were distributed to youth in certain neighborhoods by the outgoing president,” the official said

He said conditions were slowly improving in the sprawling capital, easing fears of a major humanitarian crisis.

“Things are starting to pick up,” he told Reuters. “We need doctors and nurses to come back to work, and supplies of power and drugs. I hope it will only take a few days to sort out.”

There are rumors also that about 100 government troops were holed up at a military base at Berengo, 60 km from the capital, refusing to surrender to rebel forces.

Keeping his promise to honor a power-sharing deal signed in January, self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia officially reappointed Nicolas Tiangaye, a civilian opposition figure, as prime minister tasked with leading a transitional government.

The United States, France and regional powers have insisted the rebels must honor the Libreville accord, signed in January in the Gabonese capital, which called for a transitional unity government till elections in 2016.

The United Nations and the African Union condemned the takeover, which came after a collapse in the January peace deal signed after a previous rebel advance to the gates of the capital in December.

The Central African Republic has rich deposits of gold, diamonds and uranium but it remains one of the world’s least developed and most unstable nations.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

DR Congo: Bosco Ntaganda plead not guilty to War Crime charges at the ICC

Bosco Ntaganda has appeared for the first time before the International Criminal Court ICC at The Hague

Bosco Ntaganda has appeared for the first time before the International Criminal Court ICC at The Hague

The Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda has appeared for the first time before the International Criminal Court ICC at The Hague, following his surprise surrender to authorities last week.

Gen. Ntaganda, a key figure in the conflict and rebellion in the eastern DR Congo, pleaded not guilty to war crimes and crimes against humanity in his first time.

But the presiding judge interrupted him and said he should not enter into a plea at this stage since the system is a process that must be followed.

Gen. Ntaganda handed himself personally to the US embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on 17 March and was flown to the Netherlands, where the war crimes court is based for his trial.

He has fought for the Congolese army and is believed also to have fought for several rebels group in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Most recently, he was believed to be one of the leaders of the M23 rebel movement, which has been fighting government troops in the eastern DR. Congo off late.

He was part of the Union of Congolese Patriots rebel group, led by Thomas Lubanga who last year became the only person to be convicted by the ICC.

The eastern DR Congo has suffered from two decades of violence and conflicts linked to ethnic rivalries and competition for the control of the area’s rich mineral resources.

The unrest began when some of the ethnic Hutu militants accused of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda fled into DR Congo for an asylum.

Local reporters in the DR. Congo say human rights groups have celebrated Gen. Ntaganda’s surrender to the court as a victory for international law and the victims of atrocities in the region.

People in the DR.Congo also expressed their happiness for his surrender but asked the court to interrogate him well as he is being sponsored by some “big men’’ believed to be politicians.

General Ntaganda was informed of his charges and was told a confirmation hearing would be held on 23 September to determine whether there is enough evidence to continue with the trial.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

Kenya Elections: Supreme Court orders re tally of 22 polling stations out of 33,000

The Kenyan Supreme Court has orders re tally of 22 polling stations out of the 33,000 in the March 4 elections

The Kenyan Supreme Court has orders re tally of 22 polling stations out of the 33,000 in the March 4 elections

The Supreme Court of Kenya has ordered the re-tallying of votes cast at 22 polling stations – out of the 33,000 polling station in the 4 March presidential election which Uhuru Kenyatta won.

The court said its agents would check whether the number of votes cast was higher than the number of registered voters in those polling stations as claimed by Raila Odinga.

Defeated candidate Raila Odinga says the result of the elections was manipulated to give Uhuru Kenyatta victory and appealed at the Supreme Court.

Mr. Kenyatta won the elections by 50.07% to Mr. Odinga’s 43.31% which many analyst say was a fierce contest between the two personalities.

The Kenyan constitution stipulates that the court has until within 6 days which is Saturday to decide whether or not to confirm Mr. Kenyatta’s victory.

The Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said the court would be impartial in its verdict and that the Kenyan people should have faith in the justice system.

“You must trust us to do our jobs, we will not entertain any partiality to give somebody an undue advantage” he said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC says it is confident that the final result was credible.

The court also ordered the IEBC to provide the voter registration list it used when tallying the presidential vote after an electronic system used to count votes broke down, causing massive delays and confusion, according to local reporters

The election was largely peaceful, with all observer missions saying it was successful unlike in 2007 when some 1,000 people were killed after the results were announced.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

Central Africa Republic crisis: 13 South African soldiers dead as rebels suspend constitution

13 South African soldiers were killed by the Sekela rebels over the weekend as the rebels suspend the Central Africa's constitution

13 South African soldiers were killed by the Sekela rebels over the weekend as the rebels suspend the Central Africa’s constitution

President Jacob Zuma has stated that Thirteen South African soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic when rebels seized the capital over the weekend.

South Africa had about 200 troops stationed in the Central Africa Republic to block the Seleka rebels from seizing power but was overrun by the rebels.

President Zuma said just over 200 South African troops had battled more than 1,000 rebel fighters for over nine hours in an attempt to stop them from taking the capital.

“They fought a high-tempo battle for nine hours defending the South African military base, until the bandits raised a white flag and asked for a ceasefire, our soldiers inflicted heavy casualties among the attacking bandit forces”, he said.

Thirteen South African troops were killed, 27 wounded and one was unaccounted for, President Zuma added.

The South African National Defence Force Union (SANDU), which represents soldiers, said President Zuma should recall troops from the Central African Republic immediately.

“Even if it entails launching a military offensive to relieve our troops in distress, we should do it to bring them home’’ national secretary Pikkie Greeff told reporters.

But President Zuma said South Africa planned to reinforce its troops in the country, as there was no reason to leave the country for the rebels.

South Africa sent 200 troops in January this year out of a planned deployment of 400 troops through a bilateral agreement with ousted President Francois Bozize.

The Seleka rebels are made up of 3 different rebels group who have formed an alliance to overthrow the government in a dramatic manner.

President Francois Bozize has fled to neighboring Cameroon for his safety, according to Cameroonian officials thereby putting the rumors to rest that he is the DR. Congo.

The African Union has officially suspended the country and imposed sanctions on the rebels’ leaders and asked all member states to cut all ties with them.

“The council asks all member states to take the measures necessary to completely isolate the authors of this anti-constitutional change of power,” said AU peace and Security Council chief Ramtane Lamamra, adding that this includes travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Seleka’s leaders.

Rebels suspend constitution

Meanwhile, the leader of the rebels Michel Djotodia says he is suspending the constitution and dissolving parliament with immediate effect.

Mr. Djotodia said here would be a transition period until credible and transparent elections but at the moment he will rule by decree until 3 years when there will be elections.

“I consider it necessary to suspend the November 27, 2004 constitution, to dissolve parliament as well as the government,” Mr. Djotodia said in a statement to reporters.

“During this transition period which will lead us to free, credible and transparent elections, I will legislate by decree.”

“We will lead the people of Central African Republic during a three-year transition period, in accordance with the Libreville Accord”, he added.

However, another rebel leader, Nelson N’Djadder, reportedly told the Associated Press news agency that he did not recognize Mr. Djotodia as the new leader of the Central Africa Republic.

“We had agreed that we would push to Bangui in order to arrest Bozize and that we would then announce an 18-month transition, a transition that would be as fast as possible and not one that would last three years,” Mr N’Djadder told AP from Paris.

Many political analyst in Africa believe that the rebels have just open the flood gates of confusion as rebels always fell out with each other which is likely to prolong the crisis and make it a long conflict.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News