THE Tanzania deputy minister for Science&Tech, January Makamba, left many in stitches. He’s quoted as espousing dictatorship as the only means to eradicate endemic graft…  That Tanzanians need a dictator to end corruption!

“One way to end graft is visible heavy punishment,” he said. That’s why dictators execute people in public, to show that those who try to overthrow them will face a firing squad. “The aim is to induce fear,”  Makamba argued.

Wow! My foot…! Who wants a tyrant in these times of democracy, accountability and pursuit of human rights?

Makamba needs help to understand the dynamics of top leadership.

However, there’s no need to be shocked by such remarks from a guy who prides himself as an elite youth. Methinks Makamba’s suffering from ‘Chronic Political Monopoly Syndrome (CPMS), having been born and bred under tactful dictatorship whereby his political party has bulldozed the led for generations!

Let’s face it. Without his father’s name, Yusuf, what does January have to deserve being where he’s today?

Does he think we’ve forgotten that his father once said that his son would be appointed a Govt. minister? Lo and behold: he was so-appointed! Is this the style he wants us to accept –to our peril? No, Sir; go tell it the birds!

Who wants a dictator in multi-party politics? The likes of January are pulling us back to tyranny with the miseries currently evidenced! We need ‘clean’ leaders with vision and love of their country, not dictators. We need a ‘clean’ Constitution stipulating how to deal with venal leaders.

Why doesn’t January underscore the fact that, under Benny’s dictatorship, Tanzania was wantonly turned into a private estate to benefit him, his family and friends? Why doesn’t January appreciate the fact that Benny got away with it all because  another dictator protected him?

The time for dictatorship is long gone and whoever seeks to  rejuvenate same must be feared like Ebola, HIV and leprosy, so to speak!

We need leaders who uphold democracy, human rights, accountability; who have what it takes to deliver our people from poverty and tyranny, instead of using them to mint money for themselves!

Ironically, January attacked his government that seeks to to enact a corrupt Constitution aimed at entrenching the status quo which unduly benefits those in power.

However, the man’s entitled to his views. Indeed, we need to do away with graft. But, we can’t do this by installing self-seeking dictators as advocated by him. We need leaders who can apply law equitably and judiciously, not dictators whose personal dictates become law!

We need leaders who’ll use the Constitution to lead judiciously, not rulers who abuse it. We need leaders who abhor graft; who act sanely and responsibly; leaders who aren’t in cahoots with corrupt elements; who condone and protect criminals.

We need leaders whom criminals’ will fear and respect, not ones they can use wantonly…

I’m aware that January undertook Conflict Resolution studies,

an academic field seeking to alleviate – and, possibly, put a stop to — conflicts whose ‘good’ source is poor leadership, dictatorship!

January accuses the extant system of embedding leaders obtained through corruption. If he seriously means what he says, shouldn’t he be first to resign from that system?

Suffice it to say that Tanzanians must beware of his likes, some of whom have plundered our resources and positions.

In a nutshell, January is politically bankrupt, daydreaming of sending us back to the old dark days of tin-pot dictators..

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Friday, 19 December 2014 08:21
Grace Marufu Mugabe, former personal secretary in the office of president with whom President Robert Mugabe had an affair even before the death of his terminally-ill wife Sally Hayfron is the most influential woman in Zimbabwe now. She’s but a king maker thanks to sharing bed with the big man. Mrs Mugabe who’s currently scheming to inherit power from her aging and long-time president seems hell-bent to fulfill her desires shall Zimbabweans not stop her. Mrs Mugabe seems to be ahead of the game after taming her husband as she separated him from his comrades. She recently saw former Vice President who fought liberation war, Cde, Joyce Mujuru being shown the door to perfect her art of power seeking. After Mujuru hit the road Bulawayo 24 News quoted Mrs Mugabe as saying “I never wanted to do this to her (Mujuru), but the way she treated me, I was forced to do so. She tore the party regalia which she was wearing to an extent that she moved undressed in protest over my nomination.” It is now obvious.  Arguably, the problem is not the allegations that are all over the place that Mujuru tried to ouster Mugabe as it was maintained during firing Mujuru. The problem, if anytying, is Mujuru’s refusal to support the king maker Grace in her quest for power. It can be simply said that Mujuru was fired because of Mrs Mugabe’s vendetta and act of vengeance.

For Mrs Mugabe power is a family business. Thus, Mujuru had to support and respect her the way she did to her husband, the president. In other words Mrs Mugabe wanted to be treated like the president she share bedroom and be with.  This was very hard especially for the person who sacrificed her youth fighting for the freedom Grace and others are abusing and misusing. In this game of power enjoying and abusing, Grace was appointed a head of ZANU-PF’s Women’s Wing before being appointed secretary or minister for Women’s Affairs in the same week.

Grace has become a power to reckon with. Whoever teams up with her surely, ends up being promote d to power as it recently happened to her friend and chief organizer, Oppah Muchinguri, who was appointed secretary of Transport and Social Welfare. Who knew that a divorcee and a mere clerk would claim such ladders easily and quickly? These are the rewards of bedroom politics.

Again, how many Graces does Africa have now? Apart from Mrs Mugabe, Janet Museveni the wife of Ugandan long-time ruler Yoweri Museveni is another king maker. Mrs Musevni came to limelight after running from Member of Parliament and won. For the first time, the first lady became an MP which is arguably lesser position compared to being first lady.  Thereafter, her husband appointed her a minister responsible for oil-rich area of Karamoja Affairs.  Rumours in Uganda have it that Janet is groomed to take over after her husband. Many people related to Mrs Museveni including her sons in law were once accused of trying to secure plots in the area. Again, for the first lady to be an MP or/and minister doesn’t it create conflict of interests?  Who cares in countries were bedroom politics are rife? Who can stop such a first lady if at all she shares bed with the big man whose weakness and strength she knows too well?

Looking at what transpired in Zimbabwe, first it become difficult to note if Mrs Mugabe is ushering the beginning of the end of her husband’s long-time regime. Secondly, will she succed? If she does, does she have what it take to run the country? Will her husband, thanks to old age surrender everything to his wife even if it means bad ending? Does Mrs Mugabe know the murky waters she is entering? Will Zimbabwe let Mrs Mugabe fulfil her mission and ambitions?

Given that Mrs Mugabe’s scheme seems to have succeeded by drowning her political manmade enemy, will she achieve what she is dreaming about? Will Emerson “Crocodile” Mnangangwa who was appointed VP let her fulfil her dreams? What a tough encounter that pities a croc against power hunger lioness!

In sum, we’ll next week visit another country where bedroom politics are ubiquitous as the presidents scheme to see to it that their sons are stride into their shoes shall anything happen. Importantly, we need to ask what Africa has to do away with such abuse of the office of the president.

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This week our person vis-à-vis Bedroom Democracy is none other than Janet Museveni the wife of Ugandan long-time ruler Yoweri Museveni who is another king maker. Mrs Musevni came to limelight after running from Member of Parliament of Ruhaama constituency which she captured easily thanks to being first lady. Once again, a big name Museveni paid dividends. She became a first African sitting first lady to become an MP which is arguably lesser position compared to being first lady.  Thereafter, Mrs Museveni’s husband appointed her a minister responsible for oil-rich area of Karamoja Affairs.  Rumours in Uganda have it that Janet is groomed to take over after her husband shall he step down or anything happen. Many people related to Mrs Museveni including her sons in law were once accused of trying to secure plots in the area. She became a first sitting first lady to become a minister in her husband’s government. Again, for the first lady to be an MP or/and minister doesn’t it create conflict of interests?  Who cares in countries were bedroom politics are rife? Who can stop such a first lady if at all she shares bed with the big man whose weakness and strength she knows too well?

For worse or better, Mrs Museveni, just like Mrs Mugabe created a precedent which in the future-if this dangerous move is not stopped-many first ladies are likely to draw from and benefit from Bedroom Politics. Trying to find a solution of how to do away from or completely halt this new development of Bedroom politics, we need to study and understand the phenomenon. One important aspect of this phenomenon is the fact that most of first ladies who use their spouses to seek power unconstitutionally seem to be the wives of long time rulers. Therefore, to make sure that democracy is introduced and followed in Africa is the first step to foil this power grab using the bedroom.

 If the first lady can become an MP, and a minister, what’ll stop her children, friends and cronies to vie for various political positions in the government and party of her husband? Many would wrongly think that Mrs Mugabe manipulated and used her husband because of old age. This might be true save that in Uganda the story is different. Some first ladies are more powerful than their husbands as it once happened in Romania under Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu whose wife Elena was in 1973 became a member of politburo of the Romania Communist Party, and thus, becoming the second most important and influential person after Ceausescu himself.  Elena is believed to have more desire for honour than her husband. It is said that she used professors to write her a Dissertation which culminated in being awarded a PhD in polymer chemistry though she did not have even a single undergrad degree. Elena is said to have dropped out of school at age 14.

Despite all maneuvers by Elena, just like another controversial first lady Jiang Quing or Madame Mao the mistress to Chairman Mao of China, did not grab power as she was destined. For her husband’s government was brought down by mass unrest culminating in the capture of Ceausescu and Elena who later were sentenced to death and faced a firing squad on 25 December 1989. As for Madame Mao, she was later expelled from the party after showing disrespects to revolutionaries. Thereafter she was tried and convicted and sentenced to death before commuting her sentence to life imprisonment in 1983. Qiang served her term till 1991 when she was released under medical grounds after being diagnosed with throat cancer

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Dear your Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit the president of the republic of South Sudan (RSS),

Dear Dr Riek Machal leader of rebels,

          I hope you are fine, and now you can sleep peacefully after signing a peace agreement in Ngurdoto Tanzania. I salute you. True, the whole region welcomes this breakthrough. May God add grandeur and blessings.  Reaching such a juncture after fighting for a long time is recommendable and welcome, especially, for the people of South Sudan. I understand. You both, hand-in-hand, fought for the emancipation of your esteemed nation referred to as the youngest nation of the world which it is. Again, you country is young but you are not.  This being the case, your maturity is an asset for the young nation shall you respect those signatures you appended on the agreement recently. Please, live up to your words.

          Ngurdoto accord is the third. Prior you signed two accords you ended up breaking. I implore you.  Please, no failure of the accord should be repeated. Africans have it that strong evidence stands three times. Three times becomes a good number in order to give a person the atmosphere of learning from his mistakes. I hope this applies to you. Therefore, this last or third time you appended your signatures, shall be violated, it means, you will be sending your noble and young nation to purgatory wantonly and pointlessly. It should nary happen. The blood you shed during fighting for your nation wasn’t in vain. But the blood shed due to your difference, if bloodletting isn’t stopped, will haunt all of you so much so that whatever any of you aspires for in power won’t become meaningful or successful. Human blood is different from the blood of animal’s. It is sacred and blessed. It is not supposed to be spilled without any necessity or reason.

          Gentlemen, when you gained your independence through separation after fighting for decades, we, your brothers and sisters were happy. We knew the lengthier and tougher thoroughfare you journeyed to reach at the point of breaking away. We evidenced your torments, ire, angst and predicaments. We were thrilled when you fulfilled your dream of becoming a nation. Again, when you turned noble guns you used to fight for the nation against one another, those who tortured you and despised us for celebrating your rebirth, were happy some telling , “You see, these guys can`t do anything for themselves.”   They kept singing the same song of calling others slaves and many more bad names. Please, stay put in the vision of making a peaceful nation by avoiding warring pointlessly.

          Gentlemen, I full understand the responsibility you have on your shoulders for both sides. Please don’t allow trivial and tribal sentimentalities drift you away for the peril of the nation. Those brothers and sisters, who, for three times, offered to mediate, have a lot of things to do. They won’t get time every time you fight. Don’t make them become tired of you. Use them to forge ahead instead of wasting time fighting and causing mayhem pointlessly. The world will laugh at you when your people starve and face stagnation economically, politically and socially. Please sit together and devise how to utilize the gifts of resources God gave you. Please show your patriotism and the lesson you got from past mistakes. Reinvent your image as people and a nation by shunning tribalism, regionalism, cynicism and other trivial things. Time will nary wait for you especially at this time the world is running while you butchering one another. Wars have nary built any empire save to bring it to its knees. This is not the way to go for wise and courageous people like you.

          Gentlemen, the women of South Sudan are tired of burying their children and husbands. Children are tired of burying their fathers. People are tired of burying their kinships. Even birds and other wild animals are tired of hearing gun shots. South Sudan is crying wanting you to heal her from megalomania of in-fighting and greed for power. South Sudan is whining and shrieking for her children. She is bleeding to death due to the injuries inflicted by her own children. Who bewitched you brothers? God created one South Sudan for all of you equally. Therefore there won’t be any South Sudan for some of you by excluding others. God doesn’t apply  Exclusionary edict or apartheid. South Sudan is for all Shuluk, Kakwa, Dinka, Didinga, Nuer, Luo, Toposa, Lotuho and all other communities equally regardless the size of the  population of one community compared to another or others. You fought for the nation as one people. You will always live as one people.  Your motto should be:  South Sudan, One people instead of South Sudan, Many People or Divided Communities. It doesn’t work and it can’t work.  The leitmotif of war doesn’t help anything except dressing you down.


          Allow me to end up here saying, enough is enough. This time prove your detractors wrong as you make your people happy and safe in a peaceful country.

Long Live South Sudan

South Sudan, One People

South Sudan, One Spirit

South Sudan, One Body

South Sudan, One Mission

South Sudan, One Destiny

That is my contribution.

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When news broke that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was chosen a head of African Unity (AU), tongue wagged especially in the west. Mugabe has no good rapport in the west. Western media started to ‘remind’ the world how dangerous Mugabe is. They forgot that the same Mugabe once stole the thunders especially during the liberation campaigns when he well and skilfully articulated the vision of Zimbabwe better than Ian Smith.

           For those who support African renaissance, the election of Mugabe was blow to the west especially after it branded Mugabe all bad names just because he wanted to redistribute land in Zimbabwe. Now that AU seems to have started deviating from their former colonial masters, maybe, this will end the message to western countries whose grand narrative has tried consistently to define everything even if their definitions are always wrong. When he took a podium to talk Mugabe didn’t mince his words and his vengeance against west. For he was quoted as saying that Africa wanted relationship with friends but not with colonialists and imperialists he said have no place in Africa. To show how unputdownable Mugabe is, he took a swipe on Morocco saying, “As long as our brothers in Western Sahara are under Moroccan occupation we are not totally free.”

        Is AU starting a new phase of rebellion against her nexus with colonial masters? Does it know the consequence of its actions?

          It is obvious that Africa is trying to show western countries that she has her way of doing things especially after China proved another fresh air to African economies. The west used to use economic clout to bully Africa. Again, after the world prediction of the economies of the world prove that Africa will do better than many western countries, maybe, just maybe, African leaders have gotten a hunch of trying to reorganize their alliance with the outside world,

          By electing Mugabe AU chair, African countries apart from sending the message, are trying to  warn western countries that the status quo doesn’t hold water anymore especially at the time there is a new kid on the block. After Africa being ‘maltreated’ by the International Criminal Court (ICC) methinks it is time for Africa to hit back hard especially where it hurts, under the belt. Appointing Mugabe the chair of AU is a sacrilege before western countries which we are waiting to see what they will do.

          Electing Mugabe head of AU is obviously a tactical move of testing water. AU leaders are not only dismayed by western clientele economic relationship but also they are annoyed by way it robbed them some of their dear ones such as Muamar Gaddafi who used to financially support AU. They can feel the gap that China is trying to fill in. remember, Mugabe, a good friend of China was elected Chair of AU in the hall China that built and gifted to AU. By electing Mugabe AU Chair, African leaders are trying to dispel the myth that if one doesn’t agree with what western countries want he will be in trouble. Mugabe has weathered all storms from west and he is still going from strength to strength in the politics of the continent.

          Now that Africa has clearly and loudly made her statement, what will west do to show its interpretation of the statement? Will it put up and give in and start to lick the wounds or reciprocate by reducing the aid it extends to African countries? Again, shall west try to punish Africa for electing Mugabe; will China stay side and look or come even more forcefully? By the look of things, shall west act unwisely in this zero-sum game, two winners are easy to predict, Africa and China will carry the day. It is obvious that Mugabe has no financial muscle like Gaddafi.  He’s the gift of the gab on top of strong and sound friendship with China which has become the life line of Mugabe’s government. Remember. Zimbabwe and Tanzania have a lot of ivory in their store as they agitate that they should be allowed to sell them. Another factor that helps Mugabe to triumph is the fact that many African countries are facing land issue thanks to surging the landless population. Maybe, they will take a leaf from him. The neighbouring South Africa even Namibia still faces the same. Who knows? Will this new awakening Africa is making awaken western countries to stop treating her like a baby that has no brain?    On the flip side, does AU expect anything new from Mugabe? Does AU want to use Mugabe to voice its anger against west? Is Mugabe using AU to intimidate his enemies? Who is using whom in this game of treacherous nature?

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The recently concluded Sino-Africa Summit aka Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in South Africa offers one major lesson: the need and significance for the reunification of Africa. Circumstantially, The cobbling together of African states whenever sponsors need them shows how the idea of reunifying Africa to the tune of pre-Berlin Conference is still relevant and important. China is not the first or the last power to call upon African rulers and deal with them in unison. The US, France and Turkey, among others, have already done the same.

What a shame for African countries with immense resources under their disposal to be summoned just like school prefects before the headmaster? It doesn’t cross mind for a country like Turkey –for instance –to summon African countries and promise them cheap aid?

In the 2009 Sino-summit in the Sham el Sheik Egypt, China promised a $10bn financial aid in concessional loans. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying, “We will help Africa build up financing capacity.” Jiabao however didn’t disclose how such help would work. Six years down the line, African economies have not rolled out plans that would enable them to build financial capacity. African rulers, however, are financially enabled, but they are not making any meaningful development thanks to their extravagance and poor policies of servicing a cabal of venal and corrupt politicians. Most African rulers deal with China and other donors just for their political interests as opposed to the interests of Africa.

In the just ended Summit, China didn’t fall short of promising the Shangri-Las. The BBC (4 December, 2015) reported that China announced $60bn (£40bn) of assistance and loans for Africa to help with the development of the continent. The BBC also quoted South African president Jacob Zuma saying, “China has become Africa’s largest trade partner, and Africa is now one of China’s major import sources and fourth largest investment destination. This partnership can only yield further positive results for Africa’s development.”

How much does Africa export to China in comparison to what Africa imports from China? Doing business with China will be good shall it benefit Africa. But looking at the floods of the Chinese in Africa, I doubt if there are some headways to be made from FOCAC. Is Africa prepared? I’d comfortably argue that when it comes to promising financial aid like this, Africa is treated as one entity. When it comes to paying back, every country goes solo with its politics of the tummy which is detrimental for Africa. How do you develop a divided Africa with a host of different priorities and policies? Again, this is not important for China that is interested in extracting resources and finding jobs for its jobless army.

On his side, the Chinese president was quoted as saying, “I couldn’t agree more with this statement and I am convinced that African countries and people are embracing a new era that is truly theirs.” Is this era Africa’s or China’s? How can it be Africa’s while Africa is entering such a relationship without unity of purpose or agenda? You can take this to the bank. Nothing was heard African as far as sound strategies are concerned so far. African countries were but recipients of promises without having any notable inputs into this new drive of developing Africa.

There are things African countries need to do. First, they need to stop complaining about colonialism and put in place structures of productivity and self-reliance. Secondly, African countries must blame themselves for not unifying Africa and degrading themselves. For example, economically, Turkey is at par or infancy stage just like many African countries. The UN report on GDP per capita based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) shows that Turkey had a purchasing power of 19,226.1 as of 2011-2015 compared to Gabon with 19,038.1.

Does Gabon need to be summoned by Turkey to receive lectures about development really? Equatorial Guinea with 30,583.4 is even better than turkey as far as purchasing power is concerned and so are Seychelles and Mauritius (Sources: World Development Indicators 2015). Does Africa really need to dress herself down by being sent for by even poor countries like Turkey? How powerful would Africa be if it were reunited to the tune of the pre-Berlin destruction? When will African leaders reunite Africa so that the continent can be at par with others? African leaders must stop their selfish interests and reunify Africa.

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The World Bank’s central mission, when it was established in 1944, was to reduce global poverty and ensure that global development was environmentally-sound and socially-inclusive. However, since then, the Bank has only served as an extension of US foreign policy and commercial interests!

NEW YORK – The world is at a crossroads. Either the global community will join together to fight poverty, resource depletion, and climate change, or it will face a generation of resource wars, political instability, and environmental ruin.

The World Bank, if properly led, can play a key role in averting these threats and the risks that they imply. The global stakes are thus very high this spring as the Bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July 2012.

The World Bank was established in 1944 to promote economic development, and virtually every country is now a member. Its central mission is to reduce global poverty and ensure that global development is environmentally sound and socially inclusive. Achieving these goals would not only improve the lives of billions of people, but would also forestall violent conflicts that are stoked by poverty, famine, and struggles over scarce resources.

American officials have traditionally viewed the World Bank as an extension of United States foreign policy and commercial interests. With the Bank just two blocks away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been all too easy for the US to dominate the institution. Now many members, including Brazil, China, India, and several African countries, are raising their voices in support of more collegial leadership and an improved strategy that works for all.

From the Bank’s establishment until today, the unwritten rule has been that the US Government simply designates each new president. All 11 have been Americans… And not a single one has been an expert in economic development, the Bank’s core responsibility, or had a career in fighting poverty or promoting environmental sustainability!

Instead, the US has selected Wall Street bankers and politicians, presumably to ensure that the Bank’s policies are suitably friendly to US commercial and political interests.

Yet, the policy is backfiring on the US and badly hurting the world. Because of a long-standing lack of strategic expertise at the top, the Bank has lacked a clear direction. Many projects have catered to US corporate interests rather than to sustainable development. The Bank has cut a lot of ribbons on development projects, but has solved far too few global problems.

For too long, the Bank’s leadership has imposed US concepts that are often utterly inappropriate for the poorest countries and their poorest people. For example, the Bank completely fumbled the exploding pandemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria during the 1990s, failing to get help to where it was needed to curb these outbreaks and save millions of lives.

Even worse, the Bank advocated user fees and “cost recovery” for health services, thereby putting life-saving health care beyond the reach of the poorest of the poor – precisely those most in need of it. In 2000, at the Durban AIDS Summit, I recommended a new “Global Fund” to fight these diseases, precisely on the grounds that the World Bank was not doing its job. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria emerged, and has since saved millions of lives, with malaria deaths in Africa alone falling by at least 30 per cent.

The Bank similarly missed crucial opportunities to support smallholder subsistence farmers and to promote integrated rural development more generally in impoverished rural communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For around 20 years — roughly from 1985 to 2005 — the Bank resisted the well-proven use of targeted support for small landholders to enable impoverished subsistence farmers to improve yields and break out of poverty. More recently, the Bank has increased its support for smallholders, but there is still far more that it can and should do.

The Bank’s staff is highly professional, and would accomplish much more if freed from the dominance of narrow US interests and viewpoints. The Bank has the potential to be a catalyst of progress in key areas that will shape the world’s future.

Its priorities should include agricultural productivity; mobilization of information technologies for sustainable development; deployment of low-carbon energy systems; and quality education for all, with greater reliance on new forms of communication to reach hundreds of millions of under-served students.

The Bank’s activities currently touch on all of these areas, but it fails to lead effectively on any of them. Despite the excellence of its staff, the Bank has not been strategic or agile enough to be an effective agent of change. Getting the Bank’s role right will be hard work, requiring expertise at the top.

Most importantly, the Bank’s new president should have first-hand professional experience regarding the range of pressing development challenges. The world should not accept the status quo.

A World Bank leader who once again comes from Wall Street or from US politics would be a heavy blow for a planet in need of creative solutions to complex development challenges. The Bank needs an accomplished professional who is ready to tackle the great challenges of sustainable development from day one. [Project-Syndicate-2012].

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeffrey D. Sachs is a Professor of Economics and the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, and the founder and co-President of the Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger.

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ARUSHA – Implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol has been made easier with the launching of the third version of the Microsoft 2010 Kiswahili local language package, an official of the EAC has said.

“Although the Common Market Protocol provides for the free movement of capital, goods, services, and has led to increased regional trade but our small and medium scale traders still experience the problem of communicating in Swahili,” said the EAC Secretary-General, Dr. Richard Sezibera.

“Swahili is now the minimum medium of communication and, currently, the lingua franca of the Community. Therefore, the launching of the updated version of the Microsoft 2010 ki-Swahili local language package which can be downloaded on <> is timely at the time when our traders needed most in order to effectively communicate on a regional basis,” Sezibera said at the launching of the product at Arusha in Tanzania in February.

The version, with over 300,000 words translated into Swahili, is part of the project that has so far cost the company $2m over the last five years. It has been developed as ‘Windows’ and ‘Office’ products in 15 written and spoken languages in Africa: Afrikaans, Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Hausa, Igbo, ki-Swahili, and Portuguese among others.

Sezibera said use of information ICT in the EAC has contributed 40 per cent of the region’s economic growth.

“But ICT is not working in a abstract, and can only be useful to people if it is translated into local languages,” he said at the launching ceremony.

The translated versions in ki-Swahili would lead to improvement in public service delivery, development of the private sector, promote good governance and help in the fight against poverty.

The next phase of the regional economic development will have to depend on the small and medium scale firms (SMEs).

The Microsoft regional education manager, Dr. Mark Matunga, said the technology will play a major role in the maintenance of linguistic diversity in the region.

“All too often, small traders are excluded from information technology skills and the accompanying job and trading opportunities for lack of technology in their local languages, providing a native language is critical to helping people access the tools needed to create better economic opportunities,” he explained. [EABW].

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KAMPALA – Having nursed the dream of making a breakthrough in the business world by bringing onto the market a new product, Ms. Lovin Kobusingye finally had her prayers answered when she introduced fish sausages onto the Ugandan market!

For five years, Kobusingye thought of introducing a fresher product that would get instant attention on the Ugandan market. But financial power always stood in the way.

Starting the business required about Ush58 million ($25,000), an amount that was not readily available and just like any other Small or Medium Enterprise (SME), access to credit was difficult.

Kobusingye, who started off by marketing fish and fish fillets and roast fish sold her idea to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) who supported her to kick start her business and on February 1, 2012, fish sausages, the first of their kind in the country were produced in Uganda.
UIRI provided free consultancy services and despite her having Ushs20 million, the organization provided additional funds to start off the business.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Kobusingye said many Ugandans had come to appreciate the fish sausages.

“This being a new product on the market, many customers are inquisitive and this has made me give out many packs as samples. Otherwise, business is good and those who have tasted it have appreciated it”, Kobusingye says.

She needs half a tonne of fish per week to make one tonne of fish sausages. As a result of this, Kobusingye has an arrangement with various fish farmers who supply on a weekly basis.

She is in the process of identifying large fish farmers with whom she hopes to sign contracts to sustain supply.

Beef and pork sausages are already available on the Ugandan market, and cost approximately Ush8,000 ($3.5) a kilo. The fish sausages sell for Ush12,000 ($5.2). According to Kobusingye, this is because of the high cost of the fish.

“A kilogramme of the fish freshly harvested from the ponds cost Ush5,000 ($2.2) and these have the bones and all the parts that will later on be chopped off. To make the sausages, we need bone free fish and by the time we make the sausages, so many fish have been used,” she said.

Kobusingye is not in a hurry to explore the regional markets as there is ready demand from South Sudan, Kenya among other countries.

“At present, my aim is to satisfy the local market and when we have fully exploited the potential here (Uganda), then we shall think of tapping into the region,” she added.

Her company will provide fish farmers with ready market for their produce because of the demand.

The Uganda fish industry is currently facing uncertainty following the dwindling of fish catches.

The National Investment Policy on Aquaculture Parks in Uganda, though still in its draft form, seeks to increase the value of aquaculture production from the current 90,000 tonnes valued at $180 million annually to at least 300,000 tonnes by 2016.

It is innovations like Kobusingye’s which will go a long way in encouraging the development of fish farming as fish in Uganda has of late become a delicacy rather than a cheaper option to meat because the price of fish is higher than the price of meat.

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JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – A study submitted to South Africa’s ruling ANC to reform its vital mining sector proposes a 50 per cent tax on profits and rejects nationalisation as an “unmitigated disaster” for Africa’s largest economy.

Although it delivers a hammer blow to calls for nationalisation by radical elements in the African National Congress (ANC), mining houses will be wary of the tax proposals as they grapple with steeply rising labour, power and safety costs in the world’s largest platinum producer.

South Africa has a poor track record of translating its vast mineral wealth into broader prosperity and the government is under pressure to create badly-needed jobs in the industry without scaring off the investment it needs.

“Under the current fiscal regime our nation is clearly not getting a fair share of the resource rents generated from its mineral assets,” an official summary of the 600-page study obtained by Reuters said.

“A Resource Rent Tax (RRT) of 50 per cent must be imposed on all mining. It will trigger after a normal return on investments has been achieved, thus not impacting on marginal or low grade deposits.”

The study defines a resource rent as “the difference between the price at which a resource can be sold and its extraction costs” – in other words, profit.

As expected, the study, which was compiled after research trips to 13 countries ranging from Chile to Australia to Venezuela, flatly rejects nationalisation, mainly on cost grounds.

It put a R1-trillion price tag – almost as much as South Africa’s annual budget – on acquiring all listed and non-listed mining companies in the country.

An asset grab without compensation against an industry that accounts for 6-8 percent of South African GDP would be even worse, the report concludes.

“Nationalisation without compensation … would result in a near collapse of foreign investment and access to finance. This route would clearly be an unmitigated economic disaster for our country and our people,” it says.

The document says new taxes raised, which it estimated at R40-billion at current prices, should be ploughed into a sovereign wealth fund that could be used to temper appreciation of the rand during commodity booms.

Once the resource rent tax is imposed, mineral royalty rates should be cut to one percent from the current sliding scale system, which caps royalties at seven per cent.

Tax havens
The study also proposes a clampdown on the use of tax havens by foreign mining investors – a practice that activists say bleeds capital from poor countries, especially those that rely heavily on mining.

“Many international mining companies invest in Africa via a subsidiary registered in a ‘tax haven’,” it says.

“To encourage direct investment from their primary listing country, we should introduce a mineral foreign shareholding withholding tax: if the foreign mining company is held in a ‘tax haven’, then rate should be 30 per cent and if not, the normal rate of ten per cent should apply,” it says.

The study deals a potentially fatal blow on the push for mine nationalisation, which had already lost political momentum due to ANC disciplinary charges against its biggest advocate, Youth League leader Julius Malema.

Malema was found guilty of sowing discord in the party by an internal tribunal in November and was sentenced to a five-year suspension

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