THE NEW TIMES
by Moses SERUGO 23 July 2013
Opening with Mama Africa, a documentary that charts the life of celebrated South African diva, Miriam Makeba (March 4, 1932-November 9, 2008) gave the ninth edition of the Rwanda Film Festival its requisite credentials in line with the 2013 theme: Our Mothers, Our Heroes.
Makeba was widely recognised as a hero of the South African anti-apartheid struggle and while giving his pre-screening speech, the South African High Commissioner to Rwanda George Nkosinati Twala called on local filmmakers to document the contribution of women to the Rwandan liberation struggle.
Nkosinati was speaking at the festival’s opening night at Century Cinema at Kigali City Towers.
He also asked filmmakers to document the lives of the artistes that provided the soundtrack to the struggle: “Artistes are our conscience. They reflect our pain. We need to acknowledge them.”
The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Oda Gasinzigwa, on the other hand, urged filmmakers to portray women in film more positively.
Festival director Eric Kabera was beside himself with glee acknowledging that having a cinema as a principal screening venue was a festival first.
The festival will have additional screening venues at Kigali Public Library, New Papyrus, The Office in Kiyovu, Kimisagara Youth Centre, Club Rafiki in Nyamirambo and a special screening of the Genocide film Imbabazi at the Kigali Memorial Centre in Gisozi.
Mama Africa (German Trailer)
Mama Africa is a befitting tribute to Makeba, whose joyous songs like Pata Pata masked the agony she lived with as an exile banished from her home country South Africa.
Makeba spent the better part of her anti-apartheid struggle outside South Africa living in far-flung places like the United States. While there she built a network of musical friends that helped her push her anti-apartheid agenda whose highlight was a speech she made at the United Nations.
The documentary uses archival footage because it was shot after the death of the acclaimed African diva. Makeba died on November 9, 2008 while on tour in Italy. The bulk of the material is from interviews of people that lived and worked with Makeba, including her former lovers Hugh Masekela and Harry Belafonte and her grandchildren.
It is interspersed with excerpts from Makeba’s legendary performances including Pata Pata, a song she says she had gotten tired of performing owing to its lack of lyrical content but was quite popular with audiences globally.
The documentary also recounts sad moments in Makeba’s life including how her mother was detained for brewing and selling umquombothi beer when Makeba was only 18 days old. You cannot help but wipe a tear when Makeba sits on her mother’s grave “like I’d sit on her lap,” the first thing she does upon returning to South Africa.
Her most significant musical encounter in exile is a London meeting with Harry Belafonte that paves way for a career in the US and her famous speech at the United Nations.
Director Mika Kaurismaki does a great job weaving together black and white footage and personal tales of Makeba, who include ex-lovers, musical peers and Makeba’s two grandchildren from her daughter who takes credit for composing the Mozambiquan liberation anthem A Luta Continua.
Mama Africa will show again at Century Cinema on Thursday May 25, at 9pm.
THE ROAD TO HILLYWOOD
Rwanda Film Festival, also known as “Hillywood,” has established itself not only as the country’s most important cultural event, but is fast becoming one of Africa’s most prestigious film festival. For 7 days, film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals and the media will experience the best in local and international cinema from established masters and new talent.
Our principal objective is to promote and encourage awareness, appreciation and understanding of the art of cinema in Rwanda. Our mandate is to present the most outstanding films produced in every part of the world. Films are selected on the basis of quality and originality. The Festival also promotes contacts between industry professionals to assist in the development of the Rwandan motion picture industry. … See the Movie Guide 2013
Source: allafrica.com, rwandafilmfestival.net
Starting this week close to 500 travelers were stranded at the two border posts that Rwanda shares with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after the DRC government abruptly shut down their border services earlier than usual.
Most of those stranded were long distance traders who use Rwanda as transit to the DRC as well as businessmen and women who operate across the border towns of the two countries.
Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC, grouped under the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL), April 2010, agreed to increase border operation hours to ease movement of people and goods.
The Corniche border in Rubavu has been operational 24 hours while the Rusizi 1 border in Rusizi district closed at 10 p.m.
But, without official notification, the DRC Government shut down their services at 6 p.m., leaving the travelers stranded. The DRC communicated through its provincial authorities an issue handled at the national level.
Sources from the DRC Embassy in Kigali claimed that they were not aware of the changes.
The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration confirmed that there were passengers stranded.
Anaclet Kalibata, the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration told “The New Times” that the DRC Government should have officially communicated to the Rwanda Government on the impending changes, after all there is a diplomatic representation in both capitals. This would have given travelers ample time to adjust their schedules accordingly.
Traders who purchase goods from as far as Nairobi plan their schedules putting into consideration that the borders work for up to 24 hours.
By Tuesday evening, there were increasing fears that the Rwandans who are still held up on the Congolese side could be tortured or held hostage as it has previously happened.
Border Restrictions By DRC Authorities Is a Shortsighted Move
The unilateral move, which goes against the 2010 CEPGL agreement, signed between Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC, is a step in the wrong direction. The agreement, which aimed to ease travel and trade between the three countries, proved to be extremely popular with traders and travelers alike.
The move – closing the border at 6p.m – has slowed trade as seen by the drastic fall of cargo vehicles crossing the border. Presently, slightly above 200 trucks cross each day, down from approximately 500 before the directive was made.
This decision is creating gridlock at the border and is delaying the essential movement of goods. Residents of Gisenyi and Goma, the two sister towns, were able to enjoy each other’s respective nightlife; but this will no longer be possible.
The restrictions, which the DRC authorities mistakenly think will increase security, will only ratchet up the suspicions and ill feelings between the two countries.
Kinshasa must come to the realisation that acting unilaterally, despite it being their right as a sovereign nation, will only damage relations. Unless diplomatic and multilateral solutions to this region’s challenges are accepted by the DRC, peace and prosperity will remain a distant dream.
Source: The New Times
A reader’s comment on my last post about the election of Oman Al-Bashir made me think that I might as well go deeper into the whole subject and chart the different aspect of this Election.“I think it is good news that Sudan held an election in along time, like 2 decades or more, plus it went peacefully.
So…we cant expect much else, at least for now.”
This year elections were the first “democratically” held election since 1986. (…) The 1986 elections were held after the fall of Field Marshal Jaffar Mohammed Numeiry, who seized power in a 1969 military coup and ruled the country until he was ejected in a popular uprising in 1985. source Omar -Al Bashir came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier of the Sudanese army led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al- Mahdi. In October 2004, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) negotiated an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War,one of the longest-running and deadliest wars of the 20th century, by granting limited autonomy to Southern Sudan. (…) Al Bashir’s government even signed the the Comprehensive Peace agreement (CPA) in 2005, an agreement between the SPLM and the NCP to develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence. (…) Since then, however, there has been a violent conflict in Darfur that has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000.During his presidency, there have been several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur region. The civil war has resulted in over 2.5 million people being displaced, and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level. In July 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, accused Al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. source But the African Union, the League of Arab States, The Non-Aligned Movement, the governments of Russia and China have opposed them to this decision.
Why? One of the reasons is surely that Al-Bashir raised Sudan to be one of Chinas and Russias most import OIL-PROVIDER in the last few years. So despite ICC arrest warrent Al-Bashir is a free man, even thought Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa said, he will have him arrested should he dare to put one foot on South African ground.
How could Al-Bashir get elected president again and what choice did the Sudanese people have?
For the first “free and fair” election since the military coup that brought Al Bashir to power in 1989, the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) nominated in January 2010 Yasir Arman, as the party’s presidential candidate in the north. Arman was a important negotiater for the CPA agreement between South and North Sudan. (Another potential candidate of the SPLM was Riek Machar).
(…) Arman articulated his party’s national ambitions in an interview with Sudan Tribune one year ago. “In many occasions the SPLM in the north has demonstrated that it is growing, it is a force to reckon with. In fact it is one of the biggest forces, and it is to be noted that the SPLM—the movement that started in South Sudan, it is the first movement in the history of Sudan that started in a marginalized area and then it engulfed the whole of Sudan.”(…)
So President Al-Bashir, had as the main challenger :
From the North: former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi (Interview with Al-Mahdi) and from the South : SPLM-Frontman Arman.
But then one candidate after the other boycotted the elections.
The southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – which serves in a coalition at national level with President Bashir – first announced it was boycotting the presidential election over fraud and security fears in April 2010.
Other parties in the north followed suit, saying they believed the electoral process had been rigged in favour of Mr Bashir’s National Congress Party. Then the Umma party announced that it is boycotting the general elections at all levels.
Sadig Al-Mahdi, explained at a press conference the reasons for the boycott.
“Our main concern was the issue of the transportation and control of the ballots and the fact that the number of polling centers were reduced to less than half of the original number. This denied other parties in the states the chance of participation in the elections and the National Elections Commission did nothing about this issue and this led to the general boycott of these flawed elections. When the issue was discussed for the second time, the view of the majority of our political bureau was in favor a complete boycott of the elections. The political bureau yesterday took its decision to boycott of elections at all levels because these elections do not represent the real will of the people of Sudan. “….
please view: Al Mahdis Reasons for the boycott
” The aim of the boycott is to rob President Omar al-Bashir of the opportunity to legitimise his rule.
He has governed Sudan for more than 20 years, but his indictment by the International Criminal Court on alleged war crimes in Darfur now hangs around his neck like a millstone.
He has been campaigning vigorously in the run-up to the vote on 11 April, travelling across Sudan, and was busy rallying his supporters in Sennar – east of Khartoum – as his opponents plotted their withdrawal.
His dilemma now is how to respond to the boycott. It is also a blow for Washington, which was laying a lot of store on these elections and wanted them to go ahead.* ” (Zeinab Badawil, BBC News)
* according to the CPA agreement of 2005, the election were set for 2008/9 !
But the US did not react as the Sudanese people expect them to.
Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim says on the “Sudanese Tribune”:
(…)Sudanese regret that US did not do more as promised to prevent and address such irregularities, manipulation of the process by the NCP,… The US did not only ignore the mass fraud, manipulation, and intimidation that characterized the elections, but also helped in making this scheme possible. The Sudanese opposition had hoped these elections would have led to a democratic transformation… Unfortunately, the US administration views the elections mandated by the CPA as a prerequisite for the referendum in the South to be held in January 2011(…)The fear of Bashir aborting the referendum has been the driving force behind the U.S policy towards Sudan. Ironically, this policy seems to have helped him in aborting the democratic transformation process promised by the CPA agreement(…)This contradicting role encourage the regime of Al Bashir to abrogate the last chapter of the CPA, and the referendum for the South(…) “the US is on our side”,he says. He fears nothing(…)The irony of this policy is that US has achieved none of its goals in Sudan(…). source
I’d like to share one last opinion on this:
Its from a Sudanese political activist, living in the US, called Deng T. Liem :
(…) I believe that it is the best interest for south to vote for President Oman Al-Bashir in this election, not because he is the best President for us, but because he was one who had signed CPA with south. If he will act to disown his own signatory, however, it will make it easy for south to declare UDI for south against his regime and the whole world will rally behind south as they would have known that, President Al-Bashir has breached his own signature on CPA document…
1. President Oman Al-Bashir will not make unity attractive, whatsoever; therefore, south will overwhelmingly vote to secede in 2011, 2. He has vigorously agreed with his nuclear Islamic fundamentalists’ society and endorsed religion state of Sudan that would be governed by “Sharia Laws” opposed to secular New Sudan of SPLM and therefore, President Oman Al-Bashir is now a sought separatist, and 3. He is a partner in CPA and any attempted breach against referendum provision would be grave mistaken as it would be taken very seriously by international community and CPA peace brokers
However, Mr. Yasir Arman will make it difficult for south to secede for these fundamental reasons I listed below.
1. He has no base in north to govern without south, 2. He would not let his base to secede to taint his political carrier and north, 3. He will keep his base by making unity attractive to south and votes for unity, and 4. He must abnegate his known secularism mentality and joins his nuclear Arab people in north to declare wrecking war against south and charges south for disowning it owns SPLM’s compelling principle of New Sudan in place. source
We well all have to watch very attentively the next steps of the NCP. Even thought Al-Bashir new elected presidency (à la “Survival of the fittest”) lay open many question marks and unsolved problems (and more important many disappointed people!), I sincerely believe that this results were strategically (not morally!) correct and I’m exited to see what is going to happen next.
researched and commented 4u by mwoogie
please feel free to comment
The Associat. Press posted Ethiopia Opposition Calls For Election Rerun yesterday.
I’d like to read it with you pointing out the important conclusions.
(…) An Ethiopian opposition leader called Wednesday for a rerun of the weekend election, charging that the vote was flawed by intimidation and irregularities, as America and the European Union expressed concern over its fairness. Prospective parliamentarian Hailu Shawel said he believes Sunday’s vote was controlled by the ruling party and has written a letter to the electoral board asking for a rerun. Over recent days, he has claimed that opposition observers were turned away and that voters and candidates were intimidated. Other members of his party have questioned the privacy of the vote. (…)
(…) The latest preliminary results from the election board show a landslide victory for the party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has ruled since seizing power in a 1991 coup. Ethiopian election officials said they witnessed no irregularities, and government spokesman Bereket Simon said the election was free and fair. (…)
Please view here the Preliminary statement of the African Union Election observers on Daniel Berhanes Blog
about the “Campaigning” the AU Elect. Observ. honestly states:
they were unable to observe the campaigning.
They alleged that they had not been accorded equitable (media and physical) space and freedom they needed to campaign. However the AU had no way of verifying the allegations.
and come to the “Conclusion” that:
1. The overwhelming voter turnout indicated outstanding mobilization and sensitisation by the NEBE, political organizations and other stakeholders
2. Conditions existed for voters to freely express their will.
3. The Ethiopian Legislative Elections were organised and conducted in accordance with the constitutional and legal provisions and the rules and regulations governing the conduct of elections in the country and were largely consistent with AU guidelines and standards for the conduct of democratic elections.
It is recognized that 2010 Ethiopia’s Legislative Elections reflected the will of the people. The AU Observer Mission congratulates the people of Ethiopia for their peaceful conduct and active participation in the electoral process.
more to the Associat. Press article:
– (…) But EU observers said Tuesday they found that the poll was marred by an uneven playing field that favored the ruling party. Since the last violent elections in 2005, some critics say the government has systematically stifled the competition.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said late Tuesday that U.S. Embassy officials were denied accreditation and the opportunity to travel outside of the capital to observe the voting. “The limitation of independent observation and the harassment of independent media representatives are deeply troubling,” Hammer said in a statement.(…)
This, even thought the A.U. explained in their observations clearly that they have not been able to accord equitable freedom to independent media.
(…) U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said voters were told they could lose food assistance, public-sector jobs, loans and educational opportunities if they voted against the ruling party.
Why would the A.U. say that the Conditions existed for the voters to freely express their will, then?Why lie about that?
I think the most important point here is that : THE WERE MORE VOTER TURNOUT than expected. Intimidated people tend to let go or revolt.
Please consult here he provisional results of the National Election Board of Ethiopia on Daniel Berhanes Blog !
(…) Ethiopia is frequently criticized for its human rights record, including by the U.S. State Department, which in a March report cited reports of “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with evident impunity…Still, the U.S. considers Ethiopia an ally and provides foreign aid(…)
I guess “Starbucks” could tell us why….
(…)Both countries want to curb Islamist extremism in Somalia, Ethiopia’s unstable neighbor to the east(…).
…. no comments!
The article does not say what the situation is now. No further informations are given whether the EU claims a rerun or not. But its clear that the results of the Elections are set and Meles Zenawi party won thanks to a “more or less” fairly process.
—- researched and commented 4u by mwoogie with big *thanx* to Daniel Berhane’s Blog—-
please leave your honest comments...
HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe is “on track” to meet basic human rights standards in a diamond field plagued by abuses by the military, a monitor from the Kimberley Process regulator said Thursday.
The Kimberley Process, created to prevent the sale of “blood diamonds” on world markets, has given Zimbabwe until June to end human rights abuses in the eastern Marange diamond fields…. read
read also about Zimbabwe actual problems here
Talking about reordering our World (We dont need justice but a new Order!!), funny the Boston Globe just had that printed:
I’d like to say a few things to that.
1) (…) President Obama yesterday pledged to shape a new “international order’’ as part of a national security strategy that emphasizes his belief in global institutions and America’s role in promoting Democratic values around the world. (…)
I remember hearing him say :
(…) I know — I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.
(…)Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone (…) But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere (…)
That’s paradox. Promoting american values in countries which are already having troubles to reorder their own values (after years of wars and unstructured government) is stealing the freedom of people to live as they choose!!
2) (…) “The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times,’’ he said, “countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing its wounds.’’ (…)
Look who’s talking?!? First the US is THE throwaway society plainly and still one of the biggest consumer (in every single section), talking about changing climate and substaining global growth. I’m sick of hearing celebrities (or actually really important people like senators!) talking about ecology while their own lifestyle show no ecological awarness at all.
Plus, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons…. talking about that…
(…) The United States is still one of the five recognized nuclear powers under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (“NPT”). As of September 2009 it possessed 5,113 warheads operationally deployed, in active reserve, or held in inactive storage. This figure compare to a peak of 31,225 total warheads in 1967 and 22,217 in 1989, and does not include “several thousand” warheads, we don’t know of, that have been retired and scheduled for dismantlement.
In 2006, the Bush administration also proposed the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and initiated its design and development. The program, intended to produce a simple, reliable, long-lasting, and low-maintenance future nuclear force for the United States, encountered opposition due to the obligations of the United States under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the United States has signed, ratified, and is bound by, and which obligates the five nuclear weapons states who are bound by it (of which the United States is such a state) to work in good faith towards nuclear disarmament.
The Reliable Replacement Warhead was designed to replace the aging W76 warhead currently in a life-extension program. It was to incorporate a well-tested and verified primary SKUA9 and a new fusion secondary. The device would be built much much more robustly than its predecessors and should require longer periods between service and replacement. It will use insensitive high explosives, which are virtually impossible to detonate without the right mechanism. The new insensitive explosives can hit a concrete wall at Mach 4 and still not detonate. The device would also use a heavy radiation case for reliability. Since this weapon will supposedly never be tested via detonation, as has every weapon presently in the US arsenal, some fear that either the weapon will not be reliable, or will require testing to confirm its reliability, breaking the moratorium that has been observed by the recognized nuclear powers (the recognized nuclear powers include the US, Russia, the UK, the PRC, and France; they do not include the generally-recognized but undeclared Israel, nor the declared but unrecognized India, Pakistan, and North Korea) and was disliked by several elements of the Bush Administration, who believed nuclear tests ought to be conducted routinely; indeed, the Reliable Replacement Warhead was seen as the first step in the implementation of the US nuclear weapons laboratories’ plan, called “Complex 2030“, to rebuild dismantled nuclear weapons infrastructure so as to ensure that nuclear weapon design continues to be a field of research in the US through the mid-point of the 21st century.
In 2005 the U.S. revised its declared nuclear political strategy, the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations, to emphasize the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons preemptively against an adversary possessing weapons of mass destruction or overwhelming conventional forces. Whether the Single Integrated Operational Plan(“SIOP”) has been revised accordingly is uncertain, but possible.
However in 2009 and 2010 the administration of Barack Obama declared policies that would invalidate the Bush-era policy for use of nuclear weapons and its motions to develop new ones. First, in a prominent 2009 speech, U.S. president Barack Obama outlined a goal of “a world without nuclear weapons”. To that goal, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new START treaty on April 8, 2010 to reduce the number of active nuclear weapons from 2,200 to 1,550. That same week Obama also revised U.S. policy on the use of nuclear weapons in a Nuclear Posture Review required of all presidents, declaring for the first time that the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear, NPT-compliant states. The policy also renounces development of any new nuclear weapons. (…)
Obama’s administration is very strict on retracting every other nuclear power disarmament, but we still have no insight of how the five US-States are doing.
3) (…) The administration is set to officially release the president’s first national security strategy this week, and Obama’s preview yesterday suggests it will be far different from the first one offered by his predecessor in 2002. In that prior document, President George W. Bush formally called for a policy of preemptive war and a “distinctly American internationalism.’’ (…)
So, what’s the difference… can we know??
4u by mwoogie
A new law in Arizona targeting illegal immigrants has given police broad powers to stop anyone they suspect of being in the state illegally and detain them if they cannot prove their immigration status.
The introduction of the law has angered activists in Mexico say the law is discriminatory. In response they are trying to organize a boycott of Arizona.
Al Jazeera’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.
watch U-tub’ vid!
African Vibes Magazine has held its fourth anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, California. The gala event on April 24 kicked off in the early evening with the “I Wear African” fashion show, highlighting some of the newest names in African fashion. There were musical performances as well as an after party where many of the Los Angeles African community socialized into the night…
read more about it: