South African police on Friday arrested 136 suspects in connection with their involvement in the xenophobia mayhem unleashed on immigrants in Pretoria. The arrests followed a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng Province heightened by an anti-immigrants march held in Pretoria on Friday. The march saw numerous shops around the city centre closed, with customers still locked inside. The 15km march left a trail of destruction when marchers struck makeshift shelters of a religious group camping outside the Tshwane Events Centre. Police fired rubber bullets to try and disperse protesters as well as the large number of foreign nationals who gathered together for safety. Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane said they had stepped in and the situation in Pretoria was now calm and under control. Officers found a 5 litre container filled with petrol as well as clothes on one of the suspects. Lt. Gen. l Phahlane said: “136 people have been arrested over 24 hours but we are unable to confirm how many of those arrested are South African and how many aren’t. We cannot allow situation to be overwhelmed by crowd. We use proportional force.” A man was shot with rubber bullets when he got caught in the crossfire between police and protesters during the anti-foreigner march. Mr Sello Tshatswayo said he was trying to stop a taxi to go home from school in the Pretoria CBD. “They just started shooting, we were in a group and we all just ran in different directions,” Mr Tshatswayo said. Fears were mounting among residents that the clashes could spill into the weekend. “It was really scary with lots of police in our area and choppers over Pretoria west. This can’t be right, we can’t live in fear like this. Authorities need to deal with it otherwise it will continue throughout the weekend,” said Ms Hlengiwe Mabhena, an Atteridgeville resident. “It was bad in the morning because anybody who was not part of the march was becoming a target. They even uprooted trees and damaged highways’ side barriers‚” another resident, Mr Bonnie Molefe, said. Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said the anti-immigrant sentiments have no place in our society. “The issue of rising unemployment requires all our collective efforts to turn this tide around. Tshwane, like other urban centres around the globe is faced with an urgent need to address the increasing rate of urbanisation and create more work opportunities,” he said.
PRETORIA, South Africa — Police fired stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon Friday as the latest wave of anti-immigrant protests broke out in South Africa’s capital, while President Jacob Zuma condemned the violence but said his country’s migrant burden is bigger than Europe’s.
A petition the protesters handed to the foreign ministry, seen by The Associated Press, suggested that the government teach foreigners to speak properly. “They are arrogant and they don’t know how to talk to people especially Nigerians,” it said.
Resentment against foreigners has sometimes turned deadly in South Africa amid accusations that they take jobs from locals in a country where unemployment is above 25 percent. Others are blamed for drug-dealing and other crimes. In 2015, anti-immigrant riots in and around the city of Durban killed at least six people. In 2008, similar violence killed about 60 people.
Police on Friday tried to keep protesters apart from foreigners who gathered to express alarm about recent attacks. Police Commissioner Khomotso Phalane said 136 people had been arrested in the past 24 hours.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation in a statement criticized authorities for “giving permission for a march of hatred.”
The periodic backlash against foreigners has hurt the tolerant image South Africa has tried to present to the world after the long struggle to stop the harsh discrimination of white minority rule, which ended in 1994.
South Africans should not blame all crime on non-South Africans, the statement from Zuma’s office said. It cited recent reports of violence in Pretoria and hate speech on social media.
“Many citizens of other countries living in South Africa are law abiding and contribute to the economy of the country positively,” the president said. “It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.”
An Amnesty International statement blamed authorities’ “failure to address toxic populist rhetoric that blames and scapegoats refugees and migrants.”
Zuma said South Africans are not xenophobic, and he called on everyone, citizens and non-citizens, to work together to combat the country’s high crime rate.
Despite South Africa’s high unemployment, the country is one of Africa’s largest economies and remains a draw for people from far more impoverished nations across the continent. Businesses run by Somalis, Ethiopians and others are often targeted in anti-foreigner protests.
In video posted by broadcaster News 24, Zuma said that “the numbers of the foreigners in South Africa are far more than the numbers that Europe is fighting about.” Europe, however, saw more than 360,000 people arrive by sea last year alone, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
South African government data show the number of foreign-born people in the country has declined. A report last year said the 1.6 million foreign born people was down from 2.2 million in 2011 — in a country of more than 55 million people.
Zuma’s statement acknowledged complaints about companies that hire illegal immigrants and said the foreign affairs office “will be cracking down on all employers who continue with this practice, which is dangerous as it pits locals against non-nationals.”
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in whose capacity the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo presides, through the Ministry of Transport, on Friday approved the sack of all the directors in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), with immediate effect. Mr Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos. “It is true that the directors have been disengaged but I don’t have details of the reasons given for the action by the ministry,” he said. A total of 10 directors were sacked after the approval was given to the ministry by the government. The directors affected by the purge were: Alhaji Salawu Ozigi (Director of Finance and Accounts), Dr Joyce Nkemakolam (Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards), Mr Aba Ejembi (Director of Administration) and Mr Emmanuel Ogunbami (Director of Licensing). Others are: Mr Benedict Adeyileka (Director of Airworthiness), Mr Justus Wariya (Director of Air Transport Regulation), Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi (Director of Consumer Protection), Capt. Ayodele Sasegbon (Director of General Aviation), and Mr Austin-Amadi Ifeanyi (Director of Human Resources). The affected directors were immediately ordered to handover to the next in command in their various directorates, who will in the interim take charge of activities in their directorates. With the sack of the directors, it is only the Director-General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, that remains in the saddle of the regulatory agency. Government had on Oct. 12, 2016 sacked and demoted 22 directors and general managers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The restructuring was based on the recommendations of the Presidential Committee chaired by the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita. The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had said the restructuring would be extended to the NCAA and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) which were also currently overbloated.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the Pan Africanist and internationalist who was elected Zimbabwean Head of State thirty seven years ago, was 93 this Tuesday February 21. He had for decades championed the slogan “Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.” Under this, he got the economic control of his country transferred from the minority White racists, to the majority Black population. This was more impactful on the land issue which his neigbours in the Region; Namibia and South Africa are still grappling with, without any solution in sight.
Having being heavily criticised and vilified over the years for not allowing the mythical market forces to take over Zimbabwe, this week, as he celebrated his birthday, he praised American President Donald Trump who has a similar policy: “When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans – on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans”.
However, the more concrete issue is that of succession as Mugabe reiterated his resolve to contest for the Zimbabwean Presidency in 2018 when he would be 94. Ahead of his birthday, he had said: “They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party … The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am”. Perhaps, in a moment of self-doubt, he added: “Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it any more, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so”.
The run-up to this was the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union, Patriotic Front, ZANU-PF, Conference on December 16, 2016 in Masvingo, Southeastern Zimbabwe, some three-hour drive from Harare through breathtaking countryside. For me, my most memorable recollection when I visited Masvingo in 2013, was that a street in a former White neigbourhood was named after General Josiah Magama Tongogara the guerilla fighter who led the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, ZANLA, the military wing of ZANU-PF while Mugabe was the political head. Tongogara had died in a motor accident on December 26, 1979, four months before independence.
At the Masvingo Conference attended by about 9,000 delegates, the party had declared Mugabe “as the sole candidate for the forthcoming 2018 elections”. Perhaps, the most ridiculous and self-serving pronouncement on Mugabe’s ill-advised decision to run at 94, came from his 51-year old wife, Grace, who declared: “One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper … You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you – just to show how people love their President.” In truth, Mrs. Mugabe may just wish to preside over Zimbabawe in the name of her husband, so in reality, she may be the “corpse” appearing on the ballot paper. First, let me clarify that fundamentally, it is not the age of a man that matters, but the age of his ideas, and I consider the ideas of Mugabe quite vibrant and young. However, aging makes our bodies less able to carry out routine functions. With age, our reflex or reaction time slows down and muscles become lax. It is not for nothing humanity has retirement age. Even hereditary rulers sometimes give way as happened in July 2013 when Belgian king Albert stepped down as Head of State for Crown Prince Philippe.
Many developed countries have put their future in the hands of the young. Barack Obama was 48 when he became American President in 2009 and left office at 56 after two terms. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Pierre James Trudeau was 44 when elected in 2015.
I agree that neither the United States nor Canada face the kind of external challenges Zimbabwe faces including punitive and ruinous sanctions by the West and their seeking a pound of flesh for the audacity of Zimbabweans to repossess their ancestral lands. I know that the dignity of the average Zimbabwean in relation to the Whiteman and in contrast to the mindset of many Namibians and South Africans, came at a high cost.
I know that even where the ZANU-PF has primarily, retained power through free and fair elections including the 2002 one in which I was part of the Africa Union Observer team, the West continues to subvert and pooh-pooh the electoral process in that country. I am aware that maintaining political stability and coping with years of drought, come at a high cost. However, no matter its contributions to the liberation struggle or how glorious its reign has been, the Mugabe era has to come to an end. It is a matter of when it will, and I think it is better for both Mugabe and the ZANU-PF to begin the transition.
Mugabe must not be taken in by a sense of indispensability nor should the illusion be created that he is the only person who can lead Zimbabwe. There will be a successor whether he plans for it or not; that is the law of nature. In Nigeria, our elders say nobody can wear out the world ; it is the world that wears out people and discards them.
He needs to learn the basic lesson Nelson Mandela taught the world. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and became the first democratically elected President of South Africa at independence in 1994 when he was 76. Despite his cult-like following both inside and outside his country, he declined to have a second five-year term which would have been his for the asking. He preferred the younger, more youthful generation took over.
If after about four decades, Mugabe cannot produce worthy successors, then it is a failing of his leadership. Also, if after thirty eight years of unbroken leadership of Zimbabwe, the ZANU-PF cannot find a worthy successor to Mugabe, then the party needs a rebirth.
Although a man can symbolise a country and become its vibrant voice, he cannot replace that country; like soldiers come and go while the barracks remain, so do leaders come and go, but the country remains.
The enthusiastic Zimbabweans shouting ‘Tongai, Tongai Baba! ‘ (Rule, Rule Father!) remind me of John Pepper Bekederemo Clark’s poem “Streamside exchange”. In it, a child asked the River bird that was ‘Sitting all day long On hook over grass’ “Will mother come back today?” The bird answered: “You cannot know And should not bother; Tide and market come and go And so shall your mother.” Mugabe came and will go; for that matter, so shall you and I.
Recently, members of the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration led by its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel were in Enugu State on an oversight function on the utilization of bailout funds released to states by the federal government.
The senate committee after scrutinizing the Enugu State’s record on the above subject matter rated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the best governor in the utilization of the federal government’s bailout funds in the country.
The committee chairman applauded the administrative ingenuity of the governor in managing the funds, describing it as “impressive and in line with the principles of accountability. He noted that Gov. Ugwuanyi was “transparent and prudent in the use of the funds in a way the committee had not experienced anywhere else”.
While appreciating the peaceful atmosphere in the state and the innovation applied by the state government in management of the funds, Senator Gumel urged other states to take a cue from Enugu.
According to him, “we have gone through the books. And as far as the bailout funds are concerned, everything is in order. In fact, Enugu State has even gone further because we haven’t seen this in any other states.
“They gave us the list of all the beneficiaries as it was prepared by the banks. This is an innovation and we are reflecting it in our report. We are not doing it because Gov. Ugwuanyi was our colleague, we are doing it because we have seen with our eyes.”
Prior to the presentation of the report, the committee had earlier on arrival paid a courtesy visit to the Government House, Enugu, where they were received by the governor.
Gov. Ugwuanyi while addressing the senators noted that their legislative function was a very important assignment that promotes the enthronement of accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
The governor informed them that the N4.207billion bailout fund his administration had received was judiciously deployed for the purposes of liquidating the outstanding pensions and subvention to parastatals, agencies and departments.
He explained that although the state had applied for bailout funds from the federal government totaling N40.9 billion, “we received only N4.207billion to be used for the liquidation of outstanding pensions and subvention to parastatals, agencies and departments”.
While commending the federal government for the “bold and timely initiative” in providing states with bailout funds Gov. Ugwuanyi equally used the opportunity to further appeal for the refund of over N22 billion the state government has spent on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some federal roads in the state.
The senate committee had also commended the governor in the areas of good governance, infrastructural development and payment of workers’ salaries, explaining that the visit was in furtherance of their legislative oversight duties to ensure transparency and accountability.
With the regular payment of workers’ salaries; display of commitment to accountability, transparency and prudent management of the state’s lean resources; simultaneous execution of 35 development projects across the 17 Local Government Areas, among other critical infrastructure in the state, it is obvious that the senate’s verdict on the governor is a valid endorsement of his visionary leadership and managerial prowess.
It is note-worthy that the verdict coincides with the recent award conferred on the governor by The Authority Newspapers as “The Outstanding Governor of the Year 2016 on Economic Development and Infrastructure”.
While presenting the notification letter for the award to the governor at the Government House, Enugu, the Managing Director of the Authority Newspapers, Mr. Madu Onuorah noted that, “The rate of development is outstanding, especially with regards to infrastructure, in spite of the fact that Enugu State is not an oil producing state and therefore, gets little from the Federation Account.
“And you don’t have cluster of businesses and major urban centres like some surrounding states to tax in order to lift up the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). It is still a surprise that with the development going on here, Enugu is one of the few states in the Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries as and when due, and as I understand, by the 25th of every month.
“A trip round Enugu State shows your indelible imprints. It is all too glaring to be ignored. You’re not a man who goes for half measures. You’re a man Nigeria needs at a time like this as you are the new face of the Nigerian spirit that won’t give up even in the face of challenges but opt for a noiseless but massive development of the state’s infrastructure.
From all indications, there is no doubt that Gov. Ugwuanyi is treading on the path of vision and greatness and therefore, should be encouraged to take Enugu State to an enviable height. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!