Regional News Roundup

Banda cancels summit over Bashir

The Malawian government this week cancelled hosting an African Union summit in July because the continental body has insisted that Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, wanted on charges of genocide, be allowed to attend the meeting. The decision by President Joyce Banda marks an about-turn in the country’s position towards Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Banda’s predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April, had defied calls to apprehend Bashir and allowed the Sudanese president to enter and leave the southern African country in October 2011. The AU recently wrote to the Malawian government, insisting that Bashir be permitted to attend the summit, scheduled for July 9th to 16th, despite the arrest warrants pending against him.

Kenyan minister dies in crash

George Saitoti, one of Kenya’s longest-serving senior ministers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Saitoti, Kenya’s internal security minister and key hawk in the fight against Somali Islamist group Al Shaba, his ministerial deputy, Joshua Ojode, two bodyguards, and the two pilots crashed in a forested area in hills southeast of Nairobi. His death has thrown both the country’s internal fight against the Somali extremists and its race for its next president into confusion. President Mwai Kibaki declared three days of official mourning, and launched a full investigation into the crash.

Nandos’ diversity advert “threat”

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants South Africa this week applauded the SA media for taking a stand against airing the Nandos Diversity advert, which it said was a threat to diversity. CoRMSA said the format of the advert was more of a threat to diversity than a celebration of South Africa’s diverse society. “The problem with South Africa is the existence of all these foreigners” could trigger xenophobia in “this already fragile environment” it said.

CoRMSA spokesperson, Gwada Majange, said advertising was a very powerful tool that shaped people’s perceptions and influenced their actions. It described the SABC, Etv and MNet’s decision not to air the advert as “noble”.

UN failing in DRC: ICG

The International Crisis Group said this week that the United Nations Stabilisation Mission was failing to make any impact in the DRC. The ICG said history was repeating itself in eastern DRC, adding that the MONUSCO was failing in its core mandate of stabilisation and protection of civilians. The think-tank said this month’s renewal of MONUSCO presented a vital opportunity for the Security Council to review its strategy in that country. Eastern Congo is rapidly destabilising with the defection of Bosco Ntaganda from the Congolese army and the formation of the M23 Movement, another Tutsi-led rebellion allegedly supported by Rwanda.

Swazi police kill man

Swazi police brutality reared its ugly head again this week, when the lawmen killed Sihle Bhembe (26) of Mbabane. He died in police detention. The incident occurred while Swaziland was still trying to find answers about the death of Vamile Gumbi, an accountant who died after police interrogation and torture. The Times of Swaziland recently reported that Bhembe was arrested after his family members called the police about his alleged aggressive behaviour. Instead of taking him for a psychiatric evaluation, the police locked him up in a cell for three days, where he later died.

Poison info centre online

The Poisons Information Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town has confirmed plans to move online its valuable database of poisons treatment. The result of the migration to an internet platform means that this vital information will be more accessible for medical professionals to find the correct treatment for poison injuries. The database is currently distributed to nearly 30 centres in South Africa and other African countries including Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya.

The Children’s Hospital Trust, fundraiser for the Hospital and Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape, is currently raising the R3.1million required for the redevelopment of the current information system and to move the database from computer to a Web-based platform. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is the only institution in southern Africa that gathers and collates poisons information at its Poisons Information Centre.

Post published in: Africa News

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