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Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni PHOTO/Courtesy
 

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has apologized to Kenyans and the Kenyan government following a flurry of inflammatory tweets by his son General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

The long-serving Head of State appealed to Kenyans in a statement posted on his Twitter account to forgive the Ugandan nation at large for the controversial tweets posted by his army son. 

Museveni posited that it is imprudent for public officers, either serving in the military or civil service, to make adverse comments or appear to interfere with the internal affairs of neighbouring countries.

"I ask our Kenyan brothers and sisters to forgive us for tweets sent by General Muhoozi, former Commander of Land Forces here, regarding the election matters in that great country. It is not correct for Public officers, be they civilian or military, to comment or interfere in any way, in the internal affairs of brother countries," his statement read in part. 

Museveni noted that criticism or opinions on the political ongoings in a brother nation can be formally voiced at the Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union or confidential interactions among presidents at EAC and AU fora.

"The only available legitimate forum is the Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union or confidential interactions among us or EAC and AU fora –not public comments," he added.

President Museveni further clarified why he promoted General Muhoozi to a higher military rank amidst the controversy. He stated that even though the first son committed a mistake, his positive contribution to the military outweighs the wrong.

General Muhoozi was yesterday dropped as the Commander of Uganda’s Land Forces. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of a full general and also retained as the Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of Special Operations. 

"Why, then, promoted him to full General after these comments? This is because this mistake is one aspect where he has acted negatively as a Public officer. There are, however, many other positive contributions the General has made and can still make. This is a time-tested formula –discourage the negative and encourage the positive. Very sorry, ndugu zetu Wakenya. Also sorry to the Ugandans who could have been annoyed by one of their officials," the statement read further. By Osoro Jnr, K24

 

The government of Somalia announced over the weekend that Abdullahi Nadir, a Somali Islamist extremist and one of the co-founders of the Al Shabaab terror group, had been killed following a joint operation with international partners.

 

The government of Somalia announced over the weekend that Abdullahi Nadir, a Somali Islamist extremist and one of the co-founders of the Al Shabaab terror group, had been killed following a joint operation with international partners. 

The announcement, made by Somalia’s Information Ministry, came late on Sunday night, reporting that the strike had taken place the previous day. The statement indicated that Nadir had been the terror group’s highest judicial official and its de facto second-in-command and was being prepared to succeed its ailing leader, Ahmed Diriye. 

“The government is grateful to the Somali people and international friends whose cooperation facilitated the killing of this leader,” the statement read, without elaborating on who had cooperated in the mission. The statement described Nadir as a “thorn” and an “enemy of the Somali nation.”

Al Shabaab was formed in the mid-2000s as a wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist umbrella organization that briefly governed Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The group continued to operate after the ICU’s collapse, carrying out a series of highly destructive suicide bombings and other terror attacks against the country’s transitional government. The group is perhaps best known outside of Somalia for its attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in neighboring Kenya in 2013, which it claimed had been launched in retaliation for Kenya’s participation in the international coalition against it.

Al Shabaab is loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda and swore allegiance to its former leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, although it has continued to operate independently and some of its members sided instead with the Islamic State (ISIS) following its emergence in 2014. By Trevor Filseth, The National Interest

What you need to know:

Let us quickly transition from relief aid to long-term assistance. The impact of the wars cannot heal by simply offering emergency aid

The war situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a clear reminder of conflicts happening to communities in many parts of our world today. The rate of lawlessness in these places reflect the suffering of especially the vulnerable people. 

Chaos in most parts of the world today means there is no single community that lives without pain. What was peaceful coexistence in the days of old is no more these days. As we see in the injustices happening to people – rape, looting, disappearances with impunity; and displacements from God-given homes. The sounds of bombs thrown over communities has become usual happenings. The push-back of vulnerable people that continue to look for peace, security and economic opportunities is becoming rampant these days. This has caused the exponential increase in the number of humanitarian events in countries that are producing immigrants. Thus, their displacements in millions. 

There are destruction of community homesteads. And the destruction of social services, reducing the gains that communities have made for some time. So, local people will continue to run away from their homes. Villagers are continuously waking up to new attacks on their people. That is a major reason the number of people crossing to neighbouring countries continues to rise. Millions of people also continue to move upwards towards Europe, where they think they can be safe and secure. While they arrive at their new homes away from home, they expect the conditions to be better, but are always shocked by the mistreatments and push-backs organised by host communities.

Meanwhile, the people that they left on home soil have been forced into internal displacements, where they are left helpless, only waiting for support in the form of basic needs. So, conflicts continue to push local people to extreme distress situations. Many continue to lose their loved ones, homes, and jobs. They face traumatic events such as the separation from their families for long periods of time. Statistics from the World Health Organisation puts about 1 out of 5 people in a war to be suffering from mental health effects. The killings, loss of homes, lootings, the destruction of services and facilities, impact negatively on people. Such are the devastations that wars cause. 

The wounds are so deep that needy people who suffer cannot overcome it when left without support. In a bid to provide some solace to needy people, we have seen a number of organisations continue to give needed assistance. They assist traumatized people with psychosocial support. They treat the sick people, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. Whereas relief assistance serves the purpose in emergency situations, the most important thing should be the focus now.

Let us quickly transition from relief aid to long-term assistance. The impact of the wars cannot heal by simply offering emergency aid. People will need support for the long-term. People need programmes that will make them forget their hardships and start to recover. The long-term strategy is to solve the root-cause of these conflicts, because a community devastated by conflict requires healing very quickly. The healing starts by vulnerable communities opening up to the devastation, their life stories, the difficulties they face and how they can be assisted to overcome them.

Key in the support to overcome the deep wounds and difficulties, vulnerable people need to be helped to return to their homes. They must return to their homes to find the original boundaries of their homes intact and not disturbed. Healing the scars of a war means that the generations that have been affected should return to settle back at home. To go back to their once peaceful homesteads. When they get back, they need to reunite with their neighbours and restart life again. This will quickly bring healing of the scars of conflict. For now the deepest wound of war is not healing. By Simon J. Mone, Daily Monitor

The vast majority of cases of torture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) occur in conflict-affected areas where impunity is widespread, according to a UN report released today.

The report, issued by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in DRC (UNJHRO) and the UN Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), covers the period between 1 April 2019 and 30 April 2022.  The report presents UNJHRO’s findings that 93% of the 3,618 registered cases of torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment affecting 4,946 victims were documented in areas affected by armed conflict. Of this total, 492 were cases of sexual violence, affecting 761 victims.

According to the report, members of the defence and security forces were responsible for 1,293 cases. A further 1,833 cases were attributed to members of armed groups, who sometimes acted on their own but in certain contexts subjected victims to torture  in collusion with members of the security forces.

The report shows that people were subjected to torture and ill-treatment while exercising their fundamental rights, such freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, or during detention. 

According to the report, “violence inflicted in the administration of justice, in the restriction of democratic space or in places of detention illustrates the widespread nature of torture, which thrives in a context of relative impunity as few complaints against alleged perpetrators of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are filed or successful. This contributes to an underestimation of the problem and its magnitude”.

Despite the magnitude of the violations and abuses committed during the reporting period only two army officers, 12 national police officers and 75 members of armed groups were convicted of torture.

The report flags that impunity creates an enabling environment for torture to continue and explains the distrust of the population towards law enforcement officers and the justice system.

“MONUSCO continues to support the government in its efforts to prevent and combat torture,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUSCO Bintou Keita said.

She further emphasized that “the follow-up committees on human rights violations attributable to the national army and the police, created by the national authorities and supported by MONUSCO, have proven useful in supporting training in this area and ensuring follow-up on cases of torture.”

“Torture can never be justified, no matter the circumstances or the context. The DRC authorities must act with urgency and determination to put an end to this scourge,” Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif said.

Recognising the efforts undertaken by the DRC Government, such as the ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and the creation of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CNPT), “much more remains to be done to effectively prevent, eradicate and prosecute torture in the country,” the Acting UN Human Rights Chief noted.

Al-Nashif added that the DRC Government has been engaging in recent years with different parts of the UN human rights system, including the Committee against Torture and the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review with a view to adapting its legislation and practices so that they comply with international law regarding the prevention and eradication of torture.

“These entities have outlined specific recommendations to end torture once and for all, but few have been actually implemented. Doing so is key to preventing yet more people becoming victims of torture and cruelty. The UN Human Rights Office stands ready to help the DRC in this challenging but crucial endeavour,” she concluded.  Source: UN

FILE - Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of a truck on a road near Agula, north of Mekelle, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.
 

The African Union has invited representatives of Ethiopia’s government and leaders of the northern Tigray region for peace talks in South Africa later this week to end the nearly two-year-old civil war that has devastated the region.

The October 1 letter from Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission, said the talks would be facilitated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU’s special envoy, with the support of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The letter said the talks are “aimed at laying the foundation for a structured and sustained mediation” between the two sides “towards a durable resolution of the conflict.”

Redwan Hussein, the national security adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said Wednesday that the government had accepted the AU’s invitation in a post on his Twitter account.

Hussein said the invitation “is [in line] with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions.” 

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front has not confirmed if Debretsion Gebremichael, the head of the TPLF, has received the letter or accepted the invitation.

The conflict in Tigray between the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF began in November 2020 when Ethiopian government with its allied forces launched what it termed a "law enforcement operation," a military offensive in response to attacks by the TPLF.

The TPLF accuses neighboring Eritrea of joining the renewed fighting and deploying its forces to Tigray where they have been previously accused of committing war crimes. Eritrean officials deny the allegations.

The conflict quickly exploded into a civil war which, along with looming famine, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions of others. Source: VOA

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