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Trucks queue at the Namanga border crossing point between Kenya and Tanzania in Namanga, Kenya, May 12, 2020. Drivers in Kenya and Uganda went on strike in August 2021, leaving South Sudan with fuel and food shortages. Photo Reuters


JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - South Sudanese are reeling from fuel shortages and soaring food prices after Kenyan and Ugandan truck drivers went on strike nearly two weeks ago, stifling commerce along the Uganda/South Sudan border. 

Hundreds of motorists camped at the Trinity gas station in Juba for hours on Monday, waiting in long queues to fill up their tanks with diesel or gasoline. 

"You hear people are busy, they want to get the fuel, they are struggling to get it at any cost," Juba motorist Steven Leju told VOA's South Sudan in Focus program. 

The strike began when truckers halted their routes in response to the killings of two Kenyan truck drivers by assailants along the Juba-Nimule highway in August.

The drivers say they want South Sudan's government to improve security along the highway before they resume transporting goods into that country.

South Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is committed to providing security along the highway. The government said escorts will be provided by the South Sudan People's Defense Force and South Sudan Police Service and that "obstacles that cause [a] delay on the highway to Juba will be removed."

A frustrated motorist, who asked to be identified only as Leju, said the government had better act quickly. "I believe that if government gives security, then fuel will come," Leju said. 

Rising fuel prices

Fuel prices rose to between 700 and 800 South Sudanese pounds (roughly $5.50) per liter Monday from 300 pounds (about $2.30) late last week.

Juba resident Justine Wota, one of hundreds of commuters who endured a long wait to get fuel, said prices are climbing by the hour.  

After waiting since before dawn, "then you have to go to the fuel station and the price has changed," Wota told South Sudan in Focus. 

Lack of food

Meanwhile, goods sold at markets are becoming scarce and prices are rising.

Rita William, a trader at Juba's Freedom Market, told South Sudan in Focus that the fresh vegetables she was expecting from Uganda are stuck at the Elegu border post. 

She enlisted automobile transportation to bring carrots to Juba, which caused delays and additional costs. 

"Most of our things are getting spoiled because things we loaded since Thursday, we have not received them," she said.

William Muhereza, chairperson of Freedom Market, called on South Sudanese nationals to engage in small scale farming to cushion their livelihoods against emergencies like the strike.
The government should be better prepared to deal more quickly with disruptions, he said.

"We expect the road to be maximum secured as far as security is concerned," he said. "That is the only road which feeds South Sudan. Without that road, South Sudan cannot exist. If that road is cut off, automatically there will be no food, or fuel, or anything." - Sheila Ponnie, Voice of America


JUBA – South Sudan’s government has expressed a strong disapproval of the ongoing calls in Ugandan for deployment of the UPDF following rise in random killing of travelers along the Nimule-Juba highway.

This comes after local newspapers in Uganda reported that the governments of South Sudan and Uganda had reached an agreement to deploy joint security forces to escort highway travelers to mitigate further deadly attacks.

However, deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation Deng Dau denied that there is any agreement reached between the two countries saying South Sudan does not need Ugandan army in its territory to provide security.

Deng Dau Deng, deputy minister, says South Sudan has not reached any agreement with Uganda for a joint security escort on the Juba-Nimule Highway.

“There is no agreement, the government of South Sudan of course as sovereign it has the responsibility within the territory of the Republic of South Sudan to protect live and properties of the citizens,” Dau said, according to Eye Radio.

“The issue of the escort, patrol and safety of drivers has been considered by the government and the teams have been stationed for the last three weeks. Since the killing of two nuns the government have beef up the security and has increased the forces,” he added.

He said “We have no such a kind of agreement but of course UPDF has the responsibility to protect if there’s anything in the side of Uganda, but SSPDF and other organs have the responsibility to protect the drivers and to give escort.”

“We had a meeting with ambassadors from Kenya, Uganda and Somalia because these are our sisterly countries and most of the drivers comes from those countries and reaffirmed or reassure the ambassadors that there are steps taken by the government.

“We will travel with our team to Nimule and to discuss with drivers and transporters to give them reassurance as the resident ambassadors of those countries reside in South Sudan.” - Sudans Post

In this Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 file photo, Guinean President Alpha Conde delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the WWII Allied landings in Provence, in Saint-Raphael, southern France. (Eric Gaillard/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya says not enough economic progress has been made since Guinea's independence from France in 1958. A Guinean army colonel seized control of state television Sunday and declared that President Alpha Conde’s government had been dissolved and the West African nation’s borders closed, an announcement that came after hours of heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace.

The dramatic developments Sunday bore all the hallmarks of a West African coup d’etat. After seizing the airwaves, the mutinous soldiers vowed to restore democracy and gave themselves a name: The National Committee of Gathering and Development. 

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya sat draped in a Guinean flag with a half dozen other soldiers in uniform alongside him as he read the statement, vowing: “The duty of a soldier is to save the country.”

He made no mention of Conde’s whereabouts and it was not immediately known where the 83-year-old leader was after Sunday’s attack. Conde’s popularity has plummeted since he sought a third term last year, saying that term limits did not apply to him. 


“The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people,” Doumbouya said, adding that the constitution would also be dissolved and borders closed for one week.

Doumbouya, who has headed a special forces unit in the military, said he was acting in the best interests of the nation of over 12.7 million people. Not enough economic progress has been made since independence from France in 1958, the colonel said.

“If you see the state of our roads, if you see the state of our hospitals, you realize that after 72 years, it’s time to wake up,” he said. “We have to wake up.” 

Heavy gunfire had erupted early Sunday near the presidential palace in the capital of Conakry and went on for hours, sparking fears of a coup attempt. The Defense Ministry claimed that the attack had been repelled but uncertainty grew when there was no sign of Conde on state television or radio.

His reelection in October had prompted violent street demonstrations in which the opposition said dozens were killed. Sunday’s developments underscored how he had also become vulnerable to dissenting elements within his military.


Conde came to power in 2010 in the country’s first democratic election since independence from France. Many saw his presidency as a fresh start for the country, which has been mired by decades of corrupt, authoritarian rule.

Opponents, though, say he has failed to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast mineral riches including bauxite and gold.

In 2011, he narrowly survived an assassination attempt after gunmen surrounded his home overnight and pounded his bedroom with rockets. Rocket-propelled grenades also landed inside the compound and one of his bodyguards was killed. AP

MOSHI, Tanzania

A conservation charity in northern Tanzania is working to plant 50 million trees in a pioneering reforestation campaign to preserve diverse ecosystems of Mount Kilimanjaro which are increasingly threatened by illegal activities and wildfires.

Africa’s highest peak has experienced rapid deforestation which triggered higher temperatures that have caused its iconic snow cap to melt at an alarming rate.

Deforestation around Kilimanjaro is fueled by human activities including illegal logging, farming, and charcoal making as residents try to meet growing energy needs.

Restoring old glory

Dubbed “Trees 4 Kili,” the initiative placed a long-term goal to plant 50 million trees to restore shrinking vegetation and lower temperatures which is responsible for melting glaciers.

Jeremy Lowney, the founding director of the charity said the campaign is intended to educate and empower the local community to stop deforestation and overgrazing activities, which have caused a decline in rainfall, increased temperatures and subsequent glacial decline.

The Trees 4 Kili project was launched in 2018 to counter environmental degradation in Kilimanjaro by mobilizing residents to plant trees and restore fading glory.

Under the initiative, the charity is also working to raise community awareness on the value of trees and sustainable forest protection.

Climate impact

Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level is vulnerable to climate change partly caused by environmental destruction.

Thomas Munuo, the project coordinator said the tree-planting drive is to reverse rising rates of desertification and provide invaluable benefits to communities and the environment.

“We are happy to work with the community and local authorities to find a creative solution to this problem,” he said.

Munuo said more than 6 million trees have already been planted under the initiative seeking to restore the fading glory.

Random tree felling in Kilimanjaro has disturbed rainfall patterns and disheartened farmers who experience long spells of droughts, according to Munuo.

Campaigners say tree planting potentially reduces flood risks, slows the flow of water and acts as a buffer to agricultural pollution, and purifies water.

As one of Africa’s best tourist destinations, the Kilimanjaro area is known for its breath-taking attractions, including stunning landscapes dotted with wildlife, waterfalls, and rich cultural heritage.

Tanzania has 33 million hectares of forests and woodland but the country has been losing more than 400,000 hectares of forest annually for two decades, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2020 Global Forests Resources Assessment.

The charity said the initiative is a step in the right direction in coping with climate change and wildfire losses caused by higher temperatures.

Rekindling hope

The worsening effects of climate change are already visible in Kilimanjaro due to deforestation and unsustainable farming, said the residents.

“When I was growing up in the 1970s this area was greener and rivers were flowing throughout the year, but the situation is different today,” said Salome Chuwa, a resident of Marangu.

Chuwa recalls a raging fire that gutted the mountain in October, destroying natural growth while causing huge plumes of smoke.

“I support tree planting campaign, it is the only way to guarantee our future survival,” she said.

Jerome Tusiime, an environmentalist based in Arusha, said natural forests and shrubs are being destroyed by illegal loggers and beekeepers, thus affecting rainfall patterns on the mountain’s lower slopes.

Tusiime urged communities living on Mount Kilimanjaro to protect water sources by replanting lost trees, investing in early warning systems, and make climate adaptation a top priority.

Logging scams have hit the tourist-drawing Kilimanjaro region, destroying its natural forests depleting rainfall, and lead to unusually higher temperatures.

Forests play important role in maintaining the natural water cycle around Mount Kilimanjaro, but natural forests are depleting due to the growing demand for timber and charcoal making.

Residents, who for decades had been used to a cold, misty climate, are surprised by the extreme weather currently experienced in the region.

“I have stopped growing coffee because the weather is not good for the crop,” said Anastazia Tarimo.

Deforestation is driven by illegal timber and charcoal dealers seeking better profits.

Higher temperatures as a result of climate change have increased the number of wildfires on the mountain thus accelerating the destruction of forests.

“Tree planting is a solution to climate change. It is cheap and everyone can get involved,” said Munuo.​​​​​​​ Anadolu Agency

Kenya’s 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala says it can only get better after making a successful debut at the Diamond League on Friday.

 The fastest man in the country and joint second-fastest African alongside Namibian legend Frankie Fredericks but behind Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine of South Africa is now eyeing more appearances at the Diamond League. 

Having finished fourth at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, Omanyala’s next stop will be at the Zagreb’s World Athletics Continental Gold Tour on September 14 in Croatia before the Kip Keino Classic on September 18 in Nairobi.

“I am living my dream right now,” remarked Omanyala.

“The Diamond League is what every athlete dreams about. Yes you can go to the World Championships or even the Olympics but the Diamond League is not for all.

So getting here is what I have been dreaming about. Yes, the Olympics has contributed to this dream,” added Omanyala 

In Brussels, Omanyala was ranked as the best African, beating the likes of Simbine and Ivorian Arthur Cisse.

“I think the race was slower than we all expected though I feel like I should have done better and finished in the top three in under 10 seconds,” he said.

Omanyala clocked 10.02 seconds, losing the race to Americans, who swept the first three places in sub-10 seconds with Tokyo Olympics 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley calling the shots in 9.94.

Trayvon Bromell, world leader with 9.77, and Michael Norman timed 9.97 and 9.98 to settle second and third respectively as Omanyala beat among others Simbine, who finished fourth in 100m at Tokyo Olympics. 

At the Kip Keino Classic meeting, Omanyala will be up against  Kerley among other big stars.

It was the third time  Omanyala was facing Kerley in the last one month, he promised the fourth one would be even special.

“I want to show him who the man is on home turf. He is a top guy but I want to work hard to emerge victorious on home soil on September 18,” noted Omanyala who faced Kerley in Tokyo in the first round and the semi-finals.

After the Kip Keino he has set his  eyes on the Africa Championships, the Commonwealth Games and  World Championships next year. By Amos Abuga, PD Online

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