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Hydrogène de France (HDF Energy) wants to invest in Uganda. The group has just signed an agreement with the Ugandan authorities present at the 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt.

This was one of the announcements of the “Energy” day at the 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27). On the sidelines of this major climate conference, Hydrogène de France (HDF Energy) signed an agreement with the Ugandan authorities. The French company wants to participate in the development of renewable energy in Uganda.

With an installed capacity of 1,291 MW according to Power Africa, Uganda wants to develop its production and transport infrastructures to meet the energy demand of its industry and population. Kampala is banking on renewable energy, especially solar. HDF wants to contribute to this policy, but by providing a solution to the intermittency associated with the production of solar photovoltaic energy. The company, based in Gironde (France), wants to build its first Renewstable® power plant in Uganda in the next few years.

This power plant works by combining a solar photovoltaic park with mass energy storage via a hydrogen chain. According to HDF, it is a green alternative to a conventional diesel power plant, as it uses only solar energy and water to produce stable electricity, thus avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and noise.

“Uganda has been talking about green hydrogen for a long time. With our energy mix, we want to tap into all the energy sources we have. I know that this technology will provide opportunities for our people. We are open and we will work with HDF,” said Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, after signing the MoU with HDF.

In addition to Uganda, the company wants to deploy its technology in several African countries, including Namibia. In this southern African country, a Renewstable® power plant is being developed in the port city of Swakopmund. The plant will be powered by an 85 MWp solar photovoltaic park. The project is supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB). www.hdf-energy.com, by: Marlene Mutimawase, African Business Community

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with a $300,000  grant to establish a safe house in Juba, South Sudan for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors.

According to a press release, the GBV Referral Pathway strengthening grant will also be used to conduct a national campaign to create a commitment to preventing GBV and encourage men to help prevent GBV in Juba. 

The one-year initiative is expected to work with community members such as Boda Boda riders to build support, particularly among men, for GBV prevention efforts. 

"According to 2021 data from the GBV Information Management System, physical violence accounted for 37 percent of total GBV in South Sudan, followed by sexual violence at 25 percent of total reported cases. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of GBV survivors were girls younger than 18, which indicates the need for age- and gender-specific GBV response services," the statement reads in part. 

“Prevention, protection, and care responses to GBV are needed to create a safe South Sudan for women and families. Our partnership with UNFPA will address these critical elements and move South Sudan towards reaching UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” said USAID Mission Director Kate Crawford. 

“While we work to empower women and girls about their rights, we also need men and boys as allies for gender equality. This partnership aims to bring the discourse on positive masculinity among the young population of South Sudan,” said Dr. Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Country Representative for South Sudan. 

UNFPA says it will establish a transitory shelter service for survivors in Juba to serve as a safe space for the GBV survivors fleeing life-threatening situations and will operate based on the Standard Operating Procedures set by the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare in collaboration with UNFPA. Source: Radio Tamazuj

  • Migori police Commander Mark Wanjala said the suspect, who was dressed in church attire, was arrested after members of the public gave a tip tip-off to the police. 

A priest who allegedly defiled and killed a girl aged 10 years in Kamuombo village, Rangwe sub-county in Homa Bay two weeks ago has been arrested.

The priest was arrested at his hideout in Suna East, Migori County.

Migori police Commander Mark Wanjala said the suspect, who was dressed in church attire, was arrested after members of the public gave a tip tip-off to the police.

Wanjala said the suspect has been on the run for two weeks and went to a church in the region to seek refuge.

He said the suspect has been handed over to criminal investigation officers from Homa Bay, who are now handling the case.

Police have indicated that the priest defiled and killed the girl in a maize plantation in the region. It is reported that he came to the area to offer payers to a family in the region.  By Hillary Okeyo, Citizen

 

Since his rise to power in October 2019, Tunisian President Kais Saied has anchored his legitimacy in a prodigious crusade he claims to be waging against endemic corruption. Certainly widespread graft has for decades been a destabilizing force in Tunisia and a hindrance to its democratic consolidation. Tunisians have long perceived corruption as the third main problem in their country after unemployment and economic mismanagement, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Three years later, however, Saied’s words have been little more than a tool to legitimize the measures he has put in place since July 25, 2021, to monopolize power, including sacking the prime minister, dissolving Parliament, and staging a referendum this past July to further erode checks and balances.

Not only is Saied grinding down the sole democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring movements, he is also failing to fulfill the core promise on which he built his entire political platform. Corruption cannot be fought while a head of state operates unilaterally and undermines the independence of his country’s institutions. The hopes that led so many Tunisians to initially cheer for Saied’s power grab last year and supported the passage of his referendum a year later are built on a chimera.

Saied’s populist slogans have not translated into any concrete actions to eradicate systemic corruption. A study published in October estimated that corruption is costing Tunisia 4 percent of its GDP, which would be $1.54 billion of its projected $38.5 billion GDP for 2022. Goods, including fuel and food items, are also smuggled into and out of the country, incurring some $4.2 billion in contraband profits transferred between Tunisia and neighboring Algeria and Libya alone. Oligopolies control the Tunisian market, and daily corruption is widespread, even as citizens struggle to make a living.

Fighting the Corruption Fighters 

Instead of targeting the corrupt, Saied has been busy settling scores against individuals and entities opposing his dictatorial actions. Several opponents were subject to political trials in military court in recent months, even as the government fails to wage any serious campaign against the notoriously corrupt. (I, too, have been targeted: individuals whom my watchdog organization, Raqabah Observatory, has accused of corruption with what we believe is irrefutable evidence have filed 13 complaints against me as president of the group, including four convictions in absentia in the past 1 ½ months.)

Saied also is targeting the country’s independent regulatory bodies. In August 2021, he closed the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Body and referred its files to the Ministry of Interior. As a consequence, the system for declaring earnings and following up on cases of conflict of interest among senior state employees was suspended. In September 2021, he dissolved the Provisional Body for Monitoring the Constitutionality of Laws. He also has disrupted hundreds of open investigations, as well as procedures to protect whistleblowers, many of whom have thus become victims of reprisal. In March of this year, he issued a decree on “penal reconciliation,” which allows business owners to escape prosecution or conviction by payment of fines or the creation of national, regional, or local development projects.

Press freedom has shrunk, too, during the past year, and a new decree issued in September opens the door for serious crackdowns on journalists, bloggers, dissidents, and civil society activists, under the pretext of fighting disinformation and fake news.

Eroding Checks and Balances

Rooting out corruption requires rule of law, separation of powers, a free press, and protection of independent bodies tasked with monitoring public structures and exposing and reporting abuses. It is true that these conditions had not all been in place prior to Saied’s self-coup last year, but his draconian measures such as eroding checks and balances and discouraging whistleblowers are providing even more fertile ground for corruption, especially given Tunisia’s massive economic crisis. Food products are being rationed and store shelves are empty of staple goods as prices soar, exacerbated by grain shortages inflicted by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. The fuel shortage also is worsening. The Tunisian government recently reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $1.9 billion loan.

At Raqabah Observatory, we have noticed a serious drop in the rate of response to public information requests we have directed to public bodies, falling from 93 percent response between July 25, 2020 and July 25, 2021, to only 59 percent in the same period from 2021 to 2022. We also have seen many judicial investigations into financial corruption disrupted amid Saied’s feud with judges, as he randomly sacked 57 of them in a June 1 purge of the judiciary, accusing them of corruption, adultery, and protecting terrorists.

Even before Saied’s election in 2019, Tunisia’s democracy had not achieved the desired development or social justice, mainly because of bureaucracy, corruption, and the failure of the government to carry out its central role of providing services to citizens. Over more than a decade, Tunisia has moved from a corrupt dictatorship under former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali prior to the revolution of 2011, then to a corrupt democracy, and now to a corrupt autocracy. The system has changed, but its essence, its deep state, and its rentier economic and financial elite have not.

Tunisia’s civil society forces must continue to stand up strongly for a restoration of democracy. It is particularly important for them to unite in the fight against this growing authoritarian turn of the new regime. There is no other way to address the corruption that is paralyzing the economy and bulldozing citizens’ livelihoods. The hollow one-man show that Saied has made out of the country will deepen the corruption crisis and sink its economy further.  by , Just Security

Gettyimages

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, African Population and Health Research Center

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children recently made what experts call a landmark ruling. The committee is a regional quasi-judicial organ of the African Union. Its task is to monitor and implement the African Charter on Child’s Rights and Welfare, interpret the provisions of the charter and promote and protect children’s rights in Africa. The group of experts denounced the Tanzanian government’s policy of expelling pregnant and married girls from school. Tanzania has a history of using the country’s controversial 1961 law to deny adolescent mothers access to education. The late president John Magufuli openly referred to adolescent pregnancy as “immoral behaviour” that would not be allowed “to permeate primary and secondary schools”.

Reproductive health researcher Anthony Ajayi is optimistic that the recent ruling will compel more African countries to keep pregnant adolescents in school. He unpacks the details of the complaint and what Tanzania has been ordered to do.


What was the complaint against Tanzania?

In 2019, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (an NGO based in Dar es Salaam) and the Centre for Reproductive Rights (a global advocacy organisation) filed a complaint against the Tanzanian government. The two organisations are representing Tanzanian girls.

They accused the government of subjecting primary and secondary school girls to compulsory pregnancy tests and expelling them from school if they are found to be pregnant. The complainants alleged that school administrators were interpreting pregnancy as a moral offence punishable by expulsion. Under the expulsion policy, pregnant girls are subjected to unlawful detention or harassment until they expose the identity of the person who impregnated them.

Moreover, the government’s expulsion of pregnant and married girls is considered permanent. The affected girls are only allowed to be readmitted to private or vocational training schools and not their previous public schools.

Another key complaint was that the government deprived pregnant girls of access to sexual reproductive health information and services.

What are the decisions?

The decision obligates the Tanzanian government to immediately prohibit mandatory pregnancy testing – in schools and in health facilities. The government also has to remove wedlock as a ground for expulsion, readmit school girls affected by the ban, and provide special support to compensate for the lost years.

The country is also mandated to investigate cases of detention of pregnant girls, release those detained and stop the arrest of pregnant girls. Girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancy or wedlock must be readmitted without preconditions.

Moreover, the Tanzanian government is required to provide sexuality education for adolescent children as well as child-friendly sexual reproductive and health services. It must sensitise teachers, school administrators, healthcare providers, police, and other actors about the protection that should be accorded to pregnant and married girls.

How will this affect the lives of young women and girls in Tanzania?

Adolescent childbearing in Tanzania has been on an upward trajectory. In 2010 an estimated 22.8% of teenagers aged 15-19 had a child or were pregnant. By 2016, the estimate had risen 26.8%.

However, the number of girls dropping out of school due to pregnancy has declined from 9,800 girls in 2009 to 6,500 in 2021.

Education is important for girls’ future earning power and the promotion of their lifelong health and socioeconomic well-being. Implementing the committee’s decision would help break the persistent poverty cycle associated with early childbearing and missing out on education.

This decision will also open doors for more contributions from development partners keen on promoting girls’ education and working to achieve gender equality.

The decision directly mandates Tanzania to comply. But all 49 countries that have ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are subject to this interpretation.

With this decision, civil society organisations now have an additional yardstick to measure their government’s compliance with the African Charter on Child’s Rights and Welfare.

What has been the impact of other decisions by the African committee of experts on the rights and welfare of the child in other countries?

Since 2005, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children has received 22 complaints.

Of the complaints filed, the monitoring body has to date:

  • finalised seven

  • settled two of them amicably with relevant government organs and their complainants

  • declared five inadmissible due to the complainants’ failure to exhaust in-country remedies

  • dismissed complaints that fail to meet the conditions laid down in the Charter and the committee’s Guidelines on Consideration of Communications or that fall outside of the mandate of the commission.

Though the committee lacks enforcement powers, we believe this decision about Tanzania is significant.

The transition of power to Samia Suluhu Hassan, the country’s first female president, offers renewed hope for girls’ education. The education minister, Joyce Ndalichako, and the permanent secretary at the ministry of education have stated that the policy will be changed.

This ruling however goes beyond changing the Tanzanian policy. It calls on countries to address existing gaps in their laws, policies and programmes, to be fully compliant with the charter. Merely stating that a school reentry policy is in place will no longer be sufficient.

Tanzania’s current administration has already expressed goodwill by offering to change the policy. This goodwill can be harnessed to ensure that the decisions are fully implemented.

Juliet Kimotho, Senior Advocacy Officer at the African Population and Health Research Center, contributed to this article.The Conversation

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, Associate research scientist, African Population and Health Research Center

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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