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                                   Report # 111
                           Region: Southern Africa
  BUSINESS AND POLITICS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

                    Weekly Report: 14 - 20 March, 2010
                      Presentation: 24 March, 2010
                               Zahid Aqil



Table of Contents
Summary of Report………………………………………………………………..05-15

Detailed Report……………………………………………………………………..16-86

Headlines

Economy & Energy

  Promoting African commodity exchanges # (16)

  Protect Jewelry Industry from the Taint of Blood Diamonds # (18)



Environmental Issues

  MADAGASCAR: Struggling to reach cyclone-hit villages # (20)

  MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera # (21)

  MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera # (22)

  Floods kill 20 in Angola, Zambia # (23)

  Heavy rain and floods kills at least 12 in Angola # (23)

  AFRICA: Talking about climate change # (24)

  Madagascar: UN assists relief efforts after deadly tropical storm # (26)

  World Water Day 2010: Clean water for a healthy world # (26)
                                                                                  2



Food Security & Health Issues

  In Brief: Food security remains precarious # (28)

  SOUTH AFRICA: Between patients and prevention # (29)

  SOUTH AFRICA: HIV testing and mental illness # (30)

  MALAWI: Ambitious plans to prolong lives #( 32)

  Zambia: 11 die of cholera # (33)




Human Rights & Social Issues
  Luxury Cigars in Demand in South Africa as Cigarette Smoking Plummets #(33)

  Madagascar: UN scheme aims to give youth employment a boost # (37)

  ANALYSIS-S.Africa protests to intensify ahead of World Cup # (38)

  SOUTH AFRICA: More money, less education # (40)

  Poverty, Inequality Blamed for 2008 Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa # (44)

  Malawi Church Leaders to Condemn Homosexual Behavior # (45)

  Fifty Years On, South Africa Remembers Sharpeville Massacre # (47)

  ZAMBIA: School Policy for Teen Mothers a Partial Success # (48)

  Malawi churches: homesexuality is 'sinful' # (51)




Politics
  Zambians Have the Right to Demand Good Governance, Says Government

  Critic # (51)
                                                                   3

  Analysis: Madagascar's year of crisis # (53)

  S.Africa spends $2 mln on Zuma's wives, children # (56)

  MADAGASCAR: Timeline - A turbulent political history # (57)

  South Africa's Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote # (61)

  Zimbabwe commission to licence private newspapers # (62)

  Namibia: Opposition snub swearing-in # (63)




Pan Africa


  S.Africa's Zuma to assess Zimbabwe unity govt pact # (64)

  MADAGASCAR: A year of crisis # (64)

  FACTBOX-African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar # (68)

  Zimbabwe leaders happy with Zuma talks so far # (69)

  African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar # (70)

  S.Africa's Zuma in fresh bid to end Zimbabwe crisis # (72)

  MADAGASCAR: Will AU sanctions be a "wake-up call"? # (72)

  South African President Encouraged After Zimbabwe Visit # (74)

  African Union acts against Madagascar's Andry Rajoelina # (75)

  Is time up for Madagascar's leader, Andry Rajoelina? # (76)

  Zimbabwe leaders agree on way to end crisis-Zuma # (78)

  (Blank Headline Received) # (80)

  Zimbabwe power-sharing talks encouraging-Zuma spox # (80)

  SOUTHERN AFRICA: Unexpected Low Custom Revenue Causes Budget

  Shortfalls # (81)
                                                                4

   Madagascar leader hardens stance after AU sanctions # (83)




China-Africa Relations

China bails out Tan-Zam Railways # (85)
                                                                                       5

Summary of Report

Economy & Energy

Promoting African commodity exchanges
In April 2008, Ethiopia’s first commodity exchange was established in a country where
only a third of the agricultural produce reached the market. The Ethiopia Commodity
Exchange (ECX) was created to provide security and visibility for the country’s
commodity traders. Having helped to develop a commodity exchange for Ethiopia,
UNDP is now looking into the possibility of replicating the experience in other African
countries. Among these, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda are considering
replicating, customizing and scaling up the ECX model.

(UNDP)                                      17 March 2010



Protect Jewelry Industry from the Taint of Blood Diamonds
Switzerland, in fact, was a founding member of the Kimberley Process, which was
formally established in 2003 by governments, industry, and civil society to provide both
jewelers and consumers with guarantees that their diamond purchases were not
underwriting grave abuses, particularly by violent rebel groups. But those abuses
continue. In Zimbabwe, for example, a June 2009 Human Rights Watch report exposed a
massacre of 200 people, forced labor, beatings, and rape committed by the Zimbabwean
military on diamond fields in Marange. Blood diamonds from Marange continue to be
smuggled out of Zimbabwe, and, in part because the Kimberley Process has refrained
from taking strong action, these stones are entering the showcases of the world's leading
jewelers.

The diamond industry and those who buy fine jewelry need a Kimberley Process that
works, and that requires stronger leadership by member countries like Switzerland to
curtail the continuing abuses in Zimbabwe. As a founding member of the Kimberley
Process, Switzerland should work to correct Kimberley's deficiencies. More immediately,
it should publicly condemn Zimbabwe's abuses and call for tougher action against the
country.

(Human Rights Watch)                               MARCH 18, 2010
                                                                                           6




Environmental Issues

MADAGASCAR: Struggling to reach cyclone-hit villages
Tropical storm Hubert battered Madagascar on 10 March, cutting off entire communities
in the southeast from emergency aid. A limited amount of relief - mainly food items - has
been flown in because of damage to infrastructure, and aid agencies are trying to reach
people in need of assistance via the river systems.

(IRIN)                                                      15 March 2010

MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera
Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40 people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding
throughout the central and northern parts of the country could "aggravate" the problem,
aid agencies say.

(IRIN)                                                      15 March 2010

MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera

Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40 people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding
throughout the central and northern parts of the country could "aggravate" the problem,
aid agencies say.

(Alert Net)                                                 15 Mar 2010

Floods kill 20 in Angola, Zambia

At least 20 people were killed by floods in Angola and neighbouring Zambia, officials
said on Monday.

(Alert Net)                                                 15 Mar 2010

Heavy rain and floods kills at least 12 in Angola

At least 12 people were killed after heavy rain triggered flooding, landslides and house
collapses in Angola's capital Luanda, the city vice-governor said on Monday.

(Alert Net)                                                 15 Mar 2010


AFRICA: Talking about climate change
According to a survey (conducted in 2009 with more than 1,000 citizens and 200 policy-
makers, opinion leaders, media and business people in Democratic Republic of Congo,
                                                                                       7

Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda)
God, not global emissions, is to blame for climate change.

(IRIN)                                                     17 March 2010

Madagascar: UN                assists       relief     efforts      after     deadly
tropical storm
United Nations aid workers in eastern Madagascar are helping local officials mount relief
efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Hubert, which has killed dozens of people in the
Indian Ocean country and left an estimated 11,000 others homeless.

(UN News Service)                                          18 March 2010


World Water Day 2010: Clean water for a healthy world
On the World water day 2010, UNDP published a report in which it is expressed that at
Global level the world is on track to reduce by half the number of people without access
to a safe supply of drinking water by 2015, a key human development target laid out by
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are eight development targets
agreed upon by the world’s leaders in order to halve extreme poverty by 2015. But
significant gaps remain in many countries everywhere, while the sub-Saharan Africa and
Oceania regions as a whole are not on track to meet the water MDG by 2015.
Nonetheless, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are making rapid progress, in spite
of historically low rates of access to clean water, and rapidly growing populations.

(UNDP)                                                     22 March 2010



Food Security & Health Issues

In Brief: Food security remains precarious
Zimbabwe's food security has improved but is still "precarious" and "vulnerable to
sudden shocks", according to the latest update by the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

(IRIN)                                             15 March 2010


SOUTH AFRICA: Between patients and prevention
New research suggests that the poor knowledge and attitudes of doctors and healthcare
workers in South Africa are limiting access to preventative tuberculosis (TB) therapy.

(Alert Net)                                                15 Mar 2010
                                                                                      8



SOUTH AFRICA: HIV testing and mental illness

In South Africa, as more HIV-positive people access treatment and live longer, the
number of people suffering from HIV-related mental disorders is growing, but mental
health remains an ethical, legal and clinical minefield, where many doctors and nurses
fear to tread – and fear to test.

(Alert Net)                                               17 Mar 2010


MALAWI: Ambitious plans to prolong lives
Malawi's government has set itself a major challenge this year, announcing plans to more
than double the number of people receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to half a million
by the end of 2010. The country recently adopted new World Health Organization
(WHO) guidelines that raise the threshold for starting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy from
a CD4 count (a measure of immune system strength) of less than 200, to a CD4 count of
350, regardless of whether the patient is displaying symptoms.

(Alert Net)                                               19 Mar 2010


Zambia: 11 die of cholera
Eleven people have died of cholera in Zambia since the outbreak of the disease at the
onset of rainy season in late 2009. The waterborne disease is endemic in the southern
African state during the wet and rainy season of October to March.

(Africa News)                                      19 March 2010




Human Rights & Social Issues

Luxury Cigars in Demand in South Africa as Cigarette Smoking
Plummets
It strikes many as ironic that the increase in cigar consumption in South Africa is
happening along with a drastic drop in cigarette smoking, as the government intensifies
what’s already some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking legislation.

(Voice of America)                                        15 March 2010
                                                                                            9

Madagascar:  UN    scheme                           aims         to      give       youth
employment a boost
A year after political violence rocked Madagascar, the United Nations agency dedicated
to eradicating rural poverty is helping to generate employment for the Indian Ocean
nation’s young people while supporting small businesses.

(UN News Service)                                             16 March 2010


ANALYSIS-S.Africa protests to intensify ahead of World Cup

A flare-up of violent South African protests reminiscent of the apartheid era could
escalate ahead of the soccer World Cup as the country's angry poor press their demands
for better housing and jobs.

(Alert Net)                                                   17 Mar 2010


SOUTH AFRICA: More money, less education
The government's answer to the malaise is to throw more money into the education
system; in the 2010/11 financial year it budgeted R165 billion (US$8.6 billion) for the
sector. But instead of spending more money in educational sector, the standard or level of
education is low. And the reason for it is the involvement of teachers in political activities
and spending of less time at school or absence from school. So to overcome this issue
Zuma announced in his 2010 State of the Nation address that a system of oversight would
be instituted to monitor schools and ensure that teachers were in class to teach. But it was
boycotted by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU).

(IRIN)                                                        17 March 2010


Poverty, Inequality Blamed for 2008 Xenophobic Attacks in
South Africa
A report on the attacks against foreigners in South Africa two years ago blames
frustrations over the lack of housing and social services and a widening gap between rich
and poor for the violence.

(Voice of America)                                            18 March 2010


Malawi Church Leaders to Condemn Homosexual Behavior
A verdict is expected on Monday in the trial of a gay couple arrested in December for
planning Malawi’s first same-sex wedding. Meanwhile, Malawi church leaders began a
meeting on Wednesday in Blantyre to understand what they call the phenomenon of same
sex partners. Reverend Malani Ntonga, chairman of the Church Foundation for Integrity
                                                                                         10

and Democracy, said a communiqué is expected Thursday but that the general view
during Wednesday's meeting is that the church should not allow homosexuality to take
root in Malawi.

(Voice of America)                                           18 March 2010


Fifty Years On, South Africa Remembers Sharpeville Massacre
This weekend South Africans will mark the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre
in which 69 people were killed and hundreds more were injured by police in an incident
that marked a turning point in the country's history.


(Voice of America)                                           19 March 2010


ZAMBIA: School Policy for Teen Mothers a Partial Success
Until 1997, pregnant girls were expelled from Zambian schools, while teenage fathers
were not held responsible. But now the pregnant girls and teen mothers are not expelled
from school rather they are facilitated. Thanks to the financial support offered through the
Re-entry Policy and the child support grant, more than a third of those teenage mothers
returned to school after giving birth, the department noted.

(IPS)                                                        19 March 2010

Malawi churches: homesexuality is 'sinful'
Malawi church leaders said that homosexuality is "sinful" and urged Western nations to
withdraw threats to halt aid to this southern Africa country over a court case that could
send two gay men to jail for up to 14 years.

(Times Live)                                                 Mar 20, 2010



Politics

Zambians Have the Right to Demand Good Governance, Says
Government Critic
Goodwell Lungu (the executive director of Transparency International) said opponents of
the administration are law-abiding citizens expressing their views about the lack of good
governance. “As far as we are concerned he (Father Bwalya) has not committed any
offense. He is merely expressing his opinion about how our country is being governed.
And we feel that any other person has every right to express himself or herself,” he said.
                                                                                        11

(Voice of America)                                         15 March 2010


Analysis: Madagascar's year of crisis
A year after former President Marc Ravalomanana was forced from power by current
President Andry Rajoelina and part of the army, the country is still without an
internationally recognized government. The African Union (AU) is set to announce what
action it will take against Rajoelina and his administration, known as the Higher
Transitional Authority (HAT), should they fail to implement agreed power-sharing
measures - signed in 2009 with the leaders of Madagascar's three other main political
parties - by March 17, exactly a year after the coup-style change of leadership.

(IRIN)                                                     16 March 2010


S.Africa spends $2 mln on Zuma's wives, children
South Africa is spending more than $2 million a year to support polygamist President
Jacob Zuma's wives and children, almost double the budget from a year ago, a minister
said on Tuesday.

(Alert Net)                                                16 Mar 2010


MADAGASCAR: Timeline - A turbulent political history
Madagascar's history is marked by a struggle for political control. Madagascar gained
independence in 1960, but since then it has been plagued by assassinations, military
coups and disputed elections. A timeline of the major events in the island's turbulent
history is given in the article.

(IRIN)                                                     17 March 2010


South Africa's Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote
South African President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no-confidence called by
opposition parties on fathering of love child by him. The vote - the first such move since
the ANC came to power in 1994 - was defeated by 241 votes to 84 with eight abstentions.

(BBC News)                                                  18 March 2010


Zimbabwe commission to licence private newspapers
Zimbabwe's newly appointed media commission will soon start licensing private
newspapers, the press body said on Friday, in a move that is part of reforms agreed by the
country's power-sharing government.

(Alert Net)                                                19 Mar 2010
                                                                                       12



Namibia: Opposition snub swearing-in
Eight members of Namibia's main opposition party, Rally for Democracy and
Development (RDP) have snubbed President Hifikepunye Pohamba's swearing-in
ceremony held in that country's capital Windhoek. The RDP took the decision following
last November's disputed vote in which Pohamba was declared winner.

(Africa News)                                              20 March 2010




Pan Africa

S.Africa's Zuma to assess Zimbabwe unity govt pact

South African leader Jacob Zuma will visit Zimbabwe this week to assess the state of a
power-sharing agreement set up to end a decade-long political and economic crisis.

(Alert Net)                                                15 Mar 2010


MADAGASCAR: A year of crisis
Madagascar's political deadlock masks an increasingly fragile humanitarian situation that
will keep deteriorating if no solution to the ongoing crisis is found.

(Alert Net)                                                16 Mar 2010



FACTBOX-African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar
The African Union slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina and
108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed Africa's youngest leader
since he seized power a year ago.

(Alert Net)                                                17 Mar 2010


Zimbabwe leaders happy with Zuma talks so far
Zimbabwe's bickering leaders were upbeat on Wednesday about talks brokered by South
African President Jacob Zuma to help resolve differences in their power-sharing
government.

(Alert Net)                                                17 Mar 2010
                                                                                       13



African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar
The African Union (AU) has slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President Andry
Rajoelina and 108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed Africa's
youngest leader since he seized power a year ago.

(Alert Net)                                                17 Mar 2010

S.Africa's Zuma in fresh bid to end Zimbabwe crisis

South African leader Jacob Zuma met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on
Wednesday in a fresh bid to resolve a decade-long political crisis that has contributed to
economic ruin in Zimbabwe.

(Alert Net)                                                17 Mar 2010




MADAGASCAR: Will AU sanctions be a "wake-up call"?
The AU set a deadline in February, and warned that it would target Rajoelina's
government - known as the Higher Transitional Authority - if it failed to implement an
agreed power-sharing deal that would create a transitional coalition with Madagascar's
four rival political parties. Ravalomanana (former President of Madagascar: 2002-2009)
commented in a statement on 17 March: "I hope that these targeted sanctions will spur
Andry Rajoelina into cooperating with the international community, and that they serve
as a wake-up call”.

(IRIN)                                                     18 March 2010


South African President Encouraged After Zimbabwe Visit
South African President Jacob Zuma says he is encouraged by progress in Zimbabwe's
shaky unity government. Mr. Zuma has been in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).


(Voice of America)                                         18 March 2010


African Union acts against Madagascar's Andry Rajoelina
The African Union has put sanctions on Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, after he
failed to meet a deadline to set up a unity government. Mr Rajoelina and 108 of his
backers will face travel restrictions and have any foreign assets frozen, the AU said.
                                                                                           14

(BBC News)                                                    18 March 2010

Is time up for Madagascar's leader, Andry Rajoelina?
A political crisis has engulfed Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, who seized power a
year ago. With the country's economy spiraling out of control, he now faces African
Union sanctions for failing to set up a unity government.

(BBC News)                                                    18 March 2010

Zimbabwe leaders agree on way to end crisis-Zuma
Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed on what needs to be done to rescue a fragile unity
government and parties will now work towards a deal, South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                                   18 Mar 2010

(Blank Headline Received)
HARARE, March 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed to a "package of
measures" to help rescue its fragile unity government, South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                                   18 Mar 2010

Zimbabwe power-sharing talks encouraging-Zuma spox
South Africa is encouraged by progress made in Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks,
brokered by President Jacob Zuma and aimed at ending a political crisis that has led to
economic ruin, his spokesman said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                                   18 Mar 2010


SOUTHERN AFRICA: Unexpected Low Custom Revenue Causes
Budget Shortfalls
Plummeting revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) could cause
severe financial difficulties in the region, economic experts warn. To make matters
worse, the organization is split over the future of its tariff pool that largely bankrolls the
national budgets of its poorer members.

(IPS)                                                         19 March 2010


Madagascar leader hardens stance after AU sanctions
The president of Madagascar has rowed back on concessions made to political rivals in
power-sharing talks last year, after the African Union imposed sanctions on the Indian
Ocean Island.
(Alert Net)                                                 20 Mar 2010
                                                                                    15




China-Africa Relations

China bails out Tan-Zam Railways
Chinese investors have rescued the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority that links central
Zambia and the port of Dar es Salaam. TAZARA, jointly owned by Tanzania and
Zambia, has received a $39-million interest-free loan to revive the vital link.

(Africa Files)                                           19 March 2010
                                                                                        16


Detailed Report

Economy & Energy

Promoting African commodity exchanges
In April 2008, Ethiopia’s first commodity exchange was established in a country where
only a third of the agricultural produce reached the market. The Ethiopia Commodity
Exchange (ECX) was created to provide security and visibility for the country’s
commodity traders. Having helped to develop a commodity exchange for Ethiopia,
UNDP is now looking into the possibility of replicating the experience in other African
countries. Among these, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda are considering
replicating, customizing and scaling up the ECX model.

(UNDP)                                       17 March 2010

In April 2008, Ethiopia’s first commodity exchange was established in a country where
only a third of the agricultural produce reached the market.

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) was created to provide security and visibility
for the country’s commodity traders.

Jointly owned by its members and the Ethiopian government, ECX now provides a
secure, low-cost platform for farmers to trade agricultural goods (such as coffee, sesame,
haricot beans, maize) in an otherwise tradition-bound system suffering from unusually
high transaction risks and costs.

The exchange guarantees the integrity of the products traded, quickly and reliably
disseminating market price movements to all traders.

In addition to creating a physical and electronic trading platform and market information
system, ECX performs warehouse management and quality certification. It also
guarantees payment against delivery, solving any commercial disputes through a fair and
professional arbitration system.

The exchange has handled transactions worth USD 240 million since December 2008,
amounting to over 160,000 tons of coffee beans. An estimated 850,000 small-holding
farmers (mostly producers of coffee, sesame and other cash crops) - around 12 per cent of
the national total – are now involved in the ECX system.

Replicating the Ethiopia experience

Having helped to develop a commodity exchange for Ethiopia, UNDP is now looking
into the possibility of replicating the experience in other African countries. Among these,
                                                                                       17

Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda are considering replicating, customizing and
scaling up the ECX model.

UNDP’s support towards this initiative in Ethiopia has received a major boost from the
strong interest of the UNDP Regional Director for Africa, Tegegnework Gettu, as well as
the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark. During her visit to ECX on June 17, 2009 Helen
Clark said “there will be a lot of interest in other developing countries in this kind of
exchange.” “It gives a lot of transparency to the small farmer about what they are going
to get. It also helps set standards for what they need to produce in order to command the
best price,” she added.

On 24 February, in a creative example of South-South cooperation, UNDP helped
organize and supported ECX for a sharing of knowledge and experiences with more than
300 representatives including Africa- and India-based exchanges as well as the
international and donor community, federal and regional government officials, and
private traders.

Titled “The Making of a Market: Global Learning from Commodity Exchange
Experiences”, the forum discussed the ECX experience and its relevance to other African
countries, as well as the possibility of using it to foster regional integration and trade
between African countries.

The Forum has resulted in the establishment of the African Commodity Exchange
Association, which will foster the growth of commodity exchanges in the rest of the
region.

A Commodity Exchange Community of Practice is expected to be launched shortly,
helping experts to share experiences on how to establish similar mechanisms in their own
countries.

According to Sam Nyambi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia, “the ECX
approach could capture regional interest and will serve as a potential model for other
countries in Africa”.

About ECX

ECX was made possible by a consortium of financing partners including UNDP, the
World Bank, American development agency USAID, Canadian Development Agency
CIDA and the World Food Programme and is co-financed by the Government of
Ethiopia.

Since 2006, UNDP has financed more than USD 3.5 million of the total USD 24 million
needed to establish the exchange. In addition, UNDP support included initial project
start-up, capacity building, and technical advisory services over four years.
In its first year, the exchange faced a number of challenges, including fears that
Ethiopia’s world- class coffees would be lost, as high and low quality beans were mixed
together on the trading floor.
                                                                                        18

ECX has overcome these challenges with the creation of a classification system that
differentiates between different types of coffee beans. In response to local pressures, the
exchange has started to market specialty coffee and has even expanded from covering
spot transactions for immediate sale and delivery, to include trade in coffee futures.


Protect Jewelry Industry from the Taint of Blood Diamonds
Switzerland, in fact, was a founding member of the Kimberley Process, which was
formally established in 2003 by governments, industry, and civil society to provide both
jewelers and consumers with guarantees that their diamond purchases were not
underwriting grave abuses, particularly by violent rebel groups. But those abuses
continue. In Zimbabwe, for example, a June 2009 Human Rights Watch report exposed a
massacre of 200 people, forced labor, beatings, and rape committed by the Zimbabwean
military on diamond fields in Marange. Blood diamonds from Marange continue to be
smuggled out of Zimbabwe, and, in part because the Kimberley Process has refrained
from taking strong action, these stones are entering the showcases of the world's leading
jewelers.

The diamond industry and those who buy fine jewelry need a Kimberley Process that
works, and that requires stronger leadership by member countries like Switzerland to
curtail the continuing abuses in Zimbabwe. As a founding member of the Kimberley
Process, Switzerland should work to correct Kimberley's deficiencies. More immediately,
it should publicly condemn Zimbabwe's abuses and call for tougher action against the
country.


(Human Rights Watch)                                 MARCH 18, 2010

From March 18 to 25, Basel will be filled with excitement and beauty as nearly 2,000
companies and 100,000 people in the watch and jewelry business in 100 countries gather
for Basel World, the world's largest jewelry show.

As is well known, the watch and jewelry business is an important commercial sector in
Switzerland, which is also planning to develop an international diamond exchange in
Geneva.

If Switzerland wants to play an even greater role in the global and domestic jewelry trade,
it should demonstrate more leadership in ending the sale and production of "blood
diamonds," gems procured in the context of the most severe human rights abuses. It can
do so as a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, an international group
that monitors the diamond trade.

Switzerland, in fact, was a founding member of the Kimberley Process, which was
formally established in 2003 by governments, industry, and civil society to provide both
jewelers and consumers with guarantees that their diamond purchases were not
underwriting grave abuses, particularly by violent rebel groups.
                                                                                         19

But those abuses continue. In Zimbabwe, for example, a June 2009 Human Rights Watch
report exposed a massacre of 200 people, forced labor, beatings, and rape committed by
the Zimbabwean military on diamond fields in Marange. Blood diamonds from Marange
continue to be smuggled out of Zimbabwe, and, in part because the Kimberley Process
has refrained from taking strong action, these stones are entering the showcases of the
world's leading jewelers.

The diamond industry and those who buy fine jewelry need a Kimberley Process that
works, and that requires stronger leadership by member countries like Switzerland to
curtail the continuing abuses in Zimbabwe.

The Kimberley Process has three major weaknesses. First, the group's charter refers to
conflict diamonds only in connection with their use by rebel groups to finance wars
against legitimate governments. The definition should be expanded so that the Kimberley
Process explicitly condemns human rights abuses connected with diamond production,
regardless of whether they are committed by governments or rebel armies. Second, there
is little independent monitoring of compliance with Kimberley Process rules and few
penalties for violations. Third, the group makes decisions by consensus, rather than by
voting, which means that it is difficult for well-meaning countries to take action against a
member that violates the rules if even one other member votes to block that action.

Thus, despite a harsh report last summer by a Kimberley Process review team about
abuses in Marange, the group voted in November not to suspend Zimbabwe from
membership. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, and
Tanzania - all Kimberley Process members - blocked the suspension. Instead, the group
voted to allow Zimbabwe to implement an action plan that Zimbabwe itself developed.
The plan has not yet resulted in any positive changes on the diamond fields.

As a founding member of the Kimberley Process, and in concert with other members,
particularly the European Commission, Canada, the United States, and Israel (the current
chair), Switzerland should work to correct Kimberley's deficiencies. More immediately, it
should publicly condemn Zimbabwe's abuses and call for tougher action against the
country.

Switzerland should also join forces with the jewelry industry here and across the globe to
stop the sale of blood diamonds and keep them out of Switzerland, including the tax-free
zones at Zurich and Geneva airports. The Swiss government, for example, could require
importers to audit and publish their supply chains and conduct spot checks of rough and
polished diamonds at customs.

Retailers and wholesalers, in particular, should refuse to purchase diamonds that
originated in Marange. These diamonds can easily be detected by their hue and the use of
a "footprint," or analysis developed by the Kimberley Process. Those in the jewelry
industry should ask their suppliers to confirm that the diamonds they sell are not from
Marange, are not blood diamonds, and have genuine certificates attesting to the stones'
legitimacy.
                                                                                      20

Switzerland has a lot to lose if its jewelry industry becomes corrupted by blood
diamonds. On behalf of its jewelers, consumers, and the people in Marange who have
suffered grievously from diamond mining, the Swiss government should make a strong
stand. It should not allow human rights abuses to tarnish its gem of a commercial sector.



Environmental Issues

MADAGASCAR: Struggling to reach cyclone-hit villages
Tropical storm Hubert battered Madagascar on 10 March, cutting off entire communities
in the southeast from emergency aid. A limited amount of relief - mainly food items - has
been flown in because of damage to infrastructure, and aid agencies are trying to reach
people in need of assistance via the river systems.

(IRIN)                                             15 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 15 March 2010 (IRIN) - Tropical storm Hubert battered Madagascar
on 10 March, cutting off entire communities in the southeast from emergency aid. A
limited amount of relief - mainly food items - has been flown in because of damage to
infrastructure, and aid agencies are trying to reach people in need of assistance via the
river systems.

Dia Styvanley Soa, spokeswoman for Madagascar's disaster management agency,
BNGRC, told IRIN that according to the latest estimates, "36 people lost their lives and
some 85,000 have been affected", and eight people lost their lives in mudslides on 15
March.

"We now have a problem with logistics - many roads have been cut off and many
communities are now isolated," she said, particularly in the southeastern province of
Fianarantsoa.

A statement by the BNGRC on 14 March said 20 tonnes of rice and other relief items,
like medicines and tents, had been distributed, but more was needed.

In previous years the BNGRC had managed to store relief items throughout the country
in anticipation of the "cyclone season", but this year pre-positioning had not been
possible, Soa said.

Madagascar lies in the main path of storms crossing the western Indian Ocean and is
battered by cyclones every year; five have struck in the last two years, affecting over
463,000 people.

In November 2009, the UN Country Team raised concern over the approaching cyclone
season and appealed for US$6 million in urgent funding to pre-position emergency
supplies in the most vulnerable regions of the country. A drought in the south in early
                                                                                        21

2009 had depleted stocks, but political infighting caused Madagascar's major donors to
disengage and funding ran dry.

The cyclone season typically runs from November to April, but this year it has been
relatively mild and Hubert was the first storm to cause major destruction. However, the
Malagasy Meteorological Service has warned that there might be more severe storms
before the season ends.


MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera
Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40 people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding
throughout the central and northern parts of the country could "aggravate" the problem,
aid agencies say.

(IRIN)                                                      15 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 15 March 2010 (IRIN) - Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40
people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding throughout the central and northern parts of
the country could "aggravate" the problem, aid agencies say.

"This is not unexpected," the Chief of Health and Nutrition at the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF) in Mozambique, Roberto De Bernardi, told IRIN. The underlying factors of
cholera in Mozambique have been related to pervasive water and sanitation problems,
and a chronic lack of access to health facilities.

Mozambique's National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) noted on 15 March
that 2,683 cases of cholera had been recorded since 3 January 2010, mainly in the
provinces of Sofala, Nampula, Zambezia, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.

Cholera occurs seasonally, peaking during the rainy season from October through April,
but torrential rain over the past few weeks and flooding in large parts of the country were
not to blame.

"Until now we have not seen any cholera cases in the flood-affected areas," said De
Bernardi, but "the floods could aggravate the cholera situation - it's a structural problem
in Mozambique; I can't remember a year without cholera." As a precaution, cholera
prevention programmes were being intensified in flood-affected areas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) country profile for Mozambique notes that the
disease has been present in the country since 1973. In 1992, '93, '98, '99 and 2004,
notified cholera cases in Mozambique represented one-third to one-fifth of all cases
reported in Africa.

Cholera is a waterborne intestinal infection that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting,
leading to rapid dehydration. Left untreated it can bring death within 24 hours, but WHO
describes it as "an easily treatable disease" that can be cured with rehydration salts.
                                                                                        22

MOZAMBIQUE: Floods could aggravate seasonal cholera

Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40 people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding
throughout the central and northern parts of the country could "aggravate" the problem,
aid agencies say.

(Alert Net)                                          15 Mar 2010


JOHANNESBURG, 15 March 2010 (IRIN) - Cholera has claimed the lives of over 40
people in Mozambique and ongoing flooding throughout the central and northern parts of
the country could "aggravate" the problem, aid agencies say.

"This is not unexpected," the Chief of Health and Nutrition at the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF) in Mozambique, Roberto De Bernardi, told IRIN. The underlying factors of
cholera in Mozambique have been related to pervasive water and sanitation problems,
and a chronic lack of access to health facilities.

Mozambique's National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) noted on 15 March
that 2,683 cases of cholera had been recorded since 3 January 2010, mainly in the
provinces of Sofala, Nampula, Zambezia, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.

Cholera occurs seasonally, peaking during the rainy season from October through April,
but torrential rain over the past few weeks and flooding in large parts of the country were
not to blame.

"Until now we have not seen any cholera cases in the flood-affected areas," said De
Bernardi, but "the floods could aggravate the cholera situation - it's a structural problem
in Mozambique; I can't remember a year without cholera." As a precaution, cholera
prevention programmes were being intensified in flood-affected areas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) country profile for Mozambique notes that the
disease has been present in the country since 1973. In 1992, '93, '98, '99 and 2004,
notified cholera cases in Mozambique represented one-third to one-fifth of all cases
reported in Africa.

Cholera is a waterborne intestinal infection that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting,
leading to rapid dehydration. Left untreated it can bring death within 24 hours, but WHO
describes it as "an easily treatable disease" that can be cured with rehydration salts.
                                                                                           23


Floods kill 20 in Angola, Zambia

At least 20 people were killed by floods in Angola and neighbouring Zambia, officials
said on Monday.

(Alert Net)                                          15 Mar 2010


LUANDA, March 15 (Reuters) - At least 20 people were killed by floods in Angola and
neighbouring Zambia, officials said on Monday.

Twelve people were killed after heavy rain caused flooding, landslides and house
collapses in Angola's capital, Luanda, the city's vice-governor said.

Torrential downpours also hit Zambia, where eight people died and hundreds more were
displaced as floods swept away roads, bridges and government buildings, disaster
officials said.

The rain, which began early on Monday, left dozens of Angolans homeless after floods
washed away their huts in a city that is home to more than one-third of the country's 16.5
million people. "Most of the victims died after their homes collapsed from the heavy rain.
They were living in illegal makeshift huts around the city centre," vice-governor Bento
Soito told Reuters.

Zambia's army was called up for relief operations, while officials in charge of the
massive Kariba dam on the border with Zimbabwe were forced to open flood gates,
increasing the chances of more downstream flooding on the Zambezi river in
Mozambique.

Mozambique is already on flood red alert -- one level below declaring a disaster.

Last year, heavy rains in Malawi and Zambia caused flooding in Mozambique that killed
45 people and left 285,000 homeless.

Thousands of people also lose their homes in Angola every year due to flooding caused
by seasonal rains.


Heavy rain and floods kills at least 12 in Angola

At least 12 people were killed after heavy rain triggered flooding, landslides and house
collapses in Angola's capital Luanda, the city vice-governor said on Monday.

(Alert Net)                                          15 Mar 2010
                                                                                       24

LUANDA, March 15 (Reuters) - At least 12 people were killed after heavy rain triggered
flooding, landslides and house collapses in Angola's capital Luanda, the city vice-
governor said on Monday.

The rain, which began early on Monday, left dozens of Angolans homeless after floods
washed away their huts in a city that is home to more than one-third of the country's 16.5
million people. "Most of the victims died after their homes collapsed from the heavy rain.
They were living in illegal makeshift huts around the city centre," vice-governor Bento
Soito told Reuters.

Every year thousands of people lose their homes to floods in Angola due to flooding
caused by seasonal rains.


AFRICA: Talking about climate change
According to a survey (conducted in 2009 with more than 1,000 citizens and 200 policy-
makers, opinion leaders, media and business people in Democratic Republic of Congo,
Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda)
God, not global emissions, is to blame for climate change.

(IRIN)                               17 March 2010

NAIROBI, 17 March 2010 (IRIN) - God, not global emissions, is to blame for climate
change, according to a survey conducted in 10 African countries. A close second,
however, came deforestation, underlining the argument that there is information available
– just not sufficient or effective enough to help people understand the reasons behind
environmental issues.

“(God) punishes people because we do bad things. He shows his strength with the
hurricanes and storms,” said a young Senegalese woman interviewed by the BBC World
Service Trust, which, with the British Council, launched Africa Talks Climate in Nairobi
on 17 March.

The findings are the result of discussions conducted in 2009 with more than 1,000
citizens and 200 policy-makers, opinion leaders, media and business people in
Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa,
Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

While highlighting the information gap similar to the inadequate communication strategy
adopted in the initial response to HIV/AIDS, BBC World Service Trust Director,
Caroline Nursey, said: “The initial global response to communicate effectively about the
HIV and AIDS pandemic was slow and often inappropriate to local needs. The media
have had a critical role in helping combat HIV and AIDS in Africa and must be supported
to do so again in the case of climate change.”

Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya said an initiative such as Africa Talks Climate
was relevant to encourage governments and media to find ways to let people in Africa
                                                                                       25

understand why they were suffering from global effects of climate change, being the
result of CO2 emissions worldwide and not some sort of divine punishment.

“Ordinary citizens do not know. We failed to educate our citizens on the effects and
causes of climate change,” the Prime Minister said.

“Africans are mainly victims not offenders, and they need to know. But at this stage, it
doesn’t matter who is the victim and who the perpetrator, because we all have the shared
responsibility to do something to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Odinga said the Kenyan government was committed to addressing the effects of climate
change in the country and helping the millions of food-insecure people because of
drought, famines, flooding and other natural disasters.

Among the initiatives taken by the Kenyan government is the planting of 7.6 million trees
by 2020, with the support of the French and US governments, boosting forestry from 2 to
10 percent.

“We are willing to host the next Summit for Climate Vulnerable Nations in Kenya before
autumn 2010. This would be an eye opener for leaders of other countries to understand
that common efforts and collaborations are indispensable to achieve success and open the
door for more satisfactory negotiations for the next climate change summit taking place
in Mexico in October 2010,” said Odinga.

Environmental policy

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai called on political leaders to take immediate
action to reduce vulnerability to climate change through ad-hoc legal frameworks to
support environmental policy, which many countries, especially in Africa, still did not
have.

“Billions of dollars have been invested already to tackle the effects of climate change on
our people. Many African countries may not have funds to allocate, but it is up to us to
make ourselves trustworthy, so that other government would be willing to support us.
And I have no doubt that they will,” she said.

“Climate change is affecting Africa tremendously,” she said, while reminding the
audience that 15 of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change are in Africa,
according to the World Bank.

“We must find the right way to let our people know why,” she said. “Finding the most
appropriate means to reach people and using their own language is the key,” she said.

“We need to simplify messages and let people understand that our actions have an impact
on the environment,” Odinga added.

“There is the perception that talking about environmental issues does not sell. We have to
get over this belief and understand that we need to talk more about it. Climate change
                                                                                        26

does sell, but it has to be communicated in an easy and more relevant way to make
messages accessible,” said Sam Otieno, researcher at the BBC World Service Trust.

Madagascar: UN                 assists       relief     efforts      after      deadly
tropical storm
United Nations aid workers in eastern Madagascar are helping local officials mount relief
efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Hubert, which has killed dozens of people in the
Indian Ocean country and left an estimated 11,000 others homeless.

(UN News Service)                                                   18 March 2010

18 March 2010 – United Nations aid workers in eastern Madagascar are helping local
officials mount relief efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Hubert, which has killed
dozens of people in the Indian Ocean country and left an estimated 11,000 others
homeless.

The UN Country Team stocked relief items such as food, medicines, mosquito nets and
shelter materials in the affected areas, according to an update released yesterday, and is
assisting local officials to evacuate people from some of the more isolated districts.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributing emergency rations in the
Farafagana region, and will soon given one ton of high-energy biscuits to victims in
Manakara.

Seven districts, mostly in the southeast of the country, are reported to be flood-stricken,
with schools, health centres and homes all reported to be damaged following the storm,
which hit Madagascar late last week. Relief efforts have been hampered by the
widespread damage to roads, which has cut off links to some communities.

The UN Country Team, citing figures from the Malagasy Red Cross, reported that 11,000
people became homeless immediately after the storm but may return to their houses once
water levels subside.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), meanwhile, is financing an aerial assessment of the
flooded region.


World Water Day 2010: Clean water for a healthy world
On the World water day 2010, UNDP published a report in which it is expressed that at
Global level the world is on track to reduce by half the number of people without access
to a safe supply of drinking water by 2015, a key human development target laid out by
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are eight development targets
agreed upon by the world’s leaders in order to halve extreme poverty by 2015. But
significant gaps remain in many countries everywhere, while the sub-Saharan Africa and
Oceania regions as a whole are not on track to meet the water MDG by 2015.
                                                                                          27

Nonetheless, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are making rapid progress, in spite
of historically low rates of access to clean water, and rapidly growing populations.

(UNDP)                                        22 March 2010

Today, on World Water Day, we are reminded of how the availability of clean water and
safe sanitation shapes human lives in many ways. It impacts human health and the
survival of young children; it influences school enrolment and learning, especially for
girls; it affects the burden of securing water for daily living, especially for women; and it
changes livelihood opportunities and the health of ecosystems that sustain life. Access to
safe water and sanitation is a key driver of human development.

Globally, the world is on track to reduce by half the number of people without access to a
safe supply of drinking water by 2015, a key human development target laid out by the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are eight development targets
agreed upon by the world’s leaders in order to halve extreme poverty by 2015. But
significant gaps remain in many countries everywhere, while the sub-Saharan Africa and
Oceania regions as a whole are not on track to meet the water MDG by 2015.
Nonetheless, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are making rapid progress, in spite
of historically low rates of access to clean water, and rapidly growing populations.

The sanitation situation, however, remains daunting. Globally, 2.6 billion people are still
without improved sanitation today. Unless the pace of progress increases rapidly, it will
be 2.7 billion in 2015. The world is quickly losing ground in reaching the MDG target for
sanitation, which calls for reducing by half the number of people without access to
adequate sanitation.

Shortcomings in water governance -- how decisions are made about the use of water and
provision of water and sanitation services – remain an underlying constraint on better
progress towards the MDG water target. Support for governance reform and improving
participation, transparency and accountability is the focus of UNDP’s assistance to
countries to scale up equitable access to water and sanitation. UNDP supports water and
sanitation activities in more than 60 countries. UNDP’s capacity building network called
Cap-Net, and its Water Governance Facility, , provide access to policy advice, best
practices and tools to decision-makers and practitioners to plan and implement sound
water management and provision of services.

Responding to the urgent need for assistance in countries that are farthest behind,
UNDP’s GoAL WaSH initiative supports Governance, Advocacy and Leadership for
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. GoAL WaSH implements strategically targeted
interventions that strengthen governance of the water and sanitation sectors in challenged
and ‘fragile’ states, where the water and sanitation challenges are greatest.

At the local level, UNDP partners with civil society, local government and the private
sector are supporting integrated approaches to service provision and sustainability of
water supplies. For instance through its Community Water Initiative and the Every Drop
Matters partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, UNDP’s Community Water Initiative
has trained villagers in Ghana to establish and maintain wells for safe drinking water. As
                                                                                        28

a result, rates of public health and school attendance have improved. In Kazakhstan, in
partnership with Coca-Cola, UNDP EDM repaired and extended an aging water supply
system in Kok-Ozek village.

In Tanzania, CWI supported local communities to use renewable energy to power
irrigation and water supply systems, increasing agricultural production and radically
decreasing the incidence of water borne diseases. In Sri Lanka, a community initiative
supported by UNDP purified contaminated wells by planting trees whose roots remove
the contaminants from the water in wells.

UNDP’s experience in communities around the world demonstrates the tremendous
benefits of access to water and adequate sanitation to people’s lives, both in economic
and human terms. Failure to achieve the sanitation and water MDG targets will
jeopardize the achievement of all the MDGs in many countries. Accelerated progress on
the water and sanitation MDGs, on the other hand, could trigger the next leap forward in
poverty reduction and human development.




Food Security & Health Issues

In Brief: Food security remains precarious
Zimbabwe's food security has improved but is still "precarious" and "vulnerable to
sudden shocks", according to the latest update by the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

(IRIN)                               15 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 15 March 2010 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's food security has improved but
is still "precarious" and "vulnerable to sudden shocks", according to the latest update by
the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Food insecurity concerns have been raised, "although the area planted for maize
increased by 14 percent - from 1,507,968 hectares in 2008/09 to 1,723,990 hectares in
2009/10 - about 200,574 hectares, representing 11.6 percent of area planted, is a write-off
because of the dry spell [from December 2009 to February 2010], according to the First
Round Crop and Livestock Assessment, the update noted.

Food shortages peaked in the first quarter of 2009, when nearly 7 million people relied on
emergency feeding schemes, but the country remains fragile despite the formation of a
unity government in February 2009. The donor community has yet to respond to the 2010
Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for US$378 million, committing only US$5 million - 1.3
percent of the requirement - so far.
                                                                                          29

OCHA's Financial Tracking Service, which monitors global humanitarian aid flows, on
15 March 2010 showed a continuous flow of pages highlighting unmet requirements in
red - rural restocking programmes, seeds for small-scale farmers, local government
capacity building, cholera prevention projects - with zero commitment in 99 percent of
the pledges column.

SOUTH AFRICA: Between patients and prevention
New research suggests that the poor knowledge and attitudes of doctors and healthcare
workers in South Africa are limiting access to preventative tuberculosis (TB) therapy.

(Alert Net)                                             15 Mar 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 15 March 2010 (IRIN) - New research suggests that the poor
knowledge and attitudes of doctors and healthcare workers in South Africa are limiting
access to preventative tuberculosis (TB) therapy.

The qualitative study by the health research non-profit, the Aurum Institute, found that
many doctors and health workers shied away from prescribing isoniazid preventative
therapy (IPT), in which daily doses of the antibiotic isoniazid are administered for at least
six months to reduce TB risk in HIV-positive people.

The reasons most often cited by health professionals for not prescribing IPT included an
inability to rule out active TB, little knowledge about IPT's benefits, and little confidence
that patients would continue taking the medicine, said Dr Salome Charalambous,
HIV/AIDS Programme Director at Aurum, who presented the research at the institute's
annual symposium for health workers in Johannesburg.

IPT can reduce the risk of active TB in people living with HIV by about a third,
according to the World Health Organization (WHO). South Africa has had national
guidelines for administering IPT since 2002, but coverage has been estimated at below 1
percent. Health workers interviewed for the study also said they felt the Department of
Health had not done enough to communicate the current IPT guidelines to them.

The WHO lists TB as the leading killer of people living with HIV, and South Africa has
an HIV prevalence rate of about 18 percent. The country also shoulders one of the
world's highest TB burdens, according to the WHO.

"It's not to say everyone must be started on IPT, but there are a whole lot of people who
could benefit from IPT but are not," Charalambous told IRIN/PlusNews.

More about the professionals, less about the patients

International and national guidelines caution doctors to avoid issuing preventative TB
therapy in people who have active TB. Charalambous said the difficulty in diagnosing
active TB, which can hide in tissue outside of the lungs, deterred many health
professionals from using IPT.
                                                                                            30

"Standard pulmonary TB is not [present in] more than 30 percent of our patients, so
sputum, abscess, lymph nodes, x-rays are very often negative. I would never use
[isoniazid] on my patients for this reason alone," said a doctor quoted in the study.

Other doctors were not convinced of the value of giving IPT to patients already on
antiretroviral (ARV) medication. Little research has been done on the effects of IPT on
patients taking ARVs, but new findings presented by Aurum at the recent 2010
Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showed that IPT drastically
decreased mortality in newly initiated ARV patients.

Aurum's qualitative study showed that health workers' attitudes to patients influenced
their willingness to prescribe IPT. "It was interesting that staff felt that patients would not
understand the concept of taking medication while feeling well, but when we asked
patients they didn't say taking a preventative tablet would be a problem," Charalambous
commented.

The researchers recommended that the Health Department clarify the screening process
and initiation requirements for IPT, and that patients be educated about treatment options
for preventing TB.



SOUTH AFRICA: HIV testing and mental illness

In South Africa, as more HIV-positive people access treatment and live longer, the
number of people suffering from HIV-related mental disorders is growing, but mental
health remains an ethical, legal and clinical minefield, where many doctors and nurses
fear to tread – and fear to test.

(Alert Net)                                            17 Mar 2010


JOHANNESBURG, 17 March 2010 (IRIN) - As more HIV-positive people access
treatment and live longer, the number of people suffering from HIV-related mental
disorders is growing, but mental health remains an ethical, legal and clinical minefield,
where many doctors and nurses fear to tread – and fear to test.

"We're moving away from seeing patients on their death beds towards patients who are
living longer, and are being affected by mental disorders that have real impacts on their
life and work," said Dr Greg Jonsson, a psychiatrist at the Luthando Psychiatric HIV
Clinic at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Johannesburg.

Various studies have shown a higher than average prevalence of mental illness among
people living with HIV. A 2005 study by South Africa's Human Sciences Research
Council found that about 44 percent of the 900 HIV-positive individuals surveyed
suffered from a mental disorder.
                                                                                                31

The links between HIV and mental illness are complex, but factors include the effects of
the virus on the central nervous system, as well as difficulties in dealing with HIV-related
stigma and discrimination.

South Africa has the world's largest ARV programme to counter an HIV prevalence rate
of about 18 percent, according to UNAIDS, and about 920,000 people are on ARV
treatment.

No easy choices

Doctors and nurses in clinics often find it daunting to test mental health patients for HIV.
"People who are not trained in psychiatric disorders are scared of getting consent from
patients with mental disorders," Jonsson told IRIN/PlusNews. "People should not assume
that mentally ill or even psychotic patients are incapable of understanding [testing] and
consenting."

However, Jonsson added that there would be times where doctors would need to make
tough calls about testing severely mentally ill patients who could not consent to HIV
testing and whose families may not be approachable to consent on their behalf.

"If you can't obtain informed consent, you need to weigh up the potential harm and
benefit to the patient - ask yourself whether this test is going to change your diagnoses or
your treatment," he suggested to health workers at an annual symposium held by the
Aurum Institute, a non-profit medical research organization.

"I think if the answer is 'yes' to either, then go for it. It is really the right of the patient to
be offered effective HIV treatment," said Jonsson, who pointed out that doctors should be
aware of possible interactions between mental health medications and antiretroviral
(ARV) drugs.

He advised doctors to document the process and counsel patients throughout, especially
about how to reduce risk, given the prevalence of substance abuse among mental health
as well as HIV patients.

"Psych is hard because the 'three ticks equal this' approach doesn't really work, and that's
why people are so scared of it," Jonsson told IRIN/PlusNews.

No right answers

Once a mental health patient started taking ARVs, healthcare providers would have to
evaluate whether mandating a "treatment supporter" – a friend or family member to help
the patient adhere to treatment - would be appropriate. Again, there may not be a right
answer.

"We need to draw up protocols and put them in primary healthcare, but the problem with
protocol-based system is that people don't think outside the box - with mental health
patients it really is on a case-by-case basis," Jonsson told the symposium audience.
                                                                                              32

"I tell most of my patients, 'If you can get treatment support, go for it', but I don't insist on
it - disclosing to a patient's family is difficult and ... at my clinic, our patients on
treatment are already so stigmatized and victimized."

The Luthando Psychiatric HIV Clinic has a treatment default rate – patients who
discontinue ARVs – that is the same as institutions in Johannesburg that mandate
treatment supporters, Jonsson added.


MALAWI: Ambitious plans to prolong lives
Malawi's government has set itself a major challenge this year, announcing plans to more
than double the number of people receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to half a million
by the end of 2010. The country recently adopted new World Health Organization
(WHO) guidelines that raise the threshold for starting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy from
a CD4 count (a measure of immune system strength) of less than 200, to a CD4 count of
350, regardless of whether the patient is displaying symptoms.

(Alert Net)                                             19 Mar 2010

LILONGWE, 19 March 2010 (IRIN) - Malawi's government has set itself a major
challenge this year, announcing plans to more than double the number of people
receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to half a million by the end of 2010.

The country recently adopted new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that
raise the threshold for starting antiretroviral (ARV) therapy from a CD4 count (a measure
of immune system strength) of less than 200, to a CD4 count of 350, regardless of
whether the patient is displaying symptoms.

Although implementing the changes will be expensive, some experts argue that starting
patients on ARVs earlier could actually save the government money in the long term by
reducing the need to treat them for opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis.

UNAIDS Country Coordinator Patrick Brenny said the targets were reachable, provided
the country could mobilise the resources, including money, drugs and manpower. An
estimated 200,000 HIV-positive people are on treatment in Malawi, where HIV
prevalence is at 12 percent.

"Malawi is an extremely resource-constrained country ... more than 90 percent of
Malawi's HIV response is externally funded," Brenny told IRIN/PlusNews.

He noted that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - which is
visiting Malawi - had expressed willingness to fund implementation of new WHO
treatment guidelines.

Malawi successfully utilized its Round 1 Global Fund grant and was awarded a rolling
continuation channel grant, which extends the Round 1 funding for six years. The country
                                                                                        33

and the Fund are now looking at how to make best use of the money in relation to the
new guidelines.

Brenny said Malawi was very aware of the risk that accompanied its high dependence on
foreign aid and was looking at ways to reduce this, including the possibility of building a
local ARV manufacturing plant in partnership with Indian drug companies.

"We are making progress ... We do not have local production of ARVs at the moment.
There are a number of challenges we will face - like financing of the project - hence the
need for partners," Shawa said.

The National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPHAM) has
commended government for adopting the new guidelines, saying the move would help
people access life-prolonging ARV medication.

"The new WHO guidelines will save lives ... in the past NAPHAM members were dying
because they were not put on ART [antiretroviral therapy] on time," said Amanda
Manjolo, executive director of NAPHAM. "People were just clinically observed, without
using a machine to determine their CD4 count."


Zambia: 11 die of cholera
Eleven people have died of cholera in Zambia since the outbreak of the disease at the
onset of rainy season in late 2009. The waterborne disease is endemic in the southern
African state during the wet and rainy season of October to March.

(Africa News)                        19 March 2010

According to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Reuben Kamoto Mbewe, there has
also been an increase in cholera cases from 241 in February to 564 in March.

He said however, that the Ministry of Health has continued to monitor the situation from
escalating and that basic water and sanitation measures are being provided to vulnerable
communities nationwide.




Human Rights & Social Issues

Luxury Cigars in Demand in South Africa as Cigarette Smoking
Plummets
It strikes many as ironic that the increase in cigar consumption in South Africa is
happening along with a drastic drop in cigarette smoking, as the government intensifies
what’s already some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking legislation.
                                                                                          34


(Voice of America)                                           15 March 2010

In a plush bar in Johannesburg, Sizwe Ncapayi leans against a gleaming wooden bar
counter, strikes a match and – with a flick of his wrist – lights a thick cigar. The
businessman smacks his lips as he takes a puff. Ncapayi swirls the smoke in his mouth,
rolls his eyes, exhales rapidly and declares, “Wonderful flavor!”

The cigar he holds between thumb and forefinger while sipping his cognac and chatting
with his lovely companion is a Cuban Cohiba that costs well over US$ 100. Ncapayi
says he spends “quite a lot each month” on cigars, “but not as much as some people over
here.”

Most good quality cigars on sale in South Africa range in price from US$ 6 to $50 each.
But there are others that are far more extravagant, such as the world’s most expensive
cigar – the cognac-infused His Majesty’s Reserve brand. It’s made by the United States-
based company Gurkha and produced in the Dominican Republic. It costs US$ 750.
That’s almost 6,000 South African rands for a single smoke.

“No ways would I pay so much for one cigar,” Ncapayi says, scoffing, adding, “but I
know quite a few people here who would.”

The young entrepreneur smokes mainly cigars, he says, “because it shows people that I
am now able to afford the finer things in life … When smoking a cigar, you are like,
achieving. You’ll be not smoking as such but making yourself big, advertising yourself.”

New cigar smokers: young, black and very successful

Ncapayi is typical of a new, rising breed of cigar smokers, according to Colin Wesley,
South Africa’s leading cigar trader, who supplies most tobacconists in the country. These
new cigar smokers, he says, are young, black and extremely successful.

“Cigars have always been associated with achievement,” says Wesley. “These young
professionals, including many young black businessmen, like the big, expensive brands.
Some of them come in and say, ‘Give me your biggest and most expensive cigar.’ They
are not shy to spend money.”

The tobacconist argues that this makes sense: “If you think about it, even if they’re
spending 250 rand (US$ 35) on a cigar – it may be a lot of money, but it’s not a lot of
money for something that’s considered to be (among) the best in the world.”

There’s a “feeling of achievement” in that, says Wesley. “We can’t all drive Rolls
Royces and Maseratis and things like that – but a lot of us, at some stage in our lives, will
be able to afford one of the best cigars on earth.”

Chasm between rich and poor in South Africa
                                                                                      35

Yet South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. As the nation’s
slums expand, so do its lavish suburbs, where people pay many millions of rands for
opulent houses. While millions of citizens earn less than a dollar a day, South Africa is
also home to the most millionaires (in dollars) on the continent.

And as opportunities have opened up in business after decades of apartheid-inspired
white economic domination, increasing numbers of black people are now getting rich.

“They can afford to spend money on the most powerful status symbols – one of which is
the cigar,” says Wesley.

Brett Mulder, who manages what is arguably the finest cigar bar in Africa, in
Johannesburg, says he’s seen a “major spike” in cigar sales in recent years. “On a given
night here you’ll find hundreds of people, dancing, eating and smoking cigars.”

“The palates of South Africans, including black South Africans, have matured over the
past 10 years especially,” he says, and they want luxury items, like cigars and
champagne.

Anti–smoking laws ‘spark’ more cigar smoking

It strikes many as ironic that the increase in cigar consumption in South Africa is
happening along with a drastic drop in cigarette smoking, as the government intensifies
what’s already some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking legislation.

Smoking in public is illegal in South Africa, and higher taxes on tobacco products make
cigarettes too expensive for many South Africans. Deterrents such as these have helped
drive cigarette smoking in the country down to the lowest rates in modern times.

Yet, the National Council Against Smoking wants even stricter anti-smoking regulations
and higher tobacco taxes. But it acknowledges that while almost 40 percent of South
African adults smoked cigarettes in the mid-1990s – about 17 million people – now just
over 20 percent are regular cigarette smokers – about seven million people.

While there are no statistics available as to how many South Africans currently smoke
cigars, tobacconist David Masterson says increasing cigar sales are an obvious indication
that more people in the country are smoking them.

“It used to be that South Africans of all incomes smoked,” he comments. “But now, with
the costs involved, it’s almost as if smoking’s become more exclusive. And the people
who can afford to smoke these days tend to be the people who can afford to spend money
on higher-end products – hence their penchant for cigars….”

Wesley agrees that harsh anti-smoking legislation may have inadvertently “sparked”
higher sales of cigars in South Africa. He says he sees more “casual” smokers
abandoning cigarettes in favor of cigars – especially “small but top quality” varieties.
                                                                                         36

“I think their feeling is that a pack of cigarettes is so expensive these days that they may
as well spend their money on fewer, but higher quality, cigars,” Wesley explains.

Affluent South African cigar smokers shield themselves from the harsh anti-smoking
laws by enjoying their habit at home or in exclusive cigar bars and clubs, where the
owners buy a special, expensive license that permits their patrons to smoke on the
premises.

Ferraris, Lamborghinis and beautiful women

One of the “chief categories” of cigar smokers who regularly frequent his establishment,
Mulder says, is “the gentleman with far too much disposable income to spend on
anything tangible, so he needs to smoke (his money). Those kinds of customers go for
the largest, most expensive cigars that we stock.”

He says these smokers “just want to be seen smoking (cigars). They would never come
here on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night, because those nights are more quiet and
intimate here.”

These smokers “flaunt” their cigars, he says. “They probably wouldn’t smoke too much
of it but they’d have it in their hand the whole night. As soon as it got wet or damaged,
they’d just buy another one. A lot of the guys like that will arrive in Ferraris or
Lamborghinis, and they will have the most beautiful woman sitting next to them in the
whole club – if not three!”

Johannesburg businessman and self-confessed “party animal” Andile Nkosi confirms that
he smokes cigars “because women love them. A loser doesn’t smoke cigars. There’s just
something about them that says, ‘I’ve arrived.' ”

Wesley maintains cigar smokers are “usually slightly confident people. They’re not
embarrassed to be seen smoking a cigar.” In fact, he adds, “They may be a bit
embarrassed at times that they don’t know really what they’re smoking or why they’re
smoking it!”

More female South Africans also getting in on the act

Wesley also sees growing numbers of South African women smoking small cigars called
cigarillos. “They’ll be smoking those at a party or at a function, and they’ll want
something a little bit exciting, so they’ll smoke that,” he says.

Mulder agrees that his female customers prefer small, flavored cigarillos and says it’s
“rare” to see women smoking “proper” big cigars inside his club…. But he adds that “it
does happen – usually because they’ve had too much to drink!”
In that case, says the manager, the women smokers “pout their lips” around a cigar and
cover it in lipstick. “They think (smoking a cigar is) quite sexy!” he exclaims, laughing.

Health risks
                                                                                        37

“Fun” and “sexy” status symbols they may well be, but according to the US National
Cancer Institute, regularly smoking cigars poses serious health risks, including cancer of
the mouth, esophagus and throat. Experts say lung disease is lower among cigar smokers
than among cigarette users, because cigar smokers typically don’t inhale the smoke but
rather “taste” it in their mouths. But they warn that cigar smoking can cause mouth and
throat cancer.

As in the case of cigarette smoking, regular cigar users can become addicted to nicotine.

But Nkosi says the dangers associated with using cigars are unlikely to deter members of
South Africa’s black elite from pursuing what he says has become the “latest trend” to
enhance their status as “Africa’s rising economic force.”

“All pleasure comes at a cost,” says Nkosi, smiling as he sucks at another of his beloved
Montecristo cigars and takes another sip of golden cognac.

Madagascar:  UN    scheme                         aims        to      give       youth
employment a boost
A year after political violence rocked Madagascar, the United Nations agency dedicated
to eradicating rural poverty is helping to generate employment for the Indian Ocean
nation’s young people while supporting small businesses.

(UN News Service)                                           16 March 2010

16 March 2010 – A year after political violence rocked Madagascar, the United Nations
agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty is helping to generate employment for the
Indian Ocean nation’s young people while supporting small businesses.

The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reported yesterday that
its ‘Prosperer’ project aims to create work for young people as well as a stable workforce
for small businesses after a year in which investments have fallen and job opportunities
have decreased.

Under the new scheme, the incomes of poor people in rural areas will receive a boost and
young people will be matched to businesses including pottery, tool-making and
shopkeeping. Already, 400 young apprentices have been trained, and that number is
expected to rise to 8,000 in the next five years. Ultimately, 54,000 small businesses will
benefit from the initiative.

“The basic idea of the Prosperer project is to support, though business development
services, the people who already have some income generating activity and want to turn
it into real small enterprises,” said Benoit Thierry, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager
in Madagascar.

The agency hopes that the scheme’s benefits will extend beyond increasing young
people’s incomes.
                                                                                         38

After their training, apprentices, when they return home, “are able to increase the interest
of their parents and the family livelihoods, making them more prosperous,” Mr. Thierry
said.

Following weeks of unrest resulting in dozens of deaths in Madagascar early last year,
President Marc Ravalomanana resigned in March, amid a dispute with the mayor of the
capital, Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, who now leads the country.

In addition to the political and social turmoil, the country has suffered from natural
disasters including cyclones and droughts, as well as rising food insecurity, according to
IFAD.

Further compounding these problems is a growing population, with a quarter of a million
young people entering the workforce in rural areas, home to 85 per cent of Madagascar’s
population.


ANALYSIS-S.Africa protests to intensify ahead of World Cup

A flare-up of violent South African protests reminiscent of the apartheid era could
escalate ahead of the soccer World Cup as the country's angry poor press their demands
for better housing and jobs.

(Alert Net)                                          17 Mar 2010


JOHANNESBURG, March 17 (Reuters) - A flare-up of violent South African protests
reminiscent of the apartheid era could escalate ahead of the soccer World Cup as the
country's angry poor press their demands for better housing and jobs.

For the past two months, protests in poor black townships and shantytowns have become
an almost daily occurence with police using water canons and rubber bullets to disperse
protesters armed with rocks and stones.

And these protests could spread and intensify before the world's premier sporting event
held in Africa for the first time from June 11-July 11, political analysts believe.

A threat by South Africa's two-million-strong COSATU trade union federation to strike
nationwide over power price increases during the sports event could add pressure on
President Jacob Zuma's government.

Poor and unemployed black South Africans, many still living in shacks almost 16 years
after the ruling ANC came to power, are angry at what they say is the government's
failure to provide, decent housing, clean water, electricity and jobs.
                                                                                        39

"The government can afford to spend billions of rands on (World Cup) stadiums but has
no money to improve our lives," said Morongoa Molokmone, who lives in the grim
Orange Farm squatter settlement south of Johannesburg.

Molkomone, who is unemployed and lives in a tin shack without water and electricity,
said the poor have waited for years for a better life. In the rainy season, his shack leaks
and sewage from overflowing toilet pits spills into the muddy streets.

"Why should we have third rate development when we have been waiting for decades?".

The government hopes that the World Cup will inject billions of rands into the economy
after vast amounts have been spent on upgrading infrastructure and building new
stadiums. Banc of America/Merrill Lynch analysts estimate that the World Cup could
lead to around $1.1 billion flowing into the economy.

GROUNDSWELL OF ANGER

Zuma, who promised to improve the lives of the poor while campaigning for election last
April, is facing an uphill battle to deliver on those promises soon after South Africa
emerged from its first recession in 17 years.

"People realise that now is the time to take advantage of this groundswell of anger. With
the World Cup around the corner the government cannot afford not to listen," said Prince
Mashele, executive director of the Centre for Politics and Research.

Protests have mainly erupted around Johannesburg and Gauteng province -- South
Africa's economic centre -- but analysts say the disturbances could spill over into other
provinces.

"It's only a matter of time before people realise they are complaining about the same
issues and that they would be more powerful if they unite," said Frans Cronje, deputy
Chief Executive Officer of the South African Institute for Race Relations.

Although any protests during the World Cup could embarrass the government, they are
unlikely to disrupt the event.

"The riot police will be quick to turn their guns on demonstrators to restore order,"
Cronje said. But Zuma's biggest worry does not come from the poor. The threat from
COSATU's Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi that the scores of unions under the
federation's umbrella could strike is potentially more damaging.

COSATU, which supported Zuma in his bid for the presidency, opposes a 25 percent
price increase granted to the state power firm Eskom [ESCJ.UL]. COSATU says the hike,
and two other similar increase in the next two years, will have a crippling effect on the
poor and lead to a further 250,000 job losses.
                                                                                           40

"COSATU has the ability and the logistical capacity to bring the country to its knees," the
Centre for Politics and Research's Mashele said.

"Vavi is a calculating man and he knows that he can use the World Cup to get what he
wants. Challenging the government on this issue will also further his political
aspirations."#

Zuma indicated in a recent interview that he was prepared to compromise and analysts
believe he may reach a behind the scenes deal with COSATU to ensure a strike-free
World Cup.

"The South African government is on pins and needles hosting the World Cup with the
rest of the world watching. They would do everything they could to prevent (a strike)
from happening," said Mark Schroeder, southern Africa analyst at global intelligence
company Stratfor.

"They would bring these guys into the backrooms and say your career and your future is
over if you disrupt the World Cup."


SOUTH AFRICA: More money, less education
The government's answer to the malaise is to throw more money into the education
system; in the 2010/11 financial year it budgeted R165 billion (US$8.6 billion) for the
sector. But instead of spending more money in educational sector, the standard or level of
education is low. And the reason for it is the involvement of teachers in political activities
and spending of less time at school or absence from school. So to overcome this issue
Zuma announced in his 2010 State of the Nation address that a system of oversight would
be instituted to monitor schools and ensure that teachers were in class to teach. But it was
boycotted by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU).

(IRIN)                                 17 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 17 March 2010 (IRIN) - Ethembeni Enrichment Centre, a school in
a run-down part of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in Eastern Cape, South Africa's poorest
province, has achieved a remarkable 100 percent pass rate for a dozen years. But officials
from the education department, sent on a fact-finding mission to learn from the school's
success, are running more than two hours late.

Irritation is discernible in the voice of school principal Elbe Malherbe - punctuality is one
of the few rules that must be abided by teachers and pupils alike. "When ... [it's time to]
start, you start," Malherbe told IRIN in clipped replies during a telephone interview.
Then, in a sudden change of tone, she said: "I wish you could see through the phone what
I am seeing."

It is the first day of applications for the 2011 school year and a woman in traditional
Xhosa attire is filling out a form for her child. Ethembeni only accepts pupils whose
                                                                                        41

mother tongue is Xhosa, which generally translates into poor and black. The annual
school fees are R3,800 (US$506), excluding stationery.

Many poor parents make sacrifices to keep their children in school, but Malherbe
believes in affordable - not free - education, because it is an "investment by pupils,
parents and teachers [that] everyone must buy into".

The language of instruction is English. Apart from not brooking tardiness, the school's
other non-negotiables are that class attendance is compulsory, home work must be
completed, pupils must clean the classrooms and grounds every day, and parents must be
involved in their child's education.

"The classrooms were barely furnished. The driveway to the school was a rocky, narrow
passage ... The school hall was packed with a few hundred eager faces, the children
virtually sitting on top of one another on the floor ... I saw struggle, hunger and poverty
etched into each child's countenance," educationist and vice-chancellor of the University
of the Free State, Jonathan Jansen, recounted after a recent visit.

"For any child to pass under these difficult circumstances, it would take a miracle," he
wrote. Yet nearly two-thirds of the 70 pupils in Ethembeni's 2009 matric, or final year,
class achieved a university-entrance pass, while other financially comparable schools
hung on at the bottom of the academic achievement ladder.

The school has no library, no science laboratory, although there is a computer that gives
the 400 pupils internet access. The government pays for 11 of the 17 teachers; the salary
shortfall of the six other teachers has to come out of the school fees.

The compactness of the school is part of its success. "In schools of a thousand [students],
how can you know all the parents? If I have a problem with a child, or they have not done
their homework, I phone their parents and they are here in five minutes," Malherbe said.

"We're not Einsteins here - we teach. It's nice to be part of a winning team. With nothing,
you can still be successful if the heart is right and the spirit is right."

Ethembeni, which means "place of hope", swims against the prevailing national current
in education, where standards have been steadily declining - in contrast to school fees.

More money, less education

The government's answer to the malaise is to throw more money into the education
system; in the 2010/11 financial year it budgeted R165 billion (US$8.6 billion) for the
sector, a 17 percent above inflation increase from the previous year.

The matric, or final high school exam, is used as a benchmark for the state of education
in South Africa. Of the 550,227 pupils who wrote their final examinations in 2009, 61
percent passed, and 19.9 percent of those achieved the required marks to qualify for
tertiary education.
                                                                                            42

Marius Roodt, an education analyst at the South African Institute of Race Relations, a
policy and research organization, told IRIN the current teaching standard was akin to
Bantu education - the system imposed by apartheid prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd,
who said blacks should only be educated to be "hewers of wood and drawers of water".

"It is very unlikely that there will be an increase in matric pass rates. In 2004 the pass rate
was 71 percent, and it has been on a steady downward trend since then, with each year
reflecting a decrease. This is a trend that is likely to continue into the future, at least in
terms of the quality of the qualification," Roodt said.

He attributed the decline to the political influence of the 240,000-member South African
Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), the country's largest teacher union and an affiliate
of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which is an alliance partner
of the ruling African National Congress.

"An example was when the union encouraged members to campaign for President Jacob
Zuma prior to last year's general election, instead of teaching," he said.

"Although teachers should be allowed to be unionized - like any profession in any
democracy - the influence of SADTU is malignant and not benign. It is possible that
SADTU has the interest of only its members at heart, and not that of the pupils in South
Africa's schools," Roodt commented.

"The reintroduction of the 'school inspectors' system, which would greatly improve the
quality of the country's teaching, has been resisted by SADTU for some time. The union
has also opposed systems to monitor teacher performance," he said.

School inspectors

Zuma announced in his 2010 State of the Nation address that a system of oversight would
be instituted to monitor schools and ensure that teachers were in class to teach.

SADTU spokesperson Nomusa Cembi told IRIN that the union objected to the
reintroduction of school inspectors, and did "not know where the president got the
information that teachers are only in class for three hours, or so, a day."

Zuma first made the claim in a speech to school principals in KwaZulu-Natal Province,
who gathered at the Durban International Convention Centre in August 2009. "We need
to confront certain realities. For example, teachers in former whites-only schools teach in
class for an average of 6.5 hours a day, while teachers in schools in disadvantaged
communities teach for around 3.5 hours a day. The result is that the outcomes are
unequal."

A recent survey published by Tokiso, an independent labour dispute resolution body,
found that the teachers' union was responsible for 42 percent of all work days lost
through industrial action between 1995 and 2009. Cembi said this gave the impression
that SADTU members "strike at the drop of a hat".
                                                                                          43

Tanya Venter, CEO of Tokiso, told a local newspaper, Business Day, that SADTU's
participation in the 2007 public sector strike was the main reason for the union recording
such a high rate of absenteeism.

A recent World Bank working paper: No More Cutting Class? Reducing Teacher
Absence and Providing Incentives for Performance, found "each additional 5 percent
increase in teacher absence reduces learning by 4 to 8 percent of a year’s learning for the
typical student."

Cembi said responsibility for the deterioration of education should be shared among
learners, teachers, the education department and the government. She was unable to
provide any data on whether or not a SADTU teacher had ever been dismissed for poor
performance.

Zimbabwe's loss, South Africa's gain

Government has been widely blamed for creating a critical shortage of teachers trained in
science and mathematics after it closed teacher training colleges in 2000 and put the onus
on universities to produce educators. The government is now considering re-opening the
teacher training colleges.

One solution has been to recruit teachers from Zimbabwe. Dickson Masemola, head of
education in Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe, said his department had hired
600 Zimbabwean educators to teach maths, science and commercial subjects, resulting in
a turnaround in academic performance.

Mbali Thusi, a spokesman for the education department of KwaZulu-Natal, said a
number of foreign teachers, especially in maths and science, were working in the
province, and more would be hired because of the shortage of qualified teachers in these
fields.

"The problem is more severe in rural schools - most maths and science teachers prefer to
work in urban areas," Thusi said. "But we are eager to recruit more foreign teachers
because of the shortages ... We have sent requesting documents to the national
department to give us a go-ahead. We want to recruit hundreds of these teachers to plug
the holes in our system."

The head of the KwaZulu-Natal School Governing Bodies Association, Reginald Cheliza,
told IRIN: "We would like our children to succeed in school, but it is clear that this is not
happening. Some of the problems start at school level, others at provincial or even
national level."
                                                                                        44

Poverty, Inequality Blamed for 2008 Xenophobic Attacks in
South Africa
A report on the attacks against foreigners in South Africa two years ago blames
frustrations over the lack of housing and social services and a widening gap between rich
and poor for the violence.

(Voice of America)                                          18 March 2010

A report on the attacks against foreigners in South Africa two years ago blames
frustrations over the lack of housing and social services and a widening gap between rich
and poor for the violence.

South Africa's Human Rights Commission has issued its report on what locally is called
the xenophobic violence of May 2008.

Human Rights Commissioner Pregs Govender, noted that long-standing resentment
against foreigners in the country, aggravated by local disputes, boiled over in part
because of frustration over the government's failure to deliver housing and social services
14 years after the end of apartheid.

"The question of the micro-politics and that violence spearheaded by local groups and
individuals seeking to claim or consolidate power is one factor, and the other factor being
accumulated frustrations around informal conditions of housing," Govender said.

The violence began in several impoverished communities in the Johannesburg area and
spread quickly across the country.

Gangs attacked mostly African foreigners, burning their houses and taking their
belongings. More than 60 people were killed, including dozens of South African citizens.
Hundreds of people were wounded and an estimated 100,000 were made homeless.

Some attackers said they wanted to drive away foreigners because they took jobs and
public housing from poor South Africans. Authorities said the primary motive was
criminal.

The attacks occurred during a period when inflation reached 10 percent per year in the
country and food prices doubled or in some cases tripled.

Official unemployment is around 25 percent, but the figure in impoverished settlements
surpasses 40 percent and is as high as 80 percent among the young.

Some analysts said the violence occurred so quickly and was so widespread that it
appeared to have been coordinated. But the senior author of the report, Tamlyn Monson,
said the Commission found no such evidence.
                                                                                        45

"We were not looking for that evidence specifically, but speaking to police, asking if they
had found out who had been responsible, speaking to community members, there was
absolutely no indication that there had been coordination across the country," Monson
said.

The violence shocked many South Africans. The government condemned the violence
and demonstrations against xenophobia were staged across the country.

Among the dozens of recommendations, Commissioner Govender says measures must be
taken to prevent local leaders from inflaming resentments for political reasons.

"Monitoring what ward councilors are doing and monitoring political parties' responses to
ward councilors who act in ways that in any way entrench these sorts of attacks or these
sorts of stereotypes or these sorts of prejudices in their campaigning," Govender said.

The Human Rights Commission concluded that justice, compensation and the re-
integration of victims into their communities in many cases never occurred. It says the
underlying tensions that led to the violence have not been addressed. It urges the
government to make greater efforts to anticipate and prepare for any future attacks.


Malawi Church Leaders to Condemn Homosexual Behavior
A verdict is expected on Monday in the trial of a gay couple arrested in December for
planning Malawi’s first same-sex wedding. Meanwhile, Malawi church leaders began a
meeting on Wednesday in Blantyre to understand what they call the phenomenon of same
sex partners. Reverend Malani Ntonga, chairman of the Church Foundation for Integrity
and Democracy, said a communiqué is expected Thursday but that the general view
during Wednesday's meeting is that the church should not allow homosexuality to take
root in Malawi.

(Voice of America)                                          18 March 2010

A verdict is expected Monday in the trial of a gay couple arrested in December for
planning Malawi’s first same-sex wedding.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi, but the arrest and imprisonment of Steven Monjeza
and Tiwonge Chimbalanga has concerned donors who contribute over 80 percent of
Malawi’s development budget.

Meanwhile, Malawi church leaders began a meeting Wednesday in Blantyre to
understand what they call the phenomenon of same sex partners.

Reverend Malani Ntonga, chairman of the Church Foundation for Integrity and
Democracy, said a communiqué is expected Thursday but that the general view during
Wednesday's meeting is that the church should not allow homosexuality to take root in
Malawi.
                                                                                         46

“We strongly believe that righteousness exalt the nation and now homosexuality it is an
abomination before the eyes of God. It’s our responsibility as members of the clergy to
guide our nation jealously with prayers to make sure that righteousness flows in our
nation,” he said.

Reverend Ntonga said that as members of the clergy, they want to appeal to the Malawi
government to also say no to homosexuality.

“As members of the clergy we are saying no to homosexuality and we want to appeal as
well to the government that they should not tolerate or accept this issue of homosexuality
to get roots in our nation,” Ntonga said.

He said the anti-gay sentiment in Malawi and elsewhere around Africa is supported by
passages from the Bible.

“The Book of Leviticus, Chapter 18, is telling us that man is not supposed to get married
to another man or they are not supposed to have sexual intercourse with another man,
which means that, and if you continue to read from that Book of Leviticus, Chapter 18
you will see that God will punish the nation which tolerates this type of abomination to
take root in that nation,” he said.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa
where same sex marriage is legalized.

A proposed anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda has called for long jail terms or
death penalty in some cases of homosexual intercourse.

President Barack Obama recently criticized the proposed Uganda legislation as
“unconscionable”.

Reverend Ntonga said if donor nations want to fund Malawi with homosexual
conditionality, then they should keep their funds.

“Malawi is a sovereign state. Of course we are poor and we might need their assistance,
but let them assist us with what we want and not what they want and at the end of the day
it will bring more calamities to our nation. So as members of the clergy we are saying if
they are to fund us with this evil attached to the funds, let them keep their funds,” Ntonga
said.

He said he’s positive the judge in the trial of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
would render a fair verdict.

Reverend Ntonga said the church is ready to pray with the two and embrace them if they
are willing to turn away from their alleged homosexual tendency.

“We are not actually against fighting those individuals, but we against the actual sin of
homosexuality. But those members who are involved in that, we are saying let them come
                                                                                       47

and we will pray with them and counsel them and if they are ready to change their lives,
we will embrace them as brothers and sisters,” Ntonga said.

He reiterated that God created a man and a woman to marry each other and not a man
marrying another man or a woman marrying another woman.

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is the current chairman of the African Union.


Fifty Years On, South Africa Remembers Sharpeville Massacre
This weekend South Africans will mark the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre
in which 69 people were killed and hundreds more were injured by police in an incident
that marked a turning point in the country's history.


(Voice of America)                                  19 March 2010


This weekend South Africans will mark the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre
in which 69 people were killed and hundreds more were injured by police in an incident
that marked a turning point in the country's history.


It was a day that, like the bullets that flew across the dusty streets of the impoverished
township of Sharpeville, would soon reverberate across South Africa and across the
globe.


Soon after 1:00 pm, on a warm autumn afternoon police fired without warning on a
crowd of about 5,000 peaceful protesters who had converged on the Sharpeville police
station to burn their so-called apartheid era pass-books and offer themselves for arrest.
Most of the 69 people killed, and 180 injured, were shot in the back as they attempted to
flee.


Ahmed Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, tells VOA the massacre set in
motion what many now see as an inevitable chain of events. "And in a sense what it did
was put in motion the slow chain of events that ultimately led to the South African
government yielding to local and international pressure and un-banning the liberation
movements and un-banning Nelson Mandela in 1990," he said.


The protesters in Sharpeville, like thousands more in several other black townships across
the country, were protesting against the hated "dompas' or pass-book which black South
Africans were compelled to carry at all times. Dangor explains the pass-book was so
much more than simply a document of identification. "But think about 1960, here blacks
were burning the very document that in a sense was their passport to life. You couldn't
get work without a pass [identification document that identified people by race, and
                                                                                         48

where they were able to live and work]; you couldn't travel without a pass, and yet people
were brave enough to burn it," he said.


The protests on March 21st, 1960 were organized by the Pan Africanist Congress, PAC,
which led by Robert Sobukwe, had broken away from the African National Congress,
ANC, the previous year.


In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, former President Nelson Mandela writes
that the ANC had already announced plans for a series of protests starting March 31st,
but was pre-empted by the PAC plans.


The events on March 21st precipitated a crackdown on the liberation movements and
individuals by the apartheid state led at the time by the National Party's Hendrik
Verwoerd. As Prime Minister, Mr. Verwoerd had introduced numerous laws to establish
the raced-based discriminatory system known as apartheid - earning him the title,
architect of apartheid.


By 1964 many of the leaders of the liberation movements were in jail or in exile. But
Dangor says that while the post-Sharpeville crackdown may have prolonged the struggle
against apartheid, it also shook the government. "But in a sense what it also did was
undermine the, both the reality and the perception of this monolith, this concrete
monolith that was unmovable. They were shaken enough to respond as violently as they
did," he said.


On December 10 1996, Mr Mandela chose Sharpeville to sign into force South Africa's
internationally acclaimed constitution, which includes a Bill of Rights and other clauses
to guarantee human rights. Pregs Govender, Deputy National Commissioner of the South
African Human Rights Commission, tell VOA many of the protections enshrined in the
founding law can be traced back to how people responded to the Sharpeville massacre.
"So I think the sense of commitment to say never again was a very, very strong one and
motivated the people who fought within the liberation movements across the country, and
who participated in the negotiations and in the drafting of the constitution," he said.


In 1994, Mr. Mandela's newly elected government designated March 21st as Human
Rights Day, a national holiday in South Africa.


ZAMBIA: School Policy for Teen Mothers a Partial Success
Until 1997, pregnant girls were expelled from Zambian schools, while teenage fathers
were not held responsible. But now the pregnant girls and teen mothers are not expelled
from school rather they are facilitated. Thanks to the financial support offered through the
Re-entry Policy and the child support grant, more than a third of those teenage mothers
returned to school after giving birth, the department noted.
                                                                                       49


(IPS)                                                      19 March 2010

LUSAKA, Mar 19 (IPS) - Naomi Mulenga is determined to beat the odds by finishing her
school education and becoming a nurse – despite being a teenage mother.

At 13, she is the mother of a seven-month-old baby she raises on her own since the father
denies responsibility for the child.

Mulenga says she feels bitter about the turn of events in her life, especially because she
also heads a household since her parents’ death in 2007, and takes care of a younger
brother and sister.

Lack of parental guidance coupled with sexual inexperience and peer pressure landed
Mulenga in the arms of a young man who promised her marriage, but instead made her
pregnant and abandoned her.

Luckily, Mulenga’s teachers were understanding and encouraged her to attend school
until she gave birth and to return after the delivery of the baby. She currently attends
grade eight at Kanakashi Basic School in Kasama, in Zambia’s Northern Province, where
she is one of the top pupils in her class.

"When the (exam) results came out in January, I was among the girls selected for grade
eight. I was happy but also saddened because I did not have the money (to continue to go
to school," Mulenga recalled.

Eventually, she was offered a bursary to finish secondary school and enroll for tertiary
education through the department of education’s Girls Re-entry Policy aimed specifically
at teenage mothers. She also received an additional child support grant for poor
households.

Mulenga says she is working extra hard to show other girls in similar situations that
falling pregnant does not have to be the end of the road. While she is at school, her six-
year-old sister takes care of the baby.

Deputy Minister of Education, Clement Sinyinda, explains the Re-Entry Policy tries to
address gender inequalities that have disadvantaged girls from accessing education in the
country for many years. The policy is part of a wider strategy to improve education for
girls, he explained.

Until 1997, pregnant girls were expelled from Zambian schools, while teenage fathers
were not held responsible.

The numbers of teenage pregnancies have been on a steady increase countrywide,
according to the education department, with 9,111 reported pregnancies of school-going
girls in 2005, compared to 12,370 in 2008.
                                                                                           50

But thanks to the financial support offered through the Re-entry Policy and the child
support grant, more than a third of those teenage mothers returned to school after giving
birth, the department noted.

"The ministry is seriously trying to address the challenges of girls becoming pregnant
whilst in school," promised Sinyinda. Apart from financial support, strategies include
career guidance and counseling sessions, as well as sexual education, he says.

However, the deputy minister admitted that while the Re-entry Policy has helped to
increase school enrolment of girls, achieving universal access to education for all still
remains a big challenge – not only due to teenage pregnancy, but also because of
widespread poverty.

To assist all poor children in the country, government offered almost 95,000 children in
grades one to nine bursaries in 2008, with half of them being awarded to girls. This is a
more than ten percent increase in bursaries since 2005.

"The provision of a bursary to support orphans and vulnerable children is another
intervention to promote the participation of children who could not afford the cost of
education," Sinyinda explained.

Permanent secretary of the ministry of tourism, environment and natural resources,
Lillian Kapulu, agrees that the Re-entry Policy needs to be combined with a more general
educational grant to give all children a second chance at life. "It is difficult, in villages,
for parents to find money for school fees and uniforms, so many force their children out
of school after grade seven," she said.

But despite the financial support, many teenage mothers continue to drop out of school
because they find it difficult to balance their education and the obligations that come with
being a parent, notes Kapulu.

Mulenga confirms that life has remained tough. The grant of 30 dollars a month is hardly
enough to pay for the daily needs of her siblings, her baby and herself, she says. To put
food on the table, she plants maize and vegetables on a small piece of land next to her
house.

"It is difficult to be both a parent and a student, because sometimes you lose
concentration, especially when the baby is not well and you are in school," Mulenga told
IPS.

Unfortunately, one additional avenue of support – an education programme for teenage
mothers run by American non-profit organisation Family Health Trust (FHT) – was
closed down at the end of last year.

FHT’s Community Health and Nutrition, Gender and Education Support (CHANGES)
programme ran for three years and helped more than 3,500 teenage mothers to return to
school, says FHT acting programmes manager Kilby Lungu.
                                                                                       51

"Since the closure of CHANGES, the girls have remained at the mercy of the school
administration. A small percentage have been put on the (government) sponsorship, while
a bigger percentage are struggling for school fees or dropped out completely," he said.


Malawi churches: homesexuality is 'sinful'
Malawi church leaders said that homosexuality is "sinful" and urged Western nations to
withdraw threats to halt aid to this southern Africa country over a court case that could
send two gay men to jail for up to 14 years.

(Times Live)                                Mar 20, 2010

Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe, head of the Malawi Council of Churches, says a three day
meeting of the main Protestant groups unanimously agreed on Friday to oppose any
easing of laws criminalising same-sex partnerships.

A verdict will be delivered March 29 on Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga,
arrested and jailed since December 26 after holding a public engagement ceremony.

The arrests have outraged human rights groups and Western donors in Malawi, one of
Africa's poorest nations.

The churches say the West should not be allowed to use its financial power to force
Malawi to accept homosexuality.




Politics

Zambians Have the Right to Demand Good Governance, Says
Government Critic
Goodwell Lungu (the executive director of Transparency International) said opponents of
the administration are law-abiding citizens expressing their views about the lack of good
governance. “As far as we are concerned he (Father Bwalya) has not committed any
offense. He is merely expressing his opinion about how our country is being governed.
And we feel that any other person has every right to express himself or herself,” he said.

(Voice of America)                                         15 March 2010

In Zambia, the executive director of Transparency International (TI) says critics of the
government are not seeking the illegal removal of President Rupiah Banda’s
administration.
                                                                                       52

Goodwell Lungu said opponents of the administration are law-abiding citizens expressing
their views about the lack of good governance.

“As far as we are concerned he (Father Bwalya) has not committed any offense. He is
merely expressing his opinion about how our country is being governed. And we feel that
any other person has every right to express himself or herself,” he said.

Father Frank Bwalya, a government critic was last week arrested and imprisoned during a
youth rally after he reportedly raised a red painted card which police deemed a call to
remove President Rupiah Banda’s government.

But TI’s Executive Director Lungu denied Father Bwalya advocated the unconstitutional
removal of President Banda.

“By distributing red cards, which was just a symbolic gesture indicating that we are
particularly concerned that the fight against corruption is losing momentum as well as the
chances of us as Zambians being given a new people-driven constitution they are
slimming down, as well as the coming up of the draconian Non-Governmental Act by the
government. We feel that the government should take heed of our concerns and react
positively,” Lungu said.

Police said Father Bwalya was arraigned in court Monday charged with conduct likely to
cause a breach of peace during the youth rally held to mark youth day in Kitwe, north of
Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

Lungu said there was nothing sinister about Bwalya’s campaign.

“The campaign that Father Bwalya had been arrested for we feel is a very genuine
campaign that bothers on our feelings as Zambians. Where we feel that the government
should be able to promote good governance and not bad governance in Zambia…the
government doesn’t seem to be very much committed to promoting good governance at
the moment,” Lungu said.

During a news conference Monday, a coalition including civil society groups, opposition
parties as well as non-governmental organizations demanded Father Bwalya’s release.
The group was quoted as saying we "wish to warn (the) government that we are not
intimidated by the arrest of Father Bwalya,” the group said.

But Zambia’s information minister Ronnie Shikapwasha said Father Bwalya flouted the
law.

“I think they (groups) are being mischievous. First of all everybody obeys laws in any
country and if you break the law whether you are a priest you are an engineer you are a
pilot you are a politician that law is not selective. And you are arrested you are
prosecuted for that offense of which you committed and it’s the same with Father
Bwalya,” Shikapwasha said.
                                                                                          53

Critics have often accused the government of intimidation and harassment. But minister
Shikapwasha denied any planned government intimidation.

“That is not true. That is fabrication. He (Father Bwalya) committed a felony and if you
go against the law in any country there is no favor for anybody who breaks the law… so
there is nothing to intimidate about Mr. Bwalya… So, as Zambian government, we go by
the laws. Those civil society organizations that are calling for his release they should look
at what the law says before they go and do something that may break the law,”
Shikapwasha said.


Analysis: Madagascar's year of crisis
A year after former President Marc Ravalomanana was forced from power by current
President Andry Rajoelina and part of the army, the country is still without an
internationally recognized government. The African Union (AU) is set to announce what
action it will take against Rajoelina and his administration, known as the Higher
Transitional Authority (HAT), should they fail to implement agreed power-sharing
measures - signed in 2009 with the leaders of Madagascar's three other main political
parties - by March 17, exactly a year after the coup-style change of leadership.

(IRIN)                                16 March 2010

ANTANANARIVO, 16 March 2010 (IRIN) - Madagascar's political deadlock masks an
increasingly fragile humanitarian situation that will keep deteriorating if no solution to
the ongoing crisis is found.

A year after former President Marc Ravalomanana was forced from power by current
President Andry Rajoelina and part of the army, the country is still without an
internationally recognized government.

The African Union (AU) is set to announce what action it will take against Rajoelina and
his administration, known as the Higher Transitional Authority (HAT), should they fail to
implement agreed power-sharing measures - signed in 2009 with the leaders of
Madagascar's three other main political parties - by March 17, exactly a year after the
coup-style change of leadership.

Amid the political turmoil and economic decline, aid organizations are worried about a
worsening humanitarian situation and diminishing capacity to respond to emergencies on
the disaster-prone island - in the most recent calamity, tropical storm Hubert struck
Madagascar's east coast on 10 March, killing at least 36 people and leaving some 37,000
homeless.

Dramatic cuts in public spending by a government struggling to deal with the combined
economic impacts of a domestic political crisis and the global financial crisis has meant
that basic commitments in sectors like health and education cannot be met.
                                                                                          54

"The one thing that ... [everyone] should be able to agree upon is that the longer the crisis
drags on, the worse the economic situation becomes for the Malagasy people," said John
Uniack Davis, Madagascar country director of CARE International, which works to
reduce poverty.

"What has been difficult over the last year is that food security issues in the south have
become more severe, and we have seen tropical storms and flooding affect some areas.
As a result, we are seeing signs of declining livelihoods, but it is hard for outsiders to
understand these various distinct and recurrent humanitarian crises and separate them
from the political situation," he told IRIN.

Economic hardship

It's been a tough year. The World Bank noted in its February Programme Update that "the
existing political situation and the global financial crisis are exacting a heavy toll on
Madagascar's economy, leading to a decline in economic growth and job losses."

Falling demand for Madagascar's main export products, including vanilla, cloves, coffee
and shrimps, has reflected the downturn in global trade. As a direct result of the political
crisis, international donors cut non-essential humanitarian aid, which previously
accounted for up 70 percent of government spending, the International Monetary Fund
noted.

The World Bank put job losses at 228,000, mainly in urban areas and largely as a result
of a sharp decline in tourism and the suspension of a preferential trade agreement with
the US, on which Madagascar's textile industry had relied heavily. Up to 50,000 jobs are
at risk as textile factories that can no longer afford to export to the US start closing.

According to the Bank, economic growth in Madagascar collapsed to just 0.6 percent in
2009, from 7 percent in 2008. The figures suggest that public investment is down by
around 30 percent, construction by 40 percent, imports by 22 percent, and energy
consumption by 15 percent.

Tax collection was down about a quarter in 2009, and a February brief by the Bank's
Lead Madagascar economist concluded that "authorities need to get more out of each
dollar they spend. The local economy has certainly been in recession since the second
quarter of 2009 and perspectives are even more sombre for 2010."

Social hardship

Nearly 70 percent of Malagasy live below the poverty line, according to the UN
Children's Fund (UNICEF). "In this context ... ensuring the basic rights of the population
remains crucial," UNICEF said in a report released in February. "The situation presents a
risk of increasing vulnerability levels, particularly of children and women."

With social investment estimated to have shrunk by around US$200 million, the
corresponding cut in the health budget has brought the provision of basic services into
question, in particular common inoculations like measles, tetanus, polio and BCG
                                                                                          55

(Bacillus Calmette-Guérin - a vaccine against tuberculosis), up to half of which is paid
for by the government.

"Our priority now is to monitor child vulnerability and to respond accordingly, taking
into consideration the erosion of essential services for children," Bruno Maes, head of
UNICEF Madagascar, told IRIN. The agency projects that expenditure on routine
vaccinations will double in 2010 to plug the gap in government funding and ensure that
children receive routine inoculations in 2010.

Continued support

Despite some donor disengagement the international community has remained
remarkably supportive said Benoit Kalasa, acting Resident Coordinator for the UN
system in Madagascar. "They have not abandoned the Malagasy population ... who have
already paid a high price for political instability in the past."

The World Bank, Madagascar's largest donor, has processed no fund withdrawal requests
since 17 March 2009, but "with a view to minimizing adverse impact on the lives of poor
Malagasy citizens", the Bank had resumed disbursements for critical project components
with a "direct bearing on human well-being", such as nutrition, HIV/AIDS and food
security, the Bank said in its February statement.

USAID, another large donor, halted "development" aid but increased "humanitarian" aid.
Richard Marcus, Director of the International Studies Programme at California State
University in the US, who has just returned from Madagascar, noted that "very few
donors have pulled out" completely.

Besides the money, it was also important that donors stayed "because it is relatively easy
to ramp up funding if conditions allow when there is still an operating country office ... it
can take years before new funding initiatives can be negotiated and the infrastructure for
funding can be established," Marcus told IRIN.

Still, the reduction in project spending by donors is being felt, particularly in social
sectors like education and healthcare, and "that pressure will increase dramatically in
2010," Marcus warned.

"The current government is surely under financial pressure", he said, and without external
support from donors "It will be increasingly difficult to meet public salary demands. That
is a priority in Madagascar, as civil servants are well organized and have a history of
leading social action, particularly in the capital."

Breaking the cycle

Resolving Madagascar's political crisis is a long-term project that will take complex
political reform and education. Since the beginning of the crisis the international
community has taken the winding path of reconciliation between the island's current and
three former presidents. An International Contact Group has been formed to broker
dialogue between the parties.
                                                                                        56


"There were several factors that sparked the current crisis: first among them was poor
governance, characterized by a collision between public and private interests [under
former president Ravalomanana]," said Guy Ratrimoarivony, director of the Centre for
Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, based in the capital, Antananarivo.

"This helped spark popular discontent at a time when Madagascar was also suffering
from the global economic crisis. Rajoelina was a catalyst, the person that came to
represent the opposition." He suggested that political dialogue should include national
discussion of issues as complex as federalism and decentralisation.

"To avoid a repeat crisis, I believe the civil society should play a role, and that it is
necessary to completely restructure the republic. We need to start from the base, to see
what people want and what they attach value to," said Ratrimoarivony, who believes that
Madagascar needs a new constitution to lay the foundation of a more stable state.

However, some observers say the strength of the civil society movement in Madagascar
has historically been weakened by political bias. "Civil society is not independent, and
successive governments have worked only with those groups that support them," Hanitra
Rafolisy, president of the National Union of Human Rights, a platform for rights groups,
told IRIN.

"The number of people out of work rises every day, the number of children not in school
rises every day, and every day the security situation deteriorates," she commented.

Ratrimoarivony said finding a sustainable solution to Madagascar's seemingly chronic
political instability could take many years. "Education is fundamental; we need education
and time. This may take one or two generations, but we must start now to change the
mentality of young people."

Marcus pointed out that "Every president since independence has manipulated the
constitution to suit his needs. The populace appears, if anything, sickened by leadership,
and perceive the problem as a battle between leaders from which they suffer, but of
which they are not a part."


S.Africa spends $2 mln on Zuma's wives, children
South Africa is spending more than $2 million a year to support polygamist President
Jacob Zuma's wives and children, almost double the budget from a year ago, a minister
said on Tuesday.

(Alert Net)                                         16 Mar 2010


CAPE TOWN, March 16 (Reuters) - South Africa is spending more than $2 million a
year to support polygamist President Jacob Zuma's wives and children, almost double the
budget from a year ago, a minister said on Tuesday. The 68-year-old Zuma, who
                                                                                         57

currently has three wives, recently admitted to fathering his 20th child out of wedlock
with the daughter of a friend, drawing flak for a cavalier attitude to sex in a country with
one of the world's biggest HIV/AIDS caseloads.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question, Collins Chabane, a minister charged with
monitoring government performance, said the state had a 15.5 million rand budget for
Zuma's family this year.

The "spousal office" paid for personal support staff, such as secretaries and researchers,
as well as domestic and international air travel and accommodation, Chabane said.

Cellular phones for spouses and their secretaries, laptops and printers and a special daily
allowance for "incidental" expenses were also covered.

"The state provides all reasonable administrative, logistical and other support to the
spouses to enable them to meet these responsibilities in a manner that permits them
actively to pursue their own careers and interests if they so desire," he said.

Mrs Thobeka Zuma was engaged in community work related to health, Mrs Sizakele
Zuma was dealing with agriculture and food security, while Mrs Nompumelelo Zuma
was working with orphans and vulnerable children, he said.


MADAGASCAR: Timeline - A turbulent political history
Madagascar's history is marked by a struggle for political control. Madagascar gained
independence in 1960, but since then it has been plagued by assassinations, military
coups and disputed elections. A timeline of the major events in the island's turbulent
history is given in the article.

(IRIN)                                               17 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 17 March 2010 (IRIN) - Madagascar's history is marked by a
struggle for political control. By 1700, France and England had attempted to establish
settlements, while the rulers of the island's many kingdoms fought among themselves for
dominance.

During the 1700s the Merina ethnic group gained control of the central plateau and
established a monarchy; with British help they eventually ruled most of the island. Their
reign came to an end when French marines landed on the island in the 1880s and France
instituted colonial rule.

Madagascar gained independence in 1960, but since then it has been plagued by
assassinations, military coups and disputed elections. Here is a timeline of the major
events in the island's turbulent history.


1946 - Madagascar becomes an Overseas Territory of France.
                                                                                       58


1947 - Thousands are killed when the French put down an armed rebellion in the east.

1958 - Madagascar votes for autonomy.

June 1960 - The Malagasy Republic (Madagascar) gains independence with Philibert
Tsiranana as president.

May 1972 - Huge crowds led by students gather in Tananarive, the capital, to demand
Tsiranana's resignation. Power is handed to army chief Gen Gabriel Ramanantsoa, who
heads a provisional government.

June 1975 - Didier Ratsiraka, a military commander, becomes head of state.

December 1975 - Ratsiraka is elected president for a seven-year term in a national
referendum. The country is renamed the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.

August 1991 - Mass demonstrations and civil service strikes start. Over 100,000 people
march on the presidential palace and the presidential guard responds with gunfire and
grenades.

October 1991 - Ratsiraka remains president but relinquishes power to Albert Zafy, head
of the newly established High Authority of the State.

March 1993 - Zafy is elected president, defeating Ratsiraka.

April 1996 - Thousands demonstrate against Zafy amid calls for a military coup in the
capital city, Antananarivo.

August 1996 - Zafy is impeached on allegations of corruption.

January 1997 - Ratsiraka makes a political comeback after the constitutional court finds
that he won the presidential election in November 1996.

February 1998 - Members of the opposition, including Zafy, make an unsuccessful
attempt to impeach Ratsiraka.

December 2001 - Ratsiraka faces Antananarivo mayor Marc Ravalomanana in the first
round of the presidential election.

January 2002 - Daily protests pressure Ratsiraka's government for a recount of
presidential election ballots. Madagascar's High Constitutional Court certifies that
Ravalomanana got 46.2 percent of the votes and Ratsiraka got 40.8 percent - neither has
the required majority of 51 percent. A runoff is set within two months but thousands of
Ravalomanana's supporters take to the streets in protest. Ravalomanana calls for a
national strike.
                                                                                         59

February 2002 - Ravalomanana declares himself president after two months of dispute.
Ratsiraka declares martial law in the capital.

March 2002 - Ravalomanana forms a rival government and seizes the defence ministry -
the last ministry controlled by Ratsiraka's government - and calls an end to the national
strike. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) calls for a government of "national
reconciliation" until a new ballot is held, but Ratsiraka rejects the proposal.

April 2002 - The Supreme Court annuls the disputed results of the December 2001
presidential election and after a recount hands the presidency to Ravalomanana with over
51 percent of the vote. Ratsiraka says he will not abide by the decision.

May 2002 - Ravalomanana is sworn in as president. The international community shows
cautious support.

June 2002 - Ratsiraka flees to France. He returns and calls for fresh talks, but
Ravalomanana rejects this.

July 2002 - Ratsiraka seeks exile in France, marking the end of the seven-month political
crisis. In a show of support for the new administration, donors pledge US$2.3 billion in
aid.

December 2002 - Ravalomanana's party, I Love Madagascar, wins 102 of the 160 seats in
parliament in key elections, seen as a test of popular support for the president.

February 2003 - A former head of the armed forces is charged with mounting an
attempted coup against Ravalomanana.

July 2003 - After a year-long suspension Madagascar is readmitted to the African Union
(AU).

December 2003 - Ratsiraka, still in exile, is sentenced to five years in prison for his role
in the 2002 political crisis.

May 2006 - Opposition parties boycott talks with Ravalomanana ahead of presidential
elections to be held in December.

November 2006 - Tensions flare briefly when an army general's call for Ravalomanana to
stand down ahead of presidential elections the following month is "misinterpreted" as a
coup attempt.

December 2006 - Ravalomanana wins the presidential election with 55 percent of the
votes.
                                                                                       60

****The most recent crisis****

December 2008 - Andry Rajoelina, Mayor of Antananarivo and owner of the Viva TV
station, airs an interview with exiled former president Ratsiraka; authorities promptly
shut down the television station.

January 2009 - Thousands take to the streets demanding a new government. Dozens are
killed as protests turn violent. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina calls on Ravalomanana
to resign as president and proclaims himself in charge of the country.

February 2009 - Rajoelina is sacked as mayor of Antananarivo. At least 28 people are
killed when security forces open fire on an opposition demonstration in the capital. The
country's defence minister resigns. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana meet to resolve the
crisis but talks stall. The AU warns it will condemn any unconstitutional change of
power.

March 2009 - Soldiers in a military camp outside Antananarivo mutiny and say they will
defy government orders to repress civilians. Madagascar's army chief issues a 72-hour
ultimatum to the feuding political leaders to resolve their disputes or face military
intervention. Ravalomanana proposes a referendum as a solution; fearing further unrest
he resigns, ceding power to the military. Rajoelina assumes power with military and high
court backing. The AU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
suspend Madagascar.

April 2009 - Security forces clash with supporters loyal to Ravalomanana.

June 2009 - Ravalomanana, in exile in South Africa since March, is sentenced in absentia
to four years in prison for abuse of office.

August 2009 - International mediators broker a power-sharing agreement in
Mozambique's capital, Maputo, between Madagascar's political rivals who agree to create
an interim government to end months of violence. A second round of talks in Maputo
ends without agreement on who should be prime minister, or hold other key cabinet
posts.

September 2009 - Rajoelina unilaterally names a new "unity" government, amid wide
international condemnation.

October 2009 - Madagascar's opposing political factions agree to retain Rajoelina as head
of the transitional government, but will not allow him to run in presidential elections. A
consensus prime minister is appointed.

November 2009 - Madagascar's political rivals meet in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis
Ababa, and agree on a transitional consensus government until fresh polls are held in
2010. Rajoelina retains the presidency but is flanked by two co-presidents.
                                                                                       61

December 2009 - Rajoelina distances himself from the power-sharing deal, boycotts new
talks in Maputo, and announces a plan to hold parliamentary elections in March 2010.
Opposition accuses Rajoelina of stalling on implementing a consensus government.

Jan 2010 - Rajoelina snubs the African Union's top diplomat, and again rejects calls for
consensus government.

February 2010 - Rajoelina postpones the parliamentary election until May. The AU
threatens Rajoelina and his administration with sanctions unless the power-sharing deal is
implemented by 16 May 2010.

March 2010 - Rajoelina fails to implement power-sharing deal. The AU imposes targeted
sanctions on Rajoelina and his administration.


South Africa's Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote
South African President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no-confidence called by
opposition parties on fathering of love child by him. The vote - the first such move since
the ANC came to power in 1994 - was defeated by 241 votes to 84 with eight abstentions.
(BBC News)                                          18 March 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no-confidence called by
opposition parties.

The vote - the first such move since the ANC came to power in 1994 - was defeated by
241 votes to 84 with eight abstentions.

The motion was called by the Congress of the People (Cope) and backed by the
Democratic Alliance.

The vote follows an admission by President Zuma, who has three wives, that he has a
child out of wedlock.

The ANC has a huge parliamentary majority.

Mr Zuma is in Zimbabwe, where he went to try to ease tensions in the fragile unity
government. He is due to return to South Africa later.

President Zuma faced sharp criticism earlier this year after it emerged he had fathered a
child with Sonono Khoza, 39, the daughter of local World Cup boss Irvin Khoza.

He was also accused of failing to declare his financial interests within the allotted
timeframe.

'Let us down'
                                                                                         62

In proposing the motion, Cope leader Mvume Dandala told the National Assembly: "The
president of our country has let us down. He has let Africa and the world down.

"It is common knowledge how the president has failed this nation by his repeated risky
sexual behaviour, thus weakening the crucial fight against HIV/Aids and setting a poor
example."

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, a veteran ANC member, dismissed the motion as "a
frivolous waste of time".

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says although Mr Zuma easily survived the
no-confidence vote, it should still serve as a harsh message to the president.

She says many people, even some of his core supporters, have already become
disenchanted with him after just 10 months in office and he must work hard to regain his
popularity.


Zimbabwe commission to licence private newspapers
Zimbabwe's newly appointed media commission will soon start licensing private
newspapers, the press body said on Friday, in a move that is part of reforms agreed by the
country's power-sharing government.

(Alert Net)                                          19 Mar 2010

HARARE, March 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's newly appointed media commission will
soon start licensing private newspapers, the press body said on Friday, in a move that is
part of reforms agreed by the country's power-sharing government.

President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, formed a
unity government last year following disputed elections which has since implemented
some political and economic reforms.

Last December, the two appointed officials nominated by parliament to a commission
that will drive media reforms, as part of a political pact which also provided for licensing
of newspapers banned by Mugabe's previous ZANU-PF government.

Under the ZANU-PF administration, a state-appointed body used stringent media laws to
police the newspaper industry, forcing several titles to close. Zimbabwe currently has
three major private weekly newspapers but no private daily.

"The commission has resolved to expeditiously fulfil its mandate as outlined in the global
political agreement and subsequent constitutional amendments," the media body said in a
statement after its first board meeting.

"It has resolved to move with speed to introduce and implement programmes aimed at
promoting development of the Zimbabwean media," the statement said.
                                                                                           63


The commission, which is considering several applications from potential publishers, said
it expected to fulfil its mandate within "the shortest possible time".

Western donors, whose aid is essential to Zimbabwe's economic recovery from a decade-
long downturn, have demanded broad political reforms before funding the unity
government, which says it needs at least $10 billion for reconstruction.

The power-sharing government has been held back by frequent disputes over the pace of
reforms, senior state appointments such as those of central bank governor and attorney-
general, and sanctions imposed by Western governments on Mugabe and his inner circle.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who is mediating between Tsvangirai and Mugabe,
this week visited Zimbabwe and said on Thursday the leaders had agreed on resolving
their disputes.

The Zimbabwean parties have said they will finalise all negotiations on fully
implementing the power-sharing agreement on March 31.


Namibia: Opposition snub swearing-in
Eight members of Namibia's main opposition party, Rally for Democracy and
Development (RDP) have snubbed President Hifikepunye Pohamba's swearing-in
ceremony held in that country's capital Windhoek. The RDP took the decision following
last November's disputed vote in which Pohamba was declared winner.

(Africa News)                         20 March 2010


Namibian Journalist, Chengetai Kusemoh said by telephone from Windhoek that the
eight MPs from the opposition RDP who won parliamentary seats in the disputed vote
boycotted the swearing-in ceremony pending a court appeal against the disputed vote.


RDP Secretary General Jesaya Nyamu cautioned, "Our members will stay away from the
swearing-in ceremony due on Friday because we will wait for the court decision on our
election challenge."


The RDP is among nine demanding an audit of the results of last November's election
which gave Pohamba and SWAPO a landslide victory.


Last month a court rejected their case on a technicality, a decision they are appealing.


The frontline opposition party contends that swearing in the 72 elected members of
parliament before the Supreme Court decision would amount to pre-empting the court
verdict.
                                                                                      64



Pan Africa

S.Africa's Zuma to assess Zimbabwe unity govt pact

South African leader Jacob Zuma will visit Zimbabwe this week to assess the state of a
power-sharing agreement set up to end a decade-long political and economic crisis.

(Alert Net)                                        15 Mar 2010


JOHANNESBURG, March 15 (Reuters) - South African leader Jacob Zuma will visit
Zimbabwe this week to assess the state of a power-sharing agreement set up to end a
decade-long political and economic crisis.

President Robert Mugabe and his old rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity
government last year to end a stalement over disputed elections, which has managed to
stabilise the economy following 10 consecutive years of contraction.

But analysts say frequent wrangling over policy and the slow pace of reforms have held
back progress. Western donors have also held back aid crucial to helping rebuild the
country, demanding Mugabe first implement concrete human rights and democratic
reforms.

"President Jacob Zuma will travel to ... Zimbabwe on 16-18 March to meet with political
parties that are signatories of the Global Political Agreement," Zuma's office said in a
statement on Monday.

Earlier this month Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma to
end European Union sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.

Zuma said he disagreed with the view expressed from outside Zimbabwe that more
pressure in the form of sanctions was the way forward. [ID:nLDE6212DA]

About three million Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring South Africa as the
economy collapsed at home.


MADAGASCAR: A year of crisis
Madagascar's political deadlock masks an increasingly fragile humanitarian situation that
will keep deteriorating if no solution to the ongoing crisis is found.

(Alert Net)                                        16 Mar 2010
                                                                                          65

ANTANANARIVO, 16 March 2010 (IRIN) - Madagascar's political deadlock masks an
increasingly fragile humanitarian situation that will keep deteriorating if no solution to
the ongoing crisis is found.

A year after former President Marc Ravalomanana was forced from power by current
President Andry Rajoelina and part of the army, the country is still without an
internationally recognized government.

The African Union (AU) is set to announce what action it will take against Rajoelina and
his administration, known as the Higher Transitional Authority (HAT), should they fail to
implement agreed power-sharing measures - signed in 2009 with the leaders of
Madagascar's three other main political parties - by March 17, exactly a year after the
coup-style change of leadership.

Amid the political turmoil and economic decline, aid organizations are worried about a
worsening humanitarian situation and diminishing capacity to respond to emergencies on
the disaster-prone island - in the most recent calamity, tropical storm Hubert struck
Madagascar's east coast on 10 March, killing at least 36 people and leaving some 37,000
homeless.

Dramatic cuts in public spending by a government struggling to deal with the combined
economic impacts of a domestic political crisis and the global financial crisis has meant
that basic commitments in sectors like health and education cannot be met.

"The one thing that ... [everyone] should be able to agree upon is that the longer the crisis
drags on, the worse the economic situation becomes for the Malagasy people," said John
Davis, Madagascar country director of CARE International, which works to reduce
poverty.

"What has been difficult over the last year is that food security issues in the south have
become more severe, and we have seen tropical storms and flooding affect some areas.
As a result, we are seeing signs of declining livelihoods, but it is hard for outsiders to
understand these various distinct and recurrent humanitarian crises and separate them
from the political situation," he told IRIN.

Economic hardship

It's been a tough year. The World Bank noted in its February Programme Update that "the
existing political situation and the global financial crisis are exacting a heavy toll on
Madagascar's economy, leading to a decline in economic growth and job losses."

Falling demand for Madagascar's main export products, including vanilla, cloves, coffee
and shrimps, has reflected the downturn in global trade. As a direct result of the political
crisis, international donors cut non-essential humanitarian aid, which previously
accounted for up 70 percent of government spending, the International Monetary Fund
noted.
                                                                                       66

The World Bank put job losses at 228,000, mainly in urban areas and largely as a result
of a sharp decline in tourism and the suspension of a preferential trade agreement with
the US, on which Madagascar's textile industry had relied heavily. Up to 50,000 jobs are
at risk as textile factories that can no longer afford to export to the US start closing.

According to the Bank, economic growth in Madagascar collapsed to just 0.6 percent in
2009, from 7 percent in 2008. The figures suggest that public investment is down by
around 30 percent, construction by 40 percent, imports by 22 percent, and energy
consumption by 15 percent.

Tax collection was down about a quarter in 2009, and a February brief by the Bank's
Lead Madagascar economist concluded that "authorities need to get more out of each
dollar they spend. The local economy has certainly been in recession since the second
quarter of 2009 and perspectives are even more sombre for 2010."

Social hardship

Nearly 70 percent of Malagasy live below the poverty line, according to the UN
Children's Fund (UNICEF). "In this context ... ensuring the basic rights of the population
remains crucial," UNICEF said in a report released in February. "The situation presents a
risk of increasing vulnerability levels, particularly of children and women."

With social investment estimated to have shrunk by around US$200 million, the
corresponding cut in the health budget has brought the provision of basic services into
question, in particular common inoculations like measles, tetanus, polio and BCG
(Bacillus Calmette-Guérin a vaccine against tuberculosis), up to half of which is paid for
by the government.

"Our priority now is to monitor child vulnerability and to respond accordingly, taking
into consideration the erosion of essential services for children," Bruno Maes, head of
UNICEF Madagascar, told IRIN. The agency projects that expenditure on routine
vaccinations will double in 2010 to plug the gap in government funding and ensure that
children receive routine inoculations in 2010.

Continued support

Despite some donor disengagement the international community has remained
remarkably supportive said Benoit Kalasa, acting Resident Coordinator for the UN
system in Madagascar. "They have not abandoned the Malagasy population ... who have
already paid a high price for political instability in the past."

The World Bank, Madagascar's largest donor, has processed no fund withdrawal requests
since 17 March 2009, but "with a view to minimizing adverse impact on the lives of poor
Malagasy citizens", the Bank had resumed disbursements for critical project components
with a "direct bearing on human well-being", such as nutrition, HIV/AIDS and food
security, the Bank said in its February statement.
                                                                                          67

USAID, another large donor, halted "development" aid but increased "humanitarian" aid.
Richard Marcus, Director of the International Studies Programme at California State
University in the US, who has just returned from Madagascar, noted that "very few
donors have pulled out" completely.

Besides the money, it was also important that donors stayed "because it is relatively easy
to ramp up funding if conditions allow when there is still an operating country office ... it
can take years before new funding initiatives can be negotiated and the infrastructure for
funding can be established," Marcus told IRIN.

Still, the reduction in project spending by donors is being felt, particularly in social
sectors like education and healthcare, and "that pressure will increase dramatically in
2010," Marcus warned.

"The current government is surely under financial pressure", he said, and without external
support from donors "It will be increasingly difficult to meet public salary demands. That
is a priority in Madagascar, as civil servants are well organized and have a history of
leading social action, particularly in the capital."

Breaking the cycle

Resolving Madagascar's political crisis is a long-term project that will take complex
political reform and education. Since the beginning of the crisis the international
community has taken the winding path of reconciliation between the island's current and
three former presidents. An International Contact Group has been formed to broker
dialogue between the parties.

"There were several factors that sparked the current crisis: first among them was poor
governance, characterized by a collision between public and private interests [under
former president Ravalomanana]," said Guy Ratrimoarivony, director of the Centre for
Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, based in the capital, Antananarivo.

"This helped spark popular discontent at a time when Madagascar was also suffering
from the global economic crisis. Rajoelina was a catalyst, the person that came to
represent the opposition." He suggested that political dialogue should include national
discussion of issues as complex as federalism and decentralisation.

"To avoid a repeat crisis, I believe the civil society should play a role, and that it is
necessary to completely restructure the republic. We need to start from the base, to see
what people want and what they attach value to," said Ratrimoarivony, who believes that
Madagascar needs a new constitution to lay the foundation of a more stable state.

However, some observers say the strength of the civil society movement in Madagascar
has historically been weakened by political bias. "Civil society is not independent, and
successive governments have worked only with those groups that support them," Hanitra
Rafolisy, president of the National Union of Human Rights, a platform for rights groups,
told IRIN.
                                                                                       68

"The number of people out of work rises every day, the number of children not in school
rises every day, and every day the security situation deteriorates," he commented.

Ratrimoarivony said finding a sustainable solution to Madagascar's seemingly chronic
political instability could take many years. "Education is fundamental; we need education
and time. This may take one or two generations, but we must start now to change the
mentality of young people."

Marcus pointed out that "Every president since independence has manipulated the
constitution to suit his needs. The populace appears, if anything, sickened by leadership,
and perceive the problem as a battle between leaders from which they suffer, but of
which they are not a part."

FACTBOX-African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar
The African Union slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina and
108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed Africa's youngest leader
since he seized power a year ago.

(Alert Net)                                         17 Mar 2010

March 17 (Reuters) - The African Union slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President
Andry Rajoelina and 108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed
Africa's youngest leader since he seized power a year ago. [ID:nLDE62G21P]

Here are some facts about the African Union and sanctions:

* The African Union's Peace and Security Council -- the body within the organisation
with the power to impose sanctions -- first met in 2004 and was given the power to use
them in cases of "unconstitutional changes of government".

* The African Union declared 2010 its first year of "peace and security" and vowed to
wipe out coups for good. Within a month of the declaration, the military seized power in
Niger and the country was suspended from the 53-member organisation.

* The AU beefed up its ability to demand members respect democracy this year. It can
now suspend members who tamper with the constitution or refuse to hold elections.
Previously, power had to be seized by force for the AU to act.

* Wednesday's sanctions were imposed on Madagascar's leadership exactly one year after
President Andry Rajoelina seized power with military support. That is the longest it has
ever taken the AU to impose sanctions on a country.

* The AU's constitution says sanctions should be imposed after six months if there has
been no restoration of constitutional order. The organisation said it had believed in
mediation in Madagascar.
                                                                                        69

* Its sanctions are usually carefully targeted against coup leaders to avoid accusations of
hurting civilians in the world's poorest continents.

* The usual set of measures taken are travel bans against coup leaders, a freezing of their
foreign-held assets and the suspension of the country from all AU activities and summits.
The AU asks the United Nations to follow suit.

* In Madagascar's case, 109 people, including Rajoelina, are subject to AU sanctions.
They include key Rajoelina supporters, the government, senior military officers known to
be supporters of the government, senior advisers to Rajoelina, members of the
constitutional court as well as politicians deemed to be obstacles to a return to
constitutional order.

* The AU said it was open to Rajoelina putting forward legitimate concerns about
previous failed power-sharing deals and that the chief mediator was open to suggestions.

* West Africa's Guinea was the last country the AU sanctioned before Madagascar. The
same set of targeted sanctions were imposed in October 2009 against a military junta that
had seized power nine months earlier.

* Most analysts agree that thanks to a legal obligation to impose sanctions after a coup,
the AU has been more effective than its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.
That group was often accused of being an "old dictator's club".


Zimbabwe leaders happy with Zuma talks so far
Zimbabwe's bickering leaders were upbeat on Wednesday about talks brokered by South
African President Jacob Zuma to help resolve differences in their power-sharing
government.

(Alert Net)                                          17 Mar 2010

HARARE, March 17 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's bickering leaders were upbeat on
Wednesday about talks brokered by South African President Jacob Zuma to help resolve
differences in their power-sharing government.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year to end a stalemate over disputed elections
and try to end a crisis that helped drag Zimbabwe into economic ruin.

The deal has stabilised the economy but squabbling within the fragile alliance over policy
and the slow pace of reforms have held back progress and stood in the way of fresh
elections.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai were positive after talking separately with Zuma in a
central Harare hotel, and all the parties were due to meet on Thursday.
                                                                                      70

"It went very well as usual," Mugabe told reporters at the hotel. "We have just started,
discussions are going very well. We are very happy and there are no controversies."

Asked how his meeting went, Tsvangirai said: "Very well, but why don't you wait until
we have concluded."

Zuma was appointed to mediate in the crisis by regional grouping SADC, taking from
former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the original deal in late
2008.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change boycotted cabinet meetings late last year
due to the dispute over the implementation of the deal.
The party is particularly unhappy about central bank Governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists, remaining in their posts.

Justice Minister and Zanu-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said talks would continue
after Zuma's visit, with negotiators set to meet again on March 26 and 29.

"The whole purpose of this meeting is to advise the facilitator of the progress that we
have made so far. It will not be the end of the matter, we should meet as negotiators and
conclude our negotiations which we'll do on those dates."

"We will conclude our discussions and spell out matters we have agreed on and those we
disagree on," he said.

Western donors have held back aid essential to help rebuild the country, saying the 86-
year-old Mugabe, who has ruled the southern Africa country since 1980, must first
implement concrete human rights and democratic reforms.

Former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma this month to end targeted
sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.


African Union imposes sanctions on Madagascar
The African Union (AU) has slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President Andry
Rajoelina and 108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed Africa's
youngest leader since he seized power a year ago.

(Alert Net)                                        17 Mar 2010

ADDIS ABABA, March 17 (Reuters) - The African Union (AU) has slapped sanctions
on Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina and 108 other people in the Indian Ocean
island who have backed Africa's youngest leader since he seized power a year ago.

The AU said in February it would impose targeted sanctions if there was no progress by
March 16 on forming a new government with the three main opposition groups to restore
constitutional order as soon as possible.
                                                                                        71


Some analysts said the sanctions were largely symbolic and would have little impact on
Rajoelina's rule, as long as influential military allies continued to back him.

"The sanctions consist of a refusal to grant visas, the freezing of assets, including their
financial assets in foreign banks, and diplomatic isolation," said Ramtane Lamamra, the
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.

Others targeted included government officials, senior military officers who have backed
the president, and key supporters who are seen as obstacles to a negotiated solution to the
crisis.

"I hope the sanctions will have the effect of nurturing wisdom among the parties and the
realisation that the solution has to be based on consensus," said Lamamra.

The AU said it will now send a request to the United Nations asking it to recognise the
punitive measures.

"WAKE-UP CALL"

Rajoelina and three former presidents agreed a power-sharing deal in Mozambique last
year but disagreements over top government posts scuppered progress. The accord was
then revived at talks in Ethiopia, only to flounder for the same reasons.

The European Union, which has suspended aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is
also mulling sanctions.

Rajoelina has said the sanctions would hit the people of Madagascar most, while analysts
said there would be little impact on the already struggling economy from the AU
measures.

"It is a purely political gesture and will probably have no impact whatsoever on the
government," said Edward George of the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit
(EIU).

Former president Marc Ravalomanana handed over power to senior military leaders
exactly a year ago after weeks of violent protests against his increasingly authoritarian
rule.

The top brass then named Rajoelina leader of the world's fourth largest island, which is
increasingly eyed by major foreign companies for its oil, nickel, cobalt, uranium and
gold.

Ravalomanana, a self-made millionaire who remains exiled in South Africa, implored
Rajoelina to resume talks.

"I hope that these targeted sanctions will spur Andry Rajoelina into cooperating with the
international community and that they serve as a wake-up call," he said in a statement.
                                                                                       72



S.Africa's Zuma in fresh bid to end Zimbabwe crisis

South African leader Jacob Zuma met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on
Wednesday in a fresh bid to resolve a decade-long political crisis that has contributed to
economic ruin in Zimbabwe.

(Alert Net)                                         17 Mar 2010

HARARE, March 17 (Reuters) - South African leader Jacob Zuma met Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday in a fresh bid to resolve a decade-long political
crisis that has contributed to economic ruin in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe and his old rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year to end
a stalemate over disputed elections, which has managed to stabilise the economy after 10
years of contraction.

But constant bickering within the fragile alliance over policy and the slow pace of
reforms have held back progress, and have also stood in the way of fresh elections.

Zuma, appointed to mediate in the crisis by regional grouping SADC, met with Mugabe
on Wednesday, and was scheduled to hold talks with Tsvangirai.

Asked how his meeting with Zuma had gone, Mugabe said briefly: "It went very well as
usual."

Western donors have held back aid essential aid to help rebuild the country, saying
Mugabe must first put in place implement concrete human rights and democratic reforms.

Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma earlier this month to
end targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.


MADAGASCAR: Will AU sanctions be a "wake-up call"?
The AU set a deadline in February, and warned that it would target Rajoelina's
government - known as the Higher Transitional Authority - if it failed to implement an
agreed power-sharing deal that would create a transitional coalition with Madagascar's
four rival political parties. Ravalomanana (former President of Madagascar: 2002-2009)
commented in a statement on 17 March: "I hope that these targeted sanctions will spur
Andry Rajoelina into cooperating with the international community, and that they serve
as a wake-up call”.


(IRIN)                               18 March 2010
                                                                                         73

JOHANNESBURG, 18 March 2010 (IRIN) - True to its word, the African Union (AU)
has announced the imposition of sanctions against Madagascar's "de facto authorities" –
exactly a year after Andry Rajoelina, backed by the military, ousted former President
Marc Ravalomanana.

The AU set a deadline in February, and warned that it would target Rajoelina's
government - known as the Higher Transitional Authority - if it failed to implement an
agreed power-sharing deal that would create a transitional coalition with Madagascar's
four rival political parties.

"Starting from 17 March 2010", the bloc would impose "a travel ban against all members
of the institutions set up by the de facto authorities born out of the unconstitutional
change [of government], and all other individual members of the Rajoelina camp whose
actions impede the AU and SADC [Southern African Development Community] efforts
to restore constitutional order," said an AU Peace and Security Council communiqué.

The AU said it would also freeze the financial assets of all those "impeding the AU and
SADC efforts to restore constitutional order", and pressed for the further diplomatic
isolation of Malagasy authorities in non-African international organizations, such as the
UN. The AU and the SADC both suspended Madagascar's membership in 2009.

The decision affects Rajoelina and 108 others, including senior military officials, advisers
and judges. The Higher Transitional Authority does not conform to Madagascar's
constitution and is largely unrecognized by the international community.

Rajoelina publicly renounced the internationally mediated power-sharing and coalition
agreements in December 2009, refusing to share power with the three other political
factions, each represented by a former president - Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka
and Albert Zafy - and bickering over top government posts.

"I hope that these targeted sanctions will spur Andry Rajoelina into cooperating with the
international community, and that they serve as a wake-up call," Ravalomanana
commented in a statement on 17 March.

Beyond sanctions and reconciliation

Richard Marcus, Director of the International Studies Programme at California State
University in the US, said it was uncertain whether sanctions and the international
community's push for reconciliation would have the desired effect of breaking the
political deadlock.

"We shouldn't ignore the erosion of trust between leaders, and recent Malagasy history.
Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka did not share power in 2002 [when a disputed election led
to months of violence]. Why, in the perspective of some, should he [Rajoelina]?"

"Everyone in Madagascar and in the international community wants to see an end to the
crisis. The question the international community should be asking is: 'Do they [the four
                                                                                           74

political leaders], in sum, represent the people of Madagascar?' It is far from clear that the
four combined are representative."

Marcus said the mediation efforts were ignoring large influential groups in Madagascar,
like significant regional leaders, a powerful private sector, civil society, entrenched
church groups, a largely ethnically based aristocracy, and disparate military factions.
"None of the four individually can deliver these groups, and it is far from clear that the
four together can."


South African President Encouraged After Zimbabwe Visit
South African President Jacob Zuma says he is encouraged by progress in Zimbabwe's
shaky unity government. Mr. Zuma has been in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).


(Voice of America)                                            18 March 2010


South African President Jacob Zuma says he is encouraged by progress in Zimbabwe's
shaky unity government. Mr. Zuma has been in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).


South African President Jacob Zuma met with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and leaders of all three political parties that signed the political
agreement 18 months ago to create the inclusive government.


Outside the formal talks he met Mugabe loyalists, Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana. Their appointments after the political
agreement was signed are just two of complaints Mr. Tsvangirai put to the South African
president.


Mr. Zuma also met with MDC treasurer Roy Bennett, who is deputy agriculture minister.
Bennett is being tried in court by Tomana on treason charges.


Mr. Mugabe says he will not swear Bennett into his position until he is cleared of the
treason charges. Bennett's legal team asked last week for all charges against Bennett to
be dropped saying that the attorney-general had engaged in a malicious prosecution.


Speaking to South Africa's national broadcaster, Bennett said his meeting with Mr. Zuma
was "very good."
                                                                                        75

"[The meeting was] very helpful, very supportive to the Zimbabwean process, to the
Zimbabwean people," he said.


Appearing at a news briefing in Harare with Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Zuma
said Zimbabwe's political leaders had agreed to a package of SADC measures set out in
January.


The political agreement is so mired in delays, that dates for a new constitution and fresh
elections are only possible in 2012 instead of next year. Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai
told Mr. Zuma they want elections as soon as possible if the inclusive government does
not make better progress.


The political deadlock has stalled political reforms and the West has held back significant
aid to Zimbabwe, citing slow progress in fulfilling conditions in the political agreement.


While in London earlier this month, Mr. Zuma called for Britain to end financial and
travel restrictions against Mr. Mugabe and about 200 of his ZANU-PF colleagues. Mr.
Mugabe says the restrictions stand in the way of further political reform.


African Union acts against Madagascar's Andry Rajoelina
The African Union has put sanctions on Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, after he
failed to meet a deadline to set up a unity government. Mr Rajoelina and 108 of his
backers will face travel restrictions and have any foreign assets frozen, the AU said.

(BBC News)                                           18 March 2010

The African Union has put sanctions on Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, after he
failed to meet a deadline to set up a unity government.

Mr Rajoelina and 108 of his backers will face travel restrictions and have any foreign
assets frozen, the AU said.

The organisation wants to force Mr Rajoelina, a former DJ who seized power a year ago,
back into negotiations.

For the past year, the country has been in turmoil with street protests by Mr Rajoelina's
opponents and supporters.

"We believe that the sanctions are the way that will help the authorities to come back to
the virtues of dialogue and negotiation," said AU security commissioner Ramtane
Lamamra.
                                                                                         76

"I hope they will have the effect of nurturing wisdom. No unilateral party is capable of
solving the crisis by itself."

Former President Marc Ravalomanana, who was overthrown after weeks of violent
protests last year, urged his successor to resume talks.

"I hope that these targeted sanctions will spur Andry Rajoelina into cooperating with the
international community and that they serve as a wake-up call," said Mr Ravalomanana,
who is in exile in South Africa.

But a member of Mr Rajoelina's government, Evariste Marson, told the AFP news agency
that the sanctions would have "no effect".

In December, Mr Rajoelina abandoned a peace deal he had signed up to by unilaterally
appointing a military prime minister.

The decision sparked violent protests outside the national assembly in the capital,
Antanarivo.


Is time up for Madagascar's leader, Andry Rajoelina?
A political crisis has engulfed Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, who seized power a
year ago. With the country's economy spiraling out of control, he now faces African
Union sanctions for failing to set up a unity government.

(BBC News)                                           18 March 2010

A political crisis has engulfed Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina, who seized power a
year ago. With the country's economy spiraling out of control, he now faces African
Union sanctions for failing to set up a unity government.

The letters clinging to the side of the hill are like a giant game of Scrabble. Madagascar's
answer to Hollywood's own hillside signpost.

But here, the towering white metal pieces don't spell out the name of a place where the
streets are paved with gold.

The letters spell out the name of Madagascar's capital city, Antananarivo. At least they
would do if they were all there.

The first A and first N are all that remain. The rest were apparently stolen by an
entrepreneurial thief with a head for heights, looking to make charcoal cooking stoves
with the metal.

"Times are hard now," says Michel, who sells second-hand clothes in a street at the
bottom of the hill.
                                                                                           77

"People will do whatever they can to get by," he says, shaking his head as he looks up at
the diminished letters on the hillside.

Tortured landscape

It has been a year since President Marc Ravalomanana was forced from power by
Antananarivo's former mayor and a renegade faction of the army.

Since then, Madagascar's tortured political landscape has become yet more sinuous and
bizarre. Ministries have changed hands and ministers have changed sides.

In one of the most circuitous turn of events, faded politicians from decades ago have risen
to reassert themselves among Madagascar's squabbling elites.

These are the dinosaurs - the tough-skinned relics of bygone eras. And they cut a sharp
contrast with the new president, baby-faced 35-year-old Andry Rajoelina.

The one time nightclub disc jockey has divided opinion - even among those who once
supported him.

Loyalists thank him for bringing to an end the increasingly autocratic regime of
Ravalomanana. But a growing body of critics now accuses Rajoelina of being a puppet
for Madagascar's former colonial power, France.

France's dislike of the anglophile Ravalomanana was no secret.

"We call him foza orana," says Alain, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel of his
aged Renault 4 taxi. "It means he is like a crab - he doesn't walk forwards, he goes
backwards."

And Rajoelina is taking Madagascar backwards with him, goes the argument.

Spiralling downturn

Alain and I are trapped in a stationary queue of traffic. Through the window I can see the
dirty façade of the somewhat strangely named, Privilege Pharmacy.

At least I think it is strange until it dawns on me that in today's Antananarivo, the
pharmacy is in fact quite appropriately named.

As a result of the crisis, the price of basic foodstuffs is rising, unemployment is rocketing,
and it is a privilege to be able to afford to buy medicine.

Nowhere is the impact of Madagascar's spiralling economic downturn clearer than in
Antananarivo's famous street markets.

These have swollen and exploded, as thousands of the city's recently unemployed people
have turned to informal trade as a source of income.
                                                                                           78


Stalls selling everything from broken watches to plastic flowers have spilled across
pavements and into roads. But the growing competition isn't helping anyone.

Soloniaina tells me that she used to earn around 20,000 ariary a day selling t-shirts - that's
nearly £7. Now she earns around 5,000 ariary a day, less than £2.

Sharing power

Among Antananarivo's residents, conversations about the future invariably end with a
shrug of the shoulders.

In a typical exchange I ask what the solution to the crisis is. Most often the answer is that
a power-sharing government be installed to organise elections as soon as possible.

But what if a power-sharing government cannot be agreed on? Can the elections that
Rajoelina is now organising, without opposition support, be accepted as a way out of the
crisis?

No, these will not be free and fair people say. But if free and fair elections were held,
who would you choose to be president? Silence, and that inevitable shrug of the
shoulders.

From exile in an affluent Johannesburg's suburb, Ravalomanana addresses his supporters
by telephone at gatherings in Antananarivo.

He says that he is willing to share power with his political opponents. But not everyone
wants to see him return.

It was on his watch that international donors first suspended budgetary aid to the
government in December 2008.

The reason? A lack of transparency in accounting for the way the money was used. So
now it seems like Madagascar's politicians are running out of time and options.

It's a bit like watching the last slow moves of a game of Scrabble, played with a
dwindling number of letters to chose from, on a board crowded with old words.


Zimbabwe leaders agree on way to end crisis-Zuma
Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed on what needs to be done to rescue a fragile unity
government and parties will now work towards a deal, South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                           18 Mar 2010
                                                                                        79

HARARE, March 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed on what needs to be
done to rescue a fragile unity government and parties will now work towards a deal,
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Regional mediator Zuma met President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in Harare on Wednesday and Thursday to solve problems that risk unravelling
a power-sharing deal meant to rebuild Zimbabwe from economic ruin.

Zimbabwe's unity pact helped stem the economy's decade-long free-fall but squabbling
within the coalition over policy and the slow pace of reforms has held back progress and
stood in the way of fresh elections.

Zuma, appointed by regional grouping SADC to mediate in the crisis, said he was
encouraged by the spirit of cooperation displayed by the country's leaders.

"The parties have agreed to a package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per
the decision of the SADC troika in Maputo," he said at a briefing, flanked by bitter
adversaries Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

"I believe that the implementation of this package will take the process forward
substantially."

Negotiators from Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
would meet again on March 25, 26 and 29 to deal with "outstanding matters", he said. A
South African official told Reuters the negotiatiors had clear instructions to work towards
an agreement around the issues identified.

They would then report back to Zuma on March 31, after which SADC troika chairman
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza may call a meeting to discuss the deal, he said.
Guebuza leads the SADC political organ that also involves Swaziland's King Mswati III
and Zambian President Rupiah Banda.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and smaller opposition party leader Arthur Mutambara agreed to a
unity government formed in early 2009 to end a stalemate over disputed elections.
But the pact began to unravel late last year when the MDC boycotted cabinet meetings
due to a dispute over its implementation.

The party is particularly unhappy about central bank Governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists, remaining in their posts.

The MDC is also angry over the president's refusal to swear-in MDC treasurer-general
Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister. Bennett is being tried for treason.

Zuma met Tomana, Gono and Bennett separately on Wednesday. Western donors have
held back aid essential to help rebuild Zimbabwe's economy, saying the 86-year-old
Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, must first implement concrete human rights and
democratic reforms.
                                                                                       80

Former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma this month to end targeted
sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.


(Blank Headline Received)
HARARE, March 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed to a "package of
measures" to help rescue its fragile unity government, South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                         18 Mar 2010

HARARE, March 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed to a "package of
measures" to help rescue its fragile unity government, South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma said on Thursday.

Regional mediator Zuma met President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in Harare on Wednesday and Thursday to solve problems that risked
unravelling a power-sharing deal meant to rebuild Zimbabwe from economic ruin. "I am
very encouraged by the spirit of cooperation displayed by the leaders and all the parties.
The parties have agreed to a package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per
the decision of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) troika in
Maputo," Zuma said at a briefing, flanked by bitter adversaries Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
"I believe that the implementation of this package will take the process forward
substantially."

Negotiators from Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
would meet again on March 25, 26 and 29 to deal with "outstanding matters", he said.


Zimbabwe power-sharing talks encouraging-Zuma spox
South Africa is encouraged by progress made in Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks,
brokered by President Jacob Zuma and aimed at ending a political crisis that has led to
economic ruin, his spokesman said on Thursday.

(Alert Net)                                         18 Mar 2010

HARARE, March 18 (Reuters) - South Africa is encouraged by progress made in
Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks, brokered by President Jacob Zuma and aimed at ending
a political crisis that has led to economic ruin, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Zuma is in neighbouring Zimbabwe to help rescue a fragile unity government formed by
bitter adversaries President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last
year to end a stalemate over disputed elections.

On Thursday Zuma, who held talks with Zimbabwe's political leaders the day before, met
negotiators from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party.
                                                                                           81


"The discussions were quite encouraging, in the sense that President Zuma got an
impression that parties were as keen as we are to move things forward," Zuma's
spokesman Vincent Magwenya told journalists. Zuma was due to meet Mugabe and
Tsvangirai again for a final round of talks later on Thursday.

Zimbabwe's unity pact has stemmed the economy's decade-long free-fall but squabbling
within the coalition over policy and the slow pace of reforms has held back progress and
stood in the way of fresh elections.

The MDC boycotted cabinet meetings late last year due to dispute over the
implementation of the deal.

The party is particularly unhappy about central bank Governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists, remaining in their posts and
is also angry over the president's refusal to swear-in MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett
as deputy agriculture minister.

Zuma met Tomana, Gono and Bennett separately on Wednesday. Regional grouping
SADC appointed Zuma to mediate in the crisis. He took over from former South African
President Thabo Mbeki who brokered the original deal in late 2008.

Western donors have held back aid essential to help rebuild Zimbabwe's economy, saying
the 86-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, must first implement concrete human
rights and democratic reforms.

Former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma this month to end targeted
sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.


SOUTHERN AFRICA: Unexpected Low Custom Revenue Causes
Budget Shortfalls
Plummeting revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) could cause
severe financial difficulties in the region, economic experts warn. To make matters
worse, the organization is split over the future of its tariff pool that largely bankrolls the
national budgets of its poorer members.

(IPS)                                                         19 March 2010

WINDHOEK, Mar 17 (IPS) - Plummeting revenues from the Southern African Customs
Union (SACU) could cause severe financial difficulties in the region, economic experts
warn. To make matters worse, the organization is split over the future of its tariff pool
that largely bankrolls the national budgets of its poorer members.

The drop in SACU revenue, caused by reduced imports due to the global economic
downturn, is far more serious than foreseen and might seriously affect development goals
                                                                                        82

in most of the union’s member countries, including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and
Swaziland.

They will either have to cut expenditure in vital areas, such as health, education and
infrastructure development, or accumulate additional debt, which would lead to lower
international credit ratings and make it difficult to attract international investments.

Although the revenue shortfall doesn’t come out of the blue, southern African
governments seem largely unprepared, despite the fact that SACU executive secretary
Tswelopele Moremi, in an interview with IPS in August last year, warned: "It is clear that
revenues are lower than estimated because of the global [financial] crisis."

But the latest figures exceed her gloomiest expectations. According to SACU chair
Namibia, total revenue from the tariff pool is down by 40 percent. This will have a drastic
impact on Namibia’s national budget, to be announced on 24 March, for example, which
largely depends on SACU revenue flows. Last year, the country’s government constituted
a staggering 39 percent of its fiscal income from SACU revenue.

Namibia’s politicians seemed caught off guard by the severity of the revenue fallout. Last
March, finance minister Saara Kuukongelwa-Amadhila said in her budget speech she still
banked on 1.2 billion dollars from SACU coffers. But is has now become apparent that
Namibia gets just more than half of what Kuukongelwa-Amadhila expected for this year
– 699 million dollars.

This might have a negative impact on Namibia’s social spending capacity, especially
since Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told IPS she doesn’t plan to raise taxes to finance the
runaway deficit.

Despite the SACU shortfall, economists don’t expect Namibia to halt the counter-cyclical
budget policy it embarked on last year and which acts against the tide of the economic
cycle, but will rather spend money to stimulate the economy that’s in a recession.

"Given the slow recovery in Europe and the United States that affects exports and the
domestic (Namibian) unemployment figure that now stands at 51 percent, it’s unlikely
government will cut expenditure," said independent economist and former head of the
Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) Klaus Schade.

"Although there will be marginal cuts here and there, ideally, spending will be increased
with money flowing towards improvement of infrastructure and other projects that attract
investment and generate employment. This means the deficit will increase," he added.

The situation could be even worse for other SACU countries. Lesotho and Swaziland
derive more than half (in some years up to 70 percent) of their national budgets from the
customs union, while Botswana’s relies on 29 percent SACU revenue, according its
central bank. Only South Africa is less dependent on the union, as it receives a residual
payout, after all other member countries have received their share.
                                                                                         83

But South Africa, the strongest economy in the region, is not happy with its small share
any longer and has requested to change the system of ‘enhanced payments’, which it says
favours the BLNS-countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland).

"The South Africans have formally proposed a change in the revenue sharing formula,
which is discussed as part of a blueprint to overhaul the customs union," confirmed
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s permanent secretary Calle Schlettwein, who is in charge of the
SACU working group tasked with this matter.

It appears that South Africa wants a system that instructs the BLNS countries to submit
development plans that will be financed through the pool, instead of the union
bankrolling national budgets.

"This would be closer to the original development goals of the SACU revenue sharing
formula and in some sense fairer," agreed independent Namibian trade analyst Wallie
Roux, suggesting that "if countries play their cards, wisely they could theoretically get
more money than they get now".

South Africa’s demands have been adding oil to an already dangerous fire. Last year,
disagreements over interim Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – that regulate
market access between SACU and the European Union (EU) – started to cause a schism
in the world’s oldest customs union.

While Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho decided to sign trade agreements with the EU,
South Africa and Namibia stalled, demanding the EU to remove the Most Favoured
Nation (MFN) clause, which would automatically extend SACU’s trade allowances to
third parties.

As a result of this rift, different Common External Tariff (CET) regimes applied to
different SACU member states, almost leading to a breakdown of the union.

Apart from the EPAs, SACU also struggles to implement the 2002 Agreement, which
seeks to establish common industrial policies, manufacturing standards and other aspects
of regional economic integration, with most members accusing economically strong
South Africa of trying to dominate the union.

Although SACU finance ministers regrouped in Swaziland in September in an attempt to
re-create unity, the union’s centenary celebrations later this year are bound to be sober –
as there is little hope for a quick recovery of financial markets and SACU members
continue to quarrel over the organisation’s future.


Madagascar leader hardens stance after AU sanctions
The president of Madagascar has rowed back on concessions made to political rivals in
power-sharing talks last year, after the African Union imposed sanctions on the Indian
Ocean Island.
(Alert Net)                                          20 Mar 2010
                                                                                         84


ANTANANARIVO, March 20 (Reuters) - The president of Madagascar has rowed back
on concessions made to political rivals in power-sharing talks last year, after the African
Union imposed sanctions on the Indian Ocean island. [ID:nLDE62G21P]

In a statement released on Friday evening, Madagascar's transitional authority said the
"humiliating" sanctions showed the 53-member organisation had no willingness to
recognise a legitimate popular movement trying to bring about change.

President Andry Rajoelina took power in March 2009 with the backing of the military
after weeks of popular street protests against then-President Marc Ravalomanana -- a
leader Rajoelina accused of running the country like his own private company.

Ever since then, the African Union and donor countries have been pushing Rajoelina to
form a unity government with the three main opposition movements -- each headed by
former presidents -- and engineer a speedy return to constitutional order.

A power-sharing deal between Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and two former presidents was
struck in Mozambique last year, but persistent wrangling over who should get the top
government posts meant the agreement was never implemented.

The AU ran out of patience on Wednesday and slapped travel bans and asset freezes on
Rajoelina and 108 backers of his transitional authority, which plans to hold a
parliamentary election in May and then prepare for a presidential poll.

The AU left the door open for Rajoelina to suggest new solutions to end the political
crisis, but the measures announced on Friday appear to have closed that route for now.

TRAVEL BANS, ASSET FREEZES

In light of the AU sanctions, the transitional authority said it would now pursue
Ravalomanana, who is living in exile in South Africa, for corruption, threatening state
security and plotting high treason with foreign factions.

It said Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, two former presidents also out of the country at
the moment, would be barred from returning to the world's fourth largest island.

The leaders of the former presidents' three opposition movements within Madagascar will
be prevented from leaving the island, their assets will be frozen and no protests
threatening to destabilise the country would be authorised, it said.

In another step aimed at Ravalomanana, Rajoelina's transitional authority said it would no
longer consider an amnesty for those accused of high treason and other crimes.

At the height of the protests against Ravalomanana in early 2009, security forces opened
fire on demonstrators outside the presidential palace, killing at least 25 people. About 125
people died during the weeks of streets protests.
                                                                                        85

In a report published on Friday, the International Crisis Group think-tank said it was time
the international community stopped pushing for a power-sharing agreement and instead
help Madagascar come up with a new constitution and hold elections.

"The protagonists appear more concerned about securing the spoils of power than finding
a solution in the national interest," said Charlotte Larbuisson, ICG's southern Africa
analyst. "The lack of political will to compromise has made genuine power-sharing
virtually impossible."


China-Africa Relations

China bails out Tan-Zam Railways
Chinese investors have rescued the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority that links central
Zambia and the port of Dar es Salaam. TAZARA, jointly owned by Tanzania and
Zambia, has received a $39-million interest-free loan to revive the vital link.

(Africa Files)                       19 March 2010

Despite the criticism of Chinese investors in Zambia, Beijing has once again come to the
rescue of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) - a vital link inter-SADC
link - by availing a $39-million interest-free loan. TAZARA, which is jointly owned by
Tanzania and Zambia, has been teetering on a knife-edge with worn out tracks and
wobbling wagons. The firm, which operates the 1,860 kilometre long railway line from
Zambia's central town of Kapiri-Mposhi to the port city of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania,
has been providing a vital passenger and cargo service for both countries.

Zambia's Communication and Transport minister, Geoffrey Lungwangwa, announced in
Lusaka that the funds would be used to revive operations of the firm, which had come to
a virtual standstill. TAZARA operations have plummeted over the years while
infrastructure has suffered tremendous wear and tear. Cargo has been marooned while
passengers have not been spared whenever a derailment occurs. Apart from wearing out,
the tracks, which were constructed between 1970 and 1975, have been vandalised,
rendering operations even more difficult. The financially-crippled firm had accumulated
a $60 million debt because of failure to pay pension packages for retired employees, non-
remittance of tax to revenue authorities, failure to meet clients' needs resulting in
litigation, and generally poor management, among other factors.

The Zambian and Tanzanian governments last year took steps to give TAZARA a new
lease of life firstly by changing management, on an interim basis, in a bid to boost
efficiency. TAZARA was subsequently able to transport fertiliser into Zambia in time for
the beginning of the ploughing season. There was also an improvement in moving
minerals for export from the giant Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia's
Copperbelt Province from 30,000 tonnes to 42,000 tonnes per month with management
targeting to transport 72,000 tonnes per month this year.
                                                                                       86

TAZARA's regional general manager on the Zambian side, Peter Shitambuli, said in an
interview that TAZARA had also revised its cargo haulage rates and improved service
delivery to attract more clients in the region. Shitambuli said TAZARA, which has
approximately 1,500 wagons and more than 15 locomotive engines, still requires more
investment to make it viable. Hence the signing of the 14th protocol involving Zambia,
Tanzania and China, this year for the $39 million interest-free loan to give TAZARA a
new lease of life. Communication and Transport minister, Professor Lungwangwa, said
the funds would be used for the rehabilitation of the 1,860 km railway line, the
procurement of six locomotive engines and four wagons, and for repairing 120 available
wagons. The funds would also be used to modernise the mechanical and other workshops
and ensure efficiency in the company's operations through capacity building and other
programmes.

Minister Lungwangwa said in an interview that TAZARA is in fact more relevant now
because of increased volumes of trade and passengers within SADC and the Northern
Corridor in particular. The railway line to East Africa was conceived when Zambia's
trade routes to the south were threatened. Under Ian Smith's white minority regime,
Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) made its notorious Unilateral Declaration of Independence
(UDI) from Britain in 1965, resulting in the closure of the border with Zambia, the
gateway for her exports and imports. The Zambian and Tanzanian governments then
sought the construction of the railway line to offer an alternative route. Thus TAZARA
was born out of a massive $500 million loan from the Chinese government following
appeals by presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere.

About 25,000 Chinese were engaged in the construction of this historical railway line
alongside thousands Zambians and Tanzanians who braved harsh terrain and weather
conditions through one of Africa's most rugged landscapes. On completion, passenger
volumes increased, particularly those engaged in business in the Great Lakes Region and
the Asian countries. Small and medium entrepreneurs have found it convenient to use
TAZARA between Kapiri-Mposhi and Dar-es-Salaam. Initially, the railway firm was
staked for concession as a way of saving it from total collapse. During bilateral talks In
July last year, Zambian

President Rupiah Banda and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete directed the board of
directors to expedite the concessioning process of management and operations of the
railway firm to a competent railway enterprise from China. The heads of state said if the
concession was not possible in the near future, the board should recruit competent
managers to run the firm. There is currently a chief executive officer and his deputy on
interim basis while the firm is in the process of recruiting experienced personnel on a
permanent basis.

				
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