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Horn of Africa
Source: theSTAR,Wednesday September 18, 2019
by PATRICK VIDIJA
The Hague Based International Justice Court –ICJ is scheduled to start public hearings over the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia in early November.
On Tuesday, the court outlined conditions to journalists, diplomats and members of the public wishing to attend the hearings.
Journalists who had received accreditation for the hearings which were initially set for the first week of September have been told they will have to reapply.
“Owing to the limited number of seats available in the Great Hall of Justice, priority access will be given to representatives of the States Parties to the case, and to members of the diplomatic corps,” a statement from the court said.
Diplomats and Journalists have until October 24 to apply for accreditation to access the court for the hearings.”A number of seats will be allocated to members of the public on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be no advance registration procedure, and admission requests submitted beforehand will not be considered,” the statement said.
In the statement, the court said the first round of hearing will take place from November 4 and 6.
“The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will hold public hearings in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya), from Monday 4 to Friday 8 November 2019 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court,” the statement read in part.
According to the court, the hearings, in this case, have been rescheduled further to the request made by the Republic of Kenya on September, 3.
It said the rescheduling took into account the views expressed by the Federal Republic of Somalia on that request (see Press Release No. 2019/36).
The court said the first round of oral argument will be held on November 4 and 6th respectively.
While Somalia government will present its submissions on the Monday of November 4 between 10am and 1pm and 3pm to 4.30pm respectively, Kenya will have its chance on Wednesday of November 6 within the same time frames.
“Second round of oral argument will be held on November 7 and 8. Somalia will present its argument on November 7 between 3 pm and 6pm while Kenya responds on Friday, November 8 between 3pm and 6pm,” the statement said.
The Court has a two-fold role; first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned); and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.
The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.
Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma last week said Kenya is still seeking an out of court settlement over the matter and would not relent on the pursuit.
She said though the Hague based court postponed the case which was set to start last Monday, Kenya is in vibrant talks with Somalia counterparts to see if they can reach an agreement.
“So far there is a willingness from both parties and we hope through an MoU that we signed, we shall see the ongoing consultations bear fruits,” she added.
Juma further said through the office of the Attorney General, a new legal team was being reconstituted to pick up the matter.
Source: africanews, Wednesday September 18, 2019
On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed asked ethnic groups pushing to form breakaway regions to be patient and join him in building “a great Ethiopia”.
Abiy made the plea during a visit to leaders of the Kafficho ethnic group, that are seeking to create a new federal state heightening further destabilization in Ethiopia’s diverse southern region.
“You think that there will be many problems in your problems, there are many interrelated and systemic issues that need to be considered.,” said Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister.The southern region was rocked by violence two months ago following a similar campaign by the Sidama ethnic group.
“We have historical problems, that’s why it’s so much about being sensational or tribalistic,” Meaza Assefa, local merchant.
Ethiopia’s constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity. At least 11 groups have submitted such bids in the south.
At the current momentum, scientists predict the planet’s protective shield of gas – or ozone layer as we know it – will be completely healed as far as some regions of the planet are concerned, by the 2030’s, the UN’s environmental agency (UNEP) revealed on Monday.
Source: AFP, Monday September 16, 2019
A senior official contacted by telephone in the Burundian city of Bujumbura said 12 Burundian soldiers had been killed and six injured. AFP PHOTO
An unspecified number of Burundian peacekeepers were killed Saturday when a military convoy was ambushed by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, security sources said on Sunday.
“We’ve been informed about an ambush in which a number of Burundian soldiers were killed,” Abdikarim Hassan, a local Somali security official told AFP.
A senior official contacted by telephone in the Burundian city of Bujumbura told AFP 12 Burundian soldiers had been killed and six injured.
“Yes it’s true. Unfortunately 12 of our soldiers were killed and six others injured yesterday (Saturday) by Shabaab militants who ambushed them as they were returning from a security mission in a convoy going from Jowhar to Mogadishu,” the Burundian official said on condition of anonymity.Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, claiming to have killed 14 Burundian soldiers.
The soldiers, who were serving with the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Amisom), were attacked on the road linking Mogadishu and the city of Jowhar, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital.
The Shabaab has been fighting for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.
A few hours before the attack a bomb exploded on the same road, killing three people including two local officials, Hassan added.
Resident Ahmed Haji said villagers had heard gunfire and seen bodies.
“Some villagers saw the dead bodies of the AU soldiers near the scene of the ambush, but they could not say their numbers,” he said.
“People heard heavy exchange of gunfire that lasted more than 20 minutes as the Amisom military convoy was passing by the area,” he added.
The attack is the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu by government forces backed by 20,000 peacekeepers from Amisom in 2011. But they still carry out attacks including suicide bombings against government targets.
Source; Hiiraan Online
Saturday September 14, 2019
HARGEISA (HOL) – The airport under construction as part of the UAE military base in Berbera will now be converted for civilian use, Somaliland president Muse Bihi has said.
Speaking upon return from the neighbouring Djibouti, Bihi told journalists the construction of the airport will from next week be handed over to a new company to complete the construction works.
“People thought this was a military airport but it be used for civilian purposes,” Bihi said adding the new constructor will be expected to deliver its equipment next week to continue the construction.
It was not however immediately clear if the new changes affects the naval base deal approved by Somaliland parliament in 2017.
Divers Marine Contracting LLC which won the bid to construct the naval base at the cost of $90 million said in a media interview with Bloomberg last November that it would conclude the construction of the base in June 2019.
Somaliland parliament in a majority vote in February 2017 approved UAE’s request to build a naval base in Berbera few months after it also endorsed the $442 million 30 year concession for the construction and operation of the Berbera Port by the UAE government owned DP World.
The agreements sparked sharp criticism from Mogadishu leading to a declaration by the Federal Parliament that the deals were unconstitutional and that DP World should cease its presence in Somalia.
Djibouti has been at loggerheads with DP World resulting in a government takeover of the Dorale Container Terminal which the UAE ports operator had been granted a 30 year concession in 2006.
The London Court of International Arbitration however ruled in August 2018 the concession was ‘valid and binding
The report assesses current developments, covering ongoing rivalries in the Red Sea region and making recommendations for future collaboration.
Source: The World Bank, Friday September 13, 2019
Marcello Estevão (World Bank) and State Secretary Aksel Jakobsen (Norway) sign an agreement in Oslo on September 12, 2019.
Norway has agreed to contribute NOK 88 million (equivalent to $10 million) to support the World Bank’s efforts to strengthen the tax systems and customs administrations in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV).
The agreement will fund technical assistance to countries emerging from conflict, so they can rebuild their fiscal institutions and mobilize domestic resources to finance development. The work will emphasize reforms that can generate high revenue in a short timeframe—such as increased enforcement of customs duties and other simple, easy-to-collect taxes, and setting up basic administrative procedures for tax and customs administrations. Some countries that may benefit from this agreement include Afghanistan, Niger, and Somalia.
“It is estimated that up to 90 percent of the money needed to achieve the sustainability goals must come from national resources,” says State Secretary Aksel Jakobsen. “Robust tax systems are also essential to distribute resources better, so that countries, in turn, can manage without development assistance. This is the reason why the government over the past two years has doubled its efforts for better tax systems.”Domestic resource mobilization is critical for FCV countries for several reasons: it enables sustainable development financing, and when linked to providing public goods, can enhance government accountability and state-building. But a wide range of challenges—such as distrust of government, lack of public accountability, weak administrative capacity and complex tax policies—prevent FCV countries from collecting the revenues they need. Twenty-two out of 36 total FCV countries still has tax-to-GDP ratios below 15%, which is barely enough to carry out basic state functions. Moreover, even though customs can comprise 50 percent or more of a government’s revenues in some developing countries, the importance of a well-functioning customs administration is often overlooked.
“With the support of Norway, the World Bank will be able to tailor guidance to FCV countries so they can build resilience, strengthen fiscal capacity and reform institutions,” said Marcello Estevão, Global Director of the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice, who signed the agreement on behalf of the World Bank. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for supporting tax systems in these situations. The World Bank is committed to respecting sovereign decision-making while encouraging good practices to help FCV countries break the cycle of dependence on external resources.”
The agreement signed with Norway is part of the support to the World Bank’s Global Tax Program, which was launched in September 2017 and is financed by a multi-donor trust fund and two single donor trust funds. The Global Tax Program covers tax-related activities across the World Bank’s portfolio and aims to enhance opportunities for coordination with other relevant stakeholders, including donors, civil society, and academic or research institutions.
Currently, eight donor partners (Australia, Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) contribute to the Global Tax Program. The program’s total budget for fiscal years 2018-2022 is at US$ 60 million.
Source: hinvisasa, Thursday September 12, 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta during graduation at Recruits Training School in Eldoret. [Photo/PSCU]
Kenya Defense Forces working under AMISOM in Somalia will after all have to stay in the war torn country longer that it was expected, it has emerged.Tentatively, Defense headquarters had proposed 2021 as the strategic year for pullout, expecting that by then, Somalia National Army would have been trained to take over.
But on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that KDF shall continue working in Somalia under AMISOM until peace and stability is realised.
His statement comes amid increased attacks within Somalia. Recently, Al-Shabaab militants attacked a hotel in Kismayo, killing over 26 people.”President Kenyatta stated that the Kenya Defence Forces will continue playing its role in regional and international security with more vigour adding that KDF will continue supporting the quest for peace and stabilization of Somalia under AMISOM,” he said.
Kenya lost bid to have Al-Shabaab listed as terrorists group, a move that was also opposed by Somalia and United States in the UN Security Council.
Somalia permanent representative to UN Ambassador Dahir Osman accused Kenya of promoting Al-Shabaab operations by failing to implement existing guidelines.
“[We] urge [the] Kenyan government to implement existing Security Council resolution 751 targeting AS (al-Shabaab), including the ban of illegal charcoal trade in Somalia, which is the lifeline of AS to finance its operations in the region,” Mr Osman tweeted.
Also, the two countries are embroiled in Indian Ocean maritime border dispute, with Kenya recently threatening to deploy KDF along the disputed area.
In August, KDF fallout with Ethiopian troops was eminent after the former reportedly backed re-election of Sheikh Ahmed Madobe as Jubbaland presiden
Sudan: Can the Revolution Succeed?
The author argues that if the military ultimately dismisses the political coalition with civilian organizations and tries to rule the nation alone, Sudan could return to the repression and corruption that haunted it for 30 years.
Cease Fire Monitoring in South Sudan
Drawing on more than 90 interviews and written responses from ceasefire monitors, combatants, politicians, civil society representatives, diplomats, peacekeepers, and analysts, this report reviews internationally led ceasefire monitoring in South Sudan from January 2014 to January 2019. It offers recommendations for donors supporting future monitoring processes in South Sudan and elsewhere.
Source: Aljazeera, Sunday September 8, 2019
Al-Bashir has denied illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been denied bail by a court in capital Khartoum in a corruption trial that began after he was removed from power earlier this year, officials said on Saturday.Al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan for nearly 30 years, is charged with illicit financial gains, bribery and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner, including $90m in cash from Saudi royals.
Last week, speaking publicly for the first time since his removal, al-Bashir said he received $25m from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but claimed he did not use the money for his own benefit.
Investigators said they found more than $130m when they raided al-Bashir’s house after the military removed him from power in April.
The charges against the 75-year-old former president carry maximum prison sentences of about 10 years. The next hearing is set for September 14.
Key to room with millions
In his fourth court hearing on Saturday, al-Bashir’s office manager testified that the former Sudanese leader was the only person with a key to a room at the presidential palace holding millions of euros.
Yasser Basheer, speaking as a defence witness, said the former president gave him more than 10 million euros ($11m) cash in his final months of rule for delivery to different parties.
The former manager, who worked for al-Bashir from September 2018, said the then-president once gave him 5 million euros ($5.6m) for Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The money, Basheer said, was delivered in the presence of Abdelrahim’s brother and RSF head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, who was also the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that ruled after al-Bashir’s removal.
Hemeti is now a member of the Sovereign Council formed in a military-civilian power-sharing deal.
Basheer said the other recipients of cash included officers in the Defence Ministry and civilians for medical treatment, adding that he did not know the source of the cash and was only following orders.
While al-Bashir did not speak at Saturday’s hearing, he denied the charges when he spoke last week.Reporting from Khartoum, Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan said al-Bashir’s team of nearly 130 lawyers argues that the money “was given to him as a person and not as president”.
The lawyers, according to Morgan, told the court that all the financial dealings by al-Bashir, “every single money he gave away, was documented and there are documents to prove that”.
While al-Bashir’s trial has captured worldwide attention, Morgan said many Sudanese called it a “sham trial” since it did not include the atrocities during the 30 years of his rule.
Morgan said protesters on the streets said the trial was being used to “divert attention from the real crimes committed” by al-Bashir’s government.
Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities in the Darfur region more than a decade ago, in a war that killed an estimated 300,000 people and forced 2.7 million from their homes.
The conflict broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against al-Bashir’s Arab-dominated government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect.
The ICC in The Hague issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur.
Source: REuters, Monday September 9, 2019
Somalia’s economy is expected to grow by 2.9% this year, from 2.8% last year, before growth quickens to 3.2-3.5% in the medium term, the World Bank said on Monday.
The Horn of Africa country has been in turmoil since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew President Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Over the past decade it has been hit by famine and sporadic terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab.
The higher growth forecast for the next three-to-five years would depend on the country being able to sustain its current economic reform momentum, the World Bank said in a statement.
Tax collection by the government increased by 29% last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year and the government changes its tax policies, the World Bank said.
“While this progress is encouraging, the available fiscal space remains insufficient to meet expenditure needs (for) education and health sectors,” the bank said.
It asked the government to form a fund dedicated to education to allow authorities in Mogadishu to mobilize more cash from regional states and other partners to support learning.
In May, the International Monetary Fund said Somalia’s economy was on the right track but warned that it was still vulnerable to fragile security, climate change and poverty.
Wednesday September 11, 2019
The UK and Dutch governments have signed a £31m development support programme with Somaliland to develop infrastructure and improve livelihoods and boost renewable energy.
According to a statement from the British embassy in Mogadishu, the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF2) which runs between 2018 and 2022 valued at £25, ‘will be delivered in partnership with the Somaliland government to promote long-term stability in the region.
The programme, the statement reads, ‘will help improve the lives of the people of Somaliland by building critical infrastructure, such as roads, water systems and agricultural facilities, and will also help build capacity within Somaliland’s institutions.’
Besides the SDF2 deal, the British government also signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding to support the implementation of the Energy Security and Resource Efficiency in Somaliland (ESRES) Programme that aims to provide a clean, affordable renewable energy boost in Somaliland.
Damon Bristow, the Head of Office for the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) in Somalia who signed the agreements with President Muse Bihi noted the agreements will be instrumental in promoting economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable energy in Somaliland. “SDF 2 will ensure that ordinary people across Somaliland will benefit from improved services by supporting the growth of Somaliland’s economy,” said Bristow.
“ESRES will address the high costs of electricity in Somaliland and help promote green growth and poverty reduction by increasing access to more affordable and reliable renewable energy services.”
The signing ceremony was also attended by UK ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender and
Head of the British Office in Hargeisa, Stuart Brown.
Source: Hiiraan Online
Wednesday September 11, 2019
THE HAGUE (HOL) – Public hearings for the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia will commence on November 4, the International Court of Justice has formally announced.
The UN global court said Wednesday in a statement the hearings which were postponed early this month will run from 4th to 8th of November upon which both countries will present their arguments before the Court.“The hearings in this case have been rescheduled further to the request made by the Republic of Kenya on 3 September 2019 and taking into account the views expressed by the Federal Republic of Somalia on that request,” the statement read in part.
Kenya successfully petitioned the Court early this month to postpone the proceedings but failed to secure the one year extension. The Court granted a two months extension.
Kenya had sought a one year extension on grounds that it needed more time to recruit a new team of defence lawyers.
Somalia has fervently objected to an out of Court settlement which Kenya has in the last one year vigorously pursued.
The African Union Peace and Security Council last week urged the two countries to ‘find an amicable and sustainable settlement’ on the maritime row which has adversely affected relations between the two countries.
The relentless outbreak of crises around the world – from the fires in the Amazon to “carnage” in Syria and demonstrations in Hong Kong, Russia, Indonesian Papua and elsewhere – risk pushing the world “further and further away from global solutions to global problems”, the UN’s top rights official said on Wednesday.
Source: BBC, Thursday September 5, 2019
Kenya will continue to work with other countries to deliver security in Somalia until the country is safe, Deputy President William Ruto has told BBC Hardtalk’s Stephen Sackur.
“We are responsible partners under Amisom, we will work with other countries, the initiative under the UN to make sure we secure Somalia,” he said.Kenya has a vested interest because they are our neighbours, Mr Ruto said, explaining it would be “reckless to walk away” from a danger that threatens Kenya.
Watch the full interview on Tuesday 12 February 2019 on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel or watch again on BBC iPlayer (UK only)
Source: Hiiraan Onlne
Thursday September 5, 2019
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Somalia has filed its response at the International Court of Justice shrugging off prayers by Kenya to defer the court proceedings terming Kenya’s move ‘deeply troubling’.
Somalia’s ambassador to the EU Ali Said Fiqi who submitted the response to the court told the media Wednesday his country objected to the requests by its neighbour to postpone the hearing which is slated for September 9.“We consulted our lawyers and informed them that Somalia is against Kenya’s request. I filed the letter at the court which states our official position regarding the deferment,” ambassador Fiqi said.
Fiqi said Kenya’s prayers to the court were ‘unjustified and deeply troubling’.
Kenya sought the indulgence of the Court last week to postpone the hearing noting it was recruiting a new defence team.
“Due to exceptional circumstances, occasioned by the need to recruit a new defence team, Kenya has sought to have the matter postponed,” Attorney General KiharaKariuki said.
“The Rules of the Court allows for postponement of the hearing of the case to afford the parties an opportunity to be represented.”
Somalia also rejected a request by Kenya to have the African Union Peace and Security Council take over the case.
The case which was filed by Somalia at the Court in 2014 has been a point of contention between the two countries and has seen diplomatic relations hit an all-time low in the recent months.
Source: Global Citizen, Thursday September 5, 2019
By Lerato Mogoatlhe
People fleeing drought in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions of Somalia reach a makeshift camp in Daynile, on the outskirts of Mogadishu. Photograph: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP
And 3 million more people aren’t guaranteed at least one meal daily.
There’s a new humanitarian crisis on the horizon in Somalia; and it’s threatening to leave at least 2 million people in the East African country on the brink of starvation.
Aid agencies issued a warning last week that the country hasn’t yet received enough aid to help its citizens put food on the table.
Meanwhile, it’s reported, an additional 3 million people aren’t guaranteed at least one meal daily.
Changes in the weather patterns have caused Somalia’s 2019 rainy season, which usually lasts three months between April and June, to be erratic — and it’s believed to the driest rainy season in more than 35 years.The warning from aid agencies comes two years after the country, one of the poorest in the world, faced drought and food shortages as a result of climate change.
Mustapha Tahir, the Somalia director of relief organisation, Islamic Relief, wrote in the Guardian last month: “Aid agencies need more funding, and not just for immediate assistance. With the climate crisis increasing these kinds of events in frequency and intensity, we could be in this exact same situation next year, the year after, and on and on.”
Aid organisations and the United Nations say the country needs $1 billion to mitigate the effects of the drought. But so far, less than half of this amount has been raised.
George Conway, the acting humanitarian coordinator for Somalia at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said: “The food insecurity situation is now extremely concerning with potentially disastrous consequences for the 2.2 million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity.”
He said that with the season harvest expected to be 50% less than the average. The situation is compounded by the existing food insecurity, and other effects of the drought.
Conway said this drought, along with the previous ones, is a sign of what the future holds for Somalia.
This sentiment was echoed by the Somalia’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hamza Said Hamza.
“While it is critical to respond to today’s urgent life-saving needs, it is equally important that we build community resilience, invest in long-term development, and strengthen the capacity of Somalia to withstand future shocks,” said Hamza. “Not every drought needs to lead to catastrophe.”
Somalia is one of the most unstable countries in the world. Civil war broke out in 1990 that resulted in the destruction of the capital city, Mogadishu.
The city has been bombed several times over the years, destroying schools and healthcare facilities, while also leading to the displacement of more than 2 million people.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, an estimated 73% Somalians live in poverty as a result of the conflict.
And while the country has been recovering from the effects of the war in recent years, it is still grappling with terrorism.
Somalia is the base of terror organisation, al-Shabaab, which continues to cause instability through suicide bombings and other violent attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of the country.
The instability created by the violence, and now the drought, has led to severe internal displacement. In 2018 alone, 320,000 people fled their homes as a result of insecurity caused by conflict.
Sharifo Ali Mohamud, 30, was forced to flee her home town in Middle Shabelle in February this year. It’s one of the villages that has been hit hardest by the drought.
“The drought hit our village,” she told the Guardian. “We used to grow maize on the farm but it became dry. We did not have anything to eat. Then the fighting started.”
She said returning to her village isn’t an option for her at the moment. “We don’t get enough water and food and [if] I return to my village, I am afraid the harsh drought condition will be bitter.”
Richard Crothers, Somalia country director at the International Rescue Committee, has called on the international community to rally behind relief efforts in the country.
He said: “The international community must scale up its response…now, or many in Somalia, especially children under five, will die from starvation.”
This article is republished from the Global Citizen
South Sudan Stalled Peace Agreement
One year later, South Sudan’s cease fire has largely held, but it is a fragile peace. Key provisions of the peace agreement about demobilizing fighters and redrawing internal political lines remain unfulfilled. There are mounting fears that the deal’s eventual breakdown could lead to a return to large-scale violence in South Sudan.
The Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal a Year Later
While the authors conclude that the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal has had a stabilizing impact on the Horn of Africa, it has not resulted in an end of Eritrea’s restrictive security state.