Wednesday, 26 November 2014


On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are reminded of the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day — in Australia and across the Pacific, in the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim and beyond.
Women gather for the White Ribbon Day march to highlight
the issue of domestic violence

Violence against women persists as one of the most heinous and prevalent human rights abuses. While there is no shortage of good work being done in every country, the statistics remain deeply disturbing, and the impact of violence on individual’s lives and on the well-being of our communities is devastating.
Globally, more than 1 in 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by someone she knows, including her husband or another male family member. In some parts of the Pacific, the reported rate is as high as 2 in 3 surveyed women. In Australia, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner.
Australia’s National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children reported that in 2009 violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy an estimated 13.6 billion Australian dollars ($11.7 billion) and, without appropriate action, this could rise to 15.6 billion Australian dollars by 2021-22.
Violence affects women first and foremost, but also their children, families and communities. However, it is also a burden on national economies, as well a barrier to lasting peace and a threat to sustainable national development. International evidence shows we can create the change necessary to prevent violence against women and their children. To do this, we must address the attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate, justify, excuse and fail to counter such violence.
Australia recently launched its Second Action Plan: Moving Ahead 2013-16 which unites the Australian community to make a significant and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women and their children. With this plan, we expect that cultural change will advance; women will feel encouraged to report their experiences; and more members of the Australian community will actively reject violence.
Recognizing that violence against women is an issue that affects women and girls around the world, Australia is committed to supporting and partnering with other countries to end violence against women.
Earlier this year, Australia launched a four-year 20 million Australian dollar program aimed at addressing both the causes and consequences of violence in East Timor by working to prevent violence and provide support services. In Fiji, Australia has supported the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center since its establishment in 1984 to provide counseling and support services to over 35,000 new clients and 41,000 repeat clients. We have also contributed more than 30 million Australian dollars to ending violence against women and girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2013. This funding is providing support services for women and their children as well as innovative approaches to engaging with men, women, religious and community leaders to challenge attitudes and behaviors that tolerate violence against women.
Women are particularly susceptible to violence during times of conflict, emergencies and crisis. This is why Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is a champion of the United Kingdom’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative. It is also why Australia is active at the U.N. Security Council to promote the Women, Peace and Security peacekeeping agenda. In October this year, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja, drew attention at the Open Debate on Women Peace and Security to the particular vulnerability of women and girls displaced by conflict and called for an end to sexual violence in conflict.
Each individual, community and government has a responsibility to speak out against violence against women. In our workplaces, in our schools and universities, in our communities and in our homes, we must all say “enough”.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is leading by example as a White Ribbon Ambassador. At the highest level of the Australian government, Abbott has made clear that Australia has zero tolerance for violence against women.

Our collective efforts are needed to achieve profound and lasting change around the world — not just for the benefit of women and girls, but for all of us.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Mahatma Gandhi once said that “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
EU Ebola czar Christos Stylianides visits an Ebola treatment
center run by Médecins Sans Frontières in Monrovia, Liberia.

The ongoing Ebola epidemic — and the dreadful toll it is taking in terms of lives lost and potential wasted — has brought this home to us all too clearly.
The European Union is working hard to help tackle the epidemic, under the able coordination of my colleague, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. We have put in place a response package of over 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion) to support our partner countries in their efforts to contain this terrible disease.
We have been setting up mobile laboratory units, Ebola treatment centers and a logistical air bridge, providing medical and protective equipment and helping raise public awareness about the epidemic. The European Commission has also dispatched humanitarian experts to the region and is coordinating and supporting the transportation of aid, equipment and personnel to hot spots in the countries affected by the disease.
This emergency response is, of course, vital. But the epidemic’s impact will be felt for years — which is why our development cooperation with partner countries in the region must go well beyond immediate measures and cover long-term planning. In Guinea, for example, where health is a focal sector, we will help rehabilitate and equip health structures at local level, upgrade sanitary conditions and improve health service delivery.
More broadly, a 28 million euro regional program has just been launched to support health care systems in Ebola-affected countries as part of our Linking Rehabilitation, Relief and Development efforts.
We are boosting EU research funding on Ebola and working with our industry partners to develop vaccines and medications and thus, we hope, save more lives around the world. And with neighboring countries also at risk, we are looking with governments, other donors and civil society across the region at how we can support their preparedness activities.
It is clear, then, that to face down this multifaceted crisis we need a multidimensional, coordinated response, also for the post-crisis recovery process. Countries affected by the epidemic have been challenged extensively to provide a sustainable response. There are many terrible stories of those who have suffered at the hands of the disease. Theirs are not only stories of poor health services — but of much wider challenges, including weaknesses in governance, poor education systems, poor health services, poverty and limited economic development in key sectors like agriculture. The Ebola response must enable affected countries to pay their health workers. It must support the recovery process in key focal sectors like education and agriculture. Getting children back in school, adults back to work and food security and harvests back on track is vital. And it must help strengthen health systems and preparedness in the medium to long term. Countries with stronger health systems stand a better chance of cushioning the impact of the epidemic on the economy and on society.
In 2007-2013, the European Commission alone devoted nearly 3.2 billion euros in development resources to health; three-quarters of that funding went to support health systems in 40 countries worldwide.
We will continue to work with partner countries and partner organizations to keep health issues at the forefront of development cooperation worldwide. Partner country governments in particular have a great role to play, for their health systems and health workers carry out much of the work on the ground. And the Commission has long understood just how much added value health partnerships can bring. They really can prove to be greater than the sum of the part(ner)s that make them up.
That’s why we work with organizations like the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to complement the key support we give to health systems in our partner countries.
The European Commission is proud to have been associated with the Global Fund ever since its inception in 2001 and with the impressive results it has achieved. And now, as we look to further increase the global resources to fight poverty-related diseases, the time has certainly come for us to step up our efforts to leverage additional resources and broaden the donor base of the Global Fund, which started life as a public-private partnership. To this end, we should be calling on other donors like the private sector to scale up their contributions. This is just one example of how we believe the private sector can play a more central role as a partner for development.
Gavi is another PPP that we are proud to support, because we truly believe in what it stands for and the tangible difference it makes on the ground in helping countries maintain and increase immunisation coverage. It is a key player in our efforts to meet Millennium Development Goal 4 and reduce mortality rates in children under 5. And progress towards one health MDG boosts progress all round, because health issues influence all the MDGs. Thanks to all the donors working together within the alliance — including the European Commission — close to half a billion children have been immunized since 2000, resulting in 6 million lives saved. The EU is committed to delivering more lasting results like these through our Agenda for Change, the policy to refocus our aid to prioritize those sectors and countries where the need is greatest and where we can make the biggest difference.

The EU’s commitment is my commitment. I sincerely believe that we can give our fellow human beings a permanent route out of the mire of poverty and into a world of opportunity and potential. But none of us can fulfil our potential if we are denied the basic human right that is health. And no amount of gold and silver can alter that.


Members of global, regional and local law enforcement, revenue and customs agencies will meet in Cape Town at the end of the month to collaborate on efforts to address the scourge of illicit tobacco trade in sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa has the highest illicit tobacco incidence in the region and is listed amongst the top five illicit markets globally. In 2013, an estimated 31% of all cigarettes consumed in the country were illicit. In 2014, this number is still around 23%. These cigarettes are either manufactured locally and not declared for taxes or smuggled into the country by a growing network of criminals. In terms of impact on the fiscus, more than R20 billion in tax revenue has been lost since 2010.
The illicit cigarette problem is not limited to South Africa, but extends throughout the Southern Africa region, with Zambia, Namibia and Swaziland having estimated illicit incidences of well above the global average of between 10% and 12%.
“The problem runs far deeper than enormous losses of fiscal income that could have been put to good use to bolster government efforts in education, infrastructure development and poverty alleviation,” says Francois van der Merwe, CEO of the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa.
“A major issue is that the illicit market is closely linked to trans-national organised crime syndicates. Those that trade in illicit products, whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, textiles, DVDs, and environmental crimes such as Rhino poaching or abalone smuggling, are most often also involved in other serious crimes and even the funding of terrorism and money launderingi”
According to Interpol, criminal organisations are attracted by the lucrative profits involved in trading legitimate goods through illicit channelsii. 2

The objective of the conference is to build a foundation of close collaboration between affected countries in the region as well as their law enforcement, customs, treasury and revenue departments. Because the health agenda of governments is also affected by illicit trade, it is important that Health Ministries also become part of the efforts against illicit trade.
“We have seen first-hand what effective focus on combatting illicit trade by government can achieve. South Africa saw a marked decrease in illicit from 31% to 23% in the last year. This is in most part due to the excellent efforts by the various Law Enforcement/Police, Customs and Revenue, Treasury and Defence departments in the South African government.”
Van der Merwe says that while the declining numbers in South Africa are encouraging, this does not bode well for the rest of the region as organised crime is a moving target prone to shifting its focus to ‘easier’ markets when the going gets tough.
“If the pressure is increased in one market, syndicates simply move to the next, which is a real concern. Addressing this shift is one of the objectives of the conference. Imagine what we can achieve if not only government departments are working together to fight the illicit trade but countries too.”

The three day conference will include presentations by, amongst others, international policing organisation Interpol, the European Union’s law enforcement unit Europol, COMESA, UK customs officials, and a host of in-country revenue, customs and law enforcement specialists from Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I’M Still PF Secretary General, Just on Leave – Edgar Lungu

Edgar Lungu has refuted a report in Fred M’membe’s Post Newspaper suggesting he had relinquished his position as Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front.
Lungu, who is among the 10 candidates vying for the PF SG post, has stated he is only on leave and will resume his duties later.
Below is a statement
I have received several concerns and queries following a story circulating in some sections of the media that I have resigned or relinquished my position as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front.
I am hereby stating for the record that I have not resigned my position as SG.
I have simply taken leave of absence or temporarily stepped aside until our party finalises a decision to select who shall run for the position of party President.
With this statement, I wish to re-affirm that I Edgar C. Lungu remain Secretary General of the PF until such a time that a substantive candidate has been named to contest the 20th January 2015 by-election.
In my absence, the Deputy Secretary General Mrs. Bridgette Attanga will act as the Secretary General of the Party.
God bless Zambia.
Hon. Edgar C. Lungu
Secretary General of the PF
Minister of Defense and Justice

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Edgar Lungu
PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu came out fighting today when he announced that he will thump his rivals in the Central Committee or at the General Conference.
Speaking when he appeared on Lusaka radio station, Hot FM's breakfast show, which was broadcasting from his ministerial house in Woodlands, Lungu stated that he was comfortable with any mode of adoption and his rivals were no match.
Lungu also dispelled bribery allegations that were made by former Defence Minister, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, that Lungu had promised jobs to MCCs and paid Members of Parliament.
"They say I have no money, so how can I bribe anyone? I think GBM does not know our leaders in the Central Committee and our Members of Parliament. They can't be bought. This is an insult to the honourable leaders".
Lungu has received endorsements from the Central Committee and 70 Members of Parliament who include eleven Cabinet Ministers.
Lungu stated that he would honour the memories of President Sata by keeping the party united and ensuring the development agenda he embarked upon was completed.

He stated that PF had many leaders and his colleagues were free to challenge him
when he was asked if the anointed or chosen one he said was; "I don't know whether I am the chosen or anointed one. Many will claim that. But President Sata appointed me to so many portfolios and gave me more responsibilities"
"Even when I was being adopted as member of parliament for Chawama, my enemies told Mr. Sata that the man enjoys his bottle, he has no family and he has no home. But off course these were all malicious lies, here you are guys. you have seen. I have my beloved wife, my children, and my grandchildren".
Lungu also took time to chart his life from the Copperbelt, to the University of Zambia and spoke about his practice as a lawyer.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


A journalist in Sierra Leone has been imprisoned after criticizing President Ernest Bai Koroma's handling of the Ebola outbreak, according to news reports and local journalists. David Tam Baryoh was arrested on Monday.
Baryoh, host of the popular weekly "Monologue" radio program aired on the independent Citizen FM, was arrested in his office by police who did not have a warrant, according to news reports and local journalists. Baryoh was initially detained overnight at the Police Criminal Investigation headquarters in the capital, Freetown, where he met briefly with his lawyer, local journalists told CPJ. He was not allowed to see his wife.
Local journalists said they believed Baryoh's arrest to be in connection with the November 1 "Monologue" show, which was taken off the air during its live broadcast, Kelvin Lewis, president of Sierra Leone's Association of Journalists, told CPJ. In that show, Baryoh interviewed an opposition party spokesman who criticized Koroma and his government's handling of the Ebola outbreak, local journalists said. Baryoh and the party spokesman also criticized Koroma's intention to run for a third term in office, according to news reports. During the program, Baryoh also interviewed Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana, whose relationship with Koroma has soured, according to local press reports.
Lewis told CPJ that he met Baryoh at the police station, where the journalist told him the police had showed him an executive detention order signed by President Ernest Bai Koroma, which accused him of incitement. While Baryoh was at the station, a doctor diagnosed him with high blood pressure and recommended hospitalization, Lewis said. However, police, citing emergency powers given to President Koroma, remanded Baryoh to the Bamenda Maximum Security Prison. No official charges have been filed against him.
Under the current state of emergency in Sierra Leone, intended to restrict spreading of the Ebola virus, the president has wide-ranging powers, including the arrest of any person without a court order, Lewis told CPJ.
BBC correspondent Umaru Fofana who visited Baryoh in prison wrote on Facebook that the journalist was "struggling to stand upright as he repeatedly bent down and held his knees."
"Sierra Leone's genuine state of emergency means that critical thinking and public debate are more important than ever. Locking away journalists without charge helps nobody," said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative. "We call on President Ernest Bai Koroma to ensure that David Tam Baryoh is released immediately and that journalists are allowed to do their jobs freely."
Osho Coker, Secretary to the President, declined to comment to CPJ. Information Minister Alpha Kanu did not reply to CPJ's calls or a text message.

Baryoh has been targeted by government officials in the past. In January, he wasarrested and accused of seditious libel, according to news reports. In May, "Monologue" was banned for two months following a government directive, according to news reports.

Monday, 3 November 2014


Two journalists in Cameroon accused of withholding information from the state have been interrogated by a military court and ordered not to leave the country, according to news reports.
A closed military court in Yaounde on Tuesday questioned for several hours Félix Cyriaque Ebolé Bola, a senior reporter for the privately owned daily newspaperMutations and the president of Cameroon's National Union of Journalists, and Rodrigue Tongue, a senior reporter and the head of the political desk for the privately owned daily Le Messager, according to news reports. A lecturer at a journalism school, Baba Wame, was also interrogated.
News reports citing an unnamed judicial source said the court found that the journalists had access to information about national security and had not informed the authorities. The reports did not elaborate. A report by the independent dailyCameroon Journal said the journalists were accused of possessing a document containing information about the health of President Paul Biya.
The court released both journalists the same day, barred them from reporting, and ordered them to report to the court every Monday as a guarantee that they would not flee the country, news reports said. The journalists were also told not to make any public comments about the case pending the conclusion of the investigation.
The news website Koaci, which covers news and culture, reported that journalists attempting to cover the court proceeding were barred from entering and at least one TV camera was confiscated. The report did not offer further details.
The journalists would be given 24-hour notice if they are required to appear in court for a trial, Claude Assira, Tongue's lawyer, told CPJ.
"This interrogation may deter journalists and their sources from sharing information relating to national security, hampering the flow of news," said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative. "We call on Cameroonian authorities to stop harassing Félix Cyriaque Ebolé Bola and Rodrigue Tongue and allow them to work and travel freely."
Didier Badjeck, a military spokesman, told CPJ he was not authorized to speak about the case. Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakari did not respond to CPJ's calls or text message.

Peter Essoka, the vice-president of the National Communications Council, the government regulator that hears complaints against the media, told CPJ that the council was investigating the matter as the military had not consulted with it before summoning the journalists to court.