Sunday, January 14, 2018

Eritrean President Denies Presence of Egyptian Troops in Sudan
Eritrea's president, Isaias Afwerki, listens as he meets with Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, during an official visit to Khartoum on June 11, 2015. ( Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/ Reuters)

January 14, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki accused interested circles in Sudan and Ethiopia of attempting to create a conflict between Khartoum and Asmara, stressed that there were no Egyptian troops at the Sawa base, which borders the Sudanese border.

On Thursday, Sudan officially announced sending troops and equipment to the border with Eritrea and spoke about security threats after the alleged arrival of Egyptian troops to the Eritrean military base of Sawa, an area bordering the eastern province of Kassala in Sudan.

In an interview with Eritrean television on Sunday evening, Afwerki ridiculed Sudan’s allegations about the presence of Egyptian troops at the Sawa military base and slammed the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV channel which broadcast the news.

He further said that Asmara has information about an attempt to deploy Ethiopian troops on the Sudanese-Eritrean border to be financed by Sudan.

He added that Khartoum and Addis Ababa seek to push Eritrea to war pointing to the broadcast in the Sudanese media of footages of troops and weapons dispatched to Kassala state.

"The Ethiopian and Sudanese intelligence services are promoting false information. These accusations are an attempt to escape forward."

"Some circles in Sudan and Ethiopia are trying to create a clash between Sudan and Eritrea," he said.

In a joint press conference with his Ethiopian counterpart Sunday, the Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said his government does not accuse a specific country but speak about threats for its security on the eastern border.

"Some opposition forces are in those areas," he said. "There are some people who are trying to harm the security of the country and we will explain this in detail in due course," Ghandour stressed.

Speaking about the Turkish military presence in the Red Sea region, Afwerki said it "is not acceptable".

"I am not sure about the Turkish military presence in (the Sudanese town of) Suakin, but the Turkish presence in Somalia is unacceptable and does not contribute to the stability of the region," he said.

The head of the embattled east African country was recently in Egypt for talks with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following several reports about a rapprochement with Cairo which is in conflict with Khartoum and Addis Ababa over the Nile water.

(ST)
UN Experts Urge Libya, South Sudan to Prevent Weapons Supplying to Darfur Rebels
Sudanese soldiers in North Darfur's Wadi Hawar on Egyptian armoured vehicles used by the Darfur rebels in their attack from Libya on 23 May 2017 (ST Photo)

January 14, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - United Nations experts have urged Sudan’s neighbours Libya and South Sudan to stop supplying Darfur armed groups with weapons and ammunition in line with UN resolutions on this respect.

In a report to the Security Council released this week, a panel of five experts says that rebel groups from Darfur region "work as mercenaries" with South Sudanese government and the different warring parties in Libya.

Regarding the restive north African country, the report point to the presence in Libya of the Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), and the SLM-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) led by al-Hadi Idriss Yahia. While the Justice and Equality Movement of Girbil Ibrahim is present in South Sudan.

"The presence and activities of SLA/MM, SLA/TC and JEM in both Libya and South Sudan constitute a violation by those States of the arms embargo, which requires States to take measures to prevent the sale or supply of arms and related material and the provision of assistance to Darfurian rebel groups by their nationals or from their territories," the expert said.

The 97-page report seen by Sudan Tribune is the first UN text with detailed information, official documents and pictures about the presence of the armed groups from Darfur region in Libya.

The report describes the SLM-MM as the biggest Darfurian rebel group in Libya operating with Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

In a special annexe, the report says the group has "several hundreds of fighters and approximately 150 vehicles", adding that the military leadership of the group present in Libya include SLM-MM chief of staff Juma Haggar, his deputy Jabir Ishag and other commanders.

However, the experts said that the military leadership of the rebel group is now more independent from its exiled leader and they are directly paid by Haftar’s army.

According to the experts, JEM which has a limited presence in Libya has recently realised that the situation in the north African country "offers more opportunities than South Sudan" and considers ways to be more involved there.

The report dedicates one of its annexes to the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance led by Taher Hagar which is also operating in Libya.

The report which is mainly dedicated to the different effects of the situation in Libya on Darfur says that the role of mercenaries has gained significance because Libyan are wary of fighting and financially it is more beneficial for Libyan factions to engage foreign mercenaries.

"If Libyans get killed during the conflict, their tribe demands blood money, which is to be paid by the Libyan faction responsible for the death. The concept of blood money is, however, not applicable to foreign mercenaries," the report says.

A Darfurian fighter is paid between $250 to $500 per month. Also, they have " the option of receiving weapons and vehicles, in lieu of cash payment. Darfurian rebel groups have been demanding higher remuneration for some time, owing to the depreciation of the Libyan dinar," according to the experts.

The UN experts have recommended that the panel continues to monitor the presence and activities of Darfurian rebel groups in Libya and South Sudan. Further, they propose to "consider updating the sanctions list to include the photographs of three designated individuals and the passport details of one designated individual, and consider requesting INTERPOL to update its special notices accordingly".

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

While focusing on the financing of different Darfurian armed groups and, regional stability the experts noticed that the arrival of a greater number of Darfurian migrants to Europ through Libya since 2015.

"This trend would tend to suggest greater availability and better organization of the smuggling networks operating in the Sudan, Libya and Chad, which facilitate this journey," said the report based on interviews with humanitarian agencies in France and Italy.

The Darfur route via El-Fasher for migrant smuggling to Libya from Sudan, according to the report, has become an alternative to the Khartoum route via Dongola in northern Sudan. The smugglers, some of them are former rebels, use the same routes used by the armed groups.

Besides the human smuggling, the experts say the rebel groups in Darfur also make financial gains from the arms smuggling between Darfur and Libya.

They are "smuggling small arms from the Sudan to Libya. These groups are also smuggling heavy weapons such as anti-aircraft guns and anti-tank guns into Darfur from Libya," the report says.

In addition, the report says that Darfur rebel groups are also involved in the in the smuggling of fuel in tankers from Libyan port installations in Misrata and Zlitan into Darfur. The same for vehicles the armed groups "smuggled thousands of 4x4 vehicles from Libya to Darfur".

(ST)
South Sudan’s Ex-army Chief Did Not Set Condition for Talks: Official
January 14, 2018 (JUBA) – A member of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders has dismissed reports that former army chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan set conditions and demands for President Salva Kiir’s government to meet before entering into talks with the Juba regime.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday, the co-chair of the Jieng Council of Elders, Joshua Dau said he was unaware of conditions and demands Awan allegedly placed.

“Gen Paul Malong was receptive and cooperative in our meeting. He raised the issues which are his concern and they do not amount to preconditions or demands. Who told you this?” he asked.

Dau, also a member of upper house of the legislative assembly, said a message assuring Awan about government commitment’s to protect his properties was delivered by the team that visited him.

President Kiir, according to Dau, assured the country’s former army chief of staff that none of his associates in the army and government at all levels would be targeted because of their connections to him.

The South Sudanese leader also pledged readiness to pay attention the various issues, which Awan raised, the official further stated.

Awan reportedly vowed to abandon rebellion, cease from hostile and negative statements, which can be interpreted by the coalition government to mean threats against the Juba establishment.

But despite denials from Dau, social media was awash with reports that Awan unveiled four demands as a condition for entering talks.

Gordon Buay, a South Sudanese diplomat at its embassy in United States, said Awan demanded that the Director General for internal security services, Akol Koor Kuc be removed from his position and replaced before he can enter into talks with the Juba government.

Also said to be on Awan’s list of demands, Buay said, regards the conduct of the ruling party (SPLM) elections using ’secret ballot’ and the elected chairman must not be interim president of South Sudan.

It, however, remains unclear if the ex-army chief indeed set the demands Buay alleges.

On Friday, it emerged that prominent personalities and the Jieng Council of elders in South Sudan had reached a deal with the former army chief of general staff not to rebel against the government under the leadership of President Kiir.

The new deal, according to the mediation team, would allow the government to not treat Awan a rebel as he had been declared. It demands him to cease involving himself in any subversive activities that the government would interpret and equate them to rebellion. The deal further demands that government and Awan cease all sorts of hostilities, including social media and all forms of negative media campaign.

(ST)
South Sudan Youth Body Condemns Ceasefire Violations
January 13, 2018 (KAMPALA) – A South Sudanese youth entity has condemned what it described as violation of the cessation of hostilities by South Sudan government allegedly with the intention of frustrating efforts to bring everlasting peace to the ordinary citizens.

The International Youth for Africa (IYA), in a statement, said a host of the nation’s citizens are dying every day and therefore continuing to attack the opposition is utter violation of ongoing peace processes.

IYA’s executive director, Ter Manyang Gatwech urged the warring parties to respect the cessation of hostilities signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last year.

Strongly condemning the attack in the “strongest term”, Gatwech said those responsible for the ceasefire violation should be brought to book.

“We have incompetent politicians who cannot think about the suffering and the future of citizens. It will be useless to go to Addis Ababa and warms those seats for no reason. IYA therefore urges the international community, IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development], AU [African Union], UN [United Nations] and the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] to mount pressure on both parties to end the ongoing crisis in the South Sudan,” said Gatwech.

He added, “The two main warring factions must sort out their differences through a peaceful political dialogue not through guns”.

On Friday, the AU, UN and the Troika countries also condemned the continuing violence in South Sudan in clear violation of a cessation of hostilities they worked together with the IGAD to achieve last December.

(ST)
South Sudan’s Western Lakes State Militias Agree to Disarm
January 10, 2017 (RUMBEK) - Youth militias in South Sudan’s Western Lakes have agreed to lay down their weapons, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

Dharuai Mabor, who represents Western Lakes state in the country’s national assembly, the youth militias will disarm in designated areas.

He said the move will ensure the youth and army do not clash in future.

“When the army starts to actually announce the disarmament, they will be found in a canton organized so that they can be able to hand over their guns,” Mabor was quoted saying.

In December last year, South Sudan President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in Western Lakes state after the Rup youths clashed with militias of the Pakam ethnic group, leaving dozens dead.

Kiir also ordered deployment of government troops to restore normalcy in the region and immediate disarmament of the militias. Over 1,000 soldiers have reportedly arrived in the state capital, Rumbek with more expected in coming days.

(ST)
Dinka Elders Strike Deal With Ex-army Chief to Not Rebel
President Salva Kiir tours Juba streets accompanied with SPLA chief of Staff Paul Malong, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth and his Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny on 12 October 2016 (Photo Jok Solomun Anyang)

January 12, 2018 (JUBA) - Prominent personalities and the members of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of elders in South Sudan have reached a deal with the former army chief of staff, Paul Malong not to rebel against the government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir.

The new deal, according to the mediation team, will allow the government to not treat former chief of staff Paul Malong Awan as a rebel as he was declared on Monday. It demands him to cease involving himself in any subversive activities that the government would interpret and equate them to rebellion.

The deal further demands the two sides, the government and Awan, to cease all sorts of hostilities including social media and all forms of the negative media campaign.

The president, in particular, has assured ex-army chief to take into consideration some of his grievances within the shortest time possible. One of the assurances, according to a source privy to mediation, is that none of the properties owned by Awan and his family members either in Juba or elsewhere, including those in the village will be confiscated.

His family members and associates still serving in the army and government will not be persecuted on the basis of connection to him before being removed. They will be treated like any other citizen in the country, regardless of their views and association with him.

The South Sudanese leader also expressed readiness to return Awan to the government provided that it is a not precondition for ceasing negative activities against the government.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Friday, Joshua Dau, one of the elders and the co-chair of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders described the meeting with former chief of staff as fruitful.

“Our mission was fruitful. It was the mission of peace, harmony, unity and stability of the country and General Paul Malong was receptive and showed patriotism, leadership and sense of readiness to work with us to achieve this objective. He listened to us carefully and took the message we delivered to him from the president wholeheartedly,” said Dau.

Dau assured ex-army chief will not rebel, saying they discovered he has such intention.

“They discussions we had with Gen Paul Malong were frank, constructive and we discovered that he has no intention of activities that will harm and affect the national security of the country. So rebellion is out of question. There is no such thing and all the issues he raised are what we will take to the president for him to assess and address them,” said Dau.

"And I am sure the president will address them," he further said.

Political analysts and keen observers are keen to underscore that the conducts of the former army chief of staff are part of a politically designed scheme aimed at drawing the attention of the president to prompt returning him into the government.

(ST)
'Reprehensible and Racist:' Trump's Remarks Outrage Africans
BY CARA ANNA
Associated Press
January 12, 2018 01:36 PM
JOHANNESBURG

Africans were shocked on Friday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent. But it wasn't what people had hoped for.

Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal. On Friday he denied using that language.

The African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was "frankly alarmed" by Trump's comments.

"Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Some African governments found themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of U.S. aid, some hesitated to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.

"Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say," South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP.

But Botswana's government called Trump's comment "reprehensible and racist," saying the U.S. ambassador had been summoned to clarify whether the country was regarded so poorly after years of cordial relations. Senegal's President Macky Sall said he was shocked and that "Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all."

Both nations have been praised by the U.S. government as stable democracies in the region.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress called Trump's comments "extremely offensive," while opposition leader Mmusi Maimane said "the hatred of Obama's roots now extends to an entire continent." Uganda's state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, called the remarks "unfortunate and regrettable" and hoped that heads of state will reply at an African Union summit later this month.

African media outlets and the continent's young, increasingly connected population were not shy, with some tweeting sleek photos of African landscapes and urban areas with the hashtag of the word.

"Well, that is the perfect definition of racism. That is all I have to say," Kenyan entrepreneur Wangui Muraguri told the AP in response to Trump.

"Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate," South African media outlet Daily Maverick wrote.

Trump's comments were "shocking and shameful" and "I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but racist," said a spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, Rupert Colville.

Many on the world's second most populous continent reached for their smartphones, long-practiced in defending it from easy stereotypes. While 40 percent of the world's poor live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund, the region also has billionaires, reality shows and a growing middle class.

The World Bank on Friday tweeted that sub-Saharan Africa's economic growth this year is forecast at 3.2 percent. That was the U.S. economy's annual rate of growth from July through September, according to Commerce Department data last month.

Some in Africa decided to own Trump's vulgar language or throw it back in his face.

"Good morning from the greatest most beautiful 'shithole country' in the world!!!" South African Broadcasting Corporation anchor Leanne Manas tweeted.

"As someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president's remarks," The Daily Show tweeted of its South African-born host, Trevor Noah.

Others said they thought Trump had a point, in a way.

"Trump is absolutely right," said Mamady Traore, a 30-year-old sociologist in Guinea. "When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians."

In Kenya, East Africa's economic hub, political activist Boniface Mwangi pleaded: "Please don't confuse the ... leaders we Africans elect with our beautiful continent." He later told the AP that "Africa gave America the greatest president ever" in Barack Obama. "It is actually a disgrace for one of the best men to occupy that office to be succeeded by an idiot."

Trump's comments highlighted months of concerns about his lack of focus on Africa, including empty ambassadorial posts in key countries like South Africa, Egypt, Congo and Somalia. A list maintained by the Washington-based American Foreign Service Association says eight such posts are vacant.

Trump has expressed negative opinions about the continent in the past. "Every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen - corruption is rampant!" he tweeted in 2013.

The U.S. president is only hurting himself both at home and abroad, some Africans said.

"He has not only insulted Africans, he has also insulted African-Americans," said Sylvester Odion Akhaine, associate professor of international relations at the Lagos State University in Nigeria. "Internationally, such language will deepen the isolation of the United States, a country that is already losing its global prestige."

One lawmaker in Ghana called for a boycott by developing countries against the United States until Trump leaves office. "The sooner he is made aware that America needs the world and the world needs America the better it is for all of us," Ras Mubarak said.

As outrage spread, the U.S. government's own Africa Media Hub tried to put out the flames.

Without directly referring to Trump's statement, it tweeted that "US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them."
US Embassy Tries to Calm Africa's Trump Outrage
Jan 12, 2018 - 3:51 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump's comments on Africa and Haiti (all times local):

10:50 p.m.

The U.S. Embassy in South Africa says the United States "deeply respects the people of Africa" as President Donald Trump's remark about immigrants from Africa causes outrage across the continent.

The U.S. embassy says on Twitter "there has been no change in our dedication to partners and friends across the continent."

African leaders have expressed shock and disgust at Trump's comment.

The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, calls the remarks "unfortunate" and says he is "all the more dismayed as the USA is a unique example of how migration contributes to nation-building based on values of diversity, tolerance and opportunity."

Botswana's government called Trump's comment "reprehensible and racist" and summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain.
___

10 p.m.

The U.N. spokesman says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly said that "the dignity, equality and human rights of refugees and migrants has to be respected everywhere."

Stephane Dujarric responded Friday to questions seeking the U.N. chief's reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump's comments questioning why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole" countries in Africa saying Trump has denied making those comments.

Dujarric referred reporters to Guterres' speech Thursday on migration. In that, Guterres urged all countries to focus on the overwhelmingly positive contributions of migrants and use "facts not prejudice." The U.N. chief warned that authorities who erect obstacles "inflict needless economic self-harm" and "unintentionally encourage illegal migration."

The message appeared clearly aimed at European countries, the United States and other nations that restricted migration.
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7:25 p.m.

El Salvador says it has sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country's "resounding rejection" of a remark attributed to President Donald Trump.

The Central American nation's Foreign Ministry says in a statement that "El Salvador demands respect for its brave and dignified people."

During an Oval Office meeting Thursday, Trump reportedly questioned the need for more immigrants from Haiti and used disparaging language to refer to countries in Africa.

The meeting was held to discuss a possible bipartisan immigration deal. Earlier this week, the U.S. announced that it is rescinding Temporary Protected Status for around 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States that lets them live and work legally in the country.

Washington also recently rescinded TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans.
___

6 p.m.

Senegal's president says he is "shocked" by President Donald Trump's vulgar remark about immigrants from African countries and Haiti, saying that "Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all."

President Macky Sall joined the growing condemnation by a number of countries across the continent.

The West African nation has often been praised by the U.S. as an example of stable democracy in the region.
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5:50 p.m.

The U.S. State Department is trying to calm things down after President Donald Trump's vulgar remark about immigrants from African countries.

A new tweet from the department's Bureau of African Affairs says that "the United States will continue to robustly, enthusiastically and forcefully engage in #Africa, promoting this vital relationship, and to listen and build on the trust and views we share with our African partners."

The tweet doesn't directly reference Trump's comment. The president on Friday denied using the language but a senator present at a White House immigration meeting says he used it repeatedly.
___

4:40 p.m.

Haiti says it is "deeply shocked and outraged" by President Donald Trump's reported vulgar remark on immigration, calling it "racist."

The Haitian government says in a statement that "these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority."

It adds that the comment as reported "reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States."

Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa. He denied Friday that he used the vulgar expression, saying "this was not the language used."

Haiti's ambassador to Washington told local radio that his government has complained to the U.S. Embassy.
___

4:30 p.m.

A senior European Union lawmaker says President Donald Trump "has forgotten to engage his brain before talking" about immigrants and is not fit for office.

Socialist group President Gianni Pittella says that after insulting Mexicans and Muslims "now it is Haiti, El Salvador and African people being targeted by the U.S. president's delirious and racist words."

Pittella says that "every passing day, Trump proves not to be fit to run the U.S. and lead the international community. Insulting, bullying, threatening is the only language Trump knows. It is no longer tolerable."

Pittella leads the second-largest party group in the EU assembly.
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3:40 p.m.

It's not all anger and condemnation in Africa after President Donald Trump's vulgar remark about immigrants. Some on the continent say they agree.

"President Donald Trump is absolutely right," says Mamady Traore, a 30-year-old sociologist in the West African nation of Guinea. "When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians."

Then again, others are not happy with Trump himself.

"Donald Trump is an unstable character who would critique his own image if it was doubled," says Marlyatou Sow, a 32-year-old student in Guinea. His comments show "that he doesn't have a heightened vision and that he is nothing less than a businessman who arrived at the White House purely by chance."
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3:20 p.m.

A senior Trump administration official says the top U.S. diplomat in Haiti has been summoned to meet with Haiti's president to explain President Donald Trump's remark about immigrants.

Robin Diallo, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy, is the most senior diplomat there as the Trump administration does not have an ambassador in place.

The administration official says Diallo plans to listen to the Haitian leader's concerns and reiterate the strong U.S. relationship with Haiti. The administration official demanded anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to disclose diplomatic conversations.

- Josh Lederman in Washington
___

3:15 p.m.

A French government spokesman says "silence" is preferable to any reaction in response to President Donald Trump's vulgar comments on immigrants from African nations and Haiti.

Benjamin Grivaux told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting "it's obviously not advisable" to speak the way Trump "reportedly" spoke when he asked why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway.

Grivaux says that "we must keep a correct language especially when we speak about countries that sometimes suffered from bad weather, a great poverty and that are in a great distress."
___

2:40 p.m.

An opposition lawmaker in Ghana is calling for a boycott by developing countries against the United States until President Donald Trump leaves office following his derogatory remarks against immigrants from Haiti and African nations.

Ras Mubarak says countries should send a "strong message to Trump that the world is united against his kind of politics, which is bigoted, divisive and not healthy."

Mubarak adds that "the sooner he is made aware that America needs the world and the world needs America the better it is for all of us."
___

2:15 p.m.

Norwegians are baffled and discomfited to be the subject of President Donald Trump's backhanded compliment in his vulgar comments on immigrants from African nations and Haiti.

Trump spoke after a bilateral meeting with Norway's prime minister, asking why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway.

Henrik Heldahl, a commentator for the Amerikansk Politikk website, says the sentiment about Norway might have been welcomed without the rest of the statement. "But the way he said it guarantees that the reaction here will be very negative."

Hilde Restad, a university associate professor in international studies, says Trump has achieved the unlikely feat of praising Norway while still offending its citizens.

She says that "Norwegians in general have such a minority complex that as long as we are noticed we get very excited. But in general we are not wanting to be flattered by this U.S. president in this way."
___

1:55 p.m.

Botswana's government is calling President Donald Trump's vulgar comment on immigrants from African nations and Haiti "reprehensible and racist."

A statement by the southern African nation says the U.S. ambassador has been summoned. Botswana says it wants to clarify whether the nation is regarded so poorly after years of cordial relations.

Other African nations have begun speaking up.

Uganda's state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, calls Trump's remarks "unfortunate and regrettable."

He adds that "we pray that the almighty God gives him wisdom to change his mind about people who are suffering and looking for safe haven in America."

He says he hopes African heads of state will reply to Trump at an African Union summit later this month.
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1:05 p.m.

The U.N. human rights office says President Donald Trump's reported use of an expletive to describe Africa and other countries could "potentially damage and disrupt the lives of many people."

Spokesman Rupert Colville says the comments, if confirmed, were "shocking and shameful" and "I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but racist."

People briefed on the extraordinary Oval Office conversation confirmed the remarks, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss it publicly. White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them when asked, although Trump later did.

Colville says Trump's reported comment could endanger lives by potentially fanning xenophobia: "It legitimizes the targeting of people based on who they are."

"This isn't just a story about vulgar language, it's about opening the door to humanity's worst side," he said.

Colville says Trump's reported comments "go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust."
___

12:25 p.m.

The U.S. government's Africa Media Hub is trying to put out the flames sparked by President Donald Trump's vulgar comments about African immigrants.

Without directly referring to Trump's statement, the tweet says that "US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them."

Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal.
___

11:55 a.m.

South Africa's ruling party is calling President Donald Trump's comment on African immigrants "extremely offensive."

Deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte of the African National Congress tells reporters that developing countries do have difficulties but that the United States itself has millions of people out of work or without health care.

She says that "we would not deign to make comments as derogatory" as Trump's.

Trump has questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal.
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11:05 a.m.

The African Union says it is "frankly alarmed" by President Donald Trump's statement in which he used vulgar language to question why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from African countries and Haiti.

"Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo tells The Associated Press. "This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity."

She adds that "we believe that a statement like this hurts our shared global values on diversity, human rights and reciprocal understanding."
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9 a.m.

Africa is waking up to find President Donald Trump has finally taken an interest in the continent. It's not what people expected.

Trump has questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting an immigration deal.

African governments find themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of U.S. aid, some hesitate to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump.

In South Sudan, government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny says that "unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say."

African media outlets and the continent's young, connected population are less shy.

"Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate," South African media outlet Daily Maverick says.
Trump's 's--Hole' Controversy Shows No Sign of Easing
BY MALLORY SHELBOURNE
The Hill
01/14/18 02:01 PM EST  2,149

The controversy over President Trump’s reported use of the phrase “shithole countries” to describe several nations showed no sign of easing on Sunday, as lawmakers wrestled over the comment and what it means for immigration negotiations.

While lawmakers from both parties condemned the reported remark, some stopped short of labeling the president a racist, and two Republican senators either denied hearing the comment or said that the president did not utter the words.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that while he did not think the remark was “constructive,” he also believes it is “unfair” to label Trump a racist.

“You can't have an immigration compromise if everybody's out there calling the president a racist,” Paul told NBC’s “Meet the Press. “But both sides now are destroying the setting in which anything meaningful can happen on immigration.”

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), meanwhile, would not go so far as to call Trump a racist, but said “there’s no question” that the comment the president allegedly made during a White House meeting with lawmakers last week was racist.

“I was raised not to call people racist on the theory that it was hard for them to be rehabilitated once you said that,” Bennet said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“But there’s no question what he said was racist. There’s no question what he said was un-American and completely unmoored from the facts.”

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was not as generous, however, telling ABC that he thinks Trump is a racist and that he will not attend the president’s first State of the Union address.

“I don't think there's any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and what he said about Dr. King,” Lewis said when asked how he could “square” Trump’s comment with the president's speech Friday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

“It's just impossible. There's not any way you can do that. It's unreal. It's unbelievable. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.”

Trump received swift backlash after The Washington Post reported last week that he referred to immigrants from African nations, El Salvador and Haiti as coming from “shithole countries.”

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly asked.

While the White House initially did not deny the remark, Trump on Friday denied saying “anything derogatory” about individuals from Haiti.

“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!”

Republican Rep. Mia Love (Utah), the first Haitian-American elected to Congress, on Sunday admitted the comment was racist, but said it should not “derail” a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I can’t defend the indefensible. There are countries that do struggle out there, but their people are good people. Their people are part of us. We’re Americans,” Love told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Love said “the worst thing” that could occur is if lawmakers did not craft a legislative fix to DACA, an Obama-era program that protects immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump said last year he would rescind DACA, but gave lawmakers time to come up with a solution for its recipients.

“There are people that are depending on us, not just Americans on border security, but families that are waiting, that are in limbo, that need something that a president can't give or take away from them,” Love said.

“We have to find a way to fix the immigration issue, fix the DACA issue. And we can't let this derail us.”

Republican Sens. David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.), both of whom participated in the meeting at the White House, said Friday that they did not "recall" Trump making the comment. Perdue took that one step further Sunday, saying Trump did not say what had been reported.

“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” Perdue told ABC’s “This Week” after host George Stephanopoulos pushed for an answer.

Cotton during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” maintained that he did not hear Trump say the word in question.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that she did not “recall [Trump] saying that exact phrase.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a red-state Democrat up for his first reelection this year in a state Trump won by more than 40 points, said that while the comment was “hurtful,” it should not halt negotiations.

“So we've got to move on. I mean, if it was said in whatever content it was said, it was hurtful, it's harmful, it shouldn't have been said, but let's move on,” Manchin told CBS. “Don't let it stop the whole procedure.”

Lawmakers have until midnight on Jan. 19 to reach another deal to fund the government, which comes as Congress also pursues a legislative fix on DACA.

Trump has said his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a key promise of his presidential campaign, “must be part of any DACA approval.” But the president on Sunday said “DACA is probably dead,” putting the blame on Democrats.

“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Hopes Dim for DACA Deal as Lawmakers Battle Over Trump’s Immigration Remarks
By THOMAS KAPLAN and NOAH WEILAND
New York Times
JAN. 14, 2018

Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, left, with Senator Jon Tester, Senator John Cornyn, Representative Martha McSally, Senator Richard J. Durbin and President Trump at the White House on Tuesday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The uproar over President Trump’s vulgar remark on immigration took a bitter turn on Sunday as lawmakers attacked one another in unusually personal terms and hopes dimmed for any quick deal to protect young undocumented immigrants and avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Trump declared that the Obama-era program shielding those immigrants from deportation was “probably dead,” while a Republican senator who attended the Thursday meeting where the president addressed immigration denied that Mr. Trump had used the phrase “shithole” in describing African nations.

The senator, David Perdue of Georgia, said Mr. Trump “did not use that word,” and he accused another participant in the White House meeting, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, of a “gross misrepresentation” of what the president had said at the session.

He and another Republican senator at the meeting, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, had previously said they did “not recall the president saying these comments specifically.” But by Sunday, their recollections appeared to have sharpened, and Mr. Cotton joined Mr. Perdue in disputing Mr. Durbin’s account. The two senators’ latest assertions also seemed to conflict with the account of another Republican senator who was at the meeting, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Mr. Trump declared on Sunday night that he was “not a racist” and insisted that the derogatory comment attributed to him did not occur.

“I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Mr. Trump said as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club for dinner with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader.

The rift over Mr. Trump’s comments, and how they have since been recounted, risked further eroding trust between Democrats and Republicans at the beginning of a critical week for Congress. Government funding is set to expire on Friday, and lawmakers will need to pass a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday.

And lawmakers are already facing a difficult fight over the politically volatile subject of immigration, with the fates of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants hanging in the balance. Adding to the uncertain picture for those immigrants, the Trump administration resumed accepting renewals for the program over the weekend, under orders from a federal judge who is hearing a legal challenge to Mr. Trump’s dismantling of the program.

But in Congress, the battle took on an increasingly personal dimension as Mr. Perdue and Mr. Cotton essentially accused Mr. Durbin of lying about the president’s comments, even after the vulgar remarks were widely reported and the White House did not immediately dispute that the president had made them.

“I didn’t hear that word either,” Mr. Cotton said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was.”

Mr. Cotton said Mr. Durbin “has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings,” an assertion that Mr. Perdue made in his own interview Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.”

Ben Marter, a spokesman for Mr. Durbin, responded by suggesting that Mr. Perdue and Mr. Cotton should not be believed.

“Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time,” Mr. Marter wrote on Twitter. “Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both.”

Mr. Graham had previously told a fellow South Carolina Republican, Senator Tim Scott, that reports in the news media of Mr. Trump’s language were “basically accurate.” A spokesman for Mr. Graham did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who is part of a bipartisan group of senators that has developed an immigration proposal, said on Sunday that people in the room with Mr. Trump during Thursday’s meeting told him that the president had used the inflammatory language.

“I was in a meeting directly afterwards where those who had presented to the president our proposal spoke about the meeting,” he said on “This Week.” “I heard that account before the account even went public.”

The other lawmakers at the meeting, all Republicans, have not offered any public recollection of what the president said.

The Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, who also attended the meeting, said on “Fox News Sunday” that she did not recall the president “saying that exact phrase.”

Mr. Durbin had told reporters on Friday that Mr. Trump called African nations “shitholes,” which Mr. Durbin said was “the exact word used by the president, not just once, but repeatedly.” He called the president’s comments “hate-filled, vile and racist.” At the meeting, Mr. Durbin said Mr. Trump also questioned whether the United States needed more Haitians.

Mr. Graham is said to have admonished the president during the meeting, telling him that “America is an idea, not a race.”

Saying that President Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he created the program that shields from deportation young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, known as Dreamers, Mr. Trump moved to end it in September.

He gave Congress six months to find a fix for the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Democrats have been pushing to secure a deal by Friday’s government funding deadline that would protect Dreamers, hoping to capitalize on the leverage they have as a result of that deadline. Democratic votes will be needed to pass the stopgap spending measure in the Senate, where government funding measures require 60 votes, and Democratic votes might be needed in the House as well.

Republican leaders say they want to address DACA as well, but separately from funding the government. Compared with their Democratic counterparts, Republican leaders are operating on a longer time frame for taking action, given the six-month window that Mr. Trump gave Congress. They also have to contend with internal divisions over immigration policy.

The bipartisan group of senators, including Mr. Durbin and Mr. Graham, reached an agreement last week that would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients while also providing money for border security and making other changes to immigration policy.

But Mr. Trump dismissed the proposal, calling it a “big step backwards.” And on Sunday, he offered a pessimistic take on Twitter: “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our military.”

Still, administration officials said they intended to abide by an order from Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco last week to restart the DACA program, with some modifications, while a legal challenge plays out. On Saturday, officials did just that by updating the program’s website to once again accept renewals.

But administration officials hope the judge’s decision will be temporary. Officials said the president’s lawyers are examining whether to appeal his order, which could lead to a ruling allowing the administration to shut the program down again. The administration could also choose to modify its legal reasoning to satisfy the judge’s criticisms.

Either way, immigrant rights activists are not counting on legal action to be the ultimate protection for the Dreamers. Several said they believe the only real solution for the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants is to convince Congress to act soon.

The court ruling could lessen the pressure for that kind of action — at least in the short term — since some young immigrants can once again renew their protected status for another two years.

Lawyers and directors of community legal services spent Sunday preparing fact sheets and answering calls that have been flooding their offices.

Most of the calls that Hasan Shafiqullah, the director of the immigration unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York, said he has been receiving started with the burning questions “Is this real? Can I file?”

The answer, for now, he said, is yes. But he is concerned for his clients about another turnabout in the courts.

“It’s just the emotional roller coaster that our clients are on,” he said.

Allan Wernick, the director of CUNY Citizenship Now, a legal services program at the City University of New York, said filing renewals could be very powerful, at least symbolically, to Mr. Trump.

“The more applications get in, the more it is clear that his ending the program has real-world impact,” he said.

Liz Robbins contributed reporting from New York, and Michael D. Shear from Palm Beach, Fla.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Africa Calls Trump Racist After 'Shithole' Remark
Annum Masroor
HuffPost
January 12, 2018

JOHANNESBURG/LUSAKA, Jan 12 (Reuters) - African politicians and diplomats labeled U.S. President Donald Trump a racist on Friday after he was reported to have described some immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from “shithole” countries.

Trump reportedly made the remarks at a White House meeting on immigration on Thursday and a U.S. senator who attended the gathering said on Friday that the president used “vile, vulgar” language, including repeatedly using the word “shithole.”

Trump denied on Friday using such derogatory language, but he was widely condemned in many African countries and in Haiti and El Salvador, and by international rights organizations.

“Ours is not a shithole country and neither is Haiti or any other country in distress,” Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress told reporters at a news conference in East London.

“We would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that about any country that has any kind of socio-economic or other difficulties,” Duarte said, adding that much like their African counterparts, millions of U.S. citizens were affected by problems such as unemployment.

Botswana’s foreign ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in protest and called the comments “highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”

In a statement it said it had asked the U.S. government, through its ambassador, to “clarify” if the derogatory remark also applied to Botswana given that there were Botswana nationals living in the United States and others who wished to go there.

Senegal’s foreign ministry also called in the U.S. ambassador in Dakar to demonstrate its displeasure, a U.S. State Department official said.

The African Union (AU), an organization which promotes cooperation on the continent, said it was alarmed by Trump’s “very racist” comments.

“Given the historical reality of how African Americans arrived in the United States as slaves, and the United States being the biggest example of how a nation has been built by migration - for a statement like that to come is particularly upsetting,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

The AU’s mission in Washington expressed its “infuriation, disappointment and outrage” at the comment and demanded a retraction as well as an apology.

In Haiti, on the eighth anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed about 220,000 people, the government also summoned the top U.S. diplomat for an explanation, while the Haitian ambassador to Washington called for an apology.

“Haitians don’t deserve such treatment,” said Ambassador Paul Altidor. “Haitians should not be seen as a bunch of immigrants who come to the United States to exploit U.S. resources.”

Special status given to about 59,000 Haitian immigrants, that has protected them from deportation following the 2010 earthquake, will end next year following a Trump administration ruling last month.

El Salvador, also facing an end to protected status for its 200,000 citizens living in the United States, sent a formal letter of protest to the U.S. government over the comments.

El Salvador’s foreign ministry said the U.S. president had “implicitly” accepted the use of “harsh terms detrimental to the dignity of El Salvador and other countries.”

‘HARSH AND OFFENSIVE’

Since taking office a year ago, Trump has pursued controversial policies aimed at curbing immigration into the United States as part of a hard-line “America First” agenda.

Trump said on Twitter on Friday he merely used “tough” language when discussing a new immigration bill with a group of U.S. senators.

He said the bill was a step backwards because it would force the United States “to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly.”

The Trump administration has spoken little about how it wants to engage with African countries, focusing its foreign policy instead on issues like North Korea and Islamic State.

On the streets of Lusaka, capital of the southern African country of Zambia, Trump’s reported remark reinforced long-held views about the U.S. leader.

“Trump has always been a racist, only a racist can use such foul language,” said Nancy Mulenga, a student at the University of Zambia.

Retired Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselasse, who won his first 10,000 Olympic gold medal in the U.S. city of Atlanta in 1996, told Reuters Trump’s comments did not reflect the views of all Americans.

The United Nations human rights office said it had no doubt Trump’s remarks were “racist,” while the Vatican newspaper branded them as “particularly harsh and offensive.”

“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” said U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard in East London, Chris Mfula in Lusaka and Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa, Eric Beech, Arshad Mohammed and Warren Strobel in Washington; Writing by Alexander Winning in Johannesburg and Mary Milliken in Washington; Editing by Peter Graff and James Dalgleish)
Donald Trump Must Apologize for Comments - African Union
BBC World Service

The organisation representing African countries has demanded that US President Donald Trump apologise after he reportedly called nations on the continent "shitholes".

The group's mission in Washington DC expressed its "shock, dismay and outrage" and said the Trump administration misunderstood Africans.

The US leader made the alleged remark in a Thursday meeting on immigration.

But Mr Trump has denied using the language reported.

He has been backed by two Republicans who were at the White House meeting, but Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said Mr Trump called African countries "shitholes" several times and used "racist" language.

On Friday, Mr Trump on Friday tweeted that his language he used at the private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration legislation had been "tough".

But he added that the words attributed to him were "not the language used".

What did the African Union say?

It said the "remarks dishonour the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity".

It added: "While expressing our shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration.

"There is a serious need for dialogue between the US Administration and the African countries."

The pan-African grouping represents 55 member states throughout the continent. It succeeded the Organisation of African Unity - which originated in the decolonisation struggles of the early 1960s - in 2002.

What exactly did Trump say?

The remarks were allegedly made when lawmakers visited him on Thursday to discuss a bipartisan proposal that would impose new restrictions on immigration but protect the so-called "Dreamers" - hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the US illegally as children - from deportation.

Mr Trump was said to have told them that instead of granting temporary residency to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, the US should instead be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" the Washington Post quoted him as saying.

Mr Durbin said that when Mr Trump was told that the largest groups of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) were from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, the president responded: "Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?"

But in another tweet on Friday the president denied that he insulted Haitians.

Many US media outlets reported the comments on Thursday, quoting witnesses or people briefed on the meeting. The White House did not deny them.

The anniversary of the devastating earthquake 8 years ago is a day to remember the tragedy, honor the resilient people of Haiti, & affirm America’s commitment to helping our neighbors. Instead, we‘re subjected to Trump’s ignorant, racist views of anyone who doesn’t look like him.

Another Republican Senator who was there, Lindsey Graham, did not deny the comments were made. "Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel," he said.

On Friday, Mr Trump ignored press questions about the issue as he signed a proclamation declaring a holiday in honour of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr - as presidents do every year.

He said Americans were celebrating that "self-evident truth" that "no matter what the colour of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God".

What has been the global reaction?

Botswana summoned the US ambassador and asked the envoy "to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a 'shithole' country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US"

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said the comments, if confirmed, were "shocking and shameful", adding: "I'm sorry but there is no other word for this but racist."

Haiti's US Ambassador Paul Altidor told the BBC the idea that "we're simply immigrants who come here to take advantage of the US" is wrong.
Africa Alarmed by Trump’s Racial Rant
January 13, 2018

Johannesburg. — Africans were shocked yesterday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent.

But it wasn’t what people had hoped for.

Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti and shithole countries in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal. Yesterday he denied using that language.

The African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was frankly alarmed by Trump’s comments.

Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice, AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Some African governments found themselves in an awkward position.

As top recipients of US aid, some hesitated to jeopardise it by criticising Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.

Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say, South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP.

But Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment reprehensible and racist, saying the US ambassador had been summoned to clarify whether the country was regarded so poorly after years of cordial relations.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall said he was shocked and that Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all.

Both nations have been praised by the US government as stable democracies in the region.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress called Trump’s comments extremely offensive, while opposition leader Mmusi Maimane said the hatred of Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.

Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, called the remarks unfortunate and regrettable and hoped that heads of state will reply at an African Union summit later this month.

African media outlets and the continent’s young, increasingly connected population were not shy, with some tweeting sleek photos of African landscapes and urban areas with the hashtag of the word. Well, that is the perfect definition of racism. That is all I have to say, Kenyan entrepreneur Wangui Muraguri told the AP in response to Trump.

Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate, South African media outlet Daily Maverick wrote.

Trump’s comments were shocking and shameful and I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist, said a spokesman for the UN human rights office, Rupert Colville.

Many on the world’s second most populous continent reached for their smartphones, long-practiced in defending it from easy stereotypes.

While 40 percent of the world’s poor live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund, the region also has billionaires, reality shows and a growing middle class.

The World Bank on Friday tweeted that sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth this year is forecast at 3.2 percent. That was the U.S. economy’s annual rate of growth from July through September, according to Commerce Department data last month.

Some in Africa decided to own Trump’s vulgar language or throw it back in his face.

Good morning from the greatest most beautiful ‘shithole country’ in the world!!! South African Broadcasting Corporation anchor Leanne Manas tweeted.

As someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks, The Daily Show tweeted of its South African-born host, Trevor Noah.

Others said they thought Trump had a point, in a way.

Trump is absolutely right, said Mamady Traore, a 30-year-old sociologist in Guinea.

When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power.

When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians.

In Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, political activist Boniface Mwangi pleaded: Please don’t confuse the . . . leaders we Africans elect with our beautiful continent.

He later told the AP that Africa gave America the greatest president ever in Barack Obama.

It is actually a disgrace for one of the best men to occupy that office to be succeeded by an idiot.

— Daily Maverick.
Mugabe Ousted by 'Military Coup' Claims Ex-minister
Jan. 11, 2018, 12:40 p.m.
By AFP

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was ousted by a "military coup" that forced his resignation, former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Thursday.

Moyo, a former higher education minister under the last president and an ardent Mugabe loyalist, said Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa stole power and was leading an "illegal regime".

"Mnangagwa and (Vice President Constantino) Chiwenga, they know only too well that they have come into power via the bullet and not the ballot," Moyo, who is in self-imposed exile, told the BBC's Hard Talk programme.

It was unclear where he gave the interview.

"We have a... constitution that the people of Zimbabwe made for themselves and it has been broken and it has been broken via a coup," he said.

"The constitution of the country has been subverted and there has to be a return to constitutionalism."

Moyo said the army acted unconstitutionally when it briefly took power from the government in November.

"The army deployed itself in Zimbabwe when the constitution says only the president can deploy it," he said.

The commanders involved in the campaign to seize power and ease Mugabe from power, which included then-general Chiwenga, insisted they were targeting criminals around Mugabe.

That was widely seen as a reference to Mugabe's wife Grace and supporters of her apparent desire to succeed the 93-year-old statesman -- efforts that riled many in the military establishment.

Moyo also said that the new government under Mnangagwa was an "illegal regime" that had struggled to assert its legitimacy.

He pointed to Mnangagwa's visit last week to ailing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as evidence of the new president's efforts to assert himself politically.

"We know that when Mnangagwa and Chiwenga went to Morgan Tsvangirai's house they pretended that they were concerned about his health but we know they wanted to negotiate with him to postpone elections for at least three years," he alleged.

"They are afraid of elections. They do not want to have free and fair elections let alone credible elections."

He accused Mnangagwa and Chiwenga of involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s that claimed the lives of around 20,000 regime opponents, including children and women, in the country's southwest.

"Right now the cabinet of the Republic of Zimbabwe is led by the most feared people in the history of this country. They are feared because they associated with every atrocity that has happened," he said. 
Exiled Mugabe Ally Says Mnangagwa's Government Is 'Illegitimate'
12-Jan-2018
peacefmonline  

Exiled former minister for higher education in Zimbabwe, Professor Jonathan Moyo has spoken to the media for the first time since fleeing the country.

The once powerful politician, who is now a harsh critic of the Mnangagwa led government, spoke to the BBC and narrated the manner in which he fled Zimbabwe in addition to fielding questions on the Mugabe regime and plans of going back home.

Moyo was one of the prominent members of the so-called G40 Zanu PF faction which viciously opposed ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa from succeeding the nearly 94-year-old Mugabe.

The G40 enjoyed the support of Grace Mugabe who was thought to be keen on taking over from Robert Mugabe.

Moyo told the BBC that ‘it is not illegal to support Grace Mugabe’.

“First of all, it is not corrupt to support any particular politician to become any office holder whether its vice president, president. It can’t be a crime in a constitutional democracy,” he said.

He went ahead to condemn the military takeover that ousted Robert Mugabe and ushered in the country’s current president, Mnangagwa deputised by former army chief Constantino Chiwenga.

“They have come into power via the bullet not the ballot,” Moyo charged, adding that Zimbabweans “cannot be expected to embrace the most feared individuals”.

Calling the takeover ‘unconstitutional’, Moyo went ahead to describe the manner in which he fled the country, which accorded to him was because of a ‘death warrant’ issued by the military.

“I left Zimbabwe with the help of people who to me are angels because they saved lives,” Moyo said. “I escaped the net of the military people to be where I am legally.”

It’s unclear where Moyo is at the moment. The BBC interview was done via a television link from an undisclosed location.

Since his resignation Moyo and his close allies have escaped into exile, claiming to have escaped assassination attempts by the military. A Malawi publication this week claimed that he was in that country.

Meanwhile, former ministers and other ex-Zanu PF officials linked to Grace Mugabe and the G40 faction who are still in the country have faced arrests on corruption charges.

Source: africanews.com
Moribund Moyo, Zhuwao Living in Parallel Universe
January 12, 2018
Zimbabwe Herald

Jonathan-Moyo-Saviour-Kasukuwere-Patrick-ZhuwaoTichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Nobody can say that they did not expect it.

The world waited for the day when Professor Jonathan Moyo would speak, for the first time, about the transitional process in Zimbabwe that last November swept away a cabal of ambitious political upstarts that had usurped State power, taking advantage of former President, Cde Mugabe.

The cabal was fronted by Cde Mugabe’s wife, Grace, and featured Moyo himself as a kingpin along with Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao, under the umbrella of the G40 faction.

Moyo was given credit – perhaps more than he deserved as we shall unravel one day – as the think tank of the G40 faction.

G40 is a term that he crafted himself.

The G40 cabal, with Mrs Mugabe on the front and leading rallies that sought to build a public case against then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, leading to his dismissal from the party and race to succeed President Mugabe, was on a roll.

They sang and danced.
They sang victory songs.

They danced to the “Zora butter” routine.

The G40 smelled blood, even literally, of Cde Mnangagwa and they also set to feast on a whole stock of political opponents that prevented them from accessing power, in their immoral, greedy and overarching ambition.

It took the popular “Operation Restore Legacy” – buoyed by Zimbabweans from all walks of life – and political processes such as Zanu-PF’s Central Committee resolutions and the Parliamentary process of impeachment, to stop the usurpation of power and abuse of then President Mugabe.

Then all hell broke loose for the G40 and things fell apart for Moyo and company.
Perhaps much worse for the Professor, who appears not to have gone over that bad patch in his turbulent political career.

His appearance on BBC’s HardTalk yesterday morning has to be understood in that context.

He is a sore loser, who cannot come to terms with the fact that the man he had vowed to prevent from accessing power in Zimbabwe is now at the helm – thanks to processes that saw Zanu-PF nullify Cde Mnangagwa’s expulsion by his former boss Cde Mugabe; reinstated him, recalled Cde Mugabe himself and recommended Cde Mnangagwa for leadership of the party and country.

Which processes duly took place, resulting in the resignation of President Mugabe on November 21 when impeachment processes, instituted by the ruling party and supported by the opposition, were underway.

When Cde Mnangagwa took the oath office on November 24, he did so legitimately and became the President of the Republic in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has a legitimate leader in President Mnangagwa and this is something that is haunting Moyo, and the setting of his interview is telling.
It was on the same BBC HardTalk programme that Moyo fervently tried to bat away prospects of a Mnangagwa presidency and spectacularly looked agitated at suggestions by his then host, Stephen Sackur. Now things have changed.

Completely.

In his interview, Moyo looks dejected and spent, like a man who has spent many long nights crying.

He tells us that Zimbabwe’s Government is illegitimate and is frustrated that the new dispensation is supported by world powers. He calls it a conspiracy.

Moyo, without shame, tells us that the garrulous former First Lady was unwanted by a “minority”.

That’s just how people living in parallel universes believe in their own lies – like the lies of a popular juggernaut in the Youth Interface rallies, which had the opposite effect of drawing sympathy for the underdog in Cde Mnangagwa, while exposing the immorality of the G40 cabal.

As importantly, the rallies highlighted how the then President had become hostage to the whims and caprices of ambitious cadres, who pushed him to the limits, which he even tried to resist many times.

It is sheer delusional for Moyo to pretend to be speaking for Zimbabweans, whom he claimed were asking “fundamental questions” about what happened to Cde Mugabe and that Zimbabweans were upset by what he alleges to be humiliating treatment of the former Head of State.

Moyo, a propaganda guru, obviously abuses the glittering generality called “Zimbabweans”, a majority of whom cheered Operation Restore Legacy and applauded the manner in which President Mugabe was treated during the transition, as he was being saluted by his generals.

Operation Restore Legacy did not suspend the Constitution, neither did the military fail to honour Cde Mugabe as their Commander-In-Chief.

In other places and time, Cde Mugabe would have been dragged in the streets and hung on the public square.

Or left to bloodthirsty mobs.

Instead, he was shown respect and cushioned, and just recently he received a mouth-watering pension, which some Zimbabweans even found incredible.

President Mnangagwa has continued to respect his predecessor as his father, mentor and comrade in arms.

He has shown no appetite for revenge and the narrative is generally not to demean the former President – who remains an icon – and degrade his legacy.

Actually, that was what Operation Restore Legacy was all about!

Now, what, one wonders, was Moyo on about alleging popular anger at the alleged humiliation of Cde Mugabe?

Crying more than the bereaved?

No, Cde Mugabe is not bereaved.

Actually, we now know, thanks to Roman Catholic Priest and Cde Mugabe’s confidant Father Fidelis Mukonori that the long-serving leader was relieved after signing the resignation letter on November 21.

Moyo, stuck in a sewage hole somewhere, may have missed this.

But he should not be allowed to pontificate on behalf of Zimbabwe: he is just too bitter and small-minded to assume that role. It is known that he has a personal grudge against President Mnangagwa and it has been most unfortunate that he has dragged Zanu-PF and the nation at large in his bile.

But the good thing is that he has a chance to contest President Mnangagwa in an election – one coming as early as six months or under.

Did we not know that in his game and hunt for Mnangagwa on one hand, Moyo was angling for a role as the next big opposition in a post-Mugabe, Mnangagwa presidency?

Here it is and Moyo should man up and come back home and fight it out.

It will be interesting.

It is to be noted that his cohort, Zhuwao, this week introduced us to what he termed a resistance to the “coup” Government, which he fantastically described as #2018Resistance.

In it, he claims that: “There is massive disgruntlement by members of Zanu-PF to the manner in which President Robert Gabriel Mugabe continues to be humiliated and ill-treated by the coup conspirators and terrorist junta.”

He claims there is “a silent majority” who will “express their displeasure in the ballot box in 2018”.

Both Moyo and Zhuwao are showing to be incredibly out of touch.

While Moyo sounds deluded, Zhuwao’s rants do not rise to the level of madness. Zhuwao must be pitied really, not least because he misses the fact that he was also being used (what he terms “kuitiswa”) by a more sophisticated Moyo.

He must also be feeling so exposed because Cde Mugabe was his only claim to fame and does not command any respect or power outside his being a nephew to the former President and icon.

Not even think tank – or is it a stink tank – can salvage him.
Zimbabwe Creditors Now Owed $190m
January 12, 2018

Depositors in banks that closed prior to June 1, 2016 are compensated using the old cover limit of $500

Business Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

SIX failed banks that owe creditors have slim chances of recovering depositors’ money as it has emerged the financial institutions have an aggregate net liability of over $190 million.

Allied, Interfin, Royal, Trust, Genesis Investment and the now defunct Afrasia (formerly Kingdom) banks, have failed to pay the bulk of their creditors given that their liabilities of $284 million outweigh their $93,4 million assets. Deposit Protection Corporation CEO Mr John Chikura, told The Herald Business that the net liability is $190,6 million and if they had assets, they could be sold and pay off the debt.

“The biggest problem is the liabilities are greater than the assets.” So far, the DPC has recovered $93 million from the banks’ debtors and assets and the next step will be pursuing directors of failed financial institutions to recover funds.

“That is why the DPC has sued the directors of these banks because they have depositors’ funds and we must recover all of it,” he said. The DPC commenced operations on July 1, 2003 as an independent statutory body established by Government to administer the Deposit Protection Scheme.

A deposit protection scheme enhances consumer protection in the event of bank insolvency. Since 2003, the DPC has compensated depositors of nine failed banking institutions: Century Discount House, Rapid Discount House, Sagit Finance House, Genesis, Royal, Interfin, Trust Bank Corporation, Allied and Afrasia.

Some financial institutions made resolution arrangements outside the DPC, and these are National Discount House, High Veld, Intermarket, and Trust, Royal and Barbican banks whose assets were sold to Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group in 2005.

DPC has paid out $3,2 million out of $6,4 million to clients of failed banks. Government created the DPC to provide a safety net for clients who lost money when banks collapsed. The cover was increased from $500 to $1 000 in June 2016 pursuant to provisions of Section 41(1) of the Deposit Protection Corporation Act (Chapter 24:29).

Payments for depositors of these institutions except Genesis are still ongoing. On the liquidation front, about $8, 57 million has been paid out as dividends to creditors of the six (6) failed CIs under liquidation.

The average estimated dividend to concurrent creditors is about 15 percent. Depositors with $1 000 or less in their accounts get all their funds while high net-worth clients and corporates are paid through the liquidation process on a pro-rata basis. Depositors in banks that closed prior to June 1, 2016 are compensated using the old cover limit of $500. Mr Chikura said reimbursements were progressing well.

“The funds are available and depositors only need to submit a claim form and we will reimburse them within five days via respective banks or mobile phone transfers. All depositors from AfrAsia, Allied, Interfin, Royal, Genesis and Trust banks are welcome,” said Mr Chikura. There are indications that many depositors are unaware of the cushion provided by the DPC.

Besides compensating depositors in the event of bank failure, the DPC also participates in the resolution of failing or failed member institutions and liquidation of closed banks. The deposit guarantee scheme ensures depositors are reimbursed part or all of their money in the event of a bank failure. It is compulsory for every banking institution in Zimbabwe to be a member of the DPC.

Economist Mr Luckson Zembe said; “The supervisor, the Reserve Bank, must not allow banks to operate when they have run out of capital. If they use their capital and exhaust it, they must not be allowed to use depositors’ money to pay salaries, pay rent or pay bonuses out of depositors’ funds.

“If the RBZ closes these banks when their assets are still intact, then the position will be better, the recoveries will be better.” The number of depositors in the closed banks is 54 990, of whom 11 600 have been compensated.

All registered banks are required to pay 0,2 percent of their deposits per year towards the Depositors’ Protection Scheme. DPC has entered into a partnership with ZIMPOST in which depositors in the remote areas of Zimbabwe are now able to walk into any of the ZIMPOST offices to collect or submit claim forms.

The Corporation has engaged in public awareness programmes, which include roadshows, press, radio and television adverts as well as the social media (WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook). DPC also intends to conduct more brand awareness workshops with industry players including banking institutions and mobile money operators. The corporation recently opened an office in Bulawayo for the convenience of people in Matabeleland.
Zimbabwe to Resume Diamond Sales
January 12, 2018
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe is planning to resume auction of diamonds next month, having suspended sales in February last year following the merger in 2016 of companies previously operating in the Chiadzwa area of Marange, Manicaland province.

The companies were merged into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu, is on record saying sales had been stopped to allow the new company, in which the government is the major shareholder, to create an effective diamond sorting and evaluation system.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando confirmed the impending auction, but did not divulge the amount of carats that would be put up for sale. Statistics show that Zimbabwe’s diamond production rose to 1,8 million carats last year, up from 961 000 carats mined in 2016.

“During the last year in 2017, no diamonds were sold. There will be a first batch which is due for sale in February,” Mr Chitando said. He said following the auction, a modus operandi which covers controls and accountability issues relating to future diamond sales, among other things, would be announced.

Zimbabwe had pinned hopes for enhanced economic revival and growth on diamonds, since their discovery in Chiadzwa over a decade ago. But with more than five companies having been licensed to mine the gems, the economy did not benefit from the mining activities with former President Mugabe alleging that the country could have been prejudiced of at least $15 billion in potential diamond revenue.

The lack of transparency prompted the government to create the ZCDC in a bid to promote accountability in the sector. To enhance earnings from the sector, the ZCDC has started work to mine conglomerate diamonds, which have more value than alluvials which were being mined since the discovery of the precious stones in Chiadzwa in 2006. The ZCDC has also invested $80 million in exploration activities and purchasing equipment.

– New Ziana.