politics

SA’s Pivotal Role in Conflict Resolution

President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, says South Africa is playing a pivotal role in the attainment and maintenance of peace across the world.

Speaking at South Africa’s annual Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings, Pohamba asserts that, “We recognise the leading role that this great country continues to play in the Southern Africa Development Community region, continental and the international community.”

Swazi Police Abduct Pro-Democracy Leaders

Swaziland police officers have illegally abducted prodemocracy leaders over the weekend, drove them 30 kilometres away, and dumped them to prevent them from taking part in a meeting calling for freedom in the kingdom.

The police officers staged roadblocks on all major roads leading to Swaziland's main commercial city, Manzini, where protests were to be held.

Weaker APRM Bad for Governance

The African Peer Review Mechanism (ARPM) - set up by former President Thabo Mbeki to tackle the continent's problems - is a shambles.

According to a report by former mechanism chairman Akere Muna, the institution lacks backing by African leaders and is being ‘driven into the ground’ by its chief executive officer and its secretariat that can barely function.

The mechanism has in the past served as a reliable indicator of emerging troubles on the continent.

Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law Challenged

Gay rights activists in Uganda filed a legal petition against the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, which calls for tougher penalties against gay persons. 
        
The new law strengthens existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ - including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.
        
The legislation criminalises lesbianism for the first time and makes it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts. 
         

Call for Transparency Over Party Funding

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says that a toxic blend of secret money and political influence is creating a ceremonial undermining of South Africa’s democracy.

ISS senior researcher, Judith February, argues that there is no way of know when the corporate and private world are investing in political parties for favours because the country does not regulate private funding of political parties. 

Zambia Speaks Out on NGO Act

The Zambian Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health says it is still awaiting correspondence from the Ministry of Justice on the implementation of the Non-Governmental Organisation Act of 2009.

The ministry’s deputy Minister, Jean Kapata, says the response from the Ministry of Justice would determine the fate of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have rejected to register under the Act.

Kapata says the registration has since closed, adding that the NGOs that are not yet registered will have themselves to blame if deregistered.

Equal Rights Key to Thriving Societies

North West Premier, Thandi Modise, says equal rights and opportunities for women are crucial to building healthy economies and societies.
 
Modise’s comments come as the country joined the world in celebrating International Women's Day on Saturday, 8 March 2014.
 
In a press statement, Modise explains that, "Women's full and equal participation in the political and economic arena is crucial to democracy and justice, because equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.” 
 

South Africa Calls for Peace in Ukraine

Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO) says that South Africa has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

DIRCO spokesperson, Nelson Kgwete, states that, "The South African government would like to express its deep concern about the unfolding political situation in Ukraine."

South Africa's foreign policy favoured and promoted peaceful resolution of conflicts and South Africa therefore urged all parties in the stand-off to settle the crisis through dialogue.

Nigeria’s Homophobic Laws Criticised

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) urges South Africa to add its voice to calls for Nigeria to review its homophobic legislation.

SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, states that, "Since 18 January [2014], dozens of people have already been arrested in Nigeria in terms of the new law."

Mangena further adds that, the South African government should seek to exert influence over other African countries to follow good human rights practices.

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