New replacement for Bongo

June 10, 2009
Senate Head, Rose Francine Rogombe, sworn in as interim President

Senate Head, Rose Francine Rogombe, sworn in as interim President

 

Rose Francine Rogombe was sworn in as Gabon’s interim president on today, the first step in the process of replacing President Omar Bongo, Africa’s longest-serving head of state, who died earlier this week.

Bongo’s death left a power vacuum at the head of the central African nation that he tightly controlled for over four decades and, with a well-developed oil industry and a Eurobond, investors are watching carefully for signs of trouble. After a series of coups elsewhere in Africa over the last year, some had feared Bongo’s death would spark instability.

But analysts have said that the president’s ruling party was likely to tightly manage the transition and doubted popular unrest. According to Gabon’s constitution, Rogombe, a lawyer by training who was head of the Senate when Bongo died, will have 45 days to hold elections to select a new head of state.

“I swear to devote all my efforts to looking after the Gabonese people … to respect and defend the constitution and the rule of law and to conscientiously carry out my job by being fair to all,” Rogombe said, one hand on Gabon’s constitution. Rogombe’s time in power as interim leader can be extended in case of force majeur, said Marie Madeleine Mborantsouo, who swore in the new president on Wednesday in her position as head of the Constitutional Court.

Bongo’s has been praised by some for maintaining stability in his own country and contributing to African peace efforts. But the last months of his life were equally overshadowed by investigations by a French judge into how much money he and his family allegedly stole from the state coffers during his time in power, which has left most ordinary people mired in poverty.


Africa Swine Flu discovered in Nigeria

June 10, 2009

 

   

The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the report that African Swine Flu has been discovered in a certain part of Delta state.

The Ministry, in a report by the special assistant on communication to the minister of health,Niyi Ojuolape, said the presence of the disease has been confirmed after consultation with the Delta State Ministries of Health and Agriculture.

The ministry, however, said that African Swine Fever (ASF) affects only pigs and that it does not affect humans in any way. It stated also that it is not in any way related to the a(h1n1) influenza, otherwise known as swine fever, which has been ravaging the health world.

Mr Ojuolape,however, assured the public that the case of Swine Flu has not been reported in Nigeria and that the government is doing a lot to monitor the events with a view to handling any eventuality effectively.

Also, the Delta State Ministry of Agriculture has quarantined the affected piggery and has started culling the affected pigs to prevent the disease from spreading to other pigs.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is however, a highly contagious, generalized disease of pigs caused by an iridovirus that exhibits varying virulence between strains, although different serotypes cannot be identified.

Experts say that the virus resists inactivation and can persist in meat up to 15 weeks, processed hams up to six months and up to one month in contaminated pens. It is endemic in most of Southern Africa, and on the Iberian peninsula of Europe. Since the 1960s, outbreaks have occurred in France, Italy, Malta, Belgium,Holland, Cuba, Domican Republic and Haiti.

Treatment and vaccine have not been discovered till date. The United States,the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibit the importation of live hogs and uncooked pork from any country where ASF exists, except if the products are commercially canned,hermetically sealed, and fully sterilized so it remains shelf stable without refrigeration; and the processes used have been proven to inactivate the virus.


Nigerian Militants Claim Sabotage Of Oil Facility

June 10, 2009

Nigerian militants say they have sabotaged an oil-pumping station in the restive southern Niger Delta region.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said Wednesday in an e-mail that its strike on an installation run by Chevron Corp’s local subsidiary left the facility in flames. A company spokesman confirmed a fire at one of its flow stations.

Violence is rising in the chaotic and lawless southern oil region as the military intensifies operations to oust militant fighters battling for a larger share of government-controlled oil-industry revenues.

Sourced from AP


Shell settles Nigeria deaths case

June 9, 2009

Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose execution sparked a global outcry

Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose execution sparked a global outcry

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed a $15.5m (£9.7m) out-of-court settlement in a case accusing it of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria.

 

It was brought by relatives of nine anti-oil campaigners, including author Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were hanged in 1995 by Nigeria’s then military rulers.

The oil giant strongly denies any wrongdoing and says the payment is part of a “process of reconciliation”.

The case, initiated 13 years ago, had been due for trial in the US next week.

It was brought under a 1789 federal law which allows US courts to hear human rights cases brought by foreign nationals over actions that take place abroad.

The case alleged that Shell was complicit in murder, torture and other abuses by Nigeria’s former military government against campaigners in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others were members of the Ogoni ethnic group from the Niger Delta. They had been campaigning for the rights of the local people and protesting at pollution caused by the oil industry.

They were executed after being convicted by a military tribunal over the 1994 murder of four local leaders.

The activists’ deaths had sparked a storm of international protest.


Gabon’s Bongo, confirmed dead

June 8, 2009

 

Late Gabon President, Omar Bongo

Late Gabon President, Omar Bongo

 Monday 8th June, 2009.

 

 

Gabon President Omar Bongo, the world’s longest-serving president whose 42-year rule was a throwback to an era when Africa was ruled by “Big Men,” has died of cardiac arrest in a Spanish hospital. He was 73.

Doctors at the Quiron Clinic in Barcelona announced Bongo’s death around 2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT, 8:30 a.m. EDT) Monday, Gabonese Prime Minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong said. Bongo was admitted to the hospital last month.

Only hours earlier, Ndong had said he saw the president and declared him “alive and well.” Gabonese officials have become increasingly belligerent with journalists, including calling a meeting with the French ambassador in Gabon in order to discuss the coverage of the president’s death by French media outlets.

Bongo, who was believed to be one of the world’s wealthiest leaders, became the longest-ruling head of government , a category that does not include the monarchs of Britain and Thailand , when Cuba’s Fidel Castro handed power to his brother last year.

The country’s constitution calls for the head of the Senate, Rose Francine Rogombe, to assume power and organize presidential elections within 90 days of Bongo’s death. But there has been speculation that one of Bongo’s sons would try to seize power upon his father’s death, as happened in nearby Togo.

Bongo had kept a tight grip on power in the oil-rich former French colony since he became president in 1967, and his ruling party has dominated the country’s parliament for decades. Opposition parties were only allowed in 1990, amid a wave of pro-democracy protests.

Elections since then have been marred by allegations of rigging and unrest.

While most Gabonese genuinely feared Bongo and there was little opposition, many accepted his rule because he had kept his country remarkably peaceful and governed without the sustained brutality characteristic of many dictators.

Bongo, meanwhile, amassed a fortune that made him one of the world’s richest men, according to Freedom House, a private Washington-based democracy watchdog organization, although nobody really knows how much he was worth.

Earlier this year, a French judge decided to investigate Bongo and two other African leaders on accusations of money laundering and other alleged crimes linked to their wealth in France.

The probe followed a complaint by Transparency International France, an association that tracks corruption. French media have reported that Bongo’s family owns abundant real estate in France, at one time owning more properties in Paris than any other foreign leader.

Born Albert Bernard Bongo on Dec. 30, 1935, the youngest of 12 children, Bongo served as a lieutenant in the French Air Force, then climbed quickly through the civil service, eventually becoming vice president. He assumed the presidency Dec. 2, 1967, after the death of Leon M’Ba, the country’s only other head of state since independence from France in 1960.


Death Toll Rises To 61 In Illegal Gold Mine In South Africa

June 2, 2009

 

 

The death toll in an illegal mine in South Africa has hit 61 as 25 more bodies were found on Tuesday, according to reports here.    The reports said the bodies of another 25 illegal miners had been retrieved.

    Harmony Gold Mining Co. said on Monday that the illegal mining left 36 people dead in an underground fire.

    Illegal miners managed to retrieve 36 bodies at its Eland shaft in central Free State province, said Harmany, one of the top gold producers in the world.

    In its statement, the company described the 36 victims as “criminal miners,” saying their bodies “have been brought to surface at the shaft during the past weekend by fellow criminal miners, reportedly following an underground fire in an abandoned area.”

    The dead miners apparently suffocated in an underground fire at a disused gold mine, where noxious gases collect, according to the company.

    Underground fire already killed 23 illegal miners in 2007, also in Free State province.

    In another development, the company reported 294 criminal miners were arrested in a two-week crackdown on illegal mining.

    Police said the detainees include South African miners and those from neighboring Lesotho and Mozambique.

Sourced from Chinaview


Nigerian president nominates Sanusi as central bank gov

June 1, 2009
Mr Lamido Sanusi, Newly appointed Nigerian Central Bank Gov.

Mr Lamido Sanusi, Newly appointed Nigerian Central Bank Gov.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has written to the Senate nominating First Bank (FBNP.LG) managing director Lamido Sanusi as central bank governor for the next five years, according to a presidency statement on Monday.

“President Umaru Yar’Adua has nominated Lamido Sanusi as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said. The statement said Yar’Adua requested the Senate’s “expeditious consideration” of the nomination.

Sourced from Reuters