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East-Africa

World Bank Commits U$500million Aid To Burundi

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The World Bank has said, it will commit to extend over U$500million to support the Burundi government development projects.

This was revealed by Véronique Kabongo the representative of the World Bank in Burundi. She was visiting Prime Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

According to details, their discussions focused on several points including confirmation of support in socio-economic development.

“We hope to commit this year a total envelope of U$500 million in donations to Burundi in various fields including trade facilitation, digitization, infrastructure and many others,” said Kabongo.

Meanwhile, in May, the World Bank Group approved a U$6 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support communities in restoring degraded landscapes and intensifying sustainable land management practices for more resilient food production and strengthened value chains.

“Climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier of fragility in a country like Burundi, and this additional financing builds on the recognition that landscape restoration efforts must be addressed to tackle multifaceted problems related to rural poverty, nutrition, food security, and land use at the community level” said the World Bank official then.

Burundi has a policy that requires all International NGOs to pursue an ethnic quota system which has since 2018 soiled the relationship between government and the NGOs.

In October 2018, the government slammed a three-month suspension on almost all international NGOs operating in Burundi earlier this month is part of a wider crackdown on civil society, analysts say, in a nation where an estimated 3.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Government officials claim the ban comes as a result of organizations violating an article in the General Framework for Cooperation between the Republic of Burundi and Foreign NGOs, a 2017 amendment that means recruitment of national staff must respect ethnic quotas laid out in the constitution.

But humanitarians argued that while the national constitution seeks to achieve ethnic balance within public administration, it does not include recruitment parameters for NGOs.

“The logic behind the constitutional law is to encourage power sharing … and no one is questioning power sharing as a principle at the government level … but why are these quotas being specifically implemented on INGOs and not other sectors?” Rachel Nicholson, an Amnesty International researcher, asked.

Some 130 international NGOs are represented in Burundi, according to a government official.

The suspension excluded those INGOs running hospitals and schools, in what some say is a tactic to avoid blame for any negative impacts of the suspension.

In June 2020, Maj. Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye officially took over as new president of Burundi replacing his former boss Pierre Nkurunziza who died from sudden sickness.

Nkurunziza had cultivated a very bad relationship with the international NGOs and other global institutions which later suspended aid to the East African nation.

Maj. Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye seems to be courting a new path with the NGOs and global institutions as he urgently seeks financial and technical support to rebuild the country after years of problematic leadership of his former boss.

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Crime

Terrorists Bomb Bar In Kampala Killing 2, Several Injured

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Residents in Uganda’s Capital Kampala are in total panic following a deadly IED bomb denoted on Saturday night at a popular pork bar pub killing 2 and injuring several others.

According to an eyewitness account, a man believed to be a terrorist walked towards the bar counter at a fully packed pub (Digida Pork Joint) a Komamboga a residential suburb in Uganda’s Capital Kampala on saturday night and requested to be served two buckets of iced beer.

He later walked to a table and briefly sat there and was joined by two other colleagues, the iced beer buckets were brought to their table. These men later walked out of the bar for a chat outside.

One of the men who had earlier requested to be served beer returned but this time carrying a polythene bag containing a beer bottle and placed it under the table and walked outside again.

“When i came to bill these clients, i didn’t find them on the table and asked others sitting nearby, they told me the men were outside. The buckets still contained some unconsumed beers, i returned to the counter,” a waitress was quoted by local media in Kampala.

“After a few minutes, these men returned to the table and I also brought the bill and handed it to the man who had earlier placed the order. He rolled it and threw it at me telling me he will pay. No problem,” the frightened waitress said, adding that she walked back to the counter.

“It was the second time this man had come to this bar. I recognised him and trusted he would pay his bill. However, these men later walked outside again and few minutes later we heard a big explosion,” she said.

The waitress recognised one client dead. The explosion had ripped the victim exposing the intestines, one other male client died on the way to hospital according to this waitress who narrated her eyewitness account to the local media.

Several other people were badly injured and have since been rushed to various hospitals in the capital Kampala.

“It seems to be a terrorist act,” President Yoweri Museveni Tweeted on Sunday.

“The information I have is that 3 people came and left a package in kaveera (plastic bag) which later on exploded,” Museveni said.

Specifically, the bomb blast occurred at Digida Pork Joint, a restaurant, local media reported. Videos shared on social media showed panicked and confused revellers.

Meanwhile, this blast comes days after the British and French embassies had issued a security alert to their citizens saying the country faces a terror attack.

Police on Monday called for calm, saying for now security agencies would not heighten the threat level although the concerns raised by the embassies are taken seriously.

Uganda has its troops deployed in far away Somalia where they are pursuing Somalia’s al Shabaab islamist militants.

In 2010, Kampala suffered a major attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab that killed dozens. The group said it had attacked Uganda as a punishment for its deployment of troops in Somalia.

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East-Africa

EAC Partner States Fight Over Bloc Jobs

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The EAC recruitment drive risks being derailed following opposition by Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The EAC Secretariat, early this year, advertised at least 60 vacant positions.

In a letter dated October 18, Uganda’s East African Community Affairs minister Rebecca Kadaga said the interviews for the advertised positions should not be conducted “unless and until all the partner states have been given information about their quota”.

“I would like to remind you Secretary General that compliance with Article 14(3) (g) of the Treaty, the Council issued rules and regulations in particular regulation 4.6, which provides ‘At the beginning of each recruitment exercise, the Secretariat shall inform each partner about her balance of weighted points’”.

“The operative word is ‘At the beginning’ and this cannot be shifted to any other stage of the recruitment,” Kadaga, who doubles as Uganda’s deputy prime minister, said in the letter to secretary general Peter Mathuki.

Kadaga said once the partner states are informed about their quotas, it will eliminate countries that have exhausted their quotas and are therefore ineligible to participate.

“I need not remind you that one of the reasons for the previous collapse of the old East African Community was disappropriate sharing of benefits of the community among partner states,” she added.

Last week, Ugandan lawmakers staged walkouts due to what they termed an unfair process.

On the same day, October 18, Burundi’s EAC minister Ezechiel Nibigia wrote to Mathuki, saying his country had suspended attendance of the interviewing panels for the advertised EAC positions.

The interviews were slotted for October 18 to November 2.

“The ongoing recruitment process does not guarantee the implementation of the quota system within EAC since this has not been clarified before the said process begins,” Amb Nibigia said.

The quota system is captured in the EAC regulations to ensure and reflect equal representation of partner states.

South Sudan has also expressed dissatisfaction.

“We and the Ugandan chapter are concerned about the unfairness of the recruitment process. The quota system has not been used, so we want the recruitment process to stop so that it can start correctly,” Dr Anne Itto Leonardo, who replaced Juba MPs chair Thomas Dut Gatkek, told The EastAfrican.

The Juba chapter wants affirmative action applied so that South Sudanese benefit the way Rwanda and Burundi did upon joining the bloc.

Mathuki, in a letter dated October 13, acknowledged their quest and promised to act on it.

An extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for last Wednesday, which was expected to finalise the staff recruitment process, had to be moved to a later date, perhaps in the next week, at the prompting of Kadaga, who had reportedly travelled.

Mathuki had on August 11, while marking his first 100 days in office, highlighted unlocking staff recruitment standoff “as one of his achievements. He said the process was in full gear. It now appears not.

In a statement on October 19, Mathuki said the interviews for the positions could not commence as scheduled due to lack of quorum.

“The interviews have therefore been postponed to a later date that will be communicated accordingly. The EAC is committed to providing an equal opportunity for all East Africans,” Mathuki said.

The 42nd Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers in May approved the filling of the vacant positions in organs and Institutions through competitive recruitment.

Consequently, the EAC Secretariat initiated the recruitment on May 19 by advertising the posts.

“More than 15,000 applications were received from all the six EAC partner states. All EAC partner states’ delegates profiled/sorted and subsequently shortlisted candidates,” Mathuki said in the October 19 statement.

Some regional lawmakers have alleged the process was marred with irregularities and unfair treatment of citizens from some partner states.

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East-Africa

Covid-19 Pushed 1million Tanzanians Into Poverty

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Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has launched a Shs 1.3trillion robust Development Program which according to her government will see major reforms in the country’s socio-economic sectors mainly Education, Health, Water and Tourism in response to Covid-19 pandemic.

Her government said the program will be implemented for nine months and aims at boosting the country’s economy that has bee battered by the global health pandemic.

Samia said, her government had secured a concessional financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of U$ 567.25billion through Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).

This RCF was created under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) as part of a broader reform to make the Fund’s Financial Support more flexible and better tailored to the diverse needs of Low income Countries including times of Crisis.

According to Dr. Mpango Phillip the Vice President, the multimillion facility extended to Tanzania would help bring changes to the country.

He said Covid-19 pandemic had affected Tanzania and families as the country’s work force had been reduced.

“Some families lost their breadwinners and about one million people have now entered into a list of poor people due to the pandemic,” he said.

He added that because of travel restrictions, the toursim sector has also suffered because the number of tourists visiting the country had significantly dropped.

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