ANTI-CORRUPTION GROUP TAPS ANGOLAN BLOGGER FOR PRIZE
Nov. 12 (GIN) – Bloggers from China and Angola will share the “Integrity Prize” for taking on the corrupt elites in their respective countries despite great personal risk.
The award was launched by the Berlin-based Transparency International to honor journalists, government officials and civil society leaders who bravely challenge corruption around the world.
Chinese journalist Luo Changping and Angolan human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais “exemplify in every way the courage and determination of the many individuals and organizations confronting corruption around the world,” TI said.
Marques writes extensively on corruption in his website “Maka Angola.” The word “maka ” comes from the local language Kimbundo and means “problem.” The website, www.makaangola.org, publishes reports on money laundering, illegal asset transfers and nepotism.
“My work is about educating society and monitoring the work of those who lead this country,” said Marques, who is backed up by a small team of freelancers and permanent staff based in Angola, Europe and North America.
Speaking at the award ceremony in Berlin this month, Marques dedicated his prize to Manuel Chivonde Nito Alves, a 17 year-old activist jailed for attempting to print T-shirts criticizing the president of Angola, Africa’s second longest serving leader. Nito Alves has been released but the charges have not been dropped. “The institutionalization of corruption is a crime,” said Marques, “and sooner or later Angolan justice will punish the corrupt politicians.” w/pix of R. Marques
SAUDIS GIVE BOOT TO ETHIOPIANS FOR VISA INFRACTIONS
Nov. 12 (GIN) – A violent round-up of African and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia whose visas are expired has struck fear into the immigrant community which was once welcomed in the Arab country to perform the low-level jobs Saudis did not want to do.
Unemployment in Saudi Arabia has reportedly risen to 12%, putting pressure on the government to resolve the job shortage. With work visas no longer valid, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have departed Saudi Arabia in the last seven months. Thousands more have been arrested since the amnesty period expired on Nov. 4.
In Riyadh’s Manfuhah neighborhood, plainclothes police were captured on video beating and arresting the immigrants. Vigilante Saudi residents reportedly joined the fighting and even detained some Ethiopians.
Manfuhah is home to many migrants, mostly from east Africa. An estimated nine million migrant workers are in Saudi Arabia – more than half the workforce – filling manual, clerical, and service jobs.
Later on Sunday, thousands of mostly African workers gathered in the capital to prepare for repatriation.
Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom said he heard that three Ethiopian citizens had been killed, one last Tuesday and two in the latest clashes.
“This is unacceptable. We call on the Saudi government to investigate this issue seriously. We are also happy to take our citizens, who should be treated with dignity while they are there,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s social media community has jumped into the fray, creating a Twitter feed called #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia which has drawn hundreds of Ethiopians sharing outrage over reports of Saudi abuse of their compatriots. “Saudi Arabia Exploits and Abuses Migrant Workers and then Deports them,” tweeted Daniel Yilma. “Dear Humanity, I miss you, in the midst of all these Barbarity,” wrote Zelalem Kibret. Protests are planned in Washington DC, Stockholm and Frankfort, Germany.
THOUSANDS ATTEND MEMORIAL FOR KEN SARO-WIWA
Nov. 12 (GIN) – For his defense of the environment in the oil-rich lands in Nigeria’s southern tip, Ogoni activist Ken Saro Wiwa paid the highest price on Nov. 10, 1995.
This week, Nigerians at home and abroad celebrated Saro Wiwa’s life and courage in leading the Ogoni people to oppose the polluting oil extraction activities of Shell oil and other oil multinationals.
Uche Igwe was a university student when he learned that Ken and his eight kinsmen were arrested and sentenced to death by a military tribunal. They were quickly executed despite international appeals for clemency.
“Saro Wiwa was a gifted internationalist, eloquent speaker and prolific writer,” wrote Igwe in SaharaReporters online. “He brought the issues of environmental despoliation and economic deprivation of the Niger Delta people before the global radar screen. The phenomenal success he achieved through non-violence remains a model for (an) effective campaign in Africa.”
This week, thousands of Nigerians attended a memorial for Saro Wiwa which included a candle light procession to the Port Harcourt prisons that once housed the Ogoni activists, followed by a trip to the Port Harcourt cemetery where the Ogonis were buried in shallow graves and soaked in acid for quick decomposition.
The Nigerian Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth called the memorial “a call to all activists to continue to preserve territories, support environmental rights defenders, resist corporate rule and seek justice for communities affected by dirty energy.”
Prize winning activist Nnimmo Bassey wrote:“Since 1995, Nov. 10 has been marked as a day of solidarity with the people of Ogoniland and Nigeria as a whole as we continue to struggle against reckless extractive activities resulting in gross pollutions and destruction of lives and livelihoods.”
“That day has become the Global Day of Remembrance of Martyrs of Environmental Justice.”
A collection of Saro Wiwa’s last writings is now available in paperback. The title is “Silence Would Be Treason.” It can be found on Amazon.
KENYAN MPs, IN STEALTH ATTACK, SLASH WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Nov. 12 (GIN) – In a stunning set-back to the equal rights movement, Kenyan male MPs voted to undo some of women’s hard-fought victories that provided financial support for women in case of divorce.
In a late-night vote by parliament, revisions to the Matrimonial Property Bill by the male MPs were carried easily as only 34 women MPs were in the house. The women were beaten 87-28 in a roll call vote.
The revisions include a change giving spouses a share only of that property that’s in both the couple’s names. Property in the name of only one spouse is no longer matrimonial property.
This flies in the face of the fact that family property is traditionally and as a matter of routine registered just in the husband’s name.
Women MPs wanted a simple formula where the wealth is shared equally, irrespective of what each partner contributed.
James Lomenen who led the debate, argued it would be unfair for the properties to be shared even after husbands had paid dowry.
“After paying so much in dowry, is it unfair to again ask the husbands to share properties you have made during the marriage”,Lomenen said.
While sharing the wealth is dependent on contribution, not so for sharing the debt. Under the proposed revisions, any debt incurred by the household will be split equally, so long as it was “for the benefit of the marriage”.
Asman Kamama representing Tiaty said in many situations women find men with properties made before the marriage. It would be against the rule of natural justice, he said, to share equally the wealth with a woman who came with nothing.
The revisions prompted heated rebuttals from the women legislators. Millie Odhiambo of Mbita observed that equal sharing is a constitutional principle and MPs had no business rewriting the law.
Zainab Chidzuga of Kwale County pointed out that women’s contributions to marriages are more than just the financial. “A woman might be unemployed but remember she will clean her husband’s house, warm his bath water and many other things that may be considered a contribution that should enable her get an equal share of any matrimonial property.”
Esther Murugi of Nyeri Town concurred. “Whether the woman has contributed or not, she has fed the man, she has cleaned the man, she has taken care of the family. She is entitled to 50 per cent.”
Female Parliamentarians are urging Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign the bill into law. w/pix of Millie Odhiambo, MP