Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 321, 12/29/97

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 321, 12/29/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 321 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday-Monday 25-29 December 1997)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila gives more details of forthcoming reshuffle

DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila said a recently-announced cabinet reshuffle was aimed at giving the government "greater impetus so that it performs better". He told a news conference last Wednesday the reshuffle, due to take place on 3 January, was not a reflection of weakness in the present cabinet, but a way of benefiting from the experience gained over the past seven months. "Our government is a transition government whose mission is to lead the country to democracy," he added. Kabila also urged supporters of ex-president Mobutu Sese Seko to return and invest in the country.

Kisangani declared disaster zone

The DRC government on Thursday declared the flood-hit town of Kisangani a disaster area, DRC radio reported from Bunia. A large section of the town was under water after the Congo and Tshopo rivers burst their banks. The government appealed for help from humanitarian organisations. UNICEF announced last week it was airlifting US $57,000 worth of relief supplies from Kinshasa to assist an estimated 10,000 victims of the flooding.

UGANDA/KENYA: Food security adversely affected by floods

According to a DHA-Geneva report, flooding in Uganda has left an estimated 100 people dead and a further 150,000 displaced. Many others are critically injured and thousands of acres of food and cash crops have been washed away. The Ugandan government has appealed for funds to purchase seeds of fast early maturing crops and the necessary farm tools. In neighbouring Kenya, an estimated 300,000 people have been displaced or affected by floods in northern, eastern and coastal parts of the country. The report said excessive rainfall had resulted in stunted crops such as maize and beans and difficulty in harvesting mature crops.

KENYA: Kenyans go to the polls

Kenyans began voting today (Monday) in presidential and parliamentary elections amid appeals for peace and acceptance of the result by religious leaders and the Electoral Commission. President Daniel arap Moi, who has ruled for 19 years, is seeking a final five-year term. According to CNN, no violence has been reported but there were problems with the delivery of ballot papers in some constituencies.

Mystery disease may be anthrax

Kenyan health officials are investigating the possibility that an anthrax epidemic is responsible for the deaths of some 250 people in the semi-arid North Eastern Province over the past two weeks. The 'Daily Nation' reported on Saturday that Kenyan health ministry director James Mwanzia said the deaths of hundreds of camels, goats and sheep in the same area exhibiting similar symptoms to those in humans - that is bleeding through the body orifices - was leading the investigation towards a possible link between the human and livestock deaths. Anthrax is a fatal viral disease that can be transferred from an infected carcass to a victim through even a slight crack in the skin.

RWANDA: Kagame vows Hutu rebels will be defeated

Addressing a press conference on the deteriorating security situation in northwest Rwanda, Vice President and Defence Minister Paul Kagame stressed the army had the capacity to contain the Hutu rebel insurgency and there was "no cause for panic or undue concern." Kagame said the rebels were bent on the "continuation of the genocide" but would be defeated by a "concerted effort" involving the military and a "sensitised" population, Rwandan state radio reported on Wednesday. According to AFP, asked if his government would hold talks with the Hutu rebels, Kagame said he had "never seen any political agenda" from the rebels, adding: "We have to fight them until they give up this genocide agenda."

BURUNDI: Minister reiterates country will defend itself against Tanzania

Defence Minister Firmin Sinzoyiheba has reiterated that Burundi has no intention of going to war with Tanzania, but if Dar es Salaam continues its "provocations" the army has "taken measures and has the means" to defend the country's territorial integrity. Addressing a news conference on Friday, reported by Burundi radio, the minister added that Burundi had invited the UN and OAU to come and see the situation for themselves. "We have nothing to hide", he said. He believed the situation had now calmed down, with Tanzanians again crossing the border to come to markets in Burundi. "These may be encouraging signs for us," he stated.

No formal notification of Tanzania summit

Speaking about a proposed summit on Burundi, due to be held in Tanzania next month, Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama said the Burundian authorities had not been formally notified. In an interview with Burundi radio on Friday, he described this as "most irregular", adding his country should be involved in proceedings "which affect its destiny". He again stressed Burundi's conviction that given the tense situation on the border with Tanzania, the peace process should be relaunched in a neutral country.

GREAT LAKES: Ugandan MPs warn of regional rifts over rebel activity

A report by four Ugandan MPs who visited Burundi earlier this month claims Ugandan, Rwandan and Burundian rebels are being supported by Sudan and are operating in Tanzania, the 'EastAfrican' weekly reported today. The report, which has been presented to President Yoweri Museveni, raises questions about the security implications for the region. The 'EastAfrican' said the report could cause a shift in allegiances among regional states which imposed sanctions against Burundi. There was evidence of sanctions-busting traceable to Tanzania, the MP's report said and asked the question: "Are regional leaders observing the rules they themselves put up?"

SUDAN: Khartoum calls for dialogue with Washington

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said in a press statement on Wednesday that Khartoum was willing to hold talks with the USA. "The Sudanese government does not intend to close the door of dialogue with the United States despite the existing problems resulting from Washington's persistent heavy stick policy aimed at bullying Sudan and imposing US concepts on the Sudanese people," he said, according to AFP. "There is no outlet to Washington from this impasse other than resorting to serious and frank dialogue with Sudan," Ismail added.

Nairobi, 29 December 1997, 12:10 gmt


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information or subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 15:18:43 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 321 97.12.29 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific