IRIN-CEA Update 721 for 23 July [19990723]

IRIN-CEA Update 721 for 23 July [19990723]

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

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IRIN-CEA Update No. 721 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 23 July 1999)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: RCD tells Ugandan army chief to leave Kisangani

Emile Ilunga, leader of the mainstream rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), on Thursday said the group wanted Ugandan army commander James Kazini to leave Kisangani, where he has reportedly been supporting Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, who head an RCD splinter faction. "There are serious problems and contradictions on the ground with certain officers like General Kazini," AFP news agency reported Ilunga as saying. Commenting on the split in the rebel movement, Ilunga said: "I am the only one mandated to initial an accord in the name of the RCD. We have problems among us, but especially with Uganda and the one whom Ugandans support, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba ... The RCD has no problem with (Jean-Pierre) Bemba, head of the Congo Liberation Movement (Mouvement de liberation congolais - MLC)."

Uganda nominates Kazini to Joint Military Commission

Meanwhile, Kazini has been nominated as one of Uganda's two members of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) charged with implementing the DRC ceasefire, the semi-official Ugandan 'New Vision' newspaper reported on Friday. Kazini heads Uganda's military mission in DRC and attended the Lusaka meeting that established the JMC earlier this week.

Rebel groups meeting in Tanzania

The leaders of the three rebel groups were on Friday meeting in Dar es Salaam, at the invitation of the Tanzanian government and with the mediation of former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere, for consultations on the Lusaka ceasefire agreement and "certain internal contradictions" within the rebel movement, news agencies reported. "The government has convened the meeting to convince squabbling elements within the RCD to resolve their differences so that the rebel groups can sign the Lusaka accord," AFP quoted foreign ministry official Simeon Ileta as saying.

Annan urges ceasefire to allow polio vaccination campaign

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday urged all the combatants in the DRC conflict to cease hostilities throughout the country and respect "days of tranquillity" from 8 to 20 August, before and during the country's first polio vaccination round. The campaign aims to vaccinate some 10 million Congolese children under five against the disease. In a press release, Annan said both the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila and the RCD had previously committed themselves to facilitating the vaccination campaign. Meanwhile, humanitarian partners including UNICEF, WHO, provincial health personnel and NGOs have identified 16,000 vaccination sites and are preparing - in spite of logistical and security constraints - for the campaign's scheduled start on 13 August, the press release added. Two more vaccination rounds are planned for September and October.

UGANDA: Army reportedly continues to train Congolese rebels

The Ugandan People's Defence Force (UPDF) has continued training RCD rebels despite the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, a 'New Vision' report stated. It claimed a total of 2,100 recruits for Wamba's RCD-Kisangani faction were being trained in a camp at Beni in Nyaleke forest.

RWANDA: Businesswomen deny plan to sell genocide relics

A group of Rwandan businesswomen has denied a story appearing in the Tanzanian 'Daily Mail' alleging they were going to sell relics of the 1994 genocide in Dar es Salaam. The Rwanda News Agency (RNA) interviewed a member of the group, Florence Kamili, who expressed dismay over the report. "It's really shocking," she said. "I never talked to any journalist from the 'Daily Mail'." The article had quoted her as saying the group was awaiting clearance from the Rwandan embassy in Dar es Salaam to sell items including skulls and bones. "What is apparent, is blatant manipulation by a section of Rwandan fugitives living in Tanzania who might have connections with the 'Daily Mail'," Kamili told RNA. She said her organisation had been harassed by a group of Kinyarwanda speakers at a recent trade fair in Dar es Salaam.

AFRICA: UN humanitarian operations threatened by donor funding shortfall

The coordination of the UN's emergency operations has been considerably improved in response to internal and donor pressure, yet the disappointing donor response to the resulting Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) has left vital relief programmes threatened, a senior UN official said on Thursday. Many of those involved are questioning whether the extensive resources put into the drafting and consolidation of the appeals can be justified. "If one adds up the total requirements of the various consolidated appeals for the Great Lakes region against the funds received, we reach an average of 31 percent, as of early July," said Ross Mountain, director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Geneva. "Coordination is of limited use if we have nothing to coordinate except ideas and concepts," he added.

Mountain was speaking at the launch of a revised appeal for US $2.3 billion for UN agencies to assist 26 million people at risk around the globe. In addition to revising its appeals for the Great Lakes region, Somalia and Sudan, the UN launched two new consolidated appeals for the DRC and the Republic of Congo. The Consolidated Appeals Process puts a huge strain on UN humanitarian workers in the field and "when one considers the response of the donor community to the 1998 and now 1999 appeals, many agencies are starting to wonder if all these efforts are not wasted", said Mountain.

GREAT LAKES: UN's response "negatively impacted" by insecurity

According to a mid-term review of the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) for the Great Lakes, the humanitarian situation in the region continued to deteriorate. Fighting in the region has resulted in greater insecurity, with the exception of Rwanda "which has attained a fragile security over the last year". Affected populations now number almost two million. Changing security environments have "negatively impacted" the rapidity of the UN's response, and the distribution of food and non-food items in the region has been "uneven", the report noted.

BURUNDI: Funding shortfall limits UN agencies' activities

The various UN agencies' consolidated appeal for Burundi is one of the most underfunded of all complex emergencies, Mountain said. He warned that although the humanitarian community's two-pronged approach was to provide emergency assistance to affected communities while gradually shifting to long-term resettlement of displaced persons, a lack of funding meant most activities in Burundi were limited to emergency aid.

The sectors most affected by a lack of funds, were health, water and sanitation, education, child reunification and human rights activities, according to the CAP mid-term review, received by IRIN. It said funding shortfalls in the health sector had severely constrained agencies' capacity to react to the outbreak of diseases and precluded an AIDS/HIV awareness campaign, which "can only increase the vulnerability of a population that is already severely affected by this disease".

UPRONA criticises Arusha peace process

The ruling party UPRONA has expressed concern over the climate in which the ongoing Arusha peace talks are being conducted, the private Netpress news agency reported. In a four page statement, UPRONA noted that rebels continued to kill innocent people and the national economy was stagnant due to a freeze of international cooperation. The statement criticised the talks' facilitators, saying they had been unable to put the process onto the path of peace and accused ex-Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere of "bias". The UPRONA statement comes as the government issued a similar declaration this week, expressing surprise over comments by Nyerere who accused it of obstructing the peace process.

A report in the Tanzanian 'Guardian' daily on Friday said Nyerere was expected to hold separate consultations with Burundian leaders, including President Pierre Buyoya, starting next month. It quoted exiled opposition FRODEBU leader, Jean Minani, as saying the talks were aimed at speeding up the Arusha peace process ahead of the next round of negotiations in September, which may culminate in a peace accord by October.

KENYA: Below normal rainfall results in poor crop conditions

Below normal and poorly distributed rainfall has resulted in poor crop conditions, which are expected to continue for several months in eastern and northern parts of Kenya, a report by USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) said. The "less than normal" rainfall during the 1999 long-rains season had promoted a "degeneration of vegetation", even in high potential districts of the country. "The poor vegetative conditions are expected to continue for the next several months in eastern and northern Kenya, since the short-rains are not expected until October," FEWS said. A FEWS and Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture assessment in the key producing districts of Nakuru, Kericho, Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia revealed "unusually poor crop conditions". The price of the staple, maize, has increased by margins ranging between 40-50 per cent over the last four months across the country. In the pastoral districts, the "precarious welfare status" of the pastoralists was demonstrated by raising rates of child malnutrition," FEWS said.

TANZANIA: More patrol boats stationed to guard Lake Victoria

The Tanzanian government has purchased 19 speed patrol boats to guard Lake Victoria against environmental pollution and unscrupulous fishing methods, press reports said. This brings to 25 the total number of boats purchased for this purpose. According to the Tanzanian 'Daily News', Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Zakia Meghji said the government was "determined to end the practice of fishing with chemical substances in the lake". "We are doing everything possible to wipe out the poison fishing in Lake Victoria to enable the country to earn its rightful income by exporting fish fillets to the lucrative European Union market," she said. The EU has banned imports of fresh and frozen fish products from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda following reports that some fishermen have been using pesticides.

Nairobi, 23 July 1999, 13:20 gmt


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Item: irin-english-1288

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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

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