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Top Places To See Gorillas In Africa

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Where To See Gorillas in Africa, Gorilla Watching Holidays

There are a number of gorilla destinations in Africa, however Uganda and Rwanda tend to top the list of travelers’ choice when it comes to gorilla tracking activities. This is due to the number of factors inclusive of the conducive political climate in these two countries, high degree of endangerment that the only left mountain gorillas are facing among others, compared to the neighboring country Democratic Republic of Congo of which it shares these gentle giants with.

Top 8 Destinations To See Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas {beringei beringei} are known to thrive at altitudes of about 2200 to 4300 meters. These are primarily herbivore and have longer fur compared to the lowland gorillas.

          1. Rwanda, gorillas are found in the volcanoes national park and there are various groups or families of which their traceability keeps on changing from time to time. Trekking gorillas in this case mountain gorillas may happen to be once in a life time encounter and also gorillas tend to exhibit a great deal of closeness to humans after the chimpanzees.Rwanda alone has 10 gorilla families and all these have been habituated for easy interaction between the gorillas and the trekkers offering one an opportunity of taking pictures in the jungle with these gentle giants.
          2. Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is also another country well known for having gorillas both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas which presents an opportunity of encountering both. However the country is suffering a great deal of insecurity limiting chances of encountering these great apes to an extent that tourism had to stop in 2018 following abduction of some tourists and the park was closed until 2019.Gorillas in this country inhabit Virunga national park and these are the mountain gorillas, while the eastern lowland gorillas are found at Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The eastern lowland gorillas are thought to have developed as a single species from which all the other species of gorillas evolved, they are the largest amongst all the gorilla types.
          3. Nigeria This is a country that can be traced in West Africa just above the Equator approaching the arid areas of the Sahara desert. The country is a perfect safari destination providing excellent and unique wildlife experiences such as the Gorilla Safari in the Cross River National Park.  The gorillas can be traced in the Cross River State and most of the trackers walk through the park to visit these endangered gorillas as well as other primates like white-faced monkeys, chimpanzees and others.However, the total population of the mountain gorillas in the Cross River national park is about 200 individuals over an area of over 12000km; this gives clients low chances of viewing these gorillas. Areas within the park to trek for the gorillas include; Mbe Mountains, Afi Mountains and the Okwangwo division.
          4. Central African Republic. This is also another very interesting destination offering visitors high chances of encountering the western lowland mountain gorillas. This is due to the success of conservationist to habituate the gorillas. One of the best places in Central African Republic is the Bai-Hokou in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park though here the only challenge is photography with in the dense forests and low light.
          5. Gabon. It’s another destination in West Africa well blessed with a number of primates in its well-placed dense forests such as lowland mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and several monkey species. The lowland mountain gorillas in Gabon are highly recognized for how challenging it is to habituate them, since they tend to move long distances searching for their favorite diet making it uneasy to track as well as habituate these lowland gorillas.In Langoue Bai which is a forest and the only finest place which provides that opportunity for seeing the gorillas and other wild animals such as the elephants, buffaloes as well as the sitatunga making an ideal adventure National parks like Lope national park, gorillas can be traced in these areas but it’s not a guarantee to see these lowland gorillas.
            Tracking gorillas in Gabon is physically demanding as compared to Uganda and Rwanda in the East African region.
          6. Cameroon. Here the lowland gorillas are found in small forests that are bordering Nigeria and Cameroon which are a focus of conservationists with in this region, the people are English speaking compared to the rest of Cameroon that speak French. The gorillas here are known as cross river gorillas.
            The other destination is Angola in the Cabinda enclave which is in the north of River Congo. The trek to this side is so adventurous and there is little tourism in the area.
          7. Uganda, gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which is also known to be the haven of mountain gorillas since it harbors almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, Mgahinga national park still in Uganda but stretches from the Virunga mountains of Congo to the south of Bwindi national park.
          8. Equatorial Guinea. The country sits at the Atlantic coast between Gabon and Cameroon, and is blessed with wide range of wildlife population and beaches offering a lot to the different travelers who intend to visit the country. Monte Alen National Park is a beautiful forested park with a steep rugged terrain and best place to go gorilla trekking in the country.
            Famous with the lowland gorillas, travelers during their trekking activities get a chance to spot for other animals like the forest elephants, mandrills as well as various species of birds.

     

     

     

Special Report: Areva and Nigers Uranium Fight

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When France began mining uranium ore in the desert of northern Niger in the early 1970s, Arlit was a cluster of miners huts stranded between the sun-blasted rocks of the Air mountains and the sands of the Sahara.

The 1973 OPEC oil embargo changed that. France embraced nuclear power to free itself from reliance on foreign oil and overnight this remote corner of Africa became crucial to its national interests.

Arlit has grown into a sprawling settlement of 117,000 people, while France now depends on nuclear power for three-quarters of its electricity, making it more reliant on uranium than any country on earth.

Niger has become the worlds fourth-largest producer of the ore after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.

But uranium has not enriched Niger. The former French colony remains one of the poorest countries on earth. More than 60 percent of its 17 million people survive on less than $1 a day.

Arlit is a dusty and neglected place, scoured by desert sandstorms and barely touched by the mineral wealth it ships off to Europe each year. There are neighborhoods which go without water for three weeks at a time, said Deputy Mayor Hassan Hamani. There are schools where the pupils have to sit on the floor or study in straw huts.

Now Nigers government is demanding a better deal from Paris, and specifically from state-owned nuclear company Areva. The two sides began talking more than a year ago but failed to clinch an agreement before Arevas 10-year mining contracts expired on December 31.

Areva suspended production at its two sites in Niger in mid-December: the open-cut Somair mine at Arlit and giant underground Cominak pit nearby. The company says the closure was for maintenance but Synamin, a union that represents mining workers, called it a negotiating tactic. Production resumed at the start of February.

Areva and Nigers just-expired agreements have never been made public. But Reuters has reviewed documents which reveal that Arevas mines pay no export duties on uranium, no taxes on materials and equipment used in mining operations, and a royalty of just 5.5 percent on the uranium they produce. A spokesman for Areva declined to confirm the authenticity of the documents and did not comment on their contents.

Nigers President Mahamadou Issoufou says the deals are a throwback to the post-colonial era, when France played a dominant role in the economies of its former African territories. His government wants to cut the tax breaks and raise the royalty rate its largest source of income from the mines to as much as 12 percent.

That would be more than the 5 percent charged by most Australian states, but bring Niger into line with the 13 percent charged by Canadas uranium-producing province of Saskatchewan over the past decade. In Kazakhstan, the official rate is 18.5 percent. Areva produces uranium in both Canada and Kazakhstan but would not detail the royalties it pays in those countries. (It explores for uranium in Australia but does not mine it there).

Mining Minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana, leading the negotiations for Niger, told Reuters the government wants to increase uranium revenues to at least 20 percent of the budget, from just 5 percent at present.

For 40 years, Niger has been one of the worlds largest uranium producers, but its still one of the poorest countries on the planet, he said. At the same time, Areva has grown to be one of the worlds largest companies. You see the contrast?

Areva, which produced nearly one fifth of the worlds uranium in 2012, says a higher royalty rate would make its business in Niger unprofitable.

With uranium prices down about 70 percent from their peak in 2007, a diplomatic source in Paris said Areva would not agree to a big increase in what it pays Niger. Niger needs to take into account that Areva is not in great financial health and that the uranium price is low and not about to increase anytime soon, said the source.

TAX BREAKS

A new deal is important for Areva, but vital for Niger.

With global revenues of 9.3 billion euros ($12.56 billion)in 2013, the French firm is almost twice as big as Nigers entire economy according to the IMF. Loss-making and with net debts of nearly 4 billion euros, it is still Nigers biggest private employer and its largest exporter.

Areva does not provide a profit breakdown for its operations in Niger but says its current deal with the country is fair. It says that over the past 40 years Niger has received around 80 percent of ‘direct benefits taxes and dividends from its two uranium mines, with Areva taking the rest.

It estimates that its mines paid a total of 82 million euros to Niger in dividends and taxes in 2011, and 123 million euros in 2012.

However, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global coalition of governments, including Nigers, and of companies seeking to improve the accountability of natural resource revenues, estimates Arevas mines paid a total of 66.3 million euros to Niger in 2011. 2012 figures are not yet available.

The latest contracts show Areva received a range of tax breaks and benefits in Niger, some of which were standard under Nigers 1999 mining law. Signed on November 9, 2001 and effective for 10 years from January 1 2004, the contracts state that Areva was:

* Exempt from any export duties on its uranium production.

* Exempt from all entry taxes, customs duties and value-added tax, on materials, equipment, machines, parts and petroleum products used in mining operations, including everything from sulfur and other chemicals used to process ore, vehicles, and even protective clothing.

* Protected by a stability clause so that an increase in royalties tax under a new 2006 mining law did not affect them.

* Protected so that if another uranium miner negotiated better terms, Areva would automatically benefit from the same conditions.

* Guaranteed that any audit of the mines ordered by Niger will remain strictly confidential.

* Granted an exoneration of up to 20 percent of corporate income tax to help fund future prospecting.

Areva held a monopoly over uranium mining in Niger until 2007. Its sole competitor, Somina, a joint venture between the government and the overseas arm of the China National Nuclear Corporation, was launched a year after the introduction of a 2006 mining law that sharply reduces tax breaks.

Mining Minister Tchiana said Arevas tax breaks cost the government 23 million to 30 million euros a year in potential tax revenue, and any new contracts will have to adhere to the 2006 law.

The Areva spokesman said the tax breaks were important to encourage research and development in the mining sector and to allow its mines to continue production despite depressed uranium prices and rising production costs. He said the mining companies pay the standard corporate tax rate of 30 percent.

Unions in Niger and transparency campaigners say Areva has also become more aggressive about minimizing its profit and thus its tax bill in the country in the past few years.

A confidential Niger Mining Ministry document seen by Reuters shows production costs at the Somair mine doubling in just five years, from 19,783 CFA francs ($40.75) per kilogram in 2006 to 40,146 CFA francs per kg in 2011. At Cominak, costs per kg rose from 27,277 CFA francs to 45,603 in 2010, the undated document showed.

Our objective is to lower these production costs so that Niger can profit more, said Minister Tchiana, adding that the government had commissioned an independent audit of Arevas Niger operations. The report, by Netherlands-based consultancy BearingPoint, has not been made public.

Areva strongly denies artificially hiking costs. It says higher charges are due to the complex technical characteristics of new ore deposits that have helped increase production by one-third in the last five years, as well as to a rise in the cost of fuel for vehicles and machinery and of sulfuric acid used to process uranium.

THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE PEOPLE

At the Somair mine outside Arlit, lumbering yellow trucks work round the clock hauling grey-green ore from the bottom of vast 100-metre-deep pits. The ore ends up in a processing plant where it is turned into yellowcake. At night, stadium lights illuminate the pitch-black of the desert, while the metallic clanging of the plants grinder cuts the silence.

The just-expired contracts state that Areva would provide electricity and water to Arlit and help maintain the road linking it to the town of Tahoka, more than 300 miles to the south. Yet the road is all but impassable for long stretches, forcing trucks to drive in the desert sands, where some wrecks lie rusting. Areva says it has given 1 percent of the revenues from its mines annually to a government body responsible for maintaining the road, meeting the terms of its contract.

By night, much of the town is in darkness. An Areva water tower does supply the town, though residents who are not entitled to free water or power under the terms of Arevas contract pay the state water company.

Some in Arlit feel angry that the mine has not brought greater prosperity. Around 2,000 mine employees live in neat estates, with a clubhouse and restaurants. The rest of the city is dirt-poor, with unpaved streets and ramshackle mud-brick homes.

Officials and NGOs often point to high levels of corruption as a reason for poor delivery of services. Local governments which benefit from a 15 percent share of the royalties tax under the 2006 mining law complain that payments are more than two years overdue. Local officials say the mining companies pay the royalties to the central government every month, and the delays are Niameys responsibility.

Mining Minister Tchiana declined to comment on this, saying it was a finance ministry issue. A spokesman for the ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Niger has a turbulent political history marked by rivalries and coups, and even though Issoufous government has made progress in tackling corruption, the country still ranks 106th out of 177 countries in Transparency Internationals annual corruption perceptions index.

Still, Rhissa Feltou, mayor of the regional capital Agadez, says Arevas two mines do too little for development in the north.

These companies are not paying enough in tax, said Feltou. We are bitter about the presence of extractive industries here Mining is not responding to the expectations of the people.

In his office in Niamey, Nigers capital, Minister Tchiana said the countrys 2010 Constitution stated that extractive industries must be transparent and serve the interests of the country. Instead of mountains of waste in Arlit, we want buildings, homes, hospitals and investment, he said. After more than 40 years Areva has not even built a headquarters in Niger.

The firm says it does plenty, spending 6 million euros a year on health and economic development projects in Niger. There is no public hospital, but the mines allow residents access to their clinics free of charge. Areva has also built and renovated local schools.

We contribute directly through the jobs we are creating and we generate taxes for the state budget. This is our contribution, but we cannot do everything, Areva chief executive Luc Oursel told Reuters.

THE POWER OF FRANCE

One key sticking point is how to calculate the official price of uranium. That is used as a basis for all royalties, taxes and profits and Niger wants to set it as high as possible.

For the past two years the agreed price has been 73,000 CFA francs ($150) a kg, nearly double the current spot price of around $80.

Areva wants the new deal to be based on a formula using spot market and long-term contract prices, rather than political negotiations, according to the leaked minutes of a 2012 meeting signed by both sides. The price would change depending on the spot price on world markets, according to the minutes, which say this is Arevas proposal. Areva has not confirmed the authenticity of the document.

Niamey does seem to have had some success in squeezing extra money from Areva. The minutes of the meeting show that Areva agreed to pay Niger an extra 35 million euros over three years from 2013 in compensation for delays to a giant uranium mine it is building at Imouraren in northern Niger.

President Issoufou insists that mine, which will provide thousands of new jobs, must start production before he runs for re-election in 2016.

Arevas Wantz said publicly in March that the fee was to pay for security even though the current contract says the safety of the mines is Nigers responsibility.

Security is certainly a big concern. Seven people connected with a Somair project were kidnapped in 2010 by al Qaedas local wing, though all have since been released. In May, the Somair mine was attacked by al Qaeda-linked suicide bombers, and the region is now crawling with military.

Some European contractors have pulled out altogether and northern Niger is considered a no-go zone for Europeans. The Islamist threat has placed a huge strain on Nigers budget, upping the stakes in the talks.

We need to control the north of Niger more and, for that, we need infrastructure for which we must be aided by our international partners, Foreign Minister Mohamed Bazoum told Reuters.

The question for Issoufou is how hard he pushes President Francois Hollande on a new deal. Trained in France as a mining engineer, Nigers president is a longtime democracy activist who has known Hollande since their days in the Socialist International together. Issoufou even worked for Areva at one of the mines between 1985 and 1992, including as Secretary General.

Issoufou started pushing for a better price for Nigers uranium almost as soon as he was elected in 2011. But despite what the French diplomatic source describes as a relationship of trust between Issoufou and Hollande, Nigers new demands have raised hackles in Paris.

The climate that has developed between the two parties is not very good, the diplomat said.

Issoufou said in December that the talks were progressing normally but has suggested Niger may turn to other countries he did not say which to help extract its mineral wealth. The contract negotiations are front page news in Niger and there have been strikes and demonstrations against Areva.

A glance at Nigers budget explains why it matters. Western aid accounts for nearly 40 percent of the state budget, much of it from France; as a percentage of GDP, Nigers tax revenues are the lowest in West Africa according to the IMF.

Today Niger is faced with the power of France. Niger is not negotiating with a company, said Ali Idrissa, head of ROTAB, the local arm of transparency campaigner Publish What You Pay.

Areva is prepared to play hardball. The firm threatened to shut production at Somair in October after Niger failed to find a buyer for its small share of 2013 production. ($1 = 0.7402 euros) ($1 = 485.5160 CFA francs)

(Flynn reported from Arlit, de Clercq from Paris; Edited by Simon Robinson and Sara Ledwith)

Who is Paul Kagame?

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Paul Kagame

Paul Rutagambwa Kagame was born on Oct. 23, 1957 in Ruhango, Rwanda to Deogratius and Asteria Rutagambwa. He is reportedly from the Abaganza clan of the Tutsi, although other sources say he is from the Abega clan. Kagame’s home area is said by some sources to be Gitarama, while his wife, Jeanette Nyiramongi Kagame, is from Gikongoro.

In 1962, the Rutagambwa family, along with thousands of other Tutsi refugees, fled Rwanda following an aborted Tutsi uprising against the mainly Hutu independence government of Rwanda. They were re-located to the Gahunge refugee camp in the then Toro district of western Uganda.

Education

Kagame attended Rwengoro Primary School in Kamwenge in the then Toro district of western Uganda. Kagame speaks fluent Rutooro, the language of the Batooro tribe.

After his primary school education, he was moved to the Nakivaale refugee camp in Ankole, in western Uganda. Kagame also enrolled in the leading secondary school in Ankole at the time, Ntare School, the same school which Museveni Yoweri Kaguta of Uganda attended. While the date he joined Ntare is unclear, it can be assumed to have been about 1970 or 1971. Most of Kagame’s publicly-known life story jumps from his Ntare School days to his joining Yoweri Museveni’s Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) guerrilla group in 1979.
Much of the period from about 1975 to 1979 is left as a blank space. It is one of several passages in Kagame’s life that he keeps out of the public domain. For example, the Kagame life story as it is publicly known stresses Ntare School but is silent on his period as a student at Old Kampala Secondary School.

In the mid 1990s, a Ugandan journalist who attempted to write a biography on Kagame had all his materials and photographs seized by Rwandan intelligence agents on behalf of the then Vice President Kagame. In or about 1976, Kagame joined the Uganda Police Force, something he has been careful to keep out of the public’s knowledge. Information gathered from a source on Dec. 13, 2008 states that in that period, Kagame lived in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu along with many other Tutsis. The source believes they were working as spies on behalf of Museveni’s FRONASA. Considering how many FRONASA men had been infiltrated into Idi Amin’s State Research Bureau national intelligence agency in the 1970s and Kagame’s penchant for intelligence and other covert work, the Uganda Record can only speculate whether Kagame as a Uganda Police officer might have doubled as a State Research Bureau operative as well.

In Feb. 1979, when the Tanzania-Uganda war reached Mbarara town in western Uganda. Kagame joined FRONASA, or openly joined FRONASA. What Kagame did under FRONASA between 1979 and 1980 or where he was based or deployed is also not clear or public.

During that Feb. 6, 1981 attack, three PRA guerrillas Hannington Mugabi, Jack Muchunguzi, and Paul Kagame received slight injuries. After the PRA merged with the Uganda Freedom Fighters of the former President Yusufu Lule on June 9, 1981 to form the National Resistance Army (NRA), Kagame was appointed to head the NRA tribunal in Luwero Triangle. This tribunal executed captured soldiers of the UNLA government army and tried and executed NRA guerrillas suspected of being double agents of the UPC government of Milton Obote.

When the NRA cut off western Uganda in Aug. 1985 following the military coup that overthrew the Obote government, Kagame was transferred to the NRA’s new headquarters in Fort Portal town. In Aug. 1985, the NRA hijacked a Uganda Airlines Fokker Friendship F-27 aircraft after it landed at the airfield as Kasese town, about 74km west of Fort Portal. It was Kagame whom the NRA charged with handling the hijack. Coordinating the hijack from Entebbe International Airport had been NRA guerrillas Winnie Byanyima and Lt. Fred Mwesigye who was a secret NRA guerrilla but working as a UNLA intelligence officer based in Entebbe.

Kagame at the NRA’s Military Intelligence Directorate

After the NRA seized state power in 1986, Kagame was deployed at the Military Intelligence headquarters at Basiima House as an intelligence officer. He rose in office to become the head of administration in the Directorate of Military Intelligence. He shared an office cubicle with another NRA intelligence officer, Aronda Nyakirima. Contrary to a widely-held belief, Kagame has never been the director of Military Intelligence in Uganda but only the head of administration in Military Intelligence.

In 1990, the army sent Kagame to the United States’ military college at Fort Leavenworth for advanced military instruction.

Intrigue and murder within the RPF

Late in Oct. 1990, more than three weeks into the invasion of Rwanda by a Tutsi-led guerrilla force, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), a mutiny or infighting of some form took place.
The overall commander of the RPA invaders, Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema, was shot dead in the back of his head, reportedly by a clique in the RPA led by Maj. Dr. Peter Bayingana, Maj. Chris Bunyenyezi and Maj. Frank Munyaneza.

Hundreds of RPA guerrillas were massacred by their fellow RPA guerrillas and their bodies thrown into the Akagera River.  It was the first report of bodies floating down the Akagera River. After Rwigyema’s death, Maj. Gen. Salim Saleh, the former army commander and younger brother to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, personally took Kagame to the RPA headquarters inside Rwanda where upon Kagame took charge of the shattered force and reorganized it.

In its early days, the RPF, the political and administrative wing of the RPA tried to allay fears of Rwanda’s Hutu majority that the RPF was a Tutsi force bent on seizing power and installing a Tutsi-only regime. A number of Hutu, including a Col. Alexis Kanyarengwe were recruited and given prominent positions in the RPF. Kanyarengwe, a former Rwandan army officer who had fallen out with and been jailed by President Juvenal Habyarimana, was named the RPF’s Chairman.

However, on May 17, 1991, John Shyirambere Barahinyura, head of Information and Research, RPF and a Hutu, resigned from the RPF “after finding out that RPF has no other intentions for Rwanda other than being in power.” In his statement of resignation, Barahinyura said: “Nobody can take orders from Kanyarengwe without first asking Paul Kagame.”

On Jan. 29, 1991, a Kampala Newsletter, The Shariat, reported that Kagame had been injured in fighting in Rwanda or in some kind of assassination attempt. “Lt. Col. Paul Kagame the man who succeeded the late Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema as the overall Commander of RPA is missing. According to reliable sources, Lt. Col. Paul Kagame was seriously injured and was quietly taken to a military hospital abroad. But it is not known whether Lt. Col. Paul Kagame was shot by fellow RPA soldiers or by the enemy (Rwandese government soldiers). After the incident Lt. Col. Kanyarengwe was immediately appointed overall commander of R.P.A and Chairman R.P.F,” The Shariat reported.

On July 28, 1991, the deputy commander of the RPA at the time of its invasion of Rwanda on Oct. 1, 1990, Lt. Col. Adam Wasswa, died in a car accident at Lyantonde town in south-central Uganda where he and Kagame were in the same Toyota Land Cruiser traveling for an RPF High Command meeting inside Rwanda. A one Captain Kairangwa also died in the accident. Adam Wasswa’s family lived in Mbarara and he had been recruited into FRONASA in 1979 by Yoweri Museveni. Wasswa was a Rwandan Tutsi royal and was close to and supported the ambitions of the ousted Rwandan King Kigeli V.

The Citizen Newspaper of Kampala commented on Jan. 3, 1991: “The Rwandese Patriotic Front which stormed Rwanda on October 1, 1990 are said to be tied up in a historical power struggle. Reports reaching The Citizen say that RPF is divided on three ethnic groupings within the Tutsi tribe. It is alleged that among the Tutsi there are three different groups each with its own objectives. “The groups are referred to as Abega, Abanyiginya and the commoners. It is further alleged that Abanyiginya are the true Kings of Rwanda. Reports further say that after the death of the top three commanders, Maj. Paul Kagame who is said to be from the Abega group took over leadership, which is said to be unacceptable to the Abanyiginya led by Kigeli the last king of Rwanda and Major Adam Wasswa. It is alleged that [the] King Kigeli group has played a very significant role disorganizing the RPF, distorting the whole cause to a mere power struggle… On [the] Uganda side, it is reported that from Kamwezi through Kishuro hills down Kahondo valleys [valley] insecurity is on the increase.”

RPF takeover and Paul Kagame’s Reign

The RPF guerrillas took power in Kigali in July 1994 in an assault on the capital led by Col. William Bagire and the field operation commanded by Lt. Col. Stephen Ndugute. Ndugute had been a Marine in the 1970s Uganda Army of President Idi Amin. Kagame was named Vice President and Chairman of the RPA High Command. Dr. Emmanuel Ndahiro, who today is director of Rwandan state security, the National Security Service, was the spokesman of Maj. Gen. Kagame.

There have been many reports of Kagame’s atrocities going back into the 1980s and 1990s, including the Kibeho Hutu refugee camp in 1995 to the gunning down or disappearance without a trace of many Tutsi RPF army officers, to the gunning down of journalists and the recent attempt to murder Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. According to the Wikipedia, 8,000 Hutus were massacred by the RPF in the Kibeho camp in southwest of Rwanda in April 1995.

The Shariat newspaper, reporting on the gruesome massacre of Hutus in 1995, said:
“Before RPF attacked Rwanda, there was no time in the history of that country when any government ever surrounded defenseless civilians there and bombed dead 8,000 of them as RPF recently did at Kibeho camp in south western Rwanda…”

Rwanda Partners with Arsenal to Promote Tourism

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Visit Rwanda

Arsenal, one of the top-division English Premier League football clubs will have all their teams wear labelled on the sleeves ‘Visit Rwanda’. According to Vinal Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Rwanda has signed a sponsorship deal with Arsenal football Club that will promote Rwanda as a tourism destination.

“This is an exciting partnership which will see us support Rwanda’s ambition to build their tourism industry,” Venkatesham. He added on that “The country [Rwanda] has been transformed in recent years.”

The three-year partnership will see the new ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo featured on the left sleeve of all first team, under-23 and Arsenal Women’s matches from the new season this August. As part of the deal, Arsenal players from the men’s and women’s teams will visit Rwanda and club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country, that has tried to promote tourism and sports.

The deal is expected to highlight Rwanda’s tourism offerings such as the National Parks, which are attracting record number of tourists. Rwanda has been a favorite to travelers looking to visiting the mountain gorillas in Africa. It has also tried to develop convention tourism and it is expected to sit the next Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2020).

Over the last 20 years, Rwanda has also geared up its efforts in conservation and growing numbers of wildlife have been registered. Some wildlife such as black rhinos and lions have reintroduced into the Akagera National Park, a park that suffered a lot during the 1994 civil war.

Last year Rwanda received 1.3 million visitors. In 2017, tourism generated 90,000 jobs and remains Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner. The Visit Rwanda campaign is not only about tourism. It showcases Rwanda as an investment destination as well. Rwanda is ranked as the third easiest place to do business in Africa by the World Bank and has been awarded for its leadership in tourism and competitiveness by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum respectively.

Rwanda is renowned for the incredible and unique mountain gorilla tracking experience, variety of water sports, cycling, hiking, bird watching among other touristic attractions.

Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board said the country was looking forward to welcoming more tourists and investors. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Arsenal and showcasing the vibrancy and beauty of our country.  Rwanda is a country pulsing with energy, creativity and innovation,” she said.

Akamanzi explained why Rwanda is an ideal investment destination. “We are the second fastest growing economy in Africa.  Investors in Rwanda are able to register their businesses in only six hours and prepare to enjoy the opportunities accrued from the free trade agreements that we’ve signed with over 50 countries.

Visit Rwanda will gain global exposure through branding on Arsenal’s match day LED boards, interview backdrops and the club’s stadium tour which attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year.  They will also have the opportunity to engage Arsenal fans around the world through the club’s social media channels.

Arsenal’s Venkatesham pointed out the magnitude of the exposure Rwanda gets from the deal. “The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day around the world and we are one of the most viewed teams around the world. We look forward to working with the Visit Rwanda team to further establish the country as a tourist destination,” Venkatesham said.

The partnership is also being supported by National Geographic who will promote Rwanda as an important tourist destination. ­­­

8 Interesting Facts About President Robert Mugabe

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Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe resigned last year in a bloodless coupe detat. He had ruled the country since 1980 and thus he was one of the longest serving presidents in Africa. He first served the country as a Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and then as a president between 1987 to 2017. It is interesting to know some other details about Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, besides his long stay in power. His upbringing, education and lifestyle has been unique, no wonder, he stands as one of the long serving presidents in the world. Here are some 8 unique facts about Robert Mugabe

1. His father abandoned him
In 1934 Robert Mugabe’s father abandoned their family after the death of his oldest brother Michael. Mugabe started a whole new family. President Mugabe revealed this in January 2014, at his sister Bridget’s burial.

2. Mugabe Worked as a Teacher in Ghana
Robert Mugabe worked as a school teacher prior to beginning his political career. He first taught in Ghana, Africa’s first nation to gain independence and then on returning to Zimbabwe to join the revolution against the white government of Rhodesia. We would like to see some of the students of Mugabe and we pray that he didn’t teach them about how to cling in power!

3. Robert Mugabe has 7 university degrees
President Mugabe is one of the most learned presidents of Africa. He has seven University degrees. Six of the degrees were earned while he was doing distance learning in prison. They cover a broad range of topics including Education, Economics, Administration, and Law. Robert Mugabe holds degrees that include a Bachelor of Laws and Master’s of Laws from the University of London’s external program which he earned during his stint in a Salisbury prison. Mugabe speaks fluent English and adopted an English accent when pronouncing words.

4. Mugabe was helped by a white nun
Though the Rhodesians did release Mugabe from prison, he was not supposed to leave the country. A white nun helped him to cross into Mozambique, where he was able to rejoin the revolutionary armies.

5. Cheated on his first wife while she was dying of cancer
Mugabe is no joke! While his first wife was struggling with her cancer, Mugabe started an affair with his private secretary, Grace Ntombizodwa who is also rumored to have been engaged to some guy. When it came out that she was pregnant with his child, he ignored popular opinion and married her in 1996 to become the strong First Lady of Zimbabwe.

6. Has a strong religious upbringing
Though Robert Mugabe is not known as a staunch catholic, he has a strong religious upbringing. Robert Mugabe attended Jesuit school, and credits an Irish priest as one of his most influential mentors in his youth. It is not news that Robert Mugabe has visited Rome several times and has met

7. Mugabe Takes Great Care with His Appearance
Mugabe is one of the African leaders who pays much attention to his looks before leaving his home. He is known for his three-piece suit, wide rimmed glasses that have been his hallmark since 1980. He has been also associated with his tiny moustache.

8. Mugabe’s Genitals Were Operated

During Mugabe’s early life an operation on his genitals was done. This generated rumours that he had only one testicle or half a penis! These rumours generated mixed reactions – His opponents used to ridicule him that he was not a man enough. However his supporters used this as a tool to claim that he sacrificed a lot to his country because the operation was as result of his activism towards the white rule and thus was a revolutionary cause.

Rwanda is So Much More than ‘Just Gorillas’

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Virunga Mountains

Ms. Rica Rwigamba, head of tourism and conservation within the Rwanda Development Board, during her visit to the World Travel Market in London last week made it plain to stand visitors and the media, that Rwanda had a lot more to offer than ‘just gorillas’. While admittedly Rwanda is still best known for the tracking of the rare mountain gorillas in the ‘Parc Nationale de Volcanoes’ in the West of the country along the common borders with Uganda and the Congo DR, RDB has in recent years made a determined efforts to opening up new areas and attractions, to offer visitors a wider range of tourism products.

The effort has largely paid off with more and more visitors coming to Rwanda and spending more time in the country, in the process pushing the tourism sector to the top of the economic performance list.

A canopy walk at Nyungwe Forest National Park, said to be the first in any of East Africa’s rain forests, the expansion of tracks and viewing points in this particular park, the partnership with ‘African Parks’ which is now managing the Akagera National Park and investing over 20 million US Dollars there to improve infrastructure, but also the introduction of suitable boats to take tourists on trips along the shores of Lake Kivu, have all made an immediate impact on the tourist itineraries now offered to visitors, keeping Rwanda at the cutting edge of the East African tourism sectors.

It was also ascertained that the average stay in country has now gradually moved towards the 6 day intermediate target, and with the recent start of KLM flights, operating from Amsterdam via Entebbe to Kigali five times a week, more and more tourists are expected to visit ‘the land of a thousand hills’.

Kigali round about; Modern structures are sprouting up; Centenary house is among the new structures

If one is assigned to depict Kigali City to people who have never been here, and he’s supposed to tell it as it is, he would easily be indicted of exaggeration or even risk losing his writing job.

No one would believe him, he would be rubbished as a fascinated dreamer describing a fairyland city. As for people who live in it, some don’t notice the beauty of their city until they visit other cities outside Rwanda.

Thus the common saying, “One can’t know what they’ve got till when it’s gone”.

Kigali is an attractive city during day and a sleeping beauty in the night. It is characterized by well manicured roads and pedicured sidewalks and clearly marked lanes. Street and security lights (that work), green turf, palm trees and flowers give it a lovely arresting look.

The roundabouts and the magnificently created fountains put a marvelous magic touch to this vibrant city.

The cleanness of this city is beyond description; it’s also easier to find a polar-bear in the desert than finding a polythene bag in Kigali and Rwanda at large.

They do not allow polythene bags in the country, so, there are no roadside eyesores that continue to rustle and float around in the wind like you can find elsewhere.

Like officers on duty, poles that hold trash cans stand erect on all road sides in the entire city. The cleanliness of Kigali is partly made easy by the Rwandan culture of not eating in public, Rwandese believe that eating should be done in appropriate places.

Another facet that makes Kigali an amazing city is the sociability of the people. There is no hostility, violence or edginess that you find so common in other countries.

Asking for direction, unlike other cities where if one doesn’t turn a blind ear when you ask him for direction before asking for a’ little something’, people in Kigali will get out of their way to give you the right direction, if possible even accompany you, to make sure you don’t get lost, not because they have a lot of time or are trying to impress you, but I guess that’s how they are wired naturally.

Another rare thing about Kigali and Rwandan citizens is their obedience to traffic laws. It’s a well known-open secret that in most African countries nobody follows traffic rules, not even pedestrians, but in Rwanda traffic laws are respected and of course this is made easy by the fact that traffic lights are in working order and zebra-crossings are well marked and repainted at any sign of fading, traffic officers also doing a terrific job 24/7.

(But although this is the case, here I don’t give our drivers 100% credit. I believe they should add a little more respect to zebra-crossings. Pedestrians also need to know and practice their rights here.)

Kigali city is also a bicycle free city! The only bicycles you can spot in Kigali are sports bicycles, bicycles were gently pushed to city suburbs and were replaced by motorbikes, operated by qualified riders in uniforms.

It’s also a rule to have a helmet both for the passenger and for the ‘motari’. It’s also believed to be easier to see a refrigerator in an Eskimo’s igloo than seeing a taxi-Moto in Kigali ferrying two passengers.

Another thing that makes Kigali worth writing about is the security. Whether on leisure or business, day or night you can walk anywhere without fear of being mugged or your purse being snatched

Let alone petty thefts, car thefts, burglary and bank robberies in Rwanda are only read in Grisham novels and seen in movie scenes.

There are army patrols, police patrols and community security patrols. These can be seen patrolling peacefully without bothering a soul! Today, one can’t be wrong when one says Kigali will soon be a match for any Western city.

Gaddafi’s Son Saif ‘to Run for Libyan President’ in 2018 elections

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Saif Gaddafi

Former Libyan President Late Gaddafi’s son is set to run up for presidential elections 2018. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of late colonel Muammar Gaddafi is set to run for presidential election this year according to local media reports.

Saif was the heir to the throne of the father and right now he is aspiring for the top job though he is being wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity that he committed during his father’s efforts to put down the rebellion that overthrew him in 2011.

His aspirations for the presidency were announced by the officials in the Libyan Popular Front Party in Tunis on Monday during the news conference.

Khaled Guel told a Pan Arab Newspaper that libya needs to get past the recent divisions and many Libyans believe Saif Al-Islam is the only person to liberty them from the on going deteriorating humanitarian situations.

In 2015, Saif Al-Islam was held by the militia in the town of Zintan by the rebels who overthrew his father and he was sentenced to death in Absentia by the court in Tripoli. Though he was released in june last year after being granted amnesty by one of the country’s two competing governments.

His location is little known but the officials of Libyan Popular Front said he will address the nation about his aspirations and plans.

Saif al- islam is a 45 year old man a second son of late Gaddafi and he known to be a reformist during his father regime as he made efforts to forge ties between Libya with the western world. He is a graduate of economics of London school of Economics. He is known for his charitable works and was used as the face of Gaddafi’s regime.

‘It Was Me Who Urged Mugabe to Resign,’ Says Grace Mugabe Speaks Out

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Grace Mugabe

Former first lady Grace Mugabe speaks out for the first time since his husband Robert Mugabe step down in November 2017. she is widely blamed for the downfall of Mugabe due to her unbearable actions that put Mugabe’s throne into jeopardy

She says she never wanted to become vice-president of Zimbabwe at all. She further said her husband favoured defence minister Sydney Sekeremayi.

While being interviewed by south Africa’s Sunday Times, she said that Mnangagwa’s sacking was not about her becoming the successor of her husband.

She said,” I did not even want to become Vice President” she told South Africa’s Sunday Times she favored the defense minister sydney sekeremayi to become the successor of Mugabe.

However, Grace Mugabe echoed on very many rallies that she would not see any problems of her becoming the president of Zimbabwe when her husband retires giving an example of Mnagangwa who left his political seat to his wife.

She also said that the former first family had declared all the properties they had bought outside their country two in South Africa and one in Hong Kong.

Lady Gucci as she is normally known in Zimbabwe said that their family is an honest one. They don’t have money outside the country and they do not have a house in Dubai, they only rented one when their son was studying there.

Rihanna Accuses Snapchat of Promoting Domestic Violence

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Rihanna

Pop star Rihanna on Thursday denounced Snapchat after an advertisement made light of her beating by fellow pop star Chris Brown, sending the company’s share prices tumbling.

The social media platform which counts 187 million users, especially young people drawn to its quickly vanishing posts had featured an advertisement for “Would You Rather?,” a game app that asks sometimes provocative questions.

The commercial showed the two singers and asked Snapchat users whether they would rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.” The company pulled the advertisement and apologized, but Rihanna took to rival platform Instagram to denounce Snapchat. “You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV (domestic violence) victims and made a joke of it!!!!” she wrote.

Snapchat Losses Millions
According to CNN, Snapchat Lost $800 Million After Rihanna Criticized Its Offensive Ad. The ad, which was created by a third party but had to undergo an approval process by Snapchat, was taken down, but not before quite a lot of damage was done. Snapchat stocks plunged by 4 percent on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal, losing the app nearly a billion dollars this week—evidently due to Rihanna fans who decided to delete the platform from their smartphones.

Snapchat apologized for the ad after pulled it from the platform Monday, saying in a statement, “The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines.”

Tiwa Savage Files for Divorce from Hubby Tee Billz

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Tiwa Savage & Husband

Popular Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage has allegedly filed for divorce from her estranged husband Tunji Balogun, a.k.a TeeBillz. According to media reports, all attempts by the couple to resolve their differences have failed, and Tiwa has decided to formally call it quit, citing “unsolvable issues” as the reason for the decision.

However, Tiwa a.k.a ‘Marvin Record First Lady’, is yet to confirm nor deny the divorce issue. The embattled couple have not been together since their marital crisis in 2016; Teebillz made their marital issues public as he wanted to commit suicide by attempting to jump over a Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria. The duo then engaged in ‘war of words’ on the social media, as Teebillz alleged infidelity, among other accusations, on the part of his estranged wife. Tiwa and Teebillz have a son together.

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