International News on Africa by News Service IPS, Chicago Standard Newspapers
Originally posted 6/28/2003
Zambian President, Cabinet Take Pay Cut
LUSAKA, Zambia (IPS/GIN)-Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa and his cabinet members have accepted an immediate 30 percent pay cut to help reduce government spending, announced Vice President Nevers Mumba.
The cut-which will reduce the president’s salary from $715 (3,360,000 kwachas) to $500 (2,352,000 kwachas)-comes just months after parliament voted through a pay increase for those now affected.
Now the government’s 2003 budget is facing a $128 million deficit, caused in part by underestimating the impact of pay raises and housing benefits made to public service workers, Vice President Mumba says. He also said that to pay off this deficit, the treasury would either have to print more money-and risk hyper inflation-or borrow from the private sector or IMF. Neither move appeals to the government. And, Mumba says, the deficit could not be sustained by Zambia’s small economy.
The budget deficit constitutes 3 percent of the GDP of Zambia, a country where the average annual wage is $320 and more than three quarters of the population lives on less than $1 per day. Mumba added, ”We will soon announce other measures aimed at reducing government expenditure.”
Rwanda Genocide Suspects Face New Accusations
Rwandan government rearrest 5,770 genocide suspects KIGALI, Rwanda (IRIN)
The Rwandan government has rearrested 5,770 genocide suspects who had been provisionallyreleased in early 2003, an official in the Ministry of Justice told IRIN.
They were rearrested after fresh allegations were made against them, Hannington Tayebwa, head of judicial services in the ministry, said. The allegations were made in two reports by IBUKA, an umbrella organization that groups associations of the 1994 genocide survivors, he said. ”We had to arrest them as we embark on investigations into these new accusations,” he said.
Tayebwa said some who had confessed to killing one person were now being accused of killing more than three. ”We need time to verify these facts,” he added.
The rearrests began in May with 787 being held soon after they left camps where they had undergone three months of reintegration and rehabilitation. The suspects were taken from their homes back to prison, Tayebwa said. They were among 22,567 suspects who completed the training in camps across the country. Most had spent between seven and eight years in prison awaiting trial for genocide-related crimes.
In January, President Paul Kagame issued a decree provisionally releasing up to 25,000 suspects, mainly the elderly and the sick as well as those who were minors during the genocide. Genocide survivor groups had criticized the provisional release of the suspects, saying that those pardoned could intimidate survivors into silence, jeopardizing the planned Gacaca communal courts, due to begin operating shortly.
Program Helps African Girls Fight Sexual Harassment in Schools
NAIROBI (IPS/GIN)-Girls in African schools often face sexual harassment, such as having their grades lowered if they refuse the sexual advances of a male teacher, says Prof. Penina Mlama, executive director of the Nairobi-based Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).
But even though schemes such as FAWE’s ”Tuseme” (”Speak Out”) scheme is helping to protect girls in six African countries, Mlama says that sexual harassment is still ”a very, very serious problem indeed.” ”And to tell you the truth,” she adds, ”it’s getting worse.” The consequences for the girls can include suffering gradeS, an inability to concentrate at school, and, for some, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/Aids. FAWE continues to expand its ”Speak Out” program, which currently operates in a number of schools in Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania, and it has recently been started in Gambia and Namibia.
”Speak Out,” says Mlama, aims to empower girls and encourages them to confront and then report teachers who sexually harass them. Although few male teachers are ever prosecuted, she says, ”The cases of sexual harassment have diminished very, very rapidly in the schools where we have these programs.”