President ‘Ma Ellen’ in critics due to Rich Oil contract
‘Ma Ellen’ in critics due to Rich Oil contract
ucrative Oil contracts in the works, critics are taking preemptive aim at Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose son, Robert Sirleaf, is chairman of the Board of the national Oil company, serving without pay.
At a press conference this week, the critics, who want to remake Liberia’s Oil laws along the lines of Ghana and Nigeria, claimed that Sirleaf’s pro bono work is just a scam to avoid paying taxes to the U.S. where he is still allegedly a citizen. Sirleaf is a banker who has worked with the Oil industry, according to his mother, the President.
Veteran lawmaker Rep. James Biney questioned whether Sirleaf is accountable to Liberia if he works without pay. "We want him to be more accountable,” Biney said. ”Let's pay him so that he can be more accountable."
Charges and countercharges have been flying around the Oil sector as the country begins talks with ExxonMobil Corp. and Overseas Petroleum Ltd. The deal on the table would give Exxon 70 percent control of an offshore Oil block.
The talks will take place in London next week and include NOCAL, the national Oil body, CEO Randolph A.K.W. McClain, as well as Liberia’s ministers of justice, finance and lands, mines and energy, according to NOCAL. A full audit has also been pledged for the year 2011 and a budget has been published for the first time in NOCAL’s 12 year history, addressing demands for more transparency by the agency. w/pix of Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf
Tomb Of Muslim Saint Destroyed In Malian Conflict
May 8 (GIN) – Islamist fighters have destroyed the tomb of a local Muslim saint in Timbuktu, according to the BBC.
Gunmen attacked the shrine of Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar and set it on fire, saying it was contrary to Islam, according to officials interviewed by the British news team.
Area residents said armed men from the Islamist group Ansar Dine threatened locals going to worship at the Sufi saint’s grave.
"What you are doing is haram! (forbidden). Seek help from God directly rather than the dead," one of the gunmen said, according to a resident quoted by the Reuters news agency.
A local politician, El Hadj Baba Haidara, told Reuters: "They attacked the grave, broke doors, windows and wooden gates that protect it. They brought it outside and burnt it," he said. "This tomb is sacred, it is too difficult to bear."
Timbuktu is the site of three great medieval mosques and a World Heritage site designated by UNESCO.
It was captured by at least two separatist Tuareg rebel groups - one of which is Ansar Dine - in an anti-government uprising in the northern part of the country that began in January.
Yayi Boni, President of Benin said an African initiative by ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) supported by the African Union was working to restore constitutional order, but cautioned: “We do not want to build an African Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, Islamists of the insurgent National Movement of Liberation AZAWAD have launched an online media campaign. The bilingual website can be found at www.mnlamov.net w/pix of Ansar Dine fighters
Western Finance Bank Creates Currency Chaos
May 8 (GIN) – Citizens of the southern African nation of Malawi woke up this week to find their value of their dollar cut by a third as demanded by the International Monetary Fund. Panic shopping set in as Malawians feared huge price increases after the devaluation.
In Blantyre, many shops reported running out of sugar, cooking oil, bread and other staples. The kwacha was devalued as part of moves by the new government to restore donor funding.
The central bank's move was welcomed by the market and one of the most dramatic since Joyce Banda took over as President last month. The IMF may now restore a $79 million aid program, suspended in a dispute with ex-president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Malawi's new President is also realigning the country’s politics with western interests. A visit by the Sudanese President for the African Union summit in July this year may be blocked. The last time the Sudanese leader visited, Banda pointed out, her country lost a substantial amount of foreign aid and Malawi cannot afford to repeat that mistake.
China Iinvests In Africa News As Western Media Declines
May 8 (GIN) – Chinese investment in Africa rose 87 percent last year, with a substantial chunk in media, writes Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Observers are asking if the new media emperors will offer a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent--or simply propaganda.
Since January, Kenyans have been able to hear a daily one-hour broadcast of China Central's "Africa Live." CCTV plans to become an all-news, 24-hour channel similar to CNN by 2015.
The expansion comes as Western media houses are laying off writers across the continent to contain costs.
It is hoped that the new media moguls will allow more detailed, nuanced reporting rather than the often limited, negative coverage of Africa by the Western press, described by one journalist as 'burning-tire journalism' -- since the small handful of foreign correspondents based on the continent are reduced to covering only major disasters.
At the January launch of CCTV, Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka called on the new station to "cast a new image of the continent [since Africa] is often shown as the continent of endless calamities."
"It will be here for the long haul," said Chinese TV operations manager and editor Robert Soi. "Just as the BBC Africa has sold very well over here, CCTV will also leave a footprint." w/pix of CCTV's Kenya launch
President ‘Ma Ellen’ in critics due to Rich Oil contract
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