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The Rhapsody of Ramaphosa: Normalising Relations with Rwanda, Uniting Africa



By Eric Elezuo

History was made in Kigali when the one month old President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa joined 40 other African heads of states to sign a free trade agreement that tends to facilitate free movement of business related assignments across the continent without hindrance, or to put it succinctly –the rigours of procuring a visa.

That was a part, and second most important aspect of the Kigali history making event. The one the people of Rwanda and South Africa hold dear, and attached excess importance remains the reunification or the normalization of the two countries relation after almost a decade of antagonism and mutual suspicion.

The time was eight years ago; the year was 2010. The relationship between the South Africa and the Republic of Rwanda was on the verge of collapse, albeit irreversibly. Relations have been strained since 2010 after Rwanda accused South Africa of harbouring Rwandan opposition leaders. The clear case of mutual suspicion resulted in 2014 to the expulsion of diplomats on both sides. That was not all; South Africa’s visa office closed down when former Rwandan intelligence head, Vincent Karegeya was found murdered in Johannesburg.

Despite reports about improving relations over the past two years, the countries, which incidentally originate from the region, remained friends at bay as uneasy calm pervades the atmosphere.  A trace of settlement was even made more difficult with South Africa’s Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, whom Rwandans believe was too close to opposition defector, former Rwandan Armed Forces chief of staff, General Kayumba Nyamwasa, still the foreign minister. They both served in diplomatic postings in India more than a decade ago.

But all that has changed today with the intimidating signature of Ramaphosa on the Kigali Declaration document. In his excitement, the South African president relapsed to the freedom fighter trance and made a raphsodised declaration that was not short of emotion.

Hear him: “I wanted to let you all know that I am here. If I don’t tell them myself, tell them on my behalf.

Tell my daughter and my son that their father was there, on the day our continent signed the African Continental Free Trade Area, in Kigali.

Tell them Paul Kagame, Amadou Issoufou, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Moussa Faki Mahamat were there too.

Tell them their father was proud on the day African boarders were removed; tell them they live in a proud, vibrant and  prosperous continent, because you, their uncles and aunts were vanguard pan-Africanists who brought down the walls left by colonialists, maintained by imperialists.

Tell them, if their grandparents fought for their political independence, you achieved their economic freedom.

Tell them to be proud and free, tell them to live where they wish, from Lagos to Addis Ababa, Durban to Cassablanca: unhindered, 

Tell them that Kigali isn’t their home, but only their place of origin; Africa is!

Tell them their father would have wished them to speak Igbo and Wolof and Kiswahili and Amharic and Zulu.

Tell them he would have wished them to know how to cook Jolof, Pap/fufu/ugali, and Thieboudienne.

Tell them he would have loved them to dance Rumba, guhamiriza and makossa.

Tell them to welcome all Africans to Rwanda, and travel, preferably by land, from Cape to Cairo, from Mombasa to Hergeisa.

For, thanks to you their aunts and uncles, Africa is theirs to enjoy. Amandla!”

Ramaphosa showed why he is truly an African, incorporating all facets of Africanism in his declaration. He represented tribes including the Igbo of Nigeria, food, dance and many more. He, in a few words, expressed the oneness of Africa; Africa without barriers.

As Ramaphosa, who could very well be described as the president of moment, strolled into the closing session of the African Continental Free Trade Area Business Forum, there was a mild case of continental Ramaphoria in the audience of African businesspeople, politicians, officials and hangers-on. He declared the issue of visas for Rwandese to South Africa as a matter that is solved, and got applause.

Even a Nigerian delegated remarked that the continent shared in the South Africans’ relief at the transition, admitting that ‘Change is in the air!’


Ramaphosa has clearly taking a positive step in his foreign policy path with the normalisation of relations with Rwanda.


He said: “I was talking earlier with President Kagame, and we have decided that we are going to put the relationship between South Africa and Rwanda on a much better footing.”


This he said will even be made more possible with the presence of two ‘very outstanding, beautiful ministers of international relations’, Rwanda’s Louise Mushikiwabo and South Africa’s Lindiwe Sisulu.


Arriving at the nick of time for the signing of the historic agreement, Ramaphosa hinted that: “This is a moment for the African continent. The free trade area for Africa is going to be like a flood, a free trade flood that is going to lift all the boats. It’s not so much about South Africa, but much more about all of us as countries of Africa.”


He highlighted the need for infrastructure and a single African currency, which is an integral part of the free trade area.


Meanwhile, Nigeria is one of the 12 countries whose signatures failed to decorate the historic free trade area agreement. President Muhammadu Buahri was conspicuously absent as a result of what a section of news minders say is ‘unhappiness by businesspeople back home’

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South Africa: Gunmen Attack Birthday Party, Kill Host, Eight Others




Gunmen opened fire on a group of people celebrating a birthday at the weekend in a township in South Africa, killing eight and wounding three others, police said on Monday.

The birthday celebrant was among those gunned down in the mass shooting in the southern port city of Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth.

“The owner of the house was celebrating his birthday when two unknown gunmen entered the yard” on Sunday evening “and started shooting at the guests,” police said in a statement.

The gunmen “randomly shot at guests,” police said, adding “eight people died while three others are still fighting for their lives in hospital. The homeowner is among the deceased”.

The motive of the attack is yet unknown.

Nomthetheleli Mene, the provincial police chief for the Eastern Cape province, condemned the killings as “a blatant disregard for human life”.

An investigation has been launched into the attack and police said a manhunt for the perpetrators was underway.

Shootings are common in South Africa, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates, fuelled by gang violence and alcohol.

South Africa last year saw string of shootings that killed nearly two dozen at separate bars in working class suburbs in Johannesburg and in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, the national police commissioner Fannie Masemola, and crime experts were scheduled to visit the scene of the attack later Monday morning.


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Ghana President, Akufo-Addo, Sacks Minister for Corrupt Practices




Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday fired his junior finance minister over corruption allegations made in an upcoming documentary on illegal gold mining.

The president has “terminated the appointment of the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Charles Boahen, with immediate effect,” he said in a statement.

The fallout from the expose by a well-known investigative journalist comes as the government is under pressure over a faltering economy and lawmakers push Akufo-Addo to fire Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta.

The presidency’s statement said Akufo-Addo’s decision came after “being made aware of the allegations” against Boahen in the documentary “Galamsey Economy,” which is scheduled to be released on Monday.

Akufo-Addo also referred the case to prosecutors for further investigation.

Teasers from the expose show Boahen in what the documentary claims are images of him trying to demand $200,000 from potential investors to give to the vice president to allow them to do business.

Galamsey is a local Ghanaian phrase referring to the illegal or unregulated, small-scale gold mining operations.

Boahen has not commented on the allegations made in the teasers.

But before the sacking was announced, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday said he was not aware of any meeting in which Boahen had used his name to “peddle influence and collect money from supposed investors.”

“If what the minister is alleged to have said is accurately captured in the video, then his position as a minister of state is untenable,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I will not allow anyone to use my name to engage in corrupt activities.”

The documentary was made by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose previous exposes led to a ban on the former Ghana FA president by FIFA and sanctioning of over 50 referees across Africa.

He had also investigated the country’s judiciary leading to the dismissal of over 30 superior and lower court judges in Ghana over bribes to drop cases.

The documentary will have a public screening at the Accra International Conference Centre for two days.

Akufo-Addo has been under increasing pressure after recently opening negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a potential $3 billion loan to help shore up the country’s economy.

Last month, he appealed to Ghanaians to support his efforts to manage the “crisis” as inflation has hit 40 per cent and the national currency, the cedi, has dropped sharply.

Lawmakers are investigating Finance Minister Ofori-Atta over economic mismanagement and other allegations, though he is leading the talks with the IMF team over the loan deal.


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Kenya Election: We Respect But Disagree with Supreme Court Ruling – Odinga Camp




The rival of William Ruto in the Kenya presidential election, Ralia Odinga, has disagreed with the position of the Supreme Court which upheld Ruto’s electoral victory.

Chief Justice Martha Koome on Monday, struck out the suit filed by Odinga that challenged Ruto’s victory and subsequently upheld the election of Ruto as the president-elect Kenya.

But in reaction on Monday, Odinga Presidential Secretariat released a statement, saying they disagreed with the position of the court.

The statement titled, ‘RE: STATEMENT ON COURT RULING’, read, “We have taken note of the decision of the Supreme Court on the presidential election held on August 9, 2022. We have always stood for the the rule of law and the constitution. In this regard, we respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today.

“Our lawyers proffered irrefutable evidence and the facts were on our side, unfortunately the judges saw it otherwise. We find it incredible that the judges found against us on all nine grounds and occasion resulted to unduly exaggerated language to refute our claims. This judgement is by no means the end of our movement, in fact it inspires us to redouble our efforts to transform this country into a prosperous democracy where each and every Kenyan can find their full belonging.”

“We thank our supporters and Kenyans across the country for standing with us. We will be communicating in the near future on our plans to continue our struggle for transparency, accountability and democracy.

“God bless you and God bless Kenya!”, The statement shared by Odinga’s running mate, Martha Karua, on Twitter, added.

Karua, who had earlier tweeted also said, “The court has spoken. I respect but disagree with the findings.”

Kenya’s Deputy President, Ruto, was declared winner of the August 9 election by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission.

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