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Weekly Look At News And Life in Africa

Aired April 14, 2001 - 12:00:00   ET


JIM CLANCY, INSIDE AFRICA, (voice-over): This week on INSIDE AFRICA, a new report calls on the United Nations to stop negotiating and start laying down the law to rebels in Sierra Leone. We will hear reaction from the region.

Plus, the controversy grows over an orphan crisis in South Africa. While some new solutions are being welcomed, others like using the Internet to encourage adoptions, are meeting stiff opposition.



JOHN OLE TOME, MASAI CULTURAL AMBASSADOR: If you go to the villages, don't give the Masai chewing gum or cigarette, because it's destroying our culture.


CLANCY: A Masai warrior uses education and language as weapons in a fight to save his people's culture.

(on camera): Hello, I'm Jim Clancy and welcome to INSIDE AFRICA, our weekly look at news and life on the continent.

Well, a new analysis of the conflict in Sierra Leone that has spilled across the borders into Guinea and Liberia, offers tough advice to the United Nations' Security Council. The International Crisis Group warns that, though difficult to implement, there are steps that could defuse the situation in Sierra Leone.


(voice-over): The Sierra Leone report declares it is time for a new military and political strategy to end the civil war and prevent widening conflict. It urges a tougher mandate for UN forces, but says the new Sierra Leone army, backed by Britain, should wage the fight against rebel holdouts.

VOICE OF ZAINAB BANGURA, COMMITTEE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE: I think it is a very realistic report. It is - the recommendations are very practical. They add a stark reality that everybody is refusing to accept. And I think the earlier people sit down and look at it and take it for - and accept it, the better it is for them and for also Sierra Leoneans.

CLANCY: Among the International Crisis Group's recommendations to the Security Council: abandon the Lome peace agreement and make no further deals with the Revolutionary United Front rebels; call for the immediate surrender of the RUF and the use of military force against any rebel holdouts; impose full sanctions against Liberian president Charles Taylor to end support for the rebels; and finance a special court to prosecute those responsible for war crimes.

Atrocities committed by the RUF rebels have left it with no meaningful political support in the country. But the people of Sierra Leone are skeptical of the competing strategies of the UN and ECOWAS, the Economic Organization of West African States.

VOICE OF CORRINE DUFKA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE: I think people are quite skeptical and I can tell you in Sierra Leone that news is being received with a lot of skepticism. You know, people want firm and concrete action on the ground.

CLANCY: Perhaps most at risk are tens of thousands of refugees trapped outside Sierra Leone, along its borders with Guinea and Liberia. Despite so-called safe corridors, Human Rights Watch and others report systematic abuse.

DUFKA: We've been documenting abuses against the refugees who have been coming through our safe (ph) territory over the last month-and-a- half and we have found a good number of rape cases and several killings and many allegations of - particularly young men and women - being held behind by the rebels.

CLANCY: Diplomats say the real blame must fall on the rebels and their backer, President Charles Taylor.

MOHAMMED ALY THIAM, GUINEAN AMB. TO THE U.S: The situation in the region (ph) is that Guinea and Sierra Leone are destabilized by the RUF, supported by a neighboring country and we today have a deadly incursion. So from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Guinea, killing, raping, kidnapping women, children and elder people. And then using the children as - after abducting them - as a fighter.

CLANCY: ECOWAS has prevailed on the UN Security Council to postpone sanctions against President Taylor, but this latest assessment from the International Crisis Group and others is building pressure.

WILLIAM BULL, LIBERIAN AMB. TO U.S.: We do not believe that the way forward is to result a force of arms. Fighting will only result in additional loss of life, destruction of property and instability, greater instability in the sub-region. As regards to imposition of sanctions against Liberia, you know that the Security Council took a decision that the ECOWAS heads of state called for 60 days to permit Liberia to live up to the expectations of the international community.


CLANCY (on camera): The debate over sanctions against Liberia is likely to grow. Unless the United Nations and regional leaders can disarm the rebels and take full control of Sierra Leone, the conflict risks spreading.

It may be too soon to launch a military solution, but it is far too late to think diplomacy alone will solve the crisis in Sierra Leone.

For more on Sierra Leone and the situation there, go to our Web site at You can e-mail us. Post your thoughts about the issues on our message board or take part in our quick vote. And then join me for a live online chat Wednesday at 1400 hours Greenwich Mean Time. Just go to Let your ideas be heard.

We're going to take a short break right here, but there is much more to come on INSIDE AFRICA. Just ahead, we have an update of the news and business headlines, including the story of how a popular form of transportation in Uganda is fighting off the competition.


CLANCY: Welcome back.

Now for an update on African headlines, let's turn to Tumi Makgabo.

Hello, Tumi.


The political situation in Zambia tops our look at stories making news this week INSIDE AFRICA.

In Zambia, 59 lawmakers signed a pledge to block President Frederick Chiluba's bid for a third term in office. In the past, Mr. Chiluba had vowed that he would step down at the end his current term. But recently he's encouraged a debate on amending the constitution to allow for an unlimited number of terms. Forty-eight members of his ruling party, including eight ministers and 13 deputy ministers, are against him seeking office again.

Among them, labor minister Edith Nawakwi.


VOICE OF EDITH NAWAKWI, ZAMBIAN LABOR MINISTER: We are calling on our president to stand down and keep his word, because that is the principle on which we as the immediate (ph) government were swept into power.


MAKGABO: Former South African president Nelson Mandela paid a visit to Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi. The two held talks in a traditional tent in the garden of Mr. Gadhafi's palace in Tripoli. According to Libyan TV, Mandela pledged that he would continue to work towards getting UN sanctions on Libya lifted. The United States and Britain have called on Libya to acknowledge responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and also pay compensation before the measures are removed.

Young soccer players in Nairobi, Kenya were quite surprised when two world-renown athletes paid them a visit. Former Manchester United and England's soccer star Sir Bobby Charlton and ex-world record holder for the 400 meter hurdles, Edwin Moses, spent some time at Nairobi's Movari (ph) youths' school program. The project has given children a chance to play soccer and help their communities and produced a team that's at the top of the games (ph).

The two world-class athletes were quite impressed and enjoyed their time with the youngsters.

Jim, back to you.

CLANCY: OK, Tumi, thank you for that.

Well, there is a dilemma in Africa these days. On one hand there is a growing demand for children to be adopted in industrialized countries. That sends prospective parents to developing countries, where poverty or perhaps AIDS are creating an orphan crisis.

CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief Charlayne Hunter-Gault looks at a controversial adoption program that is trying to operate in South Africa.


CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some it's come to this, a hole in the wall, where mothers can place babies they can no longer care for or want.

The instant the baby is placed inside, a bell goes off alerting a caretaker inside the Baria (ph) Baptist Mission and the baby is retrieved.

The hole in the wall is the brainchild of Cheryl Allen, the minister who runs the mission. She says she decided on the hole in the wall after learning that on average some 30 children a month were being dumped in bus terminals, fields and trash bins. Many die.

CHERYL ALLEN, MINISTER: I thought that if they were going to dump it in the dirt box, rather than them - they obviously didn't want to be known - so we wanted to give them the anonymity that they wanted. So we told them to bring it and put it in the bin.

HUNTER-GAULT: Allen, who has received over 56 babies in the past year, eight through the hole in the wall, also had another idea - advertising the babies on the Internet. Both that and the bin stirred controversy, leading Allen to make some adjustments, but only on the Internet.

She stopped putting the pictures of the babies on the Web, but the page on how to apply for adoptions is still there, along with other general information about the babies available for adoption.

Critics accused Allen of selling babies.

PAM WILSON, CHILD WELFARE SOCIETY: It gives me a very uncomfortable feeling. A baby is not a commodity that one shops for on the Internet.

HUNTER-GAULT: Allen believes such measures are needed to address not only the current situation but an impending crisis in which millions of children are expected to be orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

But the idea of international adoptions is controversial too. Black social workers, like Nana Mazibuko and others, are adamantly opposed to allowing South African babies to be adopted by people outside the country, partly for cultural reasons, but there is another.

NANA MAZIBUKO, CHILD WELFARE SOCIETY: So if you take a small baby to a strange country, they are places where there are many stresses and how are they going to cope?

HUNTER-GAULT (on camera): Everyone agrees that more needs to be done if the looming orphan crisis is to be averted or managed. But there is also a debate over who bears the responsibility. The private agencies say it's the government that must do more, both to encourage adoptions and to help agencies involved in the process. Government has a different view.

BONGILE LEROLE, DEPT. OF SOCIAL SERVICES: It's both a modern (ph) issue and here we believe that the communities are responsible for their own people. It mustn't be viewed as the government's responsibility.

HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): Meanwhile, abandoned little people like this one, number 13 for this social worker, are adding to an already heavy caseload every day.

For now government has placed a moratorium on any new facilities for orphan children, saying that most are not full. But critics say that's not the issue. Those who are there are staying longer and longer, waiting for someone to come along and take them home.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Johannesburg.


CLANCY: And now for some of the latest business news, let's turn to Zain Verjee. Zain, what do you have for us this week?

ZAIN VERJEE, INSIDE AFRICA BUSINESS: Well, Jim, a $110 million boost for seven African nations. The World Bank approved the funds as part of its regional trade facilitation project. It aims to reduce poverty by boosting private sector growth and trade. The project leader says the World Bank funds will complement efforts of CMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Benefiting from the project - Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Burundi.

While the international financial institutions are bringing money to the continent, private investors appear more skeptical. The former president of Mali warned skeptics there is more to Africa than meets the eye.


GEN. AMADOU TOUMANI TOURE, FORMER MALIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): I think there are possibilities for investment in Africa. Today many investors lose a lot by not investing in Africa, by leaving Africa the way it is. We have proper conditions in Africa.

For example, the soil, the animals. We have agro-pastoral possibilities. So investment will help us to be part of the world.


VERJEE: The former president blames a lack of investor interest on negative media coverage.

Moving on now, it's popular and it's cheap. It's got a catchy name and it's not hard to catch one. An African president once did and so did our Catherine Bond.


CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boda-boda - taxis on two wheels - popular in Uganda because they're nifty and not too expensive. Passengers ride pillion. In the villages they're peddle bikes. In the cities, motor bikes. But, whereas a few years go, the boda-boda was seen as evidence of Uganda's economic growth.

STEPHEN ZINGA, BODA-BODA DRIVER: Now these days we see all of these man customers and according to their (inaudible).

BOND: It's said by some that boda-boda got their name taking passengers from border to border, across the no-man's land between customs posts at Uganda's frontiers. Now they've spread - one of the few easy ways young men can find to scrape a living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Customers - nothing now, because there are so many of these.

BOND: So cheap, boda-boda drivers say they're losing out to cheaper mini-buses, capable of carrying more passengers at lower cost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you travel from here (inaudible) 300, but for the boda-boda, we will get them about 2000 (inaudible).

BOND: That's 17 cents against $1.17 to go from Kampala's city center to a suburb.

In Uganda's recent presidential election, boda-boda drivers symbolized the political constituency of the small entrepreneur. As a result, presidential candidates vied for their support, President Yoweri Museveni even riding one to his nomination, pledging micro-financing for drivers wanting to buy motor bikes of their own rather than driving a bike on someone else's behalf for a salary or a commission.

But despite these competitive times, boda-boda's retain some advantages - not safety perhaps - but.

ZINGA: This is faster than the taxi.

BOND: . speed and maneuverability.

Catherine Bond, CNN.


VERJEE: Now let's check the markets.


VERJEE: I'm Zain Verjee, and those are your Africa business headlines.

CLANCY: All right, thanks, Zain.

Well, the world has long been fascinated by the Masai culture in east Africa. As CNN's Kellie Callahan (ph) reports, one member of that tribe is a man on a mission and he's trying to help preserve that culture from outside influence.


KELLY CALLAHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About half a million Masai populate the plains of Kenya and Tanzania. They live close to the wildlife in the heart of Masai Mara, one of East Africa's most well known safari parks. Known for their warrior skills and semi- nomadic ways, the Masai life revolves around livestock, moving with the seasons.

And out of Masai Mara, a new warrior is emerging. John Ole Tome calls himself a cultural ambassador for the Masai. He's never been to school and picked up English, Swahili, a bit of Japanese and Italian from tourists.

Ole Tome says drought killed 70 percent of Masai livestock in Kenya last year. That and government corruption are prompting him to speak out and urge his people to move beyond being tourist attractions

OLE TOME: I want the younger generation to follow my system. I want them to open eyes. I want to bring some (inaudible) of Britain. If you can count one Masai to go into outside world, I want them to be doctors and to be lawyers and environmental. Environmental today is very critical.

Some time we drink rivers and it be polluted by sewage from the lodges. If it is a Masai manager of that lodge, he know to be very careful because he know I'm going to kill my parents.

CALLAHAN: Ole Tome says as more traditional lands are being turned into wildlife preserves, Masai could tap into the profits, not by posing for postcards, but by getting involved in eco-tourism. He suggests teaming up with international business partners and having the Kenyan government step in to prevent tourists from disrupting village life.

OLE TOME: I am learning to speak with Japanese or American or British or Italian. Alone, the culture is very important and it's nothing wrong with them - just different. So I was asking these people, please, if you go to the villages, don't give Masai chewing gums or a cigarette because it's destroying our culture.

My culture, our history, is nothing written. It just spoken. So you pass on to the next generation, so you have to listen. And if the elder is telling something so you can listen and carry on for the next generation.

CALLAHAN: And now Ole Tome wants the world to listen and learn about his culture to discover ways to keep it thriving for generations to come.

Kellie Callahan for CNN.


CLANCY: Well, there's more to come on INSIDE AFRICA.

Just ahead, the story of how two African nations came together to help save some elephants.


CLANCY: Well, finally a success story. Ugandan officials were faced with resolving a conflict between a small herd of elephants - if there is such a thing - and some human settlers who were encroaching on the elephants' territory.

No one else but Femi Oke could handle that story. So, Femi, tell it to us.

FEMI OKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, very much, Jim.

So how do you move four elephants? It sounds like a classic elephant joke, but it wasn't. It was a problem faced by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. But with a little help, the problem is solved.


OKE (voice-over): It's moving day for four elephants in the Luweero District of Uganda.

MOSES MAPESA, UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY: The conflict arose rather (inaudible). The elephants formerly lived in this bush rather freely. There wasn't any much big problem.

GODFREY KAMVUNDA, LUWEERO RESIDENT (through translator): They destroyed crops, watering points and even killed people.

OKE: To ensure the wellbeing of both the elephants and the human settlers, the elephants are being moved to a protected area in a national park in northwest Uganda. Moving the animals is no easy task - it's task not tusk. So the Uganda Wildlife Authority is getting some assistance from the Kenya Wildlife Service and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

STEPHEN NJUMI, INTL. FUND FOR AMIMAL WELFARE: The International Fund for Animal Welfare believes in the development of non-lethal management techniques, of solving such problems, and we are only too glad to go into partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority.

OKE: Thus, the workers tracked the elephants from overheard. When the animal is in sight, the veterinarian shoots it with a tranquilizer dart. The elephant slows down and eventually collapses. Then the hard work begins.

THOMAS MANYIMBA, KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE: We take various measurements, body measurements, temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, to be able to gauge whether the animal is in a stable condition or whether it is compromised.

OKE: The team must keep the elephant cool and hydrated as it is loaded on to a trailer for the journey. Once the animal is securely inside the trailer, it is revived.

MANYIMBA: We revive the animal using an antidote for the drug that we used to immobilize it.

OKE: They arrive at the park early the next morning. The elephant tentatively steps into its new home. It will join 1,500 other elephants that already make their home in the park.


(on camera): And finally, I have an elephant joke for you, Jim. Are you ready?

CLANCY: Yes, I guess so. Go ahead.

OKE: How many elephants does it take to change a light bulb?

CLANCY: I have no idea. Go ahead. I'm waiting to hear this.

OKE: Elephants don't change light bulbs.

CLANCY: OK, well, it's a good thing your television career is going all right, Femi.


Because as a comedian, you're not going to cut it.

Anyway, if you want to talk about Femi's bad jokes and whatever else is on your mind, why don't you send us an e-mail. If you have a comment about the program or know of an event that we should add to our calendar, send us that e-mail at Be sure to include which country you're writing from. We like to know that. And your response may be used on a future broadcast.

Well, that is all for this week's show. We thank you for joining us. And we hope you tune in again next week.




4:30pm ET, 4/16

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