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INSIDE AFRICA

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Aired March 2, 2002 - 00:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


12:30:00
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

TUMI MAKGABO, HOST: On this edition of INSIDE AFRICA: the children of war and a quest to build a better future for them. Will the world's political and military leaders lead the way? On the road in Zimbabwe, the candidates, the controversy and the people in the countryside. Plus, ingenuity and hard work, a young Kenyan overcomes major hurdles to capture the beauty of the world through art.

Hello and welcome to INSIDE AFRICA as we look at news and life on the continent. I'm Tumi Makgabo. This week, we turn our attention to the plight of children caught in the crossfire of civil war. Our focus: Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Congolese leaders are in South Africa trying to negotiate an end to their three-year conflict. So far, the talks are stalled as factions argue over who should participate. And Angola's 27-year war is back in the headlines following the death of veteran rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. The major players are now debating the next step in the conflict. And waiting in the wings are the countless victims of the wars, many of them children.

Cynde Strand has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CYNDE STRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are children like yours and mine except they don't go to school, they go to war and their arms and legs get blown off by land mines. They die from easily treated diseases and they are hungry.

At this camp for displaced people in Kuitto in Angola, children sing for the entertainment of some rare visitors. But they can't keep hungry eyes off a full plate of food. The only certainty in their lives, this food right now.

(on-camera): Children who are lucky to be born in African country rich in oil and diamonds, are instead cursed. Money from those natural resources that could be used to build roads, schools and hospitals is used instead to buy an endless supply of weapons.

(voice-over): But it isn't bullets that kill them according to UNICEF, it's malnutrition and disease. In Angola, three out of five children under the age of 10 do not survive.

CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: One of the biggest problems here is that there is not access to all children for services. Even if poorer services are, they can't be reached because they're behind fighting lines. They're sometimes used by the different fighting forces in a way of protection.

STRAND: Across the border in rebel held territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a cease-fire in the presence of U.N. monitors has brought many families out of the forest. There, they have been taking their chances by living on insects and roots rather than face the wrath of competing militias.

At this emergency feeding center in Kalani (ph), most arrive naked and near death. Pochama Mowamba's (ph) parents aren't alive to tell us her story. They didn't survive a life in hiding. Another child, a stranger, is looking after her.

In a recent mortality study by the International Rescue Committee, children younger than two are simply missing from the demographics. They haven't survived to be counted.

The hardest stories to hear come from the children with the hardest faces, children forced to fight. Desiree Havamuziana (ph) was forced into the army at age 15. He deserted at 16, but he still stands at attention. For him, it was fight or be beaten.

SIMEON BARANGIRANA, ACTION GROUP FOR CHILDREN (through translator): We have no specialists here and the child soldiers have a lot of problems. Children at a fort and killed are very violent and they tend to dominate and oppress the others.

STRAND: On his way home from school, Andre Mozambuco (ph) was kidnapped by soldiers and forced onto a plane. This 15-year-old says he and many other children were forced to cook, clean and carry.

They are children like yours and mine, except they don't go to school. They go to war.

Cynde Strand, CNN, Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: Amnesty International estimates that hundreds of thousands of children are in centers for the displaced and refugee camps in Angola and Congo. Aid agencies say long after the war ends in Angola, its youth will continue to pay dearly.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, describes Angola as a country whose children face the greatest risk of malnutrition, abuse and development failure. Some relief organizations are working to change that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO (voice-over): An afternoon of entertainment in the Kenweca (ph) Refugee Camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These children are the among the 12,000 residents of the camp in the vast Congo region south of the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. Many of them are from the Angolan province of Mbanza Congo, which fell to NITA rebels in 1999.

Life on the run is all they've known. They've come to Kenweca (ph) after being displaced five or six different times and some of them are battle-hardened veterans of the war.

ANTONIO NGINAMAU, REFUGEE LEADER (through translator): There are so many here who have known only a soldier's life since they were small. Now, it is necessary to teach that man about civilian life and push him into a civilian life. This is not easy.

MAKGABO: With the help of some of the refugees, the United Nations High Commission of the Refugees or UNHCR has turned this camp into a small town, providing functions needed for everyday life. There's the Tailoring Project where young men and women are stitching together the skills of garment making. The younger kids attend classes in the newly constructed primary school with an enrollment of 2,4000.

The Kenweca (ph) Project is just one many designed to help children cope with the impact of Angola's 27-year war.

In the battered town of Wetto (ph) and other areas, the aid group, CARE International, is active, providing food and safe drinking water for half a million displaced people. But as the civil war drags on, there's a growing feeling of donor fatigue and many aid projects are being hampered by a lack of funds.

PATRICIA BUCKLEY, ANGOLA DIRECTOR, CARE INTERNATIONAL: It limits significantly where we can expand into. And certainly, the needs in the country are better health, better education and those areas that CARE and other organizations could become involved in, but there just isn't the funding. And there could be access to funds from other sources besides just donor governments, but that isn't available either.

MAKGABO: As aid organizations search for money, Angolan leaders continue to argue over who should take the first step towards peace. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos says he wants a cease-fire but insists that UNITA must first lay down its arms.

JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS, ANGOLAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are not going to shoot if the other side doesn't shoot. So we want to sign that they're going to stop hostilities.

MAKGABO: Mr. Dos Santos took his message first to Lisbon, then to Washington during the week, meeting President de Sampayo (ph) and George W. Bush.

In its first statement after the death of Jonas Savimbi, UNITA was defiant and angry. The group said -- quote -- "anyone who thinks the ideals of UNITA died with its leader is mistaken" -- end quote. Since Savimbi's death, the group has carried out several attacks, killing at least 13 people. UNITA says ending the war is up to the government.

DOMINGOS JARDO MUEKALIA, UNITA REPRESENTATIVE: The government's military effort that lead up to the death of Dr. Savimbi is still on. That offensive is still continuing. They seem to be wanting to go after remaining leaders. And that -- so that's what we are talking about. And we are saying that it will nice on the government's part to actually stop now, cease all those military efforts so that we can create a climate of confidence where we can begin talking not only about the cease-fire but addressing the humanitarian crisis.

MAKGABO: So each side is waiting on the other to make the first move. And for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Angolans, life away from home may be their best bet for now.

Back in Kenweco (ph) Camp, all these parents can do is hope for a better future for their children.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: On Friday, Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos ordered his commanders to contact rebel leaders in the field and begin cease-fire talks.

Now, if you have access to the Internet and you'd like more of the flight of children of war, visit our Web site at CNN.com/INSIDE AFRICA. There you will find links to other Web sites with details on how to help these young victims. You can also give us your opinion on the prospects for peace in Angola and the DRC by taking part in our quick vote.

And there's much more ahead on INSIDE AFRICA, including gauging the mood in Zimbabwe's countryside just days before the crucial presidential vote. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: INSIDE AFRICA continues in just a moment, but first, this news out of Jerusalem. A car bomb has exploded in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem. That's on Saturday night. This, as residents were returning to the streets at the end of the Jewish Sabbath. All this information coming from police Jerusalem.

At this point in time, they say there were many casualties although they have no figures. So once again, a car bomb exploding in an ultra- Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem as you are looking at your screens right now. These are the latest pictures we have available from the scene there.

All this coming out as residents were returning to the streets at the end of the Jewish Sabbath. Police say that there have been many injuries, although they aren't able to give us details on exactly how many those injuries are or exactly how extensive or serious they are. We'll have more details for you in "WORLD NEWS" coming up just after INSIDE AFRICA.

And getting back to the program now, it's exactly one week to what some are calling the most crucial elections in Zimbabwe's 22-year history. The opposition says its campaign is being hampered by constant intimidation and harassment. For his part, President Robert Mugabe has stepped up his campaign, determined to hold onto his job.

Thus far, much of the attention has been focused on the capital, Herare, where we find CNN's Jeff Koinange -- Jeff.

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tumi, after spending four days in Herare, we decided to take a trip into the countryside to gauge what the feeling and mood of the electorate is like out there. Destination: Bulawayo, the country's heartland and bedrock of the opposition. And it's about 400 kilometers south of the capital. And along the way, we'll try and get you a feeling of what it's like to be in today's Zimbabwe.

Let's go.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOINANGE (voice-over): Herare, one of the continent's most cosmopolitan cities. Drive out of the city and the buildings give way to a lush countryside, fertile farms with sprinklers cool the growing crops from the harsh sun.

But the pride of these farmers and their productivity has suffered these past 18 months in the violent furor over land ownership.

(on-camera): All along our route south, scenes like the ones behind me. You couldn't find a better place in Africa to live, but many people here agree that the country that was once known as the breadbasket of Africa has sadly been turned into a basket case.

(voice-over): Our first stop, Jagutu (ph), and a roadside vegetable market where farm laborers load crops for retailers, who in turn sell them in the towns. The vegetables that aren't sold will be distributed among these farm workers.

Most of these workers are black. Most of the arable land is owned by whites. That inequity in land ownership is at the core of the upcoming election.

When I asked these workers who they'll vote for, their response betrays their fear and their suffering.

"My vote is my secret," this man says, "if I tell you, I might wake up dead tomorrow."

"I plan to vote with my heart," this woman says, "and with my stomach as well."

Further south, fertile farms giving way to rich grasslands dotted with lazy cattle.

(on-camera): When you talk of unequal distribution of land, consider this -- this ranch behind me is a cattle and horse ranch and stretches tens of thousands of hectors, as far as the eye can see. And it's owned by one person.

(voice-over): Even farm managers like 60-year-old Conguawe Global (ph), who's been tilling his employer's land since before independence, feels it's time for a change of ownership and leadership.

"We need change," he says. "We've been sinking for too long and we need to get back on our feet. Maybe then, I can finally have my own piece of land before I die."

But the violent way in which some have sought to exact redistribution has destroyed much of the market here, resulting in food lines for basic essentials.

In the town of Queque (ph), Perpscillia Mwarabanya has been queuing in this food line for three days. She just step out to breastfeed her infant child and lost her place in line. She tries to take her place, but no one not even the police on guard will let her back.

PERPSCILLIA MWARABANYA, MOTHER: I am really angry. Yes, you think -- and a mother always baby feeding and I'm hungry for some days and for some months with no meal in me. And I'm really hungry.

KOINANGE: A sentiment we found everywhere along our route. But as the sun sets on a troubled election, it's still not clear if that anger foreshadows a change in power.

For INSIDE AFRICA, I'm Jeff Koinange on the road to Bulawayo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: CNN has come up with a special Web site for Zimbabwe's elections. Just log onto to CNN.com/Zimbabwe and get the latest on the president campaigns. You'll also find profiles of President Robert Mugabe and his main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. The address again, CNN.com/Zimbabwe.

Time now to take a look at some of the other stories making news inside Africa. In Madagascar, hundreds of people defied martial law to welcome the new cabinet of self-declared President Marc Ravalomanana. Supporters applauded as the 17-member cabinet was announced. Ravalomanana declared himself president on February 22. He claims he won enough votes in the December presidential election to avoid a second round of voting.

President Didier Ratsiraka declared marital law on Thursday and ordered the army to enforce it, but there was no sign of soldiers at Saturday's rally.

In West Africa, there are renewed hopes for peace as leaders of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea signed a peace deal in Morocco on Wednesday pledging to boost security along their common borders. Liberian president Charles Taylor told the cabinet meeting in Monrovia that the deal should end years of fighting and tension in the region. President Taylor has been accused of supporting insurgence in Sierra Leone and Guinea. Monrovia accuses Guinea of backing diffident forces in Liberia.

And time now for us to get the latest African business news. With that, here's Valerie Morris -- Valerie.

VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks Tumi. An equitable distribution of wealth, that's what some poor nations are demanding in an increasingly globalized world. They contend that open trade and free financial flow do not benefit everyone equally. So what is the answer? Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa recently shared his thoughts with CNN's Hala Gorani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN MKAPA, TANZANIAN PRESIDENT: Clearly, the answer is a review, first of the policy of globalization both at the international level and at the national level because they are interlinked. And secondly, the participatory approach to the management of that process of globalization needs to be reviewed too.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: So what you're President Mkapa is that at this point we're still deciding on how to decide to make globalization work for everyone? There are no real concrete proposals.

MKAPA: The real answer is very simple indeed -- let us agree that we can establish a common interest, that we can bear these risks of a greater integration and that we can all benefit from the process of integration if we stay together in dialogue rather than in confrontation and mutual condemnation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORRIS: Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

On to Malawi now, where the government is holding talks with the International Monetary Fund on revitalizing the economy. The IMF suspended aid to the country last year due to poor fiscal policies. The IMF is trying to help the government of President Bakili Muluzi establish what it calls a "food security policy." This will avoid any future food crisis.

The country's finance minister, Friday Jumbe says the economy is a mess with a growing $45 million budget deficit. The deficit is due to a weak revenue base, overspending, high interest rates and high inflation. The IMF wants Malawi to work on boosting its economic growth rate from three to six percent.

Time now to check some market numbers from around the continent.

That's our business update. I'm Valerie Morris in New York. Tumi, back to you in Atlanta.

MAKGABO: Valerie, thank you. And still ahead on INSIDE AFRICA, a U.S. school district goes the extra mile to recruit African teachers. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: You're watching INSIDE AFRICA.

In the U.S. state of Louisiana, the public school system is going to great lengths to promote its Creole and Cajun French heritage and it's turned to Africa for help. Alphonso Van Marsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These elementary school kids in Opelousas, Louisiana are learning some of their first words of French.

Teacher, Assoumane Abocar from the French speaking West African nation, Mali, says his students often remind him of home.

ASSOUMANE ABOCAR, TEACHER: Sometimes, while talking to the students, I used to tell them, "Ah, you look like one of my former students in Africa. You really -- you are like twins."

VAN MARSH: Almost all the kids at South Street Elementary, about two hours drive outside of New Orleans, are African-American. Before Abocar came three years ago, Louisiana school officials say, students showed little interest in French even though many of their ancestors spoke some form of the language as slaves working the fields and bayous of the Deep South. The state also says for students who want to learn French, convincing French teachers to come to rural Louisiana is a challenge.

(on-camera): Facing a shortage of French speaking teachers and realizing they'd have more and more students each year, South Street Elementary School, like many public schools across Louisiana, decided it was time to go outside state lines to find more French speaking talent.

(voice-over): South Street Elementary found a dear friend in David Sharhamet (ph). He's wearing the gray suit. His state created Council For The Development of French Louisiana or CODOFIL, recruits French teachers from around the world.

It's Francophone Africa recruiting drive turned up instructors in Mali, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Guinea to name a few.

Sharhamet (ph) says placing Africa teachers in American schools helps dispel the notion that French is a language just for white people.

DAVID SHARHAMET (ph): I think it kind of gives the students a greater sense of pride, a greater sense of identity, a greater sense of belonging. And I think that's one of the main elements that students need within the educational process.

VAN MARSH: Abocar is a CODOFIL recruit. Now, he's helping other African teachers through the state administered screening process. He says it's important for students to understand being bilingual can open a world of opportunity.

ABOCAR: I'm here in United States thanks to French. So a language can link people to one another.

VAN MARSH: Links run deep in Louisiana where people like their xylo music loud, their food spicy and where Creole and Cajun culture is still relevant.

ABOCAR: Whenever we have the possibility to put in Cajun vocabulary or a Creole vocabulary, we do and to just to let the children know that what they hear sometimes at home, their grandparents speaking, is also French.

VAN MARSH: Abocar is one of three African teachers leading South Street Elementary's French Emersion Program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT: I like it because it's more fun.

VAN MARSH (on-camera): Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT: Because you get to learn new things and things of French and you speak a different language.

VAN MARSH (voice-over): Parent and student interest is so high that Abocar formed an after school cultural exchange program. He says he's happy to put in the time if his African background gets kids excited about learning.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Opelousas, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: And finally, the story of a courageous young man who's overcoming huge obstacles. And who else to bring us that story but Femi Oke -- Femi.

FEMI OKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello there, everybody. The young you're about to meet isn't famous. Well, he isn't famous quite yet, but he certainly has the potential. Here's his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OKE (voice-over): Bold, colorful and promising. These are just a few of the words that describe the paintings of Kenyan art student, Soloman Kusule (ph). The words also describe the young artist himself.

ALICE MUIRURI, TEACHER: The future holds much for him because as I have said, that he's independent, he's hard working and he's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

OKE: Determination is something that 17-year-old had to learn early in life. Born without arms, he was abandoned as a child. Social workers brought him to the Dagawete (ph) Special School in Nairobi where disabled students study alongside their non-disabled peers. Lacking hands is enough to cause most people to rule out a career in painting, but not Solomon Kusele (ph).

SOLOMON KUSELE, ARTIST (through translator): I started painting when I was little. There was a time when my legs couldn't reach the table, but I persevered because I was very interested in art.

OKE: Kusele (ph) has been battling challenges his entire life unwilling. He's learned to use his feet to do schoolwork and to carry out household chores like making his bed and folding laundry. With some assistance, he takes care of himself and he hopes to be self-reliant one day.

MUIRURI: There's a lot that he can do. Now, especially in our world, there is much he can do because he really loves painting and drawing things so there is much he can do. In spite of the -- he's really bright. He's happy. He's jolly. He has accepted himself.

OKE: Solomon is currently in his last year at the Dagawete (ph) School and he looks forward to a future as bright and colorful as his paintings.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: The next time I start moaning about a cold or pathetic aches or pain, I will remember Solomon and his work. That's it for me. Here's Tumi.

MAKGABO: Femi, thanks.

I'm Tumi Makgabo. Join us again next week.

END

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