Wednesday, March 17, 2004

END OF SLOW MOTION GENOCIDE IN BURUNDI? – MWANAWASA ATTACKS NGOs
The World Press Review wonders ’ Is Burundi's Slow-Motion Genocide Finally Over?’. The country’s recently installed head of state, Domitien Ndayizeye, thinks so. Speaking to journalists in Paris on Jan. 16, Ndayizeye said his country has reached “the point of no return on the road to peace and security.” He heads a transitional, power-sharing government that comprises both the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi people, noting that “peace and security” was his top priority.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has attacked the country’s anti-AIDS activists for monopolising the funds provided by donors to fight the pandemic, reports The Daily Mail and Guardian. There are approximately 600 NGOs in Zambia. More than 450 of these work in rural communities, and 150 focus exclusively on HIV/Aids, according to the South African daily which also reported that Mwanawasa told a two-day Aids conference attended by United Nations officials and Cabinet ministers from across Southern Africa that most civil society groups are composed of family members who got donor funding under the guise of Aids prevention programmes. The Zambian leader also lashed out at the UN for favouring civil society in the distribution of Aids funds. The executive director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids, Peter Piot, acknowledged that this trend “could create confusion in the distribution of funds”.

Many HIV-positive Zambian women, denied access by a tradition of subservience and sacrifice, are not benefiting from the country’s anti-retroviral drug program, according to the same newspaper. A National Aids Council report shows that of the 870 000 HIV-positive Zambians, 70% are women. But that gender ratio is not reflected in the statistics of those receiving ARVs. Instead, the majority enrolled in the programme appear to be men.

The Kenyan government has withdrawn from the national conference drawing up a new constitution. Some members of the ruling NARC coalition are angry at proposals to reduce the powers of the presidency and give them to the newly created post of prime minister. NARC was in favor of such limitations when they were in opposition to the previous KANU regime of Daniel arap Moi.

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