Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Holocaust Novel of 14-Year-Old Author Christopher Huh

25 Feb 2013 14:30 Africa/Lagos

14-Year-Old Author Christopher Huh Debuts Keeping My Hope, A Historical Fiction Graphic Novel About the Holocaust

GERMANTOWN, Md., Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Christopher Huh, an 8th grade middle school student, has just published a new hand-drawn historical fiction graphic novel about the Holocaust, Keeping My Hope. To write Keeping My Hope, Christopher spent over 1,000 hours conducting research on WWII and the Holocaust. It took him about a year and a half to complete the book.

The storyline circles around the life of Ari. Ari is a teenager whose entire life is turned upside down by the horrors of the Holocaust. He and his family are torn apart and moved to Auschwitz, where the reader gains an inside look at what prisoners in the concentration camps suffered through. However, even with these atrocities, the power of friendship shines through and gives Ari hope to keep surviving through the darkest blizzards of terror. Informative yet touching, Keeping My Hope spreads the message of how powerfully racism and prejudice can affect those around us.

Christopher says, "I started out writing Keeping My Hope just for myself. I wanted to organize and retain the knowledge that I gained from my research by creating an illustrated story. By creating these characters and giving them life, I felt like I was participating in history. Learning about WWII and the Holocaust in this way was not only fun for me but also helped me to remember what I'd learned. As the pages accumulated, I began to show my drawings to people around me and after much support, I decided to turn my work into a published book. I hope to share the valuable lessons I have learned through my book."

His teacher Ms. Schiller says, "This is one-of-a-kind book. Christopher has captured history in a new way, reaching out to the younger generation. Readers of all ages will be touched by the story."

Informative yet touching, Keeping My Hope provides another opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the Holocaust and its impact on countless people.

Keeping My Hope is available at
Title: Keeping My Hope
Author: Christopher Huh
Published date: February 18, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1479348831

About Christopher Huh:
Christopher Huh has enjoyed drawing and creating stories since he was very young. Christopher has never taken an art or creative writing class and takes pride in his unique drawing style and being a self-taught author. Keeping My Hope is Christopher's first book. Besides drawing and writing, he enjoys watching movies, listening to music, playing the viola and the piano, and playing tennis. Christopher is a second generation Korean-American born and raised in the US. For more on the author, please visit his website at www.keepingmyhope.com.

This press release was issued through eReleases® Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Chris Huh

CONTACT: Christopher Huh, +1-301-814-6372, ChristopherHuh [at] gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.keepingmyhope.com

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Kim Kardashian and the Idiots She Fooled in Nigeria

Darey Art-Alade posing with Kim Kardashian on the red carpet of his Love Like A Movie concert on Sunday February 17, 2013, at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos.

Kim Kardashian and the Idiots She Fooled in Nigeria

Millions of angry Nigerians are still criticizing Kim Kardashian’s controversial visit to Nigeria where she earned her biggest pay check for appearances as she was reportedly paid a whooping $500,000! for her fleeting 24 hours visit to Nigeria according to The Mail of UK. Kim has never been paid even half of that amount for an all night appearance in Hollywood! She makes from $20,000 - $200,000 only for celebrity appearances at ticket events by richer organizers.

The poster showing Kim Kardashian.

“These Nigerians must be idiots,” said a celebrity news reporter in Hollywood.

“Kim really fooled them,” chuckled another news reporter.

“Well, it’s a kind of nemesis catching up with these Nigerians who are notorious for their internet scams and have robbed many of their American victims of thousands of dollars. So, Kim outsmarted them before they could scam her. Smart girl,” said a blogger chatting with them and they all laughed.

Kim posing with 2face Idibia and others.

The heavily pregnant Kim was widely publicized to 'co-host' the "Love Like A Movie" live concert with popularly Nigerian R'n'B singer Darey Art-Alade, for which tickets cost N100,000 or $640, but Kim did not co-host the show and only showed up at the red carpet for 45 minutes and made a 45-second statement on the microphone, saying “Hey Naija" and vamoosed according Guardian blogger Jeremy Weate.

Kim making her famous 45-second statement on stage at the Love Like A Movie concert before she vamoosed.

Channels TV reported: 'There were disappointments after Kim Kardashian came on stage for only 40 seconds.'

Of course the sponsors including Fayrouz must be idiots to have been fooled by the famous Armenian American reality TV star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians who is notorious for her scandalous romance with several men in Hollywood, including her famous sex tape with Ray J in 2003 and holds the record for one of the shortest marriages in history with Kris Humphries which ended after only 72 days.

The only souvenirs the organizers and sponsors got were pictures of Kim smiling in her black leather dress, posing alongside Darey and other excited Nigerian artistes including 2Face, Waje, Banky W, Ice Prince, Mo’Eazy and Zaina.

Let me address the stupidity of both the organizers and sponsors in critical perspective.

How can any reasonable person who wants to organize a live concert to celebrate love in Africa choose Kim Kardashian of all people? And especially in Nigeria the most populous country in Africa with over 160 million people, where over 70 percent of the population are living below $2 per day. And they agreed to pay her $500,000?

Of what benefit is her visit to Nigeria?

Did she even pay any tax on her $500, 000?

How much love has Kim shown in her relationships to come and talk about love to Nigerians?

Are there no better role models of love to invite?

Sade Adu.

Nigeria is blessed with several famous international celebrities like the famous Sade Adu, OBE (Helen Fọláṣadé Adú); who has used her contralto vocal range to charm millions of people in bestselling love songs since 1980s to date, winning several coveted awards including the Grammy Award and she would have been a perfect choice to co-host such an event and inspire millions of Nigerians on love more than a Kim Kardashian. Aunty Fọláṣadé will not ask the organizers to swindle her fellow Nigerians to pay her $500,000!

Genevieve Nnaji.

What of inviting our most famous home girl Genevieve Nnaji? The Queen of Nollywood who has contributed so much to the fastest and largest film industry in Africa and was on the Oprah Winfrey Show’s ‘Meet the Most Famous People in the World‘ in September, 2009.

Agbani Darego.

We are blessed with the first black African Miss World, Agbani Darego, OON. Ibiagbanidokibubo Asenite Darego has made millions of Nigerians and other black people proud when she was crowned Miss World in 2001.

Oluchi Onweagba Orlandi.

We also have Oluchi Onweagba, the most famous Nigerian supermodel and happily married mother who became the first ever winner of the inaugural M-Net "Face of Africa" in 1998, the first-ever continent-wide model competition and she has been a role model for young girls and women in Nigeria.

Nneka and Asa.

We also have popular singers like Nneka and Asa who also would have made more appropriate and perfect role models than a scandalous foreigner that has no importance, relevance or significance to the entertainment industry in Nigeria.

It is really a shame and stupid that these sponsors wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on a useless less than one hour appearance of Kim Kardashian at the "Love Like A Movie" concert on Sunday February 17, 2013, at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos.

What is the economic benefit of such an event?

Ask any investor the market value of investing $500,000 in a proven business. That amount is even enough to build a good science laboratory for a secondary school in Nigeria where many schools don’t have science labs. $500,000 can provide over 500 boreholes for people in areas without water supply in Nigeria and can launch a cottage industry that will employ people and improve their lives in Nigeria and also contribute to the GDP. Give that $500,000 to any of the top Nigerian filmmakers like Tunde Kelani or Uche Jumbo and see the blockbuster movies they will produce that will make more than $500,000 from the box office, DVDs, etc. And making the movies would have provided hundreds of jobs to jobless Nigerians on location.

The sponsors who wasted that $500,000 on the useless appearance of Kim Kardashian at the "Love Like A Movie" concert are the same companies who bluff and snub important events like the Eko International Film Festival, Abuja International Film Festival, Afriff International Film Festival and others that can create jobs for thousands of jobless Nigerians and boosting the Nigerian film industry and contributing millions of dollars to the economy of Nigeria.

This is what we call “Money Miss Road” in Pidgin English when those with so much money waste it on unprofitable ventures such as the useless $500,000 less than one hour appearance of Kim Kardashian in Nigeria.
Yes, they must be idiots.

~ By Orikinla Osinachi, February 24, 2013.

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Ben Affleck's Argo Wins Best Picture Oscar and Daniel Day-Lewis Makes Oscar History

Best PictureWinner: Argo
Best Actor in a Leading RoleWinner: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress in a Leading RoleWinner: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best DirectorWinner: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

According to Reuters, Ben Affleck's Argo made it the first time since "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1990 that a film won the top prize at the Oscars without its director also being nominated. Argo also won the Oscars for best film editing and best adapted screenplay.

Well, we might as well call this year the Year of "Argo" as "Argo" has won almost all the coveted awards and winning the Best Picture Oscar when the director Ben Affleck was not even nominated for Best Director is a great achievement at the 85th Academy Awards by winning three Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture, to add to the Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture in Drama and Best Director, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 19th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Best Film and Best Editing at the 66th British Academy Film Awards.

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis also made history by being the first actor to win three Oscars for Best Actor as he won his third Best Actor award for playing the leading role of President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's historical film "Lincoln" at the 85th Academy Awards. His other previous Oscars were for Christy Brown in "My Left Foot" (1989), Daniel Plainview in "There Will Be Blood" (2007). He surpassed the record of John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson, Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman who have won the Oscars twice for Best Actor. But this achievement does not make him a better or greater actor than Harrison Ford, Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE, Sir Michael Caine, CBE, Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr, Denzel Washington and other accomplished actors in the world.

And also remarkable for Michael Haneke's "Armour" for winning the Oscar for Best Film in a Foreign Language after winning the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and best film in a non English language at the 66th British Academy Film Awards among other awards.

1. Best Picture: "Argo."
2. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln."
3. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook."
4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."
5. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables."
6. Directing: Ang Lee, "Life of Pi."
7. Foreign Language Film: "Amour."
8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, "Argo."
9. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained."
10. Animated Feature Film: "Brave."
11. Production Design: "Lincoln."
12. Cinematography: "Life of Pi."
13. Sound Mixing: "Les Miserables."
14. Sound Editing (tie): "Skyfall," "Zero Dark Thirty."
15. Original Score: "Life of Pi," Mychael Danna.
16. Original Song: "Skyfall" from "Skyfall," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.
17. Costume: "Anna Karenina."
18. Documentary Feature: "Searching for Sugar Man."
19. Documentary (short subject): "Inocente."
20. Film Editing: "Argo."
21. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Les Miserables."
22. Animated Short Film: "Paperman."
23. Live Action Short Film: "Curfew."
24. Visual Effects: "Life of Pi."

Oscar winners previously presented this season:

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Jeffrey Katzenberg

Honorary Award: Hal Needham

Honorary Award: D.A. Pennebaker

Honorary Award: George Stevens Jr.

Award of Merit: Cooke Optics

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Skyfall's the Limit for Turkey at the Oscars

21 Feb 2013 10:30 Africa/Lagos

The Skyfall's the Limit for Turkey at the Oscars

LONDON, February 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

On February 24, the great and good of the silver screen will assemble at Hollywood's Kodak theatre for the 85th annual Academy Awards. One of the surprise stars of this year's awards, however, is not an A-list celeb, but a destination. As a result of its leading role in the latest instalment of the Bond franchise, Skyfall, Turkey is sure to be the country on everyone's minds as Adele takes to the stage to sing her Oscar-nominated song of the same title.

Nominated for five Academy Awards, Skyfall is set to be the most critically acclaimed Bond film to date; and it's widely acknowledged by the industry that the opening scenes in Istanbul provide the best ever opening sequence to a Bond film. They have certainly got the industry talking, with the Turkish city now a popular destination with celebs.

According to the UK's favourite holiday operator, Thomas Cook, it's a trend popular with the British public too, with trips to Istanbul up 76% on last year. Turkey in general is enjoying greater popularity, with people looking to escape the cold and wet British winter - cheap holidays to Turkey are up 56%.

And it isn't hard to see why this destination is so popular - once seen as a cheap alternative to more upmarket European destinations, holidaymakers are now seeing the unique beauty Turkey has to offer. The stunning minarets of Istanbul, sat on the shores of the iconic Bosphorus, provide a unique combination of glamour and mystique that have kept those in the know (including the Bond franchise, with the city also appearing in The World is Not Enough and From Russia With Love) coming back year after year.

It's not just city breaks that this wonderful destination has to offer - the eastern allure of all inclusive holidays to Turkey also provide an unforgettable experience, often in surroundings as luxurious as any 007 may find himself in. Holidaymakers can find themselves sipping a martini by the pool - shaken, not stirred of course - within hours of setting off from the UK. Turkey's stunning coastlines and azure waters provide the perfect backdrop for any getaway.

With a range of bargain holidays to Turkey from Thomas Cook now available, those looking for an A-list style break on a Z-list budget should book without delay.

CONTACT: Thomas Cook Press Office, Nick Sandham, Senior PR Manager, Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, Tel: +44(0)1733-416748, Email: pressoffice@thomascook.com

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dear Nollywood, Nobody Forgets A Good Movie

Photo of U.S. President Barack Obama posing as a powerful African Juju warrior in a Nollywood movie.

Ask any of the popular Nollywood actors and actresses and their prolific producers the titles of all their movies and I can bet you that majority of them will fail to even remember the titles and story lines of 20 of their 50 to 100 movies they will boast of making.
Imagine Steven Spielberg or even Tyler Perry not remembering the titles of any of his films?
That would a clear case of amnesia.
The fact that many Nollywood actors, actresses and producers cannot remember the titles and even story lines of their movies is enough proof of the emptiness of their productions.
Nobody forgets a good movie.

It is an ordeal to watch many Nollywood mvoies, because you may have headaches.
Majority of the Nollywood movies shown at the local cinemas have no business at any real movie theatre, because most of them are teleplays and in fact there are some I would call a scam to collect N1, 500 from any movie goer in Nigeria, because they are not even worth paying N100 for a copy of the DVD.
You will enjoy more just standing at the popular Yaba Bus Stop or UNILAG Bus Stop watching the drama and entertainment of commuters and transport vehicles in traffic than going to the popular cinemas to watch any of these Nollywood videos.

As Professor Femi Shaka said, many of them are just mere video recordings of stage drama being passed off as movies.
Any Nollywood producer without any knowledge of cinematography has no business in film-making.
There is a big difference writing a stage play and a screenplay, but majority of these "Nollywood nincompoops" don't know this fact and prefer to wallow in their professional ignorance and mediocrity.

The fact that no Nollywood movie has made even $1 million from the box office in Nigeria and abroad is enough to tell us that the over 20 years of Nollywood have been more of "garbage in, garbage out" and nothing more.
The tragedy of it all is the fact that they would rather be boasting and competing for their useless bragging rights than making amends to make world class movies even in video. And less we forget, making world class films has nothing to do with celluloid, but the simple art of good film making. And if you don't have the professional experience and expertise, go and learn from the masters or employ them to write good screenplays and get world class crew, especially a world class director, casting director and DoP and don't insist on using your boyfriends and girlfriends playing the lead roles, because you brought the money. So what?

The most unprofessional attitude is local entertainment reporters calling some Nollywood videos BLOCKBUSTERS!
Do these people know what is a block buster?
Well, once fat brown envelopes exchange hands, any Nollywood movie parading some popular Nollywood stars is a block buster! grin

90& of these Nollywood stars will not pass auditions in Hollywood!
Why? Because they are too amateurish!
Their poor articulation is enough to expose their unprofessional levels.

You cannot hide a good movie, because a good movie shows itself at international film festivals where 90% of Nollywood movies have not qualified for ordinary screening and not even making the selection for competition.
It is at the international film festivals we separate the quality from the quantity.
You cannot shine at Durban International Film Festival and Cairo International Film Festival and the major film studios and distributors in Hollywood will fail to notice you. And you cannot win the Palme d'Or at Cannes and Hollywood will bluff you.

Majority of Nollywood producers don't read what they are supposed to read like major movies magazines online and offline like the Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, the American Cinematographer, the Black Film Maker and others where there are resources to improve their standards. They prefer to read Entertainment Express, National Encomium and other local tabloids of celebrity gossips that cannot give them anything worthy of their careers in motion pictures.
So, how can they improve when they don't learn?

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka Orikinla Osinachi, co-author of Naked Beauty, the first Nollywood screenplay to be published and other books.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Orikinla, http://blogcritics.org/writers/orikinla/

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two Thumbs Down To SNL Skit “Djesus Uncrossed”

"Such misrepresentation of what Jesus, peace be upon him, stands for is extremely offensive to Muslims and to all those who believe in his message. While we understand the use of shocking imagery and bizarre juxtapositions to provoke a humorous response, we believe such a distasteful portrayal of a religious figure revered by billions of Muslims and Christians worldwide crosses the comedic line.

"We strongly support free speech rights for all, but one would hope that common decency and respect for the beliefs of others would help avoid such unfortunate depictions.

~ Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), February 19, 2013.

The producers of the Saturday Night Live “Djesus Uncrossed” skit are low in imagination. Only lazy producers would have done such a satire that shows the poor imagination of the producers and misguided rationale. Any dummy could have done it and they deliberately picked on the personality of Jesus Christ, because they know that even if Christians find it offensive, there would be no violent protests or suicide bombings on the streets since our Lord and Messiah Jesus Christ preached and practiced that his believers and followers (Christians) should be peacemakers and not troublemakers.
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
(Matthew 5.44, Holy Bible).
And finally at his crucifixion, he prayed:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34, Holy Bible).

This SNL spoof of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” has only done more harm than good to the director and the movie and would cost Tarantino even more than the budget of his film in damage control of the inevitable backlash that will follow. He will lose the patronage of millions of piqued Christians and Muslims in America and the rest of the world, because to insult their greatest messenger of Truth is to insult their faith.

Two thumbs down to the SNL skit. It is mediocre.

~ By Orikinla Osinachi

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Five Books Advance to the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize Shortlist

19 Feb 2013 15:00 Africa/Lagos

Five Books Advance to the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize Shortlist

TORONTO and WASHINGTON, February 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Patricia Rubin, President of the Lionel Gelber Prize Board, today announced the 2013 prize shortlist:

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum (Washington, DC and Poland)
The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics by Paul Bracken (Connecticut, USA)
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland (New York City, USA)
Ghosts of Empire: Britain 's Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng (London, England)
From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia by Pankaj Mishra (London, England)

"These five books offer fresh perspectives from the past that bring deeper understanding of current global issues, and compelling perspectives on the future that speak of things to come. The wisdom of this small crowd is worth the world's attention," said Jury Chair William Thorsell.

The 2013 prize jurors are: Jury Chair William Thorsell (Toronto, Canada), Daniel W. Drezner (Medford, USA), Gaynor Lilian Johnson, Ph. D. (Manchester, UK), Walter Russell Mead (Annandale-on-Hudson, USA), and Margaret Wente (Toronto, Canada).

About the Lionel Gelber Prize: Presented annually by The Lionel Gelber Foundation, in partnership with Foreign Policy Magazine and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, the Lionel Gelber Prize is a literary award for the world's best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues.

For further information:

Media Contact: June Dickenson: junedickenson@cogeco.ca / +1-905-689-0388
Prize website: http://www.utoronto.ca/munk/gelber/
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Nigeria Police Force Has Performed Averagely Since the Appointment of Current IGP

PRESS RELEASE: The Nigeria Police Force has performed averagely since the current IGP took over office


The Nigeria Police Force has performed averagely since the current IGP took over office

Abuja, Nigeria. February 18, 2013 – Latest weekly poll results released by NOI Polls Limited have revealed that 43% of Nigerians are of the opinion that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has performed averagely in providing security since the current IGP, M.D. Abubakar, took over office. Also, the most significant issues affecting the performance of the Nigeria Police Force are corruption in the rank and file, as well as poor salary and welfare package. These were two key findings from the recent poll conducted on the Police Force in the week commencing February 12th 2013.

Respondents to the poll were asked five specific questions. The first question sought to establish the performance of the Police Force since the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) assumed office. Respondents were asked:
In your opinion, how has the Nigeria Police Force performed in providing security since the current Inspector General assumed office in July 2012?

The results indicate majority (43%) of the respondents are of the opinion that the Police Force has performed averagely since M.D. Abubakar took over as IGP in July 2012. This is followed by 28% who think they have performed well, and 17% who said they have performed poorly. Only 8% think they have performed very well, while 3% think they have performed very poorly. Overall, the proportion of Nigerians who think the Police Force has performed well (36%) are more than those who think they have performed poorly (20%).

Respondents were then asked the following question: Would you say the Nigerian Police Officer is your friend? From the results, majority of those polled (52%) responded “No” to the question, implying that they do not consider the average Nigerian Police Officer as a friend. This is followed by 38% who answered “Yes”, and 10% who were not sure how to respond to the question; stating “Not really”. While it may seem that about half of Nigerians do not consider Police Officers as friends; 4 in 10 Nigerians (38%) do consider them as friends.

The third question sought to establish the opinion of Nigerians regarding the general wellbeing of the Nigerian Police Officer. Respondents were asked: How do you perceive the general wellbeing of the Nigerian Police Officer (In terms of work motivation, salary & benefits, accommodation, pension etc)? Results indicate that majority (40%) of respondents are of the opinion that the general wellbeing of Nigerian Police Officers is “Average”; followed by 24% who think it is “Poor”. A further 16% think their wellbeing is “Good”, while 6% think it is “Very poor”. While a small 2% think it is “Very good”, 12% simply replied “Don’t know” to the question. Despite the average perception of the wellbeing of police officers, the poll clearly shows that respondents who perceive their wellbeing as poor (30%) outweighs those who perceive their wellbeing as good (18%).

Next, respondents were asked the following question: What would you consider the most significant issue affecting the performance of the Nigerian Police Force? In response, majority (29%) of the respondents are of the opinion that the most significant issue affecting the performance of the Police Force is “Corruption in the rank and file”. This is followed by 22% who think that “Poor salary and welfare package” is the most significant issue affecting the performance of the Police Force. Other significant issues mentioned by respondents are “Inadequate training & work equipment” and “Poor orientation & work ethics” with 20% each. In essence, this finding on corruption in the rank and file of the Police Force sheds some light on the recent documentary by Channels TV that highlighted corruption as one of the factors responsible for the dilapidated state of Police Training Institutions across the country.

Finally, respondents were asked: Which of the following do you consider the top 3 issues that need to be addressed immediately in order to promote a more credible and efficient Nigerian Police Force? From the results, the top three issues that require immediate attention for enhancing a more credible and efficient Police Force include: Better training facilities (22%); Improved working equipment (21%); and Improved welfare package (21%). Also mentioned are: Education of police officers (16%); Integrity of the officers (8%) and Police Uniform (8%). A further 3% of the respondents were of the opinion that the Police Force should address other issues such as the orientation of police officers, corruption, motivation and moral values.

In conclusion, while this latest poll has revealed that most Nigerians think that the Nigerian Police Force has performed averagely since the current IGP took over office in July 2012; only about 4 in 10 (38%) Nigerians consider police officers as friends. The poll found that while about 40% of the respondents perceived the wellbeing of Nigerian police officers as average, a further 30% perceive their wellbeing as poor. Also, “Corruption in the rank and file” and “Poor salary and welfare package” has been identified as the most significant issues affecting the performance of the police force. Finally, issues such as training facilities, work equipment and welfare package of the officers have been identified as the three top issues that requires urgent attention in order to enhance a more credible and efficient police force.

Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted on February 12th to 15th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,025 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

This press release has been produced by NOI Polls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOI Polls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOI Polls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.

Press Contact
The Editor
Email: editor@noi-polls.com

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Tony Abulu's "Doctor Bello" Gets Major U.S. Distribution

Tony Abulu's blockbuster "Doctor Bello" has secured major American cinema distribution according a press release on Tuesday February 19, 2013.

The following is the complete report.

19 Feb 2013 14:35 Africa/Lagos

Black Ivory Communications Signs Exclusive U.S. Theatrical Distribution Deal with AMC Theatres for Release of 'Doctor Bello'

NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning February 22nd to 27th, 2013, "Doctor Bello", the latest Tony Abulu produced and directed film, will show exclusively at AMC Theatres®. "Doctor Bello" is the first film to be released under an exclusive theatrical distribution partnership between AMC Theatres and Black Ivory Communications, a multi-faceted media firm specializing in film production, entertainment, and tourism.

Coinciding with Black History Month, "Doctor Bello's" unprecedented theatrical release marks the first ever in the U.S. for Nollywood films -- the bustling Nigerian film Industry. AMC Theatres has agreed to expand the film to a wider release if there is a strong performance during the critical make-or-break first week of its release.

Starring Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Nigerian superstars Genevieve Nnaji and Stephanie Okereke Linus, "Doctor Bello" is the first in a new line of film products supported by the Nigerian government's $200 million intervention fund for the entertainment industry. The film's synopsis captivatingly states, "The cure for cancer has been found in the sky mountains of Africa, and an American oncologist will risk everything to get it."

"Showing a Nollywood film in American theaters not only proves the cross-marketability of the industry, but it clearly demonstrates that there is a niche market here, and we are pleased to partner with AMC to fulfill its demand," said Abulu, the award-winning filmmaker who also produced and directed "Crazy Like a Fox" and "American Dream."

"Having recognized Nollywood as a rapid growing industry, AMC is pleased to not only provide a platform for sharing more socially and culturally relevant stories, but to respond to the feedback from our diverse guest base," said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president of alternative and special content.

The film will open at AMC Theatres across the United States in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Jacksonville, Columbus (OH), Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

For more information on specific theaters and screening times, please visit www.AMCtheatres.com, www.doctorbello.com or connect on www.Facebook.com/doctorbello.

About Black Ivory Communications

For the past 30 years, Black Ivory Communications has been at the forefront of African culture propagation worldwide. From producing several historical events in America including U.S. tours of the spectacular Nigerian National Troupe, the Africa Music Festival in New York, and international fashion extravaganzas, the outfit has also produced captivating films: "Back to Africa," "American Dream," and "Crazy like a Fox," which was nominated for Best Film in the Best Film category at the American Black Film Festival, 2008. Black Ivory recently established the Filmmakers Association of Nigeria, USA to protect the integrity of the African film Industry in the United States, and in furtherance of that objective FAN, USA recently organized the successful crackdown against illegal sales of pirated Nigerian films in the United States by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office. Visit www.fanmovieland.com for more information.

About AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres delivers distinctive and affordable movie-going experiences in 332 theatres with 4,804 screens primarily in the United States. The company operates 22 of the 50 highest-grossing theatres in the country, including four of the top five. AMC has propelled industry innovation and continues today by delivering premium sight and sound, enhanced food and beverage and diverse content. Visit www.AMCTheatres.com for more information.

Media Contacts:

For Black Ivory Communications:
Nenye Njoku
+1 410.375.7626 (U.S.)

Ngozi Mba
+1 323.544.1450 (U.S.)
+234 8131694169 (Nigeria/International)

For AMC Theatres:
Ryan Noonan
AMC Theatres
+1 816.480.4724

This press release was issued through eReleases® Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Black Ivory Communications

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Countering Terrorism Overseas

Countering terrorism overseas

LONDON, 14 February 2013 / PRNewswire Africa / - Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks about countering terrorism overseas. Originally given at Royal United Services Institute. This is a transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered.

“On January 16th a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked a gas production facility in the Algerian desert.

Thirty-nine hostages from nine countries died, including six British nationals. It was the largest and most complex attack affecting UK citizens since the 7/7 bombings.

It naturally raises questions about the threat posed by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and how we work with others to reduce that threat.

The United Kingdom has a long experience of confronting terrorism, and we have some of the finest Intelligence Agencies and police forces in the world. They stop terrorists from entering our borders, they detect and stop terrorist attack plans, and prevent potential recruits from being radicalised. Thanks to their efforts there have been no successful attacks on our mainland since 2005.

But unless our foreign policy addresses the circumstances in which terrorism thrives overseas, we will always fight a rearguard action against it.

We will never give up for a moment of course our right to defend ourselves, including through military force if needed. But there is rarely, if ever, a purely military solution to terrorism.

And we are in a long, generational effort to deny terrorist groups the space to operate, to help vulnerable countries develop their law enforcement capabilities, to address the injustice and conflict which terrorists exploit, and to combat their ideology.

We must never forget that those who suffer the most are the citizens of countries blighted by terrorism and extremism: the women and children killed by Al Shabaab suicide bombings in Somalia; the girls who cannot go to school in Pakistan, because of Pakistani Taliban intimidation; or the communities devastated by Al Qaeda attacks in Iraq.

Muslim communities are bearing the brunt of terrorism worldwide, at the hands of people who espouse a distorted and violent extremist interpretation of a great and peaceful religion.

There can never be any justification for terrorism. The indiscriminate targeting of civilians is contemptible in any shape or form and our resolve to defeat it must never weaken or falter even for a day.

But in standing up for freedom, human rights and the rule of law ourselves, we must never use methods that undermine these things.

As a democracy we must hold ourselves to the highest standards. This includes being absolutely clear that torture and mistreatment are repugnant, unacceptable and counter-productive.

Our bottom line is always that we are determined to uphold the law. Any allegation of UK complicity in the sorts of practices I've just mentioned must be investigated fully.

So to tackle terrorism we need to combine creative work from our Intelligence Agencies and police with intelligent diplomacy. We have to help build stability and the rule of law in other countries, living up to our values at all times. And we need to make common cause with peoples and governments that reject this violence. This combination of intelligence, diplomacy, development and partnership with other nations is the only way to defeat terrorism over the long term. We must be resolved, decisive and principled.

Twelve years after 9/11 the greatest source of the terrorist threat to the United Kingdom remains Al Qaeda and its ideology. But the nature of the threat has changed, in three principal ways:

First, it is geographically more diverse. We face a determined ‘Al Qaeda core' in Pakistan and Afghanistan's border region, and multiple groups inspired by Al Qaeda in the world's most fragile regions.

Al Qaeda in Pakistan is diminished and under severe pressure. Nonetheless, it is still capable of devising sophisticated attacks. As in other parts of the world, it exploits the presence of those Westerners drawn to the region for extremist purposes, and it abuses diaspora links, including to the UK, which are in other ways such an asset to our country. At the same time Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and other parts of Africa are capable of mounting dangerous attacks. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has attempted multiple attacks on aircraft that would have caused mass casualties if they had been successful, such as the attempted printer cartridge bomb.

Second, the threat is more fragmented. Al Qaeda does not control a franchise of groups all operating to the same agenda, however much they would like us to think this. We should not make the mistake of overstating their support or coherence. Al Shabaab in Somalia for example ranges from those who object to the presence of African troops and aspire to establish an Islamist state, to others seeking ‘a greater Somalia' in the region, to foreign fighters who regard Somalia as a platform for global terror. However, this fragmentation of the threat means that each group has to be tackled separately and across a far wider area, making for a more complex effort and difficult choices about the prioritisation of resources.

Third, terrorism today is based even more closely on the exploitation of local and regional issues. Terrorists are constantly searching out new areas where they have the greatest freedom to plan external attacks. They take advantage of unresolved conflicts to infiltrate local communities who otherwise would be likely to reject them. In this way, like a virus, the threat spreads where local defences are weakest.

For example, since its emergence as an Al Qaeda affiliate in the middle of the last decade, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has exploited a sense of exclusion amongst the Tuareg people across the region. From northern Mali they plan and conduct terrorist operations, kidnapping foreigners for ransoms to fund their activities. Before the intervention of France we faced the prospect of the Malian state being destroyed by terrorists.

The Arab Spring revolutions were a grievous blow, of course, to extremist ideology. The idea that that change can be accomplished by the people of a country demanding political and economic freedom contains the seeds of Al Qaeda's irrelevance.

Creating the building blocks of stable democracy - the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, constitutions that respect the rights of women and minorities, security forces that can maintain order without repression, and economic development - all takes a long time.

The assassination of an opposition leader in Tunisia and the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi demonstrate the security challenges in Arab Spring countries. And that is why we are providing the new Libyan government with advice and technical assistance on police and defence reform, public security, and building justice systems that protect human rights.

We should not lose faith in the people of the region. Any suggestion that the repression of the past would somehow be better for the region is wrong. The worst outcome of all would be a lapse back into authoritarianism or conflict. There is no substitute for painstaking work to build a new political order, so we are also devoting £110 million through our Arab Partnership Initiative to civil society and economic reform in the region.

But in the short term extremists and terrorists will take every opportunity to try to hijack these revolutions. Syria is the most acute case of all.

The vast majority of people opposing the Assad regime are Syrians, fighting for the future of their country. But Syria is now the number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the world today. This includes a number of individuals connected with the United Kingdom and other European countries. They may not pose a threat to us when they first go to Syria, but if they survive some may return ideologically hardened and with experience of weapons and explosives. The longer the conflict continues, the greater this danger will become, a point that should not be lost on policy makers in Russia and elsewhere. More innocent lives will be lost, extremists will be emboldened, sectarianism will increase and the risk of the use of Chemical or Biological Weapons will grow.

A negotiated agreement leading to a new government formed of the opposition and elements of the regime, on the basis of mutual consent, is the best way to chart a way out of Syria's divisions. We want Russia and China to join us in achieving this transition, backed by the United Nations Security Council.

But there is a serious risk that the violence will worsen and we must keep open options to help save lives in Syria and to assist opposition groups that are opposed to extremism. So we are working with other European countries now to amend EU sanctions so that the possibility of additional assistance is not closed off.

We also believe the EU must also take robust action in response to the terrorist attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year. The Bulgarian investigation has indicated that Hizballah's military wing was responsible. The European Union must demonstrate that no organisation can carry out terrorism on European soil without consequences.

And as we work to eliminate safe havens for terrorists further afield, we must be clear that no state should allow terrorist groups to operate from its territory and that terrorism as a tool of foreign policy is always unacceptable.

If we know that the threat we face from terrorism is likely to come from a wider range of fragile countries; that plots against the United Kingdom are frequently prepared overseas; and that we cannot disrupt such plots without working with nations where the risk originates, then a long term, coordinated international approach is the only way we can defeat terrorism.

The Government's counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, combines a full range of international and domestic responses, ranging from the overt to the covert, from security to development, through to working with our communities at home.

We have maintained and where necessary increased police, intelligence and other counter terrorist capabilities.

We are ensuring that we have the powers in place to detect, investigate disrupt and prosecute terrorist activity through legislative changes, and we have made significant improvements at our borders to reduce threats to their security and to civilian aircraft.

We are also making continuous improvements to improve the complex, coordinated response needed from our police, agencies and emergency services if acts of terror do take place, learning lessons from attacks such those in Mumbai in 2008, in Norway in 2011 and in Toulouse in 2012.

In the 12 months leading up to July last year, more than 220 people were arrested in the UK for terrorism-related offences, so the threat from home grown terrorism remains challenging. So we also work to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This includes resisting the efforts of those who actively seek to stoke tensions with Muslims in Britain. The Government and all communities need to continue to work together so that we can reject messages of division, hate and extremism, wherever they originate.

But a large part of our effort to counter terrorism is now overseas where terrorists train and plan for attacks against the UK or our interests abroad. We cannot do this without working with other countries.

First of all, we must address the conditions in which terrorism thrives, whether it is restarting the Middle East Peace Process or intensifying our conflict prevention work to help fragile countries become more stable and secure.

Helping Somalia is a major priority for our government. Two years ago Al Shabaab controlled large parts of the country, piracy was booming and the threat from terrorism was growing. Today, a coordinated effort by the international community has seen African and Somali troops drive Al Shabaab out of its strongholds; the creation of a new and legitimate government; and the reduction of piracy to its lowest levels since 2008. In May, there will be a second conference here in London to plan support to rebuild Somalia's armed forces, police, coastguard, justice system and public finances.

We must never assume that what works in one country will work exactly in another. But the key features of what is working in Somalia are helping a new legitimate government, African troops bringing peace and security, with the international community giving constant diplomatic, financial and humanitarian support.

This should be the model that we follow elsewhere in Africa wherever we can, including in Mali, where a full and inclusive democratic process, including talks with non-violent groups in the north and support for Malians to rebuild their livelihoods, is urgently needed. As a country we give generous humanitarian assistance to countries affected by conflict, including £13 million in Mali, £55 million in Yemen and £80 million in Somalia, in the current financial year.

We must also strengthen the ability of states to counter terrorism, while protecting human rights, as called for by the UN. This is extremely difficult and challenging work, since the threat from terrorism is greatest in the countries where the rule of law and human rights are weakest.

And that is why today I wish to set out a clear direction the Government will follow over the coming years.

When we detect a terrorist plot originating in a third country, we want to be in a position to share information to stop that planning, and do it in a way that leads to the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the individuals concerned in accordance with our own legal obligations, and with their human rights respected at every stage.

This gives rise to extremely difficult ethical and political decisions, such as whether to pass on information which might save lives and disrupt an imminent attack, but which could also create a risk of someone being mistreated if detained.

Our Secret Intelligence Service has the lead responsibility for sharing intelligence with foreign partners on terrorist threats. Requests to share intelligence in these difficult and finely-balanced circumstances come to me.

Where there are serious risks, it is right that it is the Foreign Secretary who takes the ultimate responsibility for these decisions, just as it is right that our Parliament and ultimately the Courts hold government to account.

In many cases, we are able to obtain credible assurances from our foreign partners on issues such as detainee treatment and legal processes that give us the safeguards we need, and the confidence that we can share information in this way. Where this is not the case, we face a stark choice. We could disengage, or we can choose to cooperate with them in a carefully controlled way while developing a more comprehensive approach to human rights adherence. This approach brings risk, but I am clear that the risks of the first option, of stepping back are greater still, placing our citizens at greater risk of terrorist attack.

The need to cooperate with other countries is growing for all the reasons I have described. So I am convinced that we need to have a coherent approach that is sustainable for the long term, that upholds our laws and has safeguards, and that works to strengthen the ability of other countries to observe human rights and meet their own obligations. How we go about this will have to vary from country to country depending on the scale and nature of the challenge. But we will seek justice and human rights partnerships with countries where there is both a threat to the United Kingdom's security, and weaknesses in the law enforcement, human rights and criminal justice architecture of these countries.

These are not one-off initiatives or stand-alone agreements, but rather – as the name suggests – a systematic process of working with the authorities in question to identify shortcomings in capability, and to address these through the provision of British assistance and expertise, over many months or years.

The sorts of measures we will take include:

-Building up the counter-terrorism capacity of overseas security services to improve compliance with the law and human rights and to make them more effective;

-Working with local investigators to improve the ability to build cases based on evidence rather than on confessions;

-Supporting prosecutors and judges to ensure that they are capable of processing terrorism cases through the court systems, effectively, fairly and in line with the rule of law;

-And working to improve and where appropriate monitor conditions in detention facilities so that convicted terrorists can be held securely and their treatment meets with international standards.

We are already doing many of these things. In Somalia for example, we are already working with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to construct prisons to hold convicted pirates in facilities that meet international standards.

What I am making clear today is that given the changing nature of the threat I have described, and given our determination to uphold human rights and the law, we will be doing more of this and developing more of these partnerships.

But crucially we are creating a strong and systematic framework for this work, with strong safeguards, with five safeguards:

First, we will only engage in such efforts where there is serious and potentially long-running threat to the UK or our interests abroad, such as that flowing from terrorist networks in South Asia, Yemen, and parts of North and West Africa.

Second, all our counter-terrorism capacity building work will be carefully considered in line with our Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance in order to assess and to mitigate human rights risks, and specifically designed to improve human rights standards and strengthen the rule of law in that country.

Third, it will not be carried out in isolation, but will be part of UK and international diplomatic and development efforts in that country.

Fourth, the intelligence dimension will be subject to the same robust scrutiny and oversight that exists in other areas of Intelligence activity and always be in accordance with the law.

Fifth, every aspect of this work requires Ministerial oversight and approval. If I or another responsible Minister see any credible evidence that our support is being misused we will take immediate action. Any work that would involve breaking our legal obligations simply would not go ahead.

So this is a framework of accountability and human rights to ensure that our counter-terrorism work supports justice and the rule of law as well as our security, with the goal of creating the long term conditions for better observance of human rights in countries that have a poor record and where the threat from terrorism is strong.

We believe that the British people can have confidence in this framework; that it puts UK capacity building overseas onto a surer footing; and that it will give greater confidence that UK and international law and our democratic values are upheld. Even with these safeguards in place, there may be some people who say that this approach is wrong.

But we cannot keep our country safe if we are not cooperating at all with countries that don't fully live up to our standards. Only a minority of countries in the world do that. We have to work with other countries. Justice and human rights partnerships will be a powerful framework for doing so.

Without such partnerships our ability to tackle threats before they reach the United Kingdom would be severely limited. And there are good arguments that by introducing important legal and human rights concepts and professional ways of tackling terrorism, and by insisting on the highest standards ourselves, we can encourage better human rights observance in those countries.

Achieving security, justice and advances in human rights together will not always be straightforward and despite our best efforts we may not always succeed. But it will always be our aim.

This is consistent with one of our first acts as a Government on this issue, which was to issue Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, to ensure their actions uphold our domestic law and our international obligations. Additionally the Prime Minister also asked the Intelligence Services Commissioner to oversee compliance with the Guidance.

We are also taking steps to strengthen Parliamentary scrutiny and oversight of the agencies through the Justice and Security Bill currently being considered by Parliament. This also aims to ensure, where strictly necessary, that judges in civil cases relating to matters of national security will be able to consider all relevant material, including sensitive material, to ensure that justice is done while upholding national security. The objective is not to hide away the actions of the most secret parts of the State, but precisely the opposite: to strengthen their accountability and public confidence in them as they go about their difficult, dangerous and necessarily secret work.

Few if any countries have a stronger system of clear guidance, Ministerial decision-making, and strength of legal considerations in the area of counter-terrorism than we do. We are a world leader in upholding the highest possible standards.

But we are also a country that needs to be able to keep people safe and that is threatened by many who would do great harm to our citizens. Therefore we also intend to be foremost in the world in how we develop partnerships that are effective in protecting our security while upholding human rights. Far from being contradictory, these two concepts go together.

In tackling terrorism overseas we must approach the world as it is, rather than as we would like it to be. But that does not mean that we should not try to shape it and improve it and, when necessary, find means of working with others in ways that are consistent with our values: the very values which terrorism is intent on destroying.

So this is our government's approach to tackling terrorism overseas:

Governments, agencies, police and prosecutors working together in a coherent, long term manner to address immediate threats from terrorism and the causes of terrorism;

Combating terrorism while upholding our values, within a framework of strong democratic accountability, seeking greater respect for human rights in other countries;

And using foreign and development policy to build stability in fragile countries.

This is how we enable the greater global cooperation that is essential to eliminating the risk from international terrorism over time, and support a safe, secure and prosperous future for our country.”


SOURCE : UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

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Zimbabwe: Women Make Easy Prey for Corrupt Politicians

Zimbabwe: Women make easy prey for corrupt politicians

BERLIN, 15 February 2013 / PRNewswire Africa / - Politicians in Zimbabwe are taking advantage of the fact women face existing legal limitations. Research shows that women, who often have lower incomes, have limited access to basic public services because they are less likely to pay bribes to get the services. This makes it difficult for them to acquire registration documents like a mining licence or a permit to sell gold, especially in countries like Zimbabwe where corruption is endemic.

Tradition further renders women vulnerable when many consider that women cannot hold land titles (see this research). Land ownership would enable them to gain access to natural resources, such as gold. Yet, to do so women are forced to accept help from politicians. Unfortunately most of these so called ‘lifelines' from politicians are actually corrupt vote-buying schemes.

Transparency International Zimbabwe came across one of these vote-buying schemes in the town of Chegututhat operated as a women's economic ‘empowerment' project. The project promoted women's participation in mining by giving them access to land and ‘ownership' of a gold mine. But once a woman starts working in the mine it was mandatory for her to pledge support for certain politicians.

The ‘empowered' women were then made to rehearse political party slogans and sing party songs at the mining site before starting their operations every day. The mines themselves are dismal operations that often have no sanitation services. The gold mines are more like panning activities in which deep holes and tunnels are dug, causing injury and sometimes death to those working there. One of the women told TI-Zimbabwe:

…we are mining here with permission of politicians, we do not have legal title to own the mines but we support a political party. We have poverty here in Chegutu since the industry closed. We have no source of income to pay Council taxes and buy food. We hail the political party which has provided us with this opportunity.

If the politicians were really keen to empower women, they would have ensured that these women had real permanent title – thus real ownership – to the mines and were provided with the required expertise and machinery to carry out operations.

Furthermore, the Precious Mineral Act and the Gold Act of Zimbabwe clearly stipulates that only licensed people can deal with gold. The fact that none of these women possessed mining licences essentially renders the empowerment project illegal. Since the women do not have permits to sell their gold on the open market, they end up selling their gold illegally to the same politicians who ‘empowered' them at less than market value. If there is a dispute in price, the women have no legal recourse because they have no legal title to the gold. Once the politicians have secured the women's votes and won parliamentary seats, they cease to care for the women's plight.

One mine owner came to TI-Zimbabwe to ask for help. She was the actual legal owner of a mine where an ‘empowerment' project is situated. She approached our advocacy and legal advice clinic seeking advice on how she could regain access to her land. According to her, she faced death threats from the supporters of politicians who had invaded her mine. When she approached the Mining Commissioner, he openly acknowledged that the women occupying her land had powerful political connections and he could not displace them even though they had no title to the land.

It is clear that in Zimbabwe robust anti-corruption strategies should address forms of corruption that affect women as a group. Such strategies could include ensuring equitable and accountable public service delivery as well as strengthening women's capacities to act as watchdogs. As overseers they could provide adequate oversight of various institutions, including political parties. Increasing women's participation in decision-making would increase their ability to improve their situation.

SOURCE : Transparency International

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