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Archive for the tag “Lesotho”

SADC Solidarity in the call for the lifting of Sanctions Imposed in the Republic of Zimbabwe (24.10.2019)

SADC: Solidarity Statement with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (10.02.2019)

Communique of the Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – (24.04.2018)

The Commonwealth is made for the UK’s own Interests: One proof, Johnson’s well-wished for Trade Declaration!

The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.”Frantz Fanon

The true value and who runs it is proven when the former head of the Commonwealth for decades has been Queen Elisabeth II, which of yesterday put the mantle of leadership to her son Prince Charles of Wales. The Statement from ‘ Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 – Leaders’ Statement’ said: “We recognise the role of The Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples. The next Head of the Commonwealth shall​ be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales” (Commonwealth, 20.04.2018).

We can also know the perspective the Great Britain has for the organization, as Boris Johnson wrote so clearly in March 2018: “The good news is that when we leave the EU, we will regain the power to sign free trade agreements with our Commonwealth friends, allowing the UK to make the most of thriving markets. Brexit will give us the ability to open a new era of friendship with countries across the world. A key theme of the London summit will be how to boost trade within the Commonwealth. We’ll also discuss how to improve security co-operation and take joint action to protect the world’s oceans, bearing in mind that the Commonwealth includes island states in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean” (Boris Johnson – ‘Commonwealth has key role to play in the bright future for Britain: article by Boris Johnson’ 12.03.2018, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)).

It shows that the United Kingdom own problems and issues is key for the Summit. The others are more a circus that the old empire can play into it. That happen and the Commonwealth Declaration on the 20th April 2018 named ‘Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ part of it says: “We, the Heads of Government representing member countries of the Commonwealth and one third of the world’s population recognise international trade and investment

as an engine for generating inclusive and participative economic growth and a means to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (…) “In particular, we recognise the importance of the multilateral trading system in ensuring the integration of small, vulnerable and least developed countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific into the world economy, and welcome initiatives which will support greater and more effective participation of these countries in international trade” (…) “To promote the realisation of these goals, we hereby launch the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment. This Agenda will be guided by the principles that: co-operation should be pragmatic and practical, leading to credible results; take into account regional integration initiatives; take into account the needs of small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries; avoid duplication with initiatives where other organisations are already working; add value in areas of engagement; and adopt a progressive approach towards a long term vision for closer trade and investment ties. It should also recognise the vital role of the private sector in delivering the 2030 Agenda and facilitating the promotion of the blue and green economy” (Commonwealth – ‘Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ 20.04.2018).

We can see that Boris Johnson’s goals for the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) appeared on the last day, yesterday, as this declaration is to anticipate the Commonwealth secretariat and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will work on this now. To make sure the former Colonies are more connected. Not only to themselves through trade, but also to the United Kingdom. This is to give the United Kingdom bigger trade and partners through the use of the former colonies. To look at it differently, is to be naive. The other agreements is to make the public perception positive, but this here was to grease the wheels of United Kingdom, who are soon losing the trade-agreements through the membership of European Union, because of their silly decision to leave the Union.

We can see that the Commonwealth all benefits the United Kingdom and the others just has a place multi-nationally to be represented, though a loose organization, that isn’t to formal. But is a place to make them look better and get exposure through the perspective of their former colonial master. That is why they still has the inter-connected ministry FCO. It is a reason why even Zimbabwean Non-Governmental Organization was petitions the Department for International Development (DFID), so the former colony could have funds to hold Presidential Candidate National Television Debate before the General Election later in the year.

Well, that was a sidetrack, but very fitting. Because, the Commonwealth, still seems like a UK based organization, where it is all because of the mercy of the UK. The Commonwealth communiques, declarations and the meetings is because of UK leaders. Not because of the Kenyan President wanted it or the Indian one wanted some. We know there are someone even questioning it, the Bangladesh PM has been stating this today:

LONDON, April 21, 2018 (BSS)- Seeking inclusion of representative from Asia in the High Level Group to review the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Governance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday suggested making the Group more representative with inclusion of member states of different regions. “We value the knowledge and expertise of the Secretariat for furthering work of the Commonwealth. However, we believe that views of the member states through appropriate representation, is equally important,” she said” (Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha – ‘PM suggests making CW high-level group more representative’ 21.04.2018).

This is what I started it, and it is made like this because the Commonwealth are made for the needs of United Kingdom, then the second interests. That is why the head of the Commonwealth has to be the Royalty of the UK. Now it is the Prince of Wales, which was nudged in by the Queen. The same happen to Prince Harry, who was appointed by the Queen to become the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. We can see that the Commonwealth is a UK enterprise. The view can be seen that way, the way the Royal family has key roles and that the FCO is involved. Therefore, the meetings and statements coming from Boris Johnson with everyone he could. Making photo-ups with anyone he could during the CHOGM.

We will clearly see the Commonwealth Secretariat work on the Declaration, especially now that the UK is gearing up for the Brexit and leaving the Union. They need new secure trading partners and what better, than using the informal body of Commonwealth to get trade with. That is what even Johnson has been writing and proves his ideas. That is why he has been so diplomatic and kind with words. Because some of the nations and state leaders he has meet these days, he has written in the past ill-words of their republics and their kind. Therefore, we know he has sudden swift change of interests. That interests being the benefit of London and not of the former colonies.

The Commonwealth seems more like a savior and needed trade-partners right now, because of the problems coming with the loss of the EU membership. FCO and Commonwealth member-states with this declaration are opening for negotiations. Something that Johnson has been hoping for all along. Since he wanted that and hoped that CHOGM would deliver. However, it did that in some respect with the Declaration.

Seemingly again the Commonwealth is made for the benefit of the UK and their needed gains. If it was otherwise, than the Bangladesh PM wouldn’t asked for what she did after the CHOGM. That proves the problems within the Commonwealth Secretariat and with the Declaration itself. Since in that one in question isn’t mentioned even directly in the declaration.

Hope I am wrong, but as long the British Royalty is running it and is the heads of it. Their interests will be in line of London, not being for all the members of the Commonwealth. To think otherwise to be naive. Peace.

African Union Open-Ended Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the International Criminal Court Convened its 6th Meeting on the Sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (27.01.2018)

RSA: Confidential for External Proactive use only – Barloworld Equipment clears dispute with OCM (27.10.2016)

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Our brave New World Order… Is too leave the ICC

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“Why is UN not paying much attention to member states that are clearly sliding into turmoil and crisis and instead is majorly involved in the after effects of Humanitarian assistance. It doesn’t make sense. We can’t wait until it’s too.”Francis Mwijukye [35th Inter Parliamentary Union- Geneva: High level United Nations Management committee Meeting on Development assistance, Humanitarian assistance, peace keeping operations and Mormative treaty related knowledge, 26.10.2016]

We are living in a brave new world where the world order is switching… its twists and turns, the morning dew disappears and the sun kisses the earth yet again. The last few days the world has changed. Because Nations and States have made decisions that matters; they are not only talking, but now they are acting on it.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) of The Hague is under fire. After Burundi, South Africa and Gambia are thinking of pulling out of the International Court that access the genocides and crimes against humanity.

With the escalated conflicts, the stories of lives doing whatever they can flee nations, this is happening from the internal conflict inside Burundi, Burundians refugees are now in Tanzania, Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This because the President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stay in power for a third term; when the Constitution of Burundi said the Executive only could have two!

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The same with the internal fighting between SPLM/A VS. SPLM/A-IO in South Sudan; where there is battle of power between President Salva Kiir and former FVP Dr. Riek Machar. Because of the conflict in South Sudan the civilian refugees have fled to Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. Now MONUSCO got SPLM/A-IO and Dr. Machar from the DRC to Khartoum earlier this year.

In Kenya this is happening: while the Somali Refugees are now being sent home from Kenya under the command of the government there. This happening while opposition in all of the countries mentioned has optionally torturing, arresting, detaining and even harassing them if needed be. The Kenyan Government using the fear of Al-Shabaab to send the refugees away and also hustle more donor-funding from the United States. That happens because the Jubilee apparently didn’t’ earn enough coins on NYS, Eurobonds or whatever scheme they had in play at the time.

In this New World order that is arranged while the Government are using their Security Organizations to silence opposition. While the Nation with the African Union (AU) Headquarters and are the leader of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ethiopian Government even uses helicopters, artillery and soldiers to kill civilians in the regions of Amhara and Oromo people. This is a Nation who has soldiers in Peacekeeping mission all around the Continent, but using all kind of force to oppress their own.

UN Burundi

So in this place and time with more totalitarian regimes, with more leaders not leaving offices and with less political freedom; the International Justice is winding down. The rule of law internationally right now is losing its power, while the United Nation’s negations and diplomatic missions like the Inter-Burundian Dialogue under former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka hasn’t gone anywhere. While the dialogue between UN’s own Edem Kodjo hasn’t created anything resembling a General Election run by the CENI in the DRC. That is because President Joseph Kabila has no plan of leaving office without using force on his own. This is happening while the bloodshed continues in the Kivu’s, while the MONUSCO and FARDC watching it in silence. ADF-NALU and the Mayi-Mayi continues as well together with the Ex-FARDC Gen. Muhindo  Akili Mundos has also blood on his hands. This is happening while the Rwandan State still can export high-grade minerals that they cannot even produce or has mines to extract on their soil. This has been happening since the first war in the late 1990s.

So the New World Order is more of the same… the same kind of violence, the other change is the new brave leaders who defy the International Order. They don’t want to follow it when they feel it is unfair. United Nations (UN) might be next or the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the World Health Organization (WHO). As they might respect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (World Bank) because they need their financial stability or the financial stimulus that backs the budgets and aspects the government needs to pay their elites, businesses and whatever it takes to keep the regimes a-float.

This is the grand issues… the human rights violations, killings and detentions… so the Presidents and their Administrations are now afraid of the ICC. They are worried that their actions be served by the Court and they have to answer for their crimes. Doesn’t matter if this court exists or not; the UN should put up Tribunals after the Internal Conflicts like they done in the past. Than it is not direct prosecutions or charges that the ICC has put on Executives or any in the inner-circle of ruling regimes as they know their using illegal forces to silence their people and citizens. Though the feelings from African Nations that they are feeling threaten by the ICC and their actions as they are not going-in on Europeans or Americans in general, while African Generals and Politicians are hand-picked.

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I’m just waiting for the honourable nations of Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Togo, Guinea, and Equatorial Guinea, and so on… There are more that will make decisions to leave, as even Cote d’Ivoire might revoke their place.

There are fears on the horizon, the ICC is losing its standing, the international community better listen as the men who are greedy on power and resources take it in these days by any means and hope to get away with it, while their people suffer. The only differences at our time are that information is not forgotten or not told. It’s there for those who listen; time to consider and rethink the World Order and where we want to be. Peace.

South Africa: SADC EPA agreement with the EU takes effect today (10.10.2016)

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MEPs back trade deal with six African countries (14.09.2016)

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, September 14, 2016 –The European Parliament approved an agreement granting duty-free access to the EU for products from Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, and improved market access for South Africa on Wednesday.

“This agreement will help our African partner states to reduce poverty and can also facilitate their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy. There are also many safeguards in the deal to ensure that local people truly benefit from this cooperation. The language on human rights and sustainable development is one of the strongest that you will find in any EU agreement”, said rapporteur Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (ALDE, DE), before the vote.

MEPs approved the deal by 417 votes to 216, with 66 abstentions.

Free access to EU markets

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with six member states of the South African Development Community (SADCestablishes a “positive discrimination”, ensuring immediate duty- and quota-free access for their exports to the EU market. It also creates new regional opportunities through more flexible use of rules of origin.

The African countries will liberalise 86% of their trade with the EU (Mozambique 74%) over ten years with the exception of agricultural and fishery products. The deal replaces the previous interim agreements based on unilateral trade preferences and complies with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Safeguards

While the agreement covers only trade and development cooperation, it leaves the door open for services, investment, intellectual property and public procurement. To mitigate potential negative impacts on the SADC countries, several safeguards were added to the deal. The EU undertook not to subsidize its agricultural exports to these countries.

The deal also lists trade-related areas that could benefit from EU development cooperation funding, but none is pledged at this stage.

Monitoring

In a July resolution, international trade MEPs advocated strengthening the monitoring of the agreement to ensure that “its benefits for the people are maximized”. The committee also tabled an oral question to the Commission for this plenary on parliamentary oversight and civil society monitoring.

Next steps: The deal will enter into force once the Council formally approves it and the national parliaments of the six African states ratify the text.

Note to the editors: in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement of 2000, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU agreed to negotiate reciprocal, though asymmetric, trade agreements to comply with WTO rules and to support these countries’ development and integration into the world economy.

Negotiations were to be concluded by the end of 2007, but the process took longer and the EU finished negotiations with six states of the SADC Group in July 2014. Angola finally decided not to enter into the agreement, but may join in the future. 

Negotiations with six SADC states ended in 2014. The other eight (Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) belong to other regional EPA groupings.

Press Release: Kenya must review Double Tax Agreement with Mauritius (02.11.2015)

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(Nairobi, November 2, 2015) – Kenya is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown with the implosion of at least two private commercial banks in the last few months and signing of loophole-ridden double taxation agreements with tax havens Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Tax havens are countries or states that position themselves as low tax jurisdictions allowing companies and rich individuals to hide their wealth without paying appropriate taxes where they actually make their profits or wealth. Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) in October 2014 sued the Government of Kenya (specifically the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority and the Attorney-General) challenging the constitutionality of the Kenya/Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed in Port Louis, Mauritius on May 11, 2012 and as contained in Legal Notice 59 published in the Kenya Gazette of May 23, 2014.

The Agreement significantly undermines Kenya’s ability to raise domestic revenue to underpin the country’s development by opening up loopholes for multinational companies operating in the country and super- rich individuals to shift profits abroad through Mauritius to avoid paying appropriate taxes. For example, provisions under Article 11 of the Agreement relating to interest limit Kenya’s withholding tax to 10 per cent whereas the Kenyan domestic rate currently stands at 15 per cent. This will significantly affect the tax base of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The Agreement also sharply contravenes Articles 10 and 201 of the Constitution and is inconsistent with the principles of good governance, sustainability and accountability. The Agreement is open to abuse and this could endanger the growth and development of Kenya.

Three main reliefs sought by TJN-A are: that the High Court declares the government’s failure or neglect to subject the Kenya-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement to ratification in line with the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012 as a contravention of Articles 10 (a), (c) and (d) and 201 of the Constitution of Kenya.

That the Court directs the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury to immediately withdraw Legal Notice 59 of 2014 and commence the process of ratification in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012.  And award cost of the petition with interest against the Government of Kenya. The case came up for mention at the Nairobi High Court today, November 2, 2015. The court will fix a date for hearing the case on November 9, 2015. Speaking at a press briefing earlier today, the Executive Director of TJN-A, Alvin Mosioma said “there is need for public participation in the process of ratification of double tax agreements…double tax agreements kill the competitive edge of local firms”. 2 Senator Hassan Omar of Mombasa County who also addressed the press said Kenya’s “Parliament needs to appreciate its responsibility in safeguarding the public’s interests,” adding that “the reason people steal is because there is complicity and people are aware of it”. Provisions under Article 12 of the Agreement which relates to royalties also restrict at- source withholding tax to half (10 per cent) of Kenya domestic rate of 20 per cent. This will significantly weaken Kenya’s ability to raise revenue to finance its development. Additionally provisions under Article 20 of the Agreement reserves all taxation of “other income” not dealt with in specific Articles to the residence state.

This effectively reduces withholding tax to zero per cent on services, management fees, insurance commissions among others, whereas Kenyan domestic withholding tax rate currently stands at 20 per cent. This is a major gap that will lead to massive revenue leakages. The Agreement is neither United Nations nor OECD compliant and it also fails to address the issue of disposal of shares in companies. The Agreement effectively reserves under Article 13.4 all taxation of capital gains from selling shares in companies to Mauritius where the effective Capital Gains Tax is zero per cent. Under the Agreement foreign investors in Kenya can acquire Kenyan companies through Mauritius holding companies and Kenya cannot tax any of the gains when they sell these businesses again. This is open to abuse. Similarly, domestic Kenyan investors can dodge Kenyan taxes by round-tripping their investments illicitly through Mauritian shell companies. Kenyan companies can also easily avoid Kenyan taxes in dividends paid to foreign investors through devices like share buy-backs therefore deny the government of development funds.

The provision is very similar to the Capital Gains Tax Article in the India-Mauritius treaty which has proved very controversial costing India an estimated US$600 million a year in revenues as a result of tax avoidance and illicit round-tripping by Indian business executives driving the Government of India to initiate steps to renegotiate its agreement with Mauritius. Under the definition of ‘bilateral treaty’ in Section 2 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act an ‘agreement’ such as the one between Kenya and Mauritius and which is the subject matter of this legal case, is a treaty subject to the Act and therefore requires that the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury in consultation with the Attorney General, submit to the Cabinet the treaty, together with a memorandum outlining, inter alia – 1. Policy and legislative considerations, 2. Financial implications 3. Implications on matters relating to counties, 4. The views of the public on the ratification of the treaty.

Mauritius presently has tax treaties with 13 African countries namely Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Apart from Kenya, Mauritius also has signed Double Taxation Agreements with Congo, Zambia and Nigeria. Currently Mauritius is negotiating DTAs with Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania. Unlike Mauritius’ DTA with Uganda and Nigeria, for example, which have specific provisions for withholding tax for management/technical services fees, Kenya failed to negotiate any such provisions. 

In a related development, the Government of Kenya has signed an equally harmful Double Tax Agreement with United Arab Emirates and Qatar – both of which are tax havens – in which Kenya further deems its right to tax as unnecessary in a bid to attract investment from these two countries. These agreements will deepen Kenya’s current cash crunch by allowing the further erosion of the country’s tax base. – END.

ABOUT TJN-A: Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) is a Pan-African initiative and a member of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. It is a network of 29 members in 16 African countries. TJN-A collaborates closely with these member organisations in tax justice 3 advocacy at the national and regional levels. TJN-A seeks to promote socially just and progressive taxation systems in Africa, advocating for pro-poor tax policies and the strengthening of tax systems to promote domestic resource mobilisation. TJN-A aims to challenge harmful tax policies and practices that favour the wealthy and aggravate and perpetuate inequality. For further enquiries, please email Kwesi Obeng at kobeng@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 726 804 400) and/or Michelle Mbuthia at mmbuthia@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 724 994 796).

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