Obama Mandela Tribute Lecture

Jereaghogho Efeturi Ukusare

Former US President Barack Obama was in South Africa Wednesday for what would have been the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela. As always, the former US President delivered an inspiring speech.

Earlier Tuesday, in an address in honor of the late Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Obama criticized movements toward authoritarianism around the world and ridiculed the “utter loss of shame among political leaders” who lie. He added that politics today often rejected the concept of objective truth.

Attendees at the Obama Speech in SA

His lecture, titled “Renewing the Mandela legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world,” tracked the transformation of the world, particularly in terms of race relations and human rights, over the past 100 years.

Obama’s speech in all could be summerised thus, as he put it: “Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision, I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King, and Abraham Lincoln, I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Barack Obama and Cyril Ramaphosa behind Soweto Gospel Choir


Farnborough, England

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has revealed the name and logo of Nigeria’s new national carrier Wednesday. Nigeria said last week that its planned national carrier would be unveiled July 18. The airline will be run as a public-private partnership and should become profitable in three years, according to the government. 

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika tweeted Tuesday from Farnborough that he held talks on sourcing jets from Airbus SE and planned to meet with Boeing Co. and other suppliers.

Africa’s most populous nation has struggled to support a viable home-grown airline for decades, with a succession of carriers collapsing or slashing routes. This has left the oil-rich country dependent on services provided mainly by European and Persian Gulf carriers for trips beyond the region.

Nigeria’s Former flag-carrier Nigeria Airways collapsed in 2003 with successor Air Nigeria founded as a joint venture with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group folding in 2012. Private operator Arik Air was taken over by Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria last year, leading to the suspension of long-haul flights.


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari asked lawmakers to reallocate 229 billion naira ($630 million) in a supplementary budget, less than a month after he signed 2018’s spending plans into law.

The transfers are necessary partly to help the government prepare for general elections that’s scheduled for February and is expected to cost 242 billion naira, according to a letter from Buhari to the Senate. Buhari proposed the reallocation of funds for the budget of 9.1 trillion naira that he approved on June 20. He is opposed to increasing spending any further, according the letter.

Buhari said in June he would consider a supplementary budget after lawmakers submitted a spending framework that was 5.8 percent bigger than what he proposed to them in November. “Implementing a budget of 9.12 trillion naira will be extremely challenging and therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size,” he said in the letter.

For the election in which he will seek another term, Buhari wants this year’s budget to allocate 164 billion naira and the balance should come from next year’s spending plan. He also asked lawmakers to amend spending cuts and new allocations amounting to 578 billion naira that they made to the budget he proposed initially.


Libya’s eastern oil ports will resume shipments within hours after the state energy producer regained control of the terminals following clashes in the region last month.

National Oil Corp. lifted force majeure at the ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Hariga and Zueitina after forces loyal to eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar handed the facilities over to the state producer early Wednesday, according to an emailed statement from the Tripoli-based NOC. Force majeure is a legal clause protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.

“Production and export operations will return to normal levels within the next few hours,” the NOC said. A separate statement from a security force guarding the ports confirmed that exports will resume there, according to a person familiar with the relevant order sent to all companies and terminals. Brent crude futures fell by as much as 2.7 percent.

The imminent re-opening of the four ports marks another abrupt turnaround in Libya’s fortunes as a global supplier of crude since the 2011 Arab Spring revolt left the country divided into western and eastern regions under competing administrations. Haftar, after clashing with a rival militia last month, had transferred control of the ports to an oil authority in the eastern city of Benghazi that isn’t recognized internationally. A political standoff with the NOC in Tripoli in the west led to a halt in exports of some 850,000 barrels a day.

Instability and supply halts in Libya are complicating OPEC’s drive to pump more crude and setting back United Nations-backed efforts to hold elections this year. Brent crude tumbled by as much as $2.10 after the NOC’s announcement. The benchmark pared losses and was trading 1.8 percent lower at $77.44 a barrel in London at 3:06 p.m. local time.

The tanker Maran Homer is set to lift 1 million barrels from Hariga port near the Egyptian border later Wednesday, enabling storage tanks there to be filled with more crude pumped from fields feeding the port, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified due to a lack of authorization to speak to news media. The ship is anchored in the Mediterranean near Hariga, Bloomberg tanker tracking data show.

Deterioration in the economy has stoked anger in eastern Libya over a perceived misuse of funds and a view that too much wealth is concentrated in the west. Haftar’s forces say they never received any money or thanks from the Tripoli NOC for protecting oil facilities. The oil company’s chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, counters that crude revenue goes to the central bank and that he’s not responsible for how it gets distributed.

“We need a proper national debate on the fair distribution of oil revenues” Sanalla said in the statement. “It is at the heart of the recent crisis. The real solution is transparency, so I renew my call on the responsible authorities, the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, to publish budgets and detailed public expenditure. I will work with other national stakeholders to enhance transparency and resolve this crisis — for the benefit of all our citizens.”

While Libya holds Africa’s largest oil reserves, years of conflict among armed groups competing for influence over its energy riches have hobbled production and exports since a 2011 revolt. Output has dropped to 527,000 barrels a day, Sanalla said on July 9. The country was pumping about 1.3 million barrels of crude a day in February before militias closed the ports, he said at the time.





Gareth Southgate and England are ready to face the music. No other soccer nation dwells on decades of failure quite like the English. Southgate was so demoralized by his penalty kick failure against Germany in the 1996 European Championship semifinals, he avoided The Lightning Seeds “Three Lions,” the team’s official song when it hosted the tournament.

Now the song, with its repeated chorus of “football’s coming home,” is a staple again, No. 5 this week on YouTube UK’s top music videos chart with more than 2 million views on the day of England’s last match. “‘Football’s coming home’ is a song I couldn’t even listen to for 20 years, frankly, so for me it has a slightly different feel,” Southgate said Tuesday on the eve of England’s World Cup semifinal match against Croatia. “But it’s nice to hear people enjoying it again.”

When the song first was released, the chorus proclaimed “Three lions on a shirt/Jules Rimet still gleaming/Thirty years of hurt/never stopped me dreaming.” A 1998 update changed the third verse to “no more years of hurt.”

England hasn’t played in the semifinals of a major tournament since Southgate’s penalty kick at Wembley was saved by Andreas Koepke 22 years ago, and Andrea Moeller put the next kick over David Seaman and under the crossbar. The most-cherished national team memory remains the 1966 World Cup final victory at Wembley over West Germany, a demarcation point in the island’s history as much as 1066 (the Norman invasion) and 1707 (union with Scotland). “It was a long time ago, so not too many of us can remember that far back,” said midfielder Jordan Henderson, born in 1990.

The winner Wednesday advances to Sunday’s final against France. Southgate wants to break stereotypes, and not just on the field. “I’m rare breed. I’m an Englishman that doesn’t drink tea,” he said.

England and Croatia are teams that innovated over time but have generally been immutable during the World Cup, sticking to virtually identical starting lineups except for group phase finales, after advancement was secure. In the other four games, Croatia’s only variable to its 4-2-3-1 formation was whether to start captain Luka Modric in a deep midfield role and Andrej Kramaric more advanced, or to move up Modric and start Marcelo Brozovic.

Right back Sime Vrsaljko limped off during the quarterfinal win over host Russia and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic had a hamstring injury during extra time but remained in the match. When asked about injuries, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic responded through a translator with inconclusive palaver about Vrsaljko having “this niggle.”

England has gone with a 3-5-2, and the only change was to start Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield after Dele Alli injured a thigh. “The biggest thing that the gaffer’s brought since he’s come in, which he’s brought right from day one, was identity, and about the way that we wanted to create a team,” Henderson said. “You can see that togetherness on the pitch now, and I think that’s valuable in crucial moments in big games, and yeah, I can definitely say this is most together England team that I’ve been involved in, and so I think that makes a massive difference and you get your rewards for that.”

With an average age of 26, England is one of the youngest teams at the World Cup. “We were never quite sure how far this team could go,” Southgate said. “The age of the players, the improvement in the players, the hunger in the players has been apparent for everybody to see. We’re really proud in the style that we’ve played, with the intelligence that we’ve played, and that we’ve performed under pressure and dealt with difficult situations in games where we’ve had to wait until the last minute to score, we’ve had to recover from conceding in last minute, we’ve been through extra time, penalties.”

Croatia made its only semifinal appearance in 1998, losing 2-1 to host France. Defender Dejan Lovren is a teammate of Henderson’s on Champions League finalist Liverpool, and Lovren bristled when asked about a 4-1 loss at Tottenham last October when England striker Harry Kane scored twice.

“It’s completely irrelevant,” he said through a translator. “Why didn’t you ask me how I played well against him? You are just nitpicking my poor performances.”



Beyonce and Jay-Z will headline a special Global Citizen Festival in honor of Nelson Mandela in South Africa late this year.

The Dec. 2 concert in Johannesburg is part of events marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, organizers announced Monday.

Others headlining the festival include Ed Sheeran, Usher, Pharrell Williams and African artists including Wizkid, Cassper Nyovest and Femi Kuti.

Oprah Winfrey will give a keynote address on the legacy of Mandela, who died in 2013, said the organizers. Other hosts will include Naomi Campbell and actors Forest Whitaker and Tyler Perry.

The Global Citizen movement has a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, and its Mandela 100 campaign hopes to bring in $1 billion in new pledges for the world’s poorest people.


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)

A scandal over leaked data has hit Zimbabwe’s election after the ruling party sent personalized, unsolicited campaign messages to potential voters’ mobile phones.

The opposition says thousands of supporters reported receiving the messages. “ZANU-PF has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar. There is no legal way for any political party to access voter phone numbers,” opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said Tuesday on Twitter.

Some of the messages seen by The Associated Press solicited support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30 election and were issued in the language of the area where the voter lives. Zimbabwe, like many countries in Africa, is multilingual.

Mnangagwa, who took office in November after longtime leader Robert Mugabe was pressured into stepping down, has pledged a free and fair election in the hope that years of international sanctions will be lifted. Past elections in the southern African nation have been marked by alleged violence and fraud, and the main opposition under Chamisa has raised a number of concerns about transparency that have been echoed by Western election observers who have been welcomed for the first time in almost two decades.

Another opposition politician and former finance minister, Tendai Biti, said the data leak “proves beyond reasonable doubt collusion between (the election commission), ZANU-PF and mobile networks.”

The electoral commission denied sharing voters’ data with the ruling party. “There are so many instances where you leave your phone numbers where you buy your goods,” one commissioner, Netsai Mushonga, told reporters.

Another commissioner, Qhubani Moyo, called the messages “bulk telemarketing adverts that we have always seen and received from various suppliers of services.”

ZANU-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the party sent the messages but denied allegations that the data came from the elections body as “hogwash.” He won’t say how the party obtained it.