Disgraced Chinese robber baron building Angola’s new airport
Sam Pa, the 60-year-old businessman who is synonymous with controversy in the continent, is back in the spotlight in Angola
LUANDA, Angola: The construction of a new major airport in Angola is confirmation of a disgraced Chinese billionaire’s clutch on infrastructure projects in the economically-struggling Southern African country and his infamous influence in the continent’s political crises and human rights violations.
Sam Pa, the 60-year-old businessman who is synonymous with controversy in the continent, is back in the spotlight in Angola, a country which is going through upheavals of its own amid a receding economy, allegations of embedded political patronage and doubts over the credibility of pledges to curb corruption.
His involvement in the Southern African country is in the form of the construction of the Aeroporto Internacional de Angola (Angola International Airport) ongoing near the Luanda. It will be an alternative to the existing Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport.
The facility is set to open next year or in 2020. The staffing of the projects with almost exclusively Chinese workers caused protests by the local population at the start of the construction. This led to occasional riots, with the police and military having to intervene to calm down the situation.
Construction of the new airport is in the hands of a consortium of Chinese companies, the main contractor being the China International Fund (CIF), the privately-owned Hong Kong-registered China International Fund (CIF), which has emerged a leading player in Africa’s resource markets and has acquired shares in a dozen oil fields in Angola.
The company has pleaded over $18 billion of investment in several African countries in recent years.
Pa, who first rose to international infamy ten years ago for funding the Zimbabwe regime during violent crackdowns on opponents of the then-president, Robert Mugabe, is said to be the president of CIF.
Construction of the new airport has borne the brunt of CIF’s reputation for struggling to complete some of their projects due to difficulty in raising funds.
His work in Angola has been heavily criticised for non-completion, with his work on reconstructing the Benguela railway line attracting criticism from locals. The opening of the new airport was originally scheduled for 2015/2016 but is lagging over intermittent funding challenges.
A Wikileak cable attributed to the then Chinese Ambassador to Angola Bolum Zhang, appeared to distance China form CIF.
Zhanga was quoted criticising CIF’s “weak management and lack of leadership had stalled many projects.”
In Angola, CIF and Pa are seen as the pivot in the ties between the Southern African country and China and the control of Angolan resources by the Asian economic powerhouse. Among such influences, CIF controls all Angolan oil contracts for the Chinese State company, Sinopec.
He has previously been detained after Su Shulin, a former chairman of state-owned oil group, Sinopec, was investigated for alleged corruption by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft body.
Probes into both men were related, with the pair having been pictured in 2008 at a high-level meeting in Beijing alongside a top oil official from Angola.
The man is believed to be Manuel Vicente, the then-chairman of the board and director general of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol.
Vicente is quoted as saying having created China Sonangol himself. “We looked for a partner in China to join us and to get that stake and that’s why we formed this company,” he said.
Vicente is accused of restructuring the company’s main subsidiaries to his personal benefit.
A decade later, he still has clout on the Angolan politics and the economy.
The beleaguered former deputy president is at the centre of a recurring system of patronage.
He is the advisor to President Joao Lourenço and maintains an extraordinary position of influence over the economy, through his family and close associates.
Pa’s influence on Angola dates back to the struggle for Angola’s liberation (Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975) when he provided weapons and support.
It is widely believed Pa met Lourenço’s predecessor, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, during his (Pa’s) time with the Russian military.
“Pa exploited this relationship to secure total control over construction projects in Angola,” said political commentator, António Pereira.
“The construction of the new airport is a continuation of Pa’s, CIF’s and by extension, China’s monopoly on Angola Construction projects,” Pereira added.
Pa is not new to controversy in the sly African political landscape, where he has met high-ranking officials and heads of state incuding dos Santos and Mugabe.
His hideous prominence emerged in 2008 after he was named as the chief financier of a deadly crackdown on the political opposition when Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) lost power to Morgan Tsvangirai, now late, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) respectively.
The United States would subsequently slap him with sanctions along Zimbabwean leaders accused of human rights violations.
He has been implicated in propping up oppressive regimes in Guinea and Madagascar.
Singer Bruno K Exposed For Neglecting His Son, Claims He Only Has One Child
The internet has been abuzz following accusations leveled against Bruno Kiggundu, popularly known as Bruno K, over his alleged neglect of his son, Seth Kiggundu. In a tweet, a user identified as Keith alleged that Bruno K had abandoned his only son, Seth, and only pays attention to his daughter, Briella.
Keith claimed that Vanessa, his best friend, had a baby boy with Bruno K, and the singer had refused to fulfill his parental responsibilities towards Seth. He further accused Bruno of making Vanessa’s life difficult in 2022, which caused her to loathe the singer.
While it is essential to respect the baby’s privacy, it is crucial to hold public figures accountable for their actions, especially when they involve the welfare of children. The allegations against Bruno K are serious and should not be taken lightly.
Child abandonment is a severe issue that affects many children worldwide. It is a form of child neglect that can lead to adverse effects on a child’s development, including emotional and behavioral problems. Children who are abandoned by their parents may experience feelings of rejection, anger, and low self-esteem, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
As a public figure, Bruno K has a responsibility to set a good example for his fans and followers, especially young people. Neglecting one’s child is not only morally wrong but also illegal under Ugandan law. The Children’s Act of Uganda provides that every child has the right to parental care and protection, and any parent who neglects their child can be charged with child abuse.
It is not clear whether the allegations against Bruno K are true, but if they are, he should take responsibility for his actions and do the right thing for his son. Children need both parents to grow up happy and healthy, and neglecting one’s child is unacceptable.
In conclusion, the allegations against Bruno K are serious, and if true, they represent a worrying trend of child neglect in Uganda. As a society, we must hold public figures accountable for their actions and demand that they do the right thing for their children. Let us all strive to create a safe and nurturing environment for all children, regardless of their family background.
Speaker Rt. Hon. Anita Among Orders Minister Dr. Chris Baryomunsi To Stop Making Excuses For Not Establishing The Tribunal
Speaker of parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Among has ordered the Minister of Information, Communications, Technology, and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi to stop making excuses for not establishing the tribunal which she said has been pending for a long.
The speaker’s order followed Dr. Chris Baryomunsi’s attribution of the delay to create the Uganda Communications Tribunal to the recent Cabinet decision on the rationalization of agencies.
The speaker of Parliament Among emphasized the need for the tribunal in place.
“We need a tribunal. How sure are you that we are going to rationalize [government agencies]? We want a tribunal in UCC; we cannot do ad-hoc kind of operations,” Among said.
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Act makes provision for the creation of a tribunal that is supposed to handle complaints relating to the decisions of UCC as provided under Sections 60 and 64 of the Act.
He said this during the Wednesday, 22 March 20223 plenary sitting where he tabled the Uganda Communications (Fees and Fines) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023.
The regulations provide for fees and fines to be paid by telecommunication and broadcasting companies for spectrum or frequency access in order to improve telecommunication services.
His response was prompted by the Leader of Opposition (LOP), Hon. Mathias Mpuuga who accused the minister of ‘sleeping on the job’ by failing to fulfill the provisions of the UCC Act in regard to the creation of the communications tribunal.
“We have raised severally in our alternative policies the question of the minister failing to appoint the UCC tribunal. The minister is now the tribunal; he is acting as the complainant, prosecutor, and judge at the same time. The Ministry [of ICT] is holding media houses at ransom with no recourse to this tribunal,” Mpuuga said.
The Speaker referred the Regulations to the Committee on ICT and National Guidance for scrutiny with a strong caution to UCC not to start collecting fees until Parliament approves the regulations.
Section 93 of the UCC Act, 2013 states that, ‘the minister may, after consultation with the Commission and with the approval of Parliament, by statutory instrument, make regulations for better carrying into effect the provisions of this Act’.
Anti-gay Bill Will Impinge Upon Universal Human Rights, Jeopardize Progress In Fight Against HIV/AIDS In Uganda-White House
The White House and the European Union (EU) have joined the United Nations (UN) and other human rights groups in condemning the just passed Anti-homosexuality Bill.
The Bill that awaits assent from the president was passed by MPs on Tuesday night after a seven-hour heated session.
The bill introduces stricter penalties for people engaged in same-sex activities in Uganda including the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality.
It also proposes life in prison for the offense of “homosexuality” and up to 10 years in jail for attempted homosexuality.
Now White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre says the Bill is one of the most extreme laws targeting homosexuality in the world.
She warns that this will not only impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS but will also deter tourism and damage Uganda’s international reputation.
“We have great concerns with the passage of the Anti-homosexuality Act by the parliament of Uganda and increasing violence targeting LGBTQI+ persons,” Karine said.
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