Tag Archives: africa

Dec. 17: Date set for Cameroon Massacre trial

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But Human Rights Watch (HRW), in its own investigation, said civilians had been slaughtered by government forces and an auxiliary militia drawn from the ethnic Fulani community.

Cameroon’s army said Wednesday that three soldiers accused in the massacre of civilians in a troubled anglophone region, a case that triggered an international outcry, would go on trial on December 17.

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The killing took place on February 14 in the village of Ntumbaw, in the Northwest Region, where anglophone separatists and security forces are embroiled in a bloody three-year-old conflict.

According to the government, 10 children and three women died, while the UN has put the toll at more than 23 dead, including nine children aged under five and two pregnant women.

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“Three soldiers will appear in Yaounde military court for murder, arson and destruction of property, violence against a pregnant woman and disregard for orders,” army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack told AFP.

The trial will start on December 17, he confirmed.

The Cameroon authorities denied for two months that its security forces were to blame for any deaths at Ntumbaw.

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It said the fatalities had resulted from an “unfortunate accident” when fuel was set ablaze during a gunfight between troops and separatists after a patrol came under fire.

It based this on interviews with 25 people, including three witnesses to killings and seven relatives of victims, and on satellite imagery taken before and after the attack.

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In April, as international pressure mounted, President Paul Biya’s office acknowledged responsibility by the security forces, saying three soldiers and a self-defence group had “attacked” a separatist base.

“After exchanges of fire in which five terrorists were shot dead,” they “discovered that three women and 10 children had died as a result of their actions,” it said.

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HRW’s Cameroon specialist, Ilaria Allegrozzi, said the watchdog group was “pleased” that a date had been set for the trial.

“We have gone from complete denial to investigation, a presidential statement and now a trial,” she said, but cautioned that “senior individuals in the chain of command” also had to be prosecuted.

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English speakers account for nearly a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million, who are majority French-speaking.

Most of this minority live in two western regions called the Northwest and Southwest, which were once part of British colonies in West Africa.

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Decades of grievances at perceived discrimination brewed into a declaration of independence in October 2017, which was followed by a government crackdown.

More than 3,000 people have died and at least 700,000 have fled their homes. Rights monitors say abuses have been committed by both sides.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: South Africa anti-racism Protesters collides with Police

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The protests were the latest of a string of demonstrations against alleged racism at Brackenfell High School following the dance party held sometime late in October.

South Africa police on Friday fired teargas at opposition activists protesting against alleged racism at a Cape Town school where a whites-only year-end dance party was allegedly organised last month.

Anti-riot police aimed teargas and water cannon towards hundreds of members of the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party gathered near the school.

The protesters dispersed and re-grouped a few blocks away.

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Police later told the protest organisers that only 100 people were allowed to march to the school.

Few days after the party, EFF members tried marching to the school but were blocked by some of the students’ parents resulting in fistfights.

People run away from teargas during the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party’s protest against alleged racism outside Brackenfell High School in Cape Town, South Africa, November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Widely shared video footage showed dramatic scenes of angry whites punching EFF’s black protesters on the streets on November 9.

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The confrontation disturbed President Cyril Ramaphosa who called for a probe, describing the clashes as “deeply regrettable”.

“The spectacle of parents and protestors coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” said Ramaphosa, adding the development brought “back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to”.

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The clashes occurred a few weeks after similarly racially-charged protests in the central farming town of Senekal over the murder of a white farm manager by suspected black assailants.

Despite the end of apartheid a generation ago, racial tensions in South Africa often remain high.


#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Eswatini PM, Ambrose is positive.

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The tiny landlocked nation wedged between South Africa and Mozambique has reported 6,095 coronavirus cases and 119 deaths.

The prime minister of the southern African kingdom of Eswatini has contracted coronavirus, as the country counts more than 6,000 diagnosed cases.

“I am asymptomatic and feeling well but in isolation,” Ambrose Dlamini said in a statement late Sunday.

The 52-year-old premier of Africa’s last absolute monarchy of 1.2 million, formerly known as Swaziland, will work from home until he is cleared of the virus.

“All my contacts for the past week are being tested and are expected to self isolate and follow the necessary health guidelines,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

Sudan PM welcomes Rebel leader back to Khartoum after peace deal.

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Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile erupted in 2011, following unresolved issues from bitter fighting there in Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok welcomed rebel leaders to the capital Khartoum on Sunday, as crowds celebrated what they hoped was the end of war following a landmark peace deal.

“We have been looking forward to this day,” Hamdok said as he greeted the leaders, according to a broadcast by the official news agency SUNA.

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“Today we are taking the first steps to put an end to the suffering of our people.”

It was the first time the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel and political groups, had come to the capital since the signing of an October 3 peace agreement in neighbouring South Sudan.

“We have come to put the peace agreement into effect on the ground,” said Minni Minawi, who leads a faction of the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement, according to SUNA.

“We must work to assume responsibility and abandon the political quarrels to move towards democracy.”

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The peace deal is hoped to end decades of fighting, including the war in the western Darfur region that erupted in 2003.

The United Nations estimates at least 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million were displaced in the Darfur conflict.

“This is the first time in Sudan’s history we reached a deal that truly addresses the roots of the Sudanese crisis,” said Hamdok.

Jubilant crowds packed a central square in Khartoum, chanting and carrying banners to celebrate.

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The SRF — founded in 2011 — is an alliance of armed rebel groups and political movements including from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Sudan’s transitional government seized power after the April 2019 ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir, following unprecedented street protests against his rule.

Bashir has been jailed in Khartoum’s high security Kober prison and was found guilty last December of corruption.

He is currently on trial in Khartoum for his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power, and has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) accused of genocide in Darfur.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Nigerian gov’t agree to protesters’ #5for5 demand.

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The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.

Nigerian Government on Tuesday agreed to meet the five demands of the #EndSARS protesters.

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, in a move to meet sundry demands including halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.

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This came Tuesday following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on the dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Police and immediate response by the authorities to the yearnings of citizens, according to a statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.

A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:

“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.

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“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.

“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.”

According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.

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“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.

“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.

“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.

“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.

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“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.”

The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.

Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.

Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP


#Newsworthy

Report: Climate change places world leaders on ‘life or death’s options.

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African climate activists press leaders on ‘life or death’ choices

Climate change presents world leaders with “life or death” choices, the Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate said on Wednesday as she pressed them to treat it as an urgent crisis.

Poverty, hunger, conflicts, disease and violence against women were some of the knock-on effects she cited.

“The people and the planet must come first before anything else,” Nakate said.

“If you do not treat climate change as a crisis then you will not do what is necessary for us to get out of this mess. It is time for leaders to leave their comfort zones and see the danger that we are in and do something about it.”

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“We need to stop being passive, we need to stop putting each other down and criticising each other,” Ayakha Melithafa, a South African climate activist, said.

“We are powerful beyond measure and together we will truly make powerful and effective change.”

Vanessa Nakate, a vocal young activist who has demonstrated with Greta Thunberg, was giving the annual Desmond Tutu peace lecture.

In are-recorded speeches due to the coronavirus pandemic, activists warned that the world is entering “the decisive decade” for climate and environment and called for climate justice globally.


#Newsworthy…

Rebel group, Sudan sign ‘peace deal.’

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Sudan’s transitional authorities and a rebel alliance signed on Saturday a peace deal agreed in August that aims to put an end to the country’s decades-long civil wars, in a televised ceremony in Juba.

“The next biggest challenge is to work with all local and international partners to preach the agreement and its benefits,” Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok tweeted on Friday upon his arrival in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.


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Reaching a negotiated settlement with rebels in Sudan’s far-flung provinces has been a crucial goal for the transitional government, which assumed power after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

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Sudanese civilian leaders hope the deal will allow them to revive the country’s battered economy by slashing military spending, which takes up much of the national budget.

Saturday’s official signing in Juba sealed the peace deal reached in late August between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of several armed groups.

The summit was attended by South Sudan President Salva Kiir, whose own country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 following decades of civil war. The head of Sudan’s sovereign council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and his deputy Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, also attended the ceremony. Dagalo, the commander of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, signed the agreement along with rebel leaders.

The deal would grant self-rule for the southern provinces of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press. Rebel forces would be integrated into Sudan’s armed forces.

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The Sudan Revolutionary Front, centered in the western Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, is part of the pro-democracy movement that led to the uprising against al-Bashir, but the rebels didn’t fully support the military-civilian power-sharing deal. That deal includes a six-month deadline for achieving peace, which ran out in February.

Sudan’s largest single rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, was involved in the talks but has yet to reach a deal with the government.

Al-Hilu has called for a secular state with no role for religion in lawmaking, the disbanding of al-Bashir’s militias and the revamping of the country’s military. The group has said if its demands are not met, it would call for self-determination in areas it controls in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan provinces.

Al-Hilu attended Saturday’s ceremony and met with Hamdok and Kiir to discuss the ongoing talks between his movement and the government, according to Hamdok’s office.

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Another major rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour, rejects the transitional government and has not taken part in the talks.

Nour’s movement criticized the deal, saying in a statement it was “not different from” other previous deals that did not end the wars.

The Sudanese communist party, which is part of the protest movement that helped topple al-Bashir, also denounced the deal as a “true threat to Sudan’s integrity and future.”

The party said in a statement Thursday that the deal would “create tensions and new disputes” because other rebel groups and victims of the civil war did not join these talks.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: Guinea commemorates Sept 28 massacres.

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Conakry’s stadium is named 28 September in reference to the constitution signed on that date in 1958

  • Mali’s transitional president appointed former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, on Sunday as the West African nation’s prime minister days after being sworn into office.
    The appointment of a civilian prime minister was a major condition imposed by the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, on Mali to lift sanctions that were imposed after an Aug. 18 coup. ECOWAS had closed borders to Mali and stopped financial flows to put pressure on the junta to quickly return to a civilian government.

Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N’Daw was inducted Friday as the new transitional president while Col. Assimi Goita, head of the junta that staged the coup, was installed as Mali’s new vice president. The three government heads are to lead the transitional government to an election in 18 months.

The appointment of Ouane, 64, was made by official decree Sunday and signed by N’Daw. Ouane was minister of foreign affairs from 2004 to 2011 under former President Amadou Toumani Toure. He also served as Mali’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and later as a diplomatic adviser to ECOWAS.

The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, detaining him, the prime minister and other government officials. Keita, who became ill, was eventually released and has gone to the United Arab Emirates for treatment.

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-Foreign Intervention-
ECOWAS became involved in negotiations that have pressed for a quick return to civilian rule.

U.N. officials have called for the release of the 13 of the 18 detained officials still being held at the Kati military camp in the Malian capital of Bamako.

There has been widespread concern that the upheaval in Mali will set back efforts to contain the country’s growing Islamic insurgency. After a similar coup in 2012, Islamic extremists grabbed control of major towns in northern Mali.

Only a 2013 military intervention led by France pushed extremists out of those towns and the international community has spent seven years battling the militants.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigeria reports 126 cases, 2 new deaths.

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On the 27th of September 2020, 126 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

Till date, 58324 cases have been confirmed, 49794 cases have been discharged and 1108 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory

The 126 new cases are reported from 12 states- FCT (30), Lagos (24), Rivers (23), Ogun (13), Katsina (9), Plateau (9), Ondo (6), Kaduna (4), Kwara (4), Imo (2), Bauchi (1), Edo (1)

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A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities

Stands•

126 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

FCT-30
Lagos-24
Rivers-23
Ogun-13
Katsina-9
Plateau-9
Ondo-6
Kaduna-4
Kwara-4
Imo-2
Bauchi-1
Edo-1

58,324 confirmed
49,794 discharged
1,108 deaths


#Newsworthy…

Oil Spill: Mauritius still evaluating damages.

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Two months after a cargo loaded with fuel ran aground off Mauritius, the shores are still taking stock of the damage.

The rich fishing grounds and sensitive marine habitats have been severly damaged by the oil.


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Conservationists are particularly concerned about the long-term ecological damage to the island’s marine ecosystems.

“There is visible pollution, and invisible pollution. Some of the oil doesn’t float but dissolves in the sea. The fish eat it, the coral absorbs it, it goes into the ecosystems”, environmental expert Sunil Dowarkasing said.

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The oil itself is known as VLSFO — a fuel oil less viscous and lower in sulphur than conventional fuel oils.

But this newer generation oil is poorly understood in terms of its environmental impact, said Ware.

“They are quite new to us, compared to the heavy fuel oils that we mostly used to deal with… That is why we need to study this, and this will certainly help for future oil spills elsewhere.”

The tourism industry, crucial to the country’s economy, has suffered a heavy blow, in what is the worst environmental disaster ever witnessed in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

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“This oil spill is the worst environmental disaster that Mauritius has ever faced. We are still assessing the damage to the mangroves and the coastal areas. We wish to thank all the countries and the UN system which rushed to assist Mauritius during these difficult times. I have a special word of thanks and gratitude to the people of Mauritius whose display of solidarity and spontaneous support helped protect our rumsaw sites and other environmentally sensitive areas”, declared Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnaut in his address to the UN General Assembly.

Following a second Oil spill a few weeks after in Sri Lanka, Mauritius Prime Minister Jugnaut has called for a regional response to be put in action. In the hope to avoid any futher disasters of the sort in the future.

“At the same time, there is a need for a review of governance rule concerning bunkers and tankers. Mauritius happens to be on an important and busy sea lane between the West and the far East and is therefore directly concerned.” continued PM Jugnaut.

Cleaning up the spill
Thousands of volunteers marshalled along the coast in the early days wearing rubber boots and gloves, scrubbing the shoreline clean and stringing together makeshift cordons to contain the oily tide.

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Since then the government has identified 26 affected sites around the coastline and commissioned the clean-up operation to French company Le Floch Depollution and Greek outfit Polyeco SA.

“The work is progressing satisfactorily, but it is a very delicate clean-up operation, we must make sure that it is done in a methodical and systematic way”, Environment Minister Kavydass Ramano said.

The clean-up is divided into four phases, and some sites are already in the second or third stage.

The ship eventually split in two and the bow and hull of the wreck were towed 15 kilometres (nine miles) offshore and sunk. The stern remains on the reef and the government expects to announce a contract to remove it within days, Ramano said.

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A wake-up call ?
On August 29, between 50,000 and 75,000 people protested the government’s response to the disaster — numbers not seen on the country’s streets since 1982.

A second rally on September 12 brought another 20,000 people out to Mahebourg, a fishing village near the spill site.

Frustration over the handling of the oil spill has heaped pressure on Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, whose administration has been dogged by allegations of corruption and nepotism.

“There is a general feeling of dissatisfaction, and Wakashio was the last straw,” said Dowarkasing, a former MP.


#Newsworthy…

African countries demand extension of moratorium until 2021.

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African nations came out swinging during the United Nations General Assembly,// calling for dramatic fiscal measures, in order to help economies survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

African countries estimate they need an annually support of $100 billion for the next three years, pointing out it is only a fraction of the trillions of dollars, some richer countries are using to revive their economies.

They have also asked that the current mortorium in effect be further extended.

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“I take this opportunity to commend the efforts made by the members of the G-20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the context of the initiative for the suspension of debt servicing. I would call on the African Union to continue its efforts to attain this moratorium to 2021”, said Amadou Ba, Senegal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese abroad

Several countries have said maintaining the debt moratorium until 2021 was necessary, claiming debt cancellation is needed to free up more resources to tackle the virus and its effects, which includes the fight against other deadly diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Alongside Senegal, Niger and Côte d’Ivoire also expressed their concerns. Ivory Coast President Ouattara stated that the fight against COVID-19 and its economic effects has represented around 5% of the West African country’s GDP.

One of the world’s fastest-growing economies before the pandemic, Ivory Coast hopes to obtain further international support to get its economy back on track.


#Newsworthy…

Storyline: Ethiopia does not want to harm Sudan, Egypt – PM says.

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Ethiopia Prime minister Abiy Ahmed stated the country has “no intention to harm” neighouring Egypt and Sudan.

Comments that come after months of negociations over the Renaissance Dam, situated upstream of the two countries, have failed to produce any agreement.

Egypt has warned the Dam project could have devastating effects on its economy. As the Nile river’s flow would be diminished to fill up the dam’s reservoir, Egypt would lose on its main source of scarce fresh water ressources.

A situation Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he is willing to avoid.

“I want to assure that we are firm in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing African Union-led process”, Ethiopia ‘s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, stated in an recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

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Regional tensions and a local crisis
Abiy Ahmed, whose country is engaged in complicated talks in the region, also faces a major challenge in his country.

Deadly unrest shook Ethiopia as long-marginalized groups, who seek more say in the country’s politics have taken their anger to the streets for the past few months.

The long awaited first free elections, two years after Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister have been postponed to 2021.

Opposition members, such as Oromo Federalist Congress leaderJawar Mohammed, have stated the government was using COVID 19 pandemic fears as a tool to stay in power.


#Newsworthy

Court clears Gbagbo for upcoming election; reject charges. [Ivory Coast]

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The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled on Friday to reject the exclusion of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo from the upcoming presidential elections of October 31 — ordering the Ivorian state to “take all necessary measures to immediately remove all obstacles” hindering his participation in the race as his lack of signature on the candidacy bid – filed by supporters on his behalf given his current exile in Belgium, saw The Ivorian Constitutional Council find it inamissible.

The Court also ordered the Ivorian state to “suspend the mention of the criminal conviction of the criminal record” of Gbagbo and had already passed a similar ruling — condemning the Ivorian state for another opponent, former rebel leader and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, whose candidacy had also been rejected by the Constitutional Council after a court conviction.

Acquitted at a court of first instance of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, Gbagbo, 75, is awaiting a possible appeal in Belgium to be able to return to his native Côte d’Ivoire — whose authorities refuse, according to his lawyers, to issue him a passport.


#Newsworthy…

Heritage day: #JerusalemaDanceChallenge full South Africa.

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A Dancing Nation
In South Africa, Heritage Day was celebrated to the rhythm of the famous hit by the South African DJ Master KG.

Across the country, workers, national rugby team players and students could be seen doing the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge.

In a public address — which included the easing of coronavirus prevention restrictions, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on South Africans to participate in the challenge in celebration of the national culture.

The national dance challenge an ambience for the country to unwind to the notes of a gospel song that has become the soundtrack of a certain ode to lighter times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released in 2019 and already very popular on the African continent, the song Jerusalema found its way to social media in the form of a tiktok challenge where it blew up on a global scale. Since then, the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge has toured the world.


#Newsworthy

Mali crisis: Junta chief demand end of sanctions imposed after coup.

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Mali’s military junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, on Tuesday demanded an end to potentially crippling economic sanctions imposed after last month’s coup in the poor Sahel state.

Addressing reporters during a ceremony marking 60 years of Malian independence, Goita said the recent nomination of a civilian as interim president meant that West African leaders must end their trade embargo.

The 15-nation West Africa bloc ECOWAS shuttered Mali’s borders and imposed trade restrictions after Malian military officers ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

Last week, the trade bloc also insisted that it would maintain the measures unless Mali’s ruling officers appoint civilian leaders swiftly.

“The international community is watching us… which is why we accepted the ECOWAS principles,” Goita said on Tuesday.

“In the coming days ECOWAS must remove these sanctions for the happiness of the Malian people,” he added.

The demand comes after a group of officials selected by the junta chose retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president on Monday.

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The 70-year-old will lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before staging national elections, according to a plan endorsed by the junta.

But it remains unclear how West African leaders will react to Ndaw’s nomination.

Hauled back from retirement, the former defence minister spent his career in Mali’s military, where he occupied a series of senior positions.

Goita himself will remain as vice president of the transition government.

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ECOWAS’ mediator in Mali’s crisis, former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, is expected in the capital Bamako on Wednesday.

‘Total embargo’
Mali’s neighbours are anxious to avoid the fragile nation of some 19 million people slipping into chaos.

Swathes of the vast country already lie outside of government control, due to a lethal jihadist insurgency that first emerged in 2012 and has also inflamed ethnic tensions.

Last week, ECOWAS took a hard line and threatened a “total embargo” on the country should the junta install military leaders of an interim government.

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Current restrictions ban commercial trade and financial flows, but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.

Heavy sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn, aggravated by the jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.

It was frustrations over this intractable conflict — plus economic concerns and perceived corruption — which pushed anti-Keita protesters onto the streets this year, provoking tensions which culminated in last month’s coup.

Goita on Tuesday urged citizens to form a “sacred union around Mali” and support the security forces.

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“Today is an opportunity for me to congratulate and encourage them for all their efforts to bring security and peace to Mali,” he said of the troops.

The junta leader also called on Malians to support the “partner forces” of France and the United Nations in the country, which are often a target of popular anger.

The urging came as a protest against foreign troops was expected in Mali’s capital Bamako on Tuesday.

France has 5,100 soldiers deployed across the Sahel as part of its anti-jihadist Operation Barkhane. There are also 13,000 members of a UN peacekeeping force in Mali.


#Newsworthy

Intercountry flights ‘take off’ in Angola again.

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The Runways are Ready
Ready for takeoff, commercial flights in Angola which resumed this week following their suspension in early March at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic — with only domestic flights available for booking as of now.

The first highly anticipated roundtrip flight between Luanda and Cabinda on Monday was surrounded by confusion at the airport with more passengers as there were seats.

Nevertheless, domestic flights will continue with a round trip to Soyo, in Zaire province on Wednesday and a two-way connection between the capital city and Huambo on Thursday.

International flights are scheduled to operate next Monday.

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National Progress
This marks a huge step towards economic recovery that also coincides with a rise in the country’s coronavirus testing capacity as for the first time more than 1,800 tests were carried out in a single day — as reported by officials on Tuesday.

Tests that resulted in the confirmation of 51 new infections which sees the national caseload at nearly 3,500 with 136 deaths since the start of the global coronavirus health crisis.

A situation to which the newly opened Walter Strangway hospital unveiled this week by President João Lourenço, in Cuito, the capital of the province of Bié, will now be able to provide assistance.

Along with several other medical specialities available at this new hospital in the centre of Angola — such as dialysis procedures undergone by the first patients on Monday.


#Newsworthy…