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Khalifa Haftar - Libya News

Forces battling for control of Libya’s capital agreed to a truce Saturday, on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, but a car bomb killed two UN staff in the eastern city of Benghazi. Military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces announced that they would implement a ceasefire, after the unity government conditionally accepted the truce for the three-day holiday which starts Sunday. Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has been fighting since early April to seize Tripoli from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord. The United Nations had called on both sides to commit to a humanitarian truce by midnight on Friday. Haftar’s spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari on Saturday announced “a halt to all military operations… in the suburbs of Tripoli”. Mesmari said the truce had gone into effect at 3:00 PM (1300 GMT) on Saturday and would last until the same time on Monday afternoon. The GNA had said late Friday it was keen to “ease the suffering of the citizens and allow rescue workers to accomplish their mission” and would accept “a humanitarian truce for Eid al-Adha”. But it listed several conditions, saying the ceasefire must be observed “in all combat zones, with a cessation of direct and indirect fire and movement of troops”. It also said the truce must include “a ban on flights and reconnaissance overflights” across the country’s entire airspace. The GNA also called on the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to “ensure the implementation of the truce and note any breaches”. Haftar’s spokesman saidContinue reading

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Today News Headlines

Lawyers for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have asked a court to seal financial records held by the country’s corruption watchdog because they were obtained unlawfully, online news site Times Live reported on Friday. Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in July that Ramaphosa had “deliberately misled” parliament about a 500,000 rand ($32,924.20) donation he received for his 2017 campaign to become leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC). Her report found he had violated an executive ethics code and said there was prima facie evidence of money laundering in his campaign’s handling of donations. Times Live reported that Ramaphosa’s lawyer, Peter Harris, said in a letter to deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba on Thursday that Mkhwebane’s report had been based on information obtained illegally and which should not be made public. “We submit that the bank statements of EFFG2, Linked Environmental Services, Ria Tenda Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation accounts contain confidential information which must be protected in terms of the abovementioned provision,” Harris was quoted as saying. “We have reason to believe that certain of the abovementioned documents may have been unlawfully obtained by the public protector.” In her report, Mkhwebane said she used copies of subpoenas to FirstRand’s FNB bank, Absa bank and key individuals, as well as copies of affidavits and letters, among key sources of information. She will submit records of her investigation or all evidence she relied on for the report’s conclusions by Aug. 15, spokesman Oupa Segalwe said in a response viaContinue reading

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Mai Mai Militiamen - Fighter - Democratic Republic of Congo

“The trains are running again. We have peace,” says Didier, the station master at Mindouli, in the Republic of Congo’s southern region of Pool. But a glance at the weeds growing on the line connecting the capital Brazzaville and the port city of Pointe-Noire shows that traffic — to put it gently — is not huge. Outside the station, a war-battered relic of French colonial times, a few plucky hawkers have set up stalls in the hope of snaring a little cash. More than two years after a brutal civil conflict in Pool, the second in 20 years, was settled, Congo’s key agricultural region remains deeply depressed. The so-called Pool War erupted in April 2016, pitting the forces of President Denis Sassou Nguesso against the troops of Frederic Bintsamou, a Protestant clergyman and leader of a rebel group called the Ninjas. A ceasefire ended the conflict in December 2017 — but it took until November 2018 for traffic to resume on the Congo-Ocean Railway. Even today, there are no passenger trains and a new Chinese-built highway siphons off much of the meagre trade. “On average, we have five trains a day,” says Didier. “Before, we used to have three times as many.” The track is old, the rolling stock decrepit and out of the first seven months of this year, workers went unpaid for four, employees say. The state’s coffers are empty. The government, run by Sassou Nguesso for 35 years, has debts of $9.5 billion, nearly a third ofContinue reading

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Muhammadu Buhari - Nigeria Politics News Headlines

The Presidency at the weekend in Abuja reacted to calls for revolutionary protests slated for day by Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria, saying the days of coups and revolution are long gone. A statement by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, described organisers of the protest as “faceless,” challenging them to come out of their hiding and reveal their identities. The presidency, according to the statement, said President Muhammad Buhari had respect for the rights of citizens to protest, but described organisers of the protests as individuals merely seeking to attain power by violent and undemocratic means, emphasising that the ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government. Furthermore, the statement said the president was reelected through the ballot box only six months ago, and the results of the elections were affirmed by international observers while those who disagree with the outcome are still contesting it in the court. “Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in Court. “The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over. Those making the ‘revolution’ call hide behind the veil ofContinue reading

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Stella Nyanzi - Uganda

A Ugandan court jailed a prominent academic on Friday for 18 months on cyber harassment charges stemming from a Facebook post that included sexually explicit criticism of long-ruling President Yoweri Museveni. The verdict drew the ire of rights activists who accused the government of using laws about electronic communications to stifle political dissent. Stella Nyanzi, a university lecturer and researcher who once called Museveni “a pair of buttocks”, has drawn the government’s wrath for her attacks on him. Her commentary, laced with profanity, is posted on her Facebook page and often shared widely by her followers. She attended her sentencing session in a court in the centre of the capital Kampala via video link from a maximum security prison by the shores of Lake Victoria on the city’s outskirts. Nyanzi shouted vulgarities and flashed her breasts and a double middle finger on several occasions during the session. Her offence stemmed from a Facebook post last year in which she said she wished Museveni, 74, had been burned up by the “acidic pus” in his mother’s birth canal. “My presence in your Court as a suspect and prisoner highlights multiple facets of dictatorship. I exposed the entrenchment of autocracy,” she wrote in her most recent post, a poem about her court case. “I refuse to be a mere spectator in the struggle to oust the worst dictator.” Joan Nyanyuki, director for East Africa at human rights pressure group Amnesty International, said: “This verdict is outrageous and flies in the face ofContinue reading

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Sudanese Protest - Sudan

Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders reached a “full agreement” on the constitutional declaration, the African Union said on Saturday, paving the way for transitioning to civilian rule. The document is complementary to a power-sharing deal signed on July 17 that aims to form a joint civilian-military ruling body which will oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for a three-year transition period. It comes after prolonged negotiations between Sudan’s ruling military council and leaders of the protest movement which toppled veteran leader Omar al-Bashir in April. “I am announcing to the Sudanese, African and international public opinion that the two delegations have fully agreed on the constitutional declaration,” AU mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters. He said meetings will be held to work out the technical details of the deal and discuss the formal signing ceremony. After the announcement, reporters erupted in cheers and the generals immediately exited the hall where the negotiations were held in Khartoum. Protest leaders remained to answer journalists’ questions. “We agreed on sensitive issues related to security and independence of the judiciary and the powers of the cabinet as well as the ruling sovereign council,” protest leader Ibrahim al-Amin told AFP. Under the agreement, “the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Force will report to the head of the armed forces,” said protest leader Monzer Abu al Maali. The protest movement has long blamed the irregulars of the powerful RSF, whose commander General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo is deputy head ofContinue reading

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Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari - Nigeria Politics News Today

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar Thursday called on the federal government to set up a judicial commission to probe the alleged secret burial of 1,000 Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents in the North-east. Atiku made the call against the backdrop of a report by the United States-based newspaper, Wall Street Journal (WSJ), that over 1,000 soldiers killed by the combined forces of Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) in the last one year were buried unceremoniously in secret graves in Maimalari, Borno State. But the Defence Headquarters has debunked the report, saying it has no secret graves anywhere in the North-east. The furore over the WSJ report came as the news of the death of 47 terrorists and 25 troops of a regional force, Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), after a clash in Baga, near Lake Chad, broke. The WSJ said in the report, published in its online edition on Wednesday, that “the bodies of these dead soldiers are laid by flashlight into trenches dug by infantrymen or local villagers who are usually paid a few dollars per shift.” It added that the bodies of the soldiers were covertly transported from crowded mortuaries in the dark and delivered by trucks. It cited soldiers, diplomats and government officials, who spoke anonymously and corroborated the story. “Several of my comrades were buried in unmarked graves at night,” said a soldier from the Maimalari Barracks, where more than 1,000 soldiers are based. “They are dying andContinue reading

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Slavery, Colonialism

Nana Assenso stands at the grave of his uncle, remembering the man he loved but also a past that has haunted his family for generations. His uncle was called Kwame Badu, a name that has been passed on through the family in remembrance of an ancestor with that name who was captured and sold into slavery long, long ago. “Growing up, I was told the story of two of my great-great-grand-uncles Kwame Badu and Kofi Aboagye who were captured and sold into slavery,” says Assenso, 68, the chief of Adidwan, a village in Ghana’s interior. He followed the family tradition and named his youngest son Kwame Badu. This month marks 400 years since the first recorded African slaves arrived in North America to work plantations in English colonies. In the centuries after, European slave traders shipped millions of African men, women and children across the Atlantic Ocean. Many died in horrific conditions on the slave boats, while survivors endured a life of misery and backbreaking farm work. For some of them, the terrible journey began here, deep inside Ghana. Captured by slavers, they were marched along dirt tracks for 200 kilometers (125 miles) to slave castles perched on the Atlantic Coast, where they boarded ships for North America. They never saw their homeland again. From here in Adidwan, the slaves were forced south, passing through the gold-mining town of Obuasi. Kwaku Agyei is a pastor and elder in Obuasi. He tells the story of the slave trade to young workersContinue reading

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Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Liberia News

Leymah Roberta Gbowee, National Orator on the 172nd Independence Anniversary, says Liberians failed to ask the hard questions during elections, and therefore, they elect people who steal, grab and go (SGG). Madam Gbowee said the ruling position often has misplaced priorities as their development agenda is nicely written on paper, but implementation is basically their private projects. “I agree things are tough; life is hard; people are hungry, but if we failed to ask the hard questions when we have the power, why are we surprised when we elect people who “Steal, Grab and Go,” Leymah Roberta Gbowee said. This year’s Independence Day Celebration was held under the theme, “Together, We Are Stronger,” which Madam Gbowee described as befitting for the times in which Liberians find themselves. She said that the values that kept coming up time and again in her listening tour were transparency, truth, equality and love for country above self. Madam Gbowee statement amid unearthing of unfolding situations in the country was greeted with total silent, especially when she raised concerns on “how can we be together in the presence of very harsh economic conditions; when corruption is still at its peak?” She continued: “How can we be stronger together when individuals who were poor yesterday are now living in mansions and driving cars that cost enough to fund good schools for our children?” Madam Gbowee further quizzed Liberians, with specific reference to those in authorities, “how can we be stronger together when women are still dyingContinue reading

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Atiku Abubakar - Nigeria Politics News Headlines

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has called for the implementation of the report of the Justice Mohammed Uwais National Electoral Reform Committee (NERC), stating that it is the only way to have credible elections in Nigeria. Atiku also called for the creation of an Election Crimes Commission to try all election offences in the country. In a statement titled, “Towards Credible Elections: The Role of the Judiciary, which he personally signed, Atiku said, “One way of addressing these lapses is to implement the salient recommendations of the National Electoral Reform Committee (NERC) headed by former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais. “The second, is the creation of Electoral Crimes Commission”. According to the former vice president, “One of such recommendations, which will enhance the independence of the supposedly Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is the recommendation that the power to appoint the Chairman and board of the INEC be taken away from the President and given to the Judiciary”. He further said, “Obviously, the 2019 elections were several steps down from the 2015 elections in terms of credibility, and as a democrat, I am challenging that election in the right arena, the courts. However, leadership does not just entail getting justice for the past. A real leader knows that in terms of justice, prevention is better than cure. “I have been pondering on the question, how can Nigeria have credible elections. Our electoral system needs not just toContinue reading

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Pravin Gordhan - South Africa News Today

South African minister Pravin Gordhan won a bid to avoid imminent disciplinary action on Monday after a court suspended orders from the public protector, in a relief for ally President Cyril Ramaphosa. The ruling is the second time in around a week that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has lost a high-profile case in court, potentially undermining the credibility of her investigations, which include one into Ramaphosa himself. Mkhwebane, who investigates alleged wrongdoing by state officials, instructed Ramaphosa to take “appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan this month after finding that Gordhan had violated the constitution and an executive ethics code. He has denied any wrongdoing. She had also instructed the country’s chief prosecutor and speaker of parliament to investigate Gordhan’s actions before Monday’s ruling. Public Enterprises Minister Gordhan, who oversees efforts to fix struggling companies such as state power utility Eskom, applied for an urgent ruling to prevent all of these actions being taken against him while he sought a separate ruling setting aside the public protector’s findings. “Gordhan will, if the suspension if not granted and the review is subsequently upheld, be seriously prejudiced,” High Court Judge Sulet Potterill said. “It defies all logic to proceed with the execution of the remedial action when the report that is the basis for the remedial action is the subject of judicial review.” “NONSENSICAL” The public protector’s spokesman, Oupa Segalwe, said Monday’s judgment was disappointing and that Mkhwebane would study it before “mapping the way forward”. The radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)Continue reading

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Noordin Haji, George Kinoti, Kenya

Noordin Haji, head of public prosecutions in Kenya, is the urbane son of one of the country’s most prominent families. George Kinoti, born in the slums, rose from burly beat cop to head the powerful police investigation department. Together, they are building corruption cases against top Kenyan officials. This week, the finance minister and other officials were charged with financial misconduct, marking the first time police have arrested a sitting finance minister in an east African nation notorious for graft. Both men credit their success in part to an unlikely friendship forged while working together in the field. “Prosecutors and investigators never worked together, but since me and Kinoti came into office that has changed,” Noordin Haji told Reuters at his Nairobi office, where leather-bound law books and the graceful arabesques of Islamic art line the walls. “We do have a personal relationship as friends,” said the trim, silver-haired 46-year-old, appointed director of public prosecutions (DPP) last August. “We are able to sit down and agree without having turf wars.” The first big case the two worked on together last year was the alleged theft of nearly $100 million from the National Youth Service. Kinoti hand-picked officers he could trust to work on the case, Haji said. Prosecutors charged 43 suspects, including a principal secretary, the most senior career bureaucrat in a ministry. The case against them is still ongoing, but five banks have already been fined nearly $4 million for failing to report suspicious transactions. Not everyone from theContinue reading

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Boko Haram - Nigeria News Today

Suicide bombings, mass kidnappings, tens of thousands of people killed. A ghastly insurgency by the homegrown Islamic extremist group Boko Haram marks 10 years this week in northeastern Nigeria, where many residents say life has been set back by decades. “It feels like 100 years, because everything seems to be moving slowly and not getting any better for me and my family,” said Hassan Mamman, who fled to Maiduguri, the region’s main city, after Boko Haram attacks on his rural home. He is among millions of people displaced. “I miss my community and always crave it but the merchants of death just won’t let us have that much-needed peace.” Friday marks a decade since Nigerian forces clashed with the extremists at Maiduguri’s central mosque. More than 700 people were killed, including leader Mohammed Yusuf, according to officials and rights groups. From that violence sprang the insurgency of Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language means “Western education is taboo.” The extremists have sought to establish a strict Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, carrying out attacks as far away as the capital, Abuja. The violence has also spilled into neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger. In recent years some fighters have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, creating a new threat. Boko Haram seized the world’s attention with the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, sparking a #BringBackOurGirls campaign supported by then-U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and others. While many schoolgirls have since been freed, countless other peopleContinue reading

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Robert Kyagulanyi, Bobi Wine - Uganda Politics News

Kyadondo East member of parliament Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine has officially announced his presidential bid in the 2021 elections. Since turning to politics about two years ago, the musician-cum legislator has often remained coy about his presidential ambitions, usually giving half answers on the matter. But today, at his home in Magere, Gayaza, Kyagulanyi said he’s ready to take on long time President Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power since bombing his way to power in 1986. His closest challenger has always been Rtd Col Kizza Besigye in elections that have often been marred by rigging and several electoral violations as confirmed by courts in 2016, 2011 and 2015. Besigye and Kyagulanyi have been in talks over the 2021 elections. “On behalf of the people of Uganda, I am challenging you [Museveni] to a free and fair election in 2021…We’re ready to kick Museveni and his cronies out power in 2021 and I am very serious about this.” said Kyagulanyi. Kyagulanyi said he may not be the best educated and most knowledgeable opposition politician to take on Museveni, but he’s “a person who wishes the best for my country and the general citizenry.” “I am ready to challenge the current leadership in 2021 and I promise I will never at any time betray the people of Uganda.” he added. COORDINATORS At the same press conference, Kyagulanyi also announced a team of coordinators from across all regions in the country that will provide leadership ahead of the polls. TheContinue reading

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Liberia, George Weah

Chinese Ambassador foresees more investment here; dedicates newly renovated community park in Paynesville Chinese Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Fu Jijun, has said that the cordial bilateral relationship that is currently subsisting between his country and Liberia will get stronger and stronger as he and his team will continue to make Liberia’s case in an effort to lure more investments to the country. He said that Chinese companies are seizing opportunities presented by the cordiality in relationship to invest and also implement projects on behalf of their mother country. “As the Chinese Ambassador here, I would like to assure you that it is my job to make every efforts to deepen the collaboration and enhance the friendship between both countries and bring more benefits to our people,” Ambassador Fu said. The senior Chinese diplomat spoke on Monday at the ceremony commemorating the dedication of the newly renovated Paynesville Community Park. It is anticipated that the Park would help boost recreational activities and improve interactions among residents. He expressed delight for being opportune to form part of the dedication of the newly constructed basketball court along with the fully equipped children’s playground–an initiative that represents many of the good results of the friendship and collaboration between both countries. Ambassador Fu noted at the event that Chinese companies are getting more involved in the development of the country and that, as interactions between those companies and the Liberian people increase, the China-Liberia friendship grows and deepens further. “As a way of advancing moreContinue reading

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Diane Shima Rwigara - Rwanda News

Former presidential candidate Diane Shima Rwigara has penned an emotional open letter to President Paul Kagame accusing him of condoning political murders. Rwigara wrote the letter after the gruesome murder of a prison guard named Jean Paul Mwiseneza aka Nyamata on June 10. Mwiseneza was repeatedly stabbed and dismembered, allegedly shortly after speaking with Rwigara about the unrest at Mageragere penitentiary in June, which left many inmates seriously injured. Rwigara says she chose to write to the president directly because organisations like National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) and Ibuka, which are responsible for seeking justice for genocide survivors, “are too afraid to stand up to the ruling party”. She says the government seems committed to retaining the searing memory of people killed during genocide. “Your Excellence, the international community has rightly congratulated Rwanda for abolishing the death penalty. But I am forced to ask: why are our fellow citizens continually the object of extrajudicial executions? And, as our head of state, why would you condone such executions in your May 10, 2019, Rubavu speech? Your subordinates emulate you. At Mwiseneza’s funeral, Chief Superintendent Innocent Iyaburunga blamed Mwiseneza for his own death…”, Rwigara writes in the 9-page letter. Rwigara goes on to question Kagame’s Never Again slogan, which she says she “presumed meant that no more Rwandan blood ever would be shed unjustly as it looks like Rwandan lives seem to not matter”. She goes on to say she remains “very grateful” to Kagame and the Rwandan PatrioticContinue reading

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Henry Rotich - Kenya News

Kenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich was arrested on Monday on suspicion of financial misconduct related to the construction of two dams, an unprecedented detention of a sitting minister for corruption in a country notorious for graft. Charges against Rotich, announced on Monday, stem from a police investigation into the misuse of funds in a dam project overseen by the Italian construction company CMC Di Ravenna. Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advertisement in March. The company has previously denied any wrongdoing. Rotich and his co-accused face eight charges, ranging from conspiring to defraud and financial misconduct, Noordin Haji, the director of public prosecutions, said. The minister and other officials will have to resign immediately, he said. Rotich was arrested shortly after the charges were announced, George Kinoti, the head of the police Directorate of Criminal Investigations, told Reuters in a text message. Suspects must be produced in court within 24 hours of an arrest. The minister will be charged along with 27 other people, including Italian Paolo Porcelli, the director of CMC di Ravenna; and Rotich’s number two at the ministry, Kamau Thugge, the principal secretary. “They broke the law on public finance management under the guise of carrying out legitimate commercial transactions, colossal amounts were unjustifiably and illegally paid out through a well choreographed scheme by government officers in collusion with private individuals and institutions,” Haji told a news conference. The two dams were budgeted to cost 46 billion shillings ($446 million), he said, but the treasuryContinue reading

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