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Cameroon Defense Ministry Opens Investigation Into Burning of Homes

Brussels — Cameroonian soldiers went on a rampage in the English-speaking North-West region on May 15, 2019, burning over 70 homes in Mankon, Bamenda. Soldiers dragged one man from his house, shooting him dead in the street. In a news release issued on May 16, the defense ministry announced that it had opened an investigation into the burning of homes and destruction of property. The government should hold soldiers involved accountable. “The government’s move to investigate these attacks on civilians and their property is an important step to ensure accountability,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The investigation should be prompt, independent, and impartial, but it should not end there. The government should immediately review other cases of alleged abuses by its security forces and prosecute those responsible.” Human Rights Watch interviewed 15 residents of Mankon, including 10 witnesses, who described how soldiers from the Air Force and the Rapid Intervention Battalion coordinated the attack. Human Rights Watch also reviewed satellite imagery showing over 70 buildings affected by fire and photographs and videos showing extensive destruction of property. Over the past three years, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have been embroiled in a cycle of violence that has led to 1,800 deaths and uprooted half a million people from their homes. Government forces and armed separatist groups have committed serious human rights abuses against the civilian population. On May 15, following the killing of two Air Force soldiers by suspected armed separatists, security forces killed Nwacha Christopher Neba,Here's the full story.

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Court Order - Judge Judgement

Kenya’s High Court on Friday upheld sections of the penal code that criminalize same-sex relations, a disappointment for gay rights activists across Africa where dozens of countries have similar laws. The judges’ unanimous ruling in the closely watched case was followed by activists’ vows to appeal. Many in Kenya’s vibrant gay community had hoped the court would make history by scrapping the British colonial-era laws and inspiring other countries in Africa to do the same. Activists argue that the laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults are in breach of the constitution because they deny basic rights. The state should not regulate intimacy between gay couples, they say. One law punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and prescribes up to 14 years in prison for people convicted of homosexual acts. Another says “indecent practices between males” can bring up to five years in prison. The laws create an environment of fear and harassment even if they are not always enforced, activists say. “The issue is violence, discrimination and oppression,” one activist, Tirop Salat, said. The judges, however, said the petitioners had failed to prove how the laws violated their right to health, dignity and privacy and said the laws do not single out gay people. Kenya has no social pressure to legalize homosexuality, they added. “Acknowledging cohabitation among people of the same sex, where they would ostensibly be able to have same-sex intercourse, would indirectly open the door for (marriage) of people of the same sex,” said theHere's the full story.

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Emmanuel Macron and Khalifa Hifter - Khalifa Haftar - Libya - France News

Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter said in a meeting on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron that he cannot work toward a cease-fire because he has no one with whom to negotiate. Hifter opened a military offensive on the Libyan capital of Tripoli in early April despite commitments to move toward elections in the North African country. Libya is divided between Khalifa Hifter, whose self-styled Libyan National Army controls the east and much of the south, and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, who runs the U.N.-supported but weak government in Tripoli. During a more than hour-long closed door meeting, Macron asked Hifter to work toward a cease-fire and a return to the political process, according to a statement from Macron’s office. When the question of a cease-fire is put on the table, “the reaction of … Hifter is ‘with whom can I negotiate a ceasefire today?’ ” an official of the presidential Elysee Palace said. Hifter considers the Sarraj government is being eaten from within by armed militias and considers “it’s not for him (Hifter) to negotiate with representatives of these militias,” the official said. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the delicate talks and asked to remain anonymous. The closed-door meeting came two weeks after Macron hosted Libya’s struggling U.N.-backed prime minister, who has denounced Hifter’s offensive as an attempted coup. Macron’s office has expressed support for Sarraj. The official rejected claims that France is secretly backing Hifter, saying that France is trying “to create a dynamic” betweenHere's the full story.

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Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, Gaid Salah - Ahmed Gaed Salah - Algeria News

Algeria’s army chief of staff said on Wednesday he had no political ambitions in response to democracy activists who say that he intends to copy the authoritarian model of Egypt. The armed forces have been a pivotal power centre in Algeria for decades and have been managing a transition after mass protests forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign last month after 20 years in office. Street demonstrations have continued to press demands for a dismantling of the elite of independence veterans, security commanders and business tycoons that have run the major oil and natural gas producer since independence from France in 1962. “Everybody should know that we have no political ambitions,” Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah told state television. A presidential election has been scheduled for July 4 but an informed source said on Friday it might be postponed. Algerian activists say they are concerned the army-steered transition towards democracy will prove illusory as in Egypt. As Egypt’s army chief in 2013, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled freely elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, won election himself in 2014 and then suppressed Mursi’s supporters as well as the liberal opposition in a pervasive crackdown on dissent. In Algeria, analysts the army fears the crisis will continue at a time of worsening disorder in neighbouring Libya, where there is factional fighting for control of the capital Tripoli. Salah also said a fight against corruption and cronyism, among protesters’ main grievances, would continue and that he disagreed with some officials who said this wasHere's the full story.

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Jacob Zuma - South Africa News

Jacob Zuma’s lawyers argued on Monday that the former South African president had been treated unfairly by prosecutors in his attempt to have revived corruption charges set aside because he is unpopular in the country at large. Zuma, who was in office from 2009-2018, has applied for a permanent stay of prosecution from 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy 30 billion rand (1.6 billion pounds) of European military hardware for South Africa’s armed forces in the late 1990s. The 77-year old, appearing in court on Monday for the fifth time since the charges were reinstated in March 2018, has previously denied any wrongdoing and has said he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt. On the first day of the hearing, Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, described the former president’s treatment by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as “mob justice” and said Zuma had been charged because the country does not like him. “Suppose we know that he may well have done what we suspect he did. Does he get stripped of human dignity, is there a reason to deal with him in a particular way because he is Mr Zuma?” Sikhakhane said in his opening comments. He accused prosecutors of being biased against Zuma, who was ousted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in February 2018 after nine years in power marked by graft allegations and economic stagnation that led to credit rating downgrades. Sikhakhane also asked the courtHere's the full story.

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Sudan Protests News

Sudan’s opposition alliance blamed military rulers on Tuesday for renewed street violence complicating efforts to negotiate a handover to civilian power after last month’s ouster of President Omar al-Bashir. At least four people died and dozens were injured during protests on Monday as the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) said they had reached a partial agreement for transition. Gunfire rang out in the capital into the night after paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – whose head is deputy of the military council – had patrolled the streets using tear gas and guns to disrupt demonstrations. The protesters, who want to keep pressure on the military for a swift handover, were back on Tuesday, blocking roads and bridges with bricks and rocks, images on social media showed. “The bullets that were fired yesterday were Rapid Support Forces bullets and we hold the military council responsible for what happened yesterday,” Khalid Omar Youssef, a senior figure in the DFCF, told a news conference. “While they claimed that a third party was the one who did so, eyewitnesses confirmed that the party was in armed forces vehicles and in armed forces uniforms, so the military council must reveal this party.” “HE MEANT TO KILL ME” Monday’s fatalities were the first in protests for several weeks after months of demonstrations led to Bashir’s fall. The victims included a military police officer and three demonstrators, state TV said. An opposition-linked doctors’ committee said there was a fifthHere's the full story.

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Nelson Mandela

Many people are asking why the governing African National Congress (ANC) is happy after recording its worst performance since white minority rule ended in 1994 - 58% share of the vote.

This is the first time the party that has led South Africa since 1994 has won less than 60% of votes, but for an organisation that is hugely divided, riddled by corruption and has had a decade of lethargic leadership, this result is seen as a boost for its new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Many people see this as the ANC's last chance to redeem itself.

Mr Ramaphosa took over the party in December 2017, after the ANC sacked Jacob Zuma, embroiled in corruption allegations, which he denies.

One of its senior members, Fikile Mbalula, said the party's share of votes "would have probably dropped to 40%" had its leadership not changed.

But the ANC shouldn't celebrate too soon.

The people of South Africa may have given the ANC a mandate to lead, but it is not unconditional.

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African National Congress , ANC , South Africa

The African National Congress easily won South Africa’s general election but its share of the vote fell, reflecting anger at corruption scandals and racial inequalities that remain entrenched a generation after the party took power.

The turnout for Wednesday’s vote was markedly lower than at the last election in 2014, falling to 66% from 73.5%, the electoral commission said, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), also saw its vote share fall.

ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said “confidence is returning and we need to correct our mistakes”. Other ANC officials had already acknowledged the decline in support compared with five years ago.

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Omar al-Bashir - Sudan News Today

After spearheading the rallies that toppled former President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s main protest group is now locked in a stand-off with the country’s new military rulers that is testing its clout as a political force. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) gained widespread support during more than four months of protests and it has helped win a string of apparent concessions from the military council that took over from Bashir on April 11.

But as the unionists and activists in the SPA try to chart a course to full-fledged democracy, they are coming up against a powerful rival that has shown little sign yet that it is willing to move aside for a civilian-led transition.

Frustrated by a lack of progress, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), a broad coalition of opposition groups headed by the SPA, called on Wednesday for a campaign of civil disobedience to crank up the pressure on the military.

“We have all options open from now on,” Ahmed Rabie, an influential SPA member, told Reuters. “If (the council) insists on holding on to power, we are going to consider this a military coup, and we will escalate our tactics, peacefully.”

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Today News

Early vote tallies suggest South Africa’s ruling ANC party will retain power after an election on Wednesday, but analysts said its share of the vote could fall below 60 percent for the first time since the end of white minority rule.

As of 0900 GMT Thursday, more than 4 million votes had been counted out of about 26.8 million registered voters. In the parliamentary vote, the ANC was on 55 percent, with the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on nearly 26 percent and the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on nearly 9 percent.

South Africans voting for a new parliament and nine provincial legislatures had expressed frustration at rampant corruption, high unemployment and racial inequalities that persist 25 years after Nelson Mandela’s former liberation party swept to power in the first all-race poll in 1994.

Based on the early results, the News24 online site predicted the ANC would win between 56 percent and 59 percent of the final vote.

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Politics Headlines News

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will kick-start the economy and deal with corruption, it vowed on Sunday, three days before elections at which its overwhelming majority faces its sternest test since the party rose to power.

Less than 30 km (18.6 miles) away, the country’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), challenged the ANC’s governance record and promised a tougher stance on corruption and economic policies to target racial inequality.

Though the ANC has won each parliamentary election since the transition from apartheid in 1994, recent opinion polls predict that it will bleed support to opposition coalitions that have gained ground as the ANC has been dogged by political scandal and a flagging economy.

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Mmusi Maimane - South Africa News

South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), although heading for defeat in May 8 national elections, pledged to forge coalitions with smaller parties to break the dominance of the ruling ANC, especially at the local level.

South Africans vote for a sixth time since the end of apartheid in 1994, and while an all-out victory for the ruling African National Congress is almost certain, the margin of its majority is set to drop following a decade of weak economic growth and a rise in racial tensions.

At the DA's final campaign rally on Saturday, Mmusi Maimane, the first black African to lead the center-right party, told 5,000 supporters in the township of Soweto the DA would grow jobs, protect minority rights and unite the country.

"You will find us at the heart of coalition governments in this country, as we build a strong center for South Africa, free from the divisions of the past," Maimane said.

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White Farmers in Mashonaland Central

A white commercial farmer, Calvin William James, has evicted former liberation war heroine Mavis Rombedzayi's four children, from her Mazowe farm in Mashonaland Central, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.

Efforts are currently underway to challenge the eviction although nothing has materialised, according to Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association district chairperson Efanos Mudzimunyi.

"Rombedzayi's children received an eviction order from the courts yet they did not know anything about a case against them. They did not even know what was happening when they were evicted."

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Nana Akufo-Addo - Ghana News Headlines - Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has outdoored the Ghana Beyond Aid document which sets out the national plans and strategies of making the country self-reliant, without any form of external support. The document provides a roadmap to achieve the vision of building an economically independent country prosperous enough not to need aid, and competitive enough to engage with the rest of the world through trade and investment.

It contains strategies on how the country's resources can be harnessed effectively and deployed creatively and efficiently for rapid economic and social transformation. It also suggests how Ghanaians can break from the mentality of dependence and adopt a 'can do' spirit fuelled by love for the country.

President Akufo-Addo outdoored the document, which was developed by a committee chaired by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, at the May Day (Workers' Day) celebration parade at the Independence Square in Accra.

The Ghana Beyond Aid Committee developed the document in consultation with 30 different institutions in academia, with inputs from the general public, and some Ghanaians in the diaspora.

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Politics Headlines News

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) appears headed for victory in next month’s election, as President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks to strike a reforming tone, with three opinion polls showing support ranging between 51 and 61 percent.

The three pollsters, which used different methodologies and turnout assumptions for the May 8 parliamentary vote, put support for the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), at between 19 and 24 percent.

Facing huge pent-up demand for better living standards for the country’s black majority, the ANC is seen by some critics as having failed to live up to the heady promises of Nelson Mandela’s era. The party’s image was severely tarnished under Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

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Khalifa Haftar - Libya News

Eastern-based Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in April on the capital Tripoli in the west that has plunged the oil-producing nation into a new bout of conflict.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has faced fierce resistance from forces loyal to the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, threatening fresh disruption to the OPEC state’s energy industry.

The renewed risk to Libyan output has supported oil prices that are already trading close to six-month highs.

As a major oil supplier to Europe and starting point for migrant flows to Italy, much is at stake if the country slips further into turmoil.

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Burhan Abdelrahman , Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan Abdelrahman, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan Abdelrahman

Sudan’s military rulers and opposition agreed in principle on Saturday to the formation of a joint body to lead a transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir, but not on the new council’s make-up, two sources said. The two sides were holding their first formal discussions as opposition groups and protesters push for a rapid handover to civilian rule following Bashir’s fall earlier this month. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), which ousted and arrested Bashir after months of protests, has said it will rule for up to two years ahead of elections.

Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation. They continued their thousands-strong demonstration on Saturday evening.

“I came to support the sit-in for a civilian government because the army ruled Sudan since 52 years ago and the result is nothing,” said Nour el-Dayem Gaafar, a 23-year-old student from South Darfur state who had travelled by bus to the capital.

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