Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Sierra Leone's electoral body announced on the eve of a presidential run-off on Monday that the vote would be delayed until Saturday after losing days of preparation due to a court order. The country's High Court had earlier lifted an injunction imposed on Saturday that halted the runoff until further notice, after considering a fraud complaint filed by a lawyer linked to the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC). The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said more time was needed "due to logistical delays resulting from the injunction" and called on voters to cast their ballots "in an environment of peace". Aside from their main legal complaint, the APC further alleged on Sunday that the electoral commission was working with a different...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Of the many headaches facing the UN mission in DR Congo as its mandate comes up for renewal, few are greater than the ethnic bloodshed and brewing humanitarian crisis in the Kasai region. The sprawling diamond-rich region exploded into violence in September 2016 after soldiers killed a local traditional leader known as the Kamwina Nsapu. Fighting has left more than 3,000 people dead and displaced 1.4 million others, according to the Roman Catholic church. Hunger stalks the region as a result of harvests that have been missed or destroyed. According to the UN Children's Fund, Unicef, 400,000 severely malnourished children are in danger of dying. Reports of killings, arbitrary arrests and kidnapping with ransom demands...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Former South African president Jacob Zuma is set to appear in court on April 6 to face corruption charges, police said Monday. Zuma is accused of taking kickbacks before he became president in 2009 from the $5 billion purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms. He resigned on February 14 when the ruling African National Congress party turned against him after a nine-year reign scarred by corruption allegations, an economic slowdown and diminished popularity. "We can confirm that the summons has been served to the former president," Hangwani Mulaudzi...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
The son of Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been charged with fraud linked to a $500 million transfer executed when he ran the country's sovereign wealth fund, prosecutors said Monday. Jose Filomeno dos Santos is accused of "fraud, misappropriation of funds, money laundering and associating with criminals," deputy chief prosecutor Luis Benza Zanga told a media conference. Nicknamed "Zenu", Filomeno dos Santos was appointed to head the $5 billion oil-fuelled sovereign fund by his father in 2013 but then was sacked by President Joao Lourenco, who took power in January.
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Hundreds of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's supporters revelled outside polling stations in Cairo on Monday as voting got underway to celebrate what they expect will be his certain re-election. In the southwestern neighbourhood of Al-Haram, close to the ancient Giza pyramids, women danced and a man beat a large drum, while those gathered around them waved the Egyptian flag and sang in unison. Nearby, trucks carrying large speakers blasted nationalistic and pro-military pop songs, encouraging people to take part in the vote. "In spite of America, long live Egypt. Long live Egypt with its great military," chanted a woman dressed in a black gown and a bandana in the colours of the Egyptian flag, and with a flag wrapped around...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Sierra Leone's High Court on Monday lifted an order that had halted the country's presidential runoff because of a complaint of electoral fraud backed by the ruling party. The order that the electoral commission should be "restrained" from conducting Tuesday's vote is no longer in force, the court in Freetown said. The High Court had issued an order on Saturday to halt preparations for the vote, following a complaint filed by a lawyer linked to the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC). Lawyers for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said in their filing Monday the order had already thrown the election into "chaos". The commission asked an alternative date of March 31 for the election to proceed, but it is not...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Liberia's new leader, ex-football player George Weah, on Monday lent the number from his national team jersey to a military hospital as he unveiled the first major project of his presidency. The "14 military hospital" will primarily care for Liberian soldiers returning from peacekeeping missions abroad, who are currently obliged to seek treatment in foreign countries due to a lack of specialised facilities. "The number 14 was the number on my back playing for the Lone Stars (national team). The number is now attached to this important new institution as a symbolic reminder of what Liberians can achieve," Weah told journalists. The hospital will be located in the Edward Binyah Kesselly Barracks, close to the capital Monrovia. Liberia's police and...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
A Chadian soldier and 20 Boko Haram members were killed in a clash in the restive Lake Chad region near Nigeria, a Chadian military officer told AFP Saturday. The incident occurred on Friday on an islet named Tchoukou Hadje, the officer said, adding that five soldiers were wounded. "Twenty Boko Haram members were killed and a large amount of weapons was recovered," he said. "The Chadian army lost one member." Two Chadian soldiers including a captain were killed in an ambush in the area a month ago in the first attack by the Nigerian jihadist group on Chadian soil since May last year in which nine soldiers died. Boko Haram, a militant movement opposed to Western influence and seeking an...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Ethiopian police have arrested a group of 11 high-profile dissidents, some of whom had been pardoned and freed from jail just weeks before, an attorney said Monday. Among those detained on Sunday were journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition politician Andualem Arage, who were pardoned in a mass prisoner amnesty ordered by the prime minister last month, lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told AFP. Two of Ameha's clients, Befekadu Hailu and Mahlet Fantahun of the Zone 9 blogging collective, whose members were the subject of a years-long prosecution that the government abandoned in February, were also arrested. The group was attending an event celebrating the release of dissidents freed in the prisoner amnesty when police arrived and surrounded the house where it was...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Senate elections took place in Cameroon Sunday, as tensions continued to soar in the French-majority country's anglophone regions where separatist rebels have been fighting government forces for several months. Senate elections do not take place by universal suffrage in the West African nation. Some 10,000 municipal councillors across Cameroon are voting for 70 members of the upper house for a duration of five years. Appointees to the 30 remaining seats will be named later by President Paul Biya. His party, the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC), already holds a large majority in the Senate...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Twenty-four people died after a bus collided with a truck in eastern Tanzania on Saturday evening, according to a witness and press reports. "A public transport minibus collided with a truck in Mparanga, in the Mkuranga district," witness John Nyoni told AFP by telephone. "We were able to count with 24 dead and 10 wounded," he added. The Mwananchi daily was among local media to report the crash, quoting police commander Mohamed Likwata. He said the 10 wounded were taken to the Muhimbili National Hospital in the economic capital Dar es Salaam, according to Mwananchi. Road accidents in Tanzania are common, often due to speeding, overloading of vehicles, poor road and vehicle conditions, but also lax road safety enforcement by police.
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Sierra Leone's opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio on Sunday accused outgoing leader Ernest Bai Koroma of attempting to derail Tuesday's presidential run-off through the courts to keep his party in power. The High Court on Saturday ordered the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to halt preparations for the vote until an election fraud complaint lodged by a lawyer linked to the ruling party is resolved. Bio, who won the March 7 first round by a slim margin for the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), is due to run against Koroma's hand-picked successor, Samura Kamara, who will represent the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC). "The motivation behind the APC injunction is very clear: they do not want a runoff presidential...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
The EU said on Sunday it was "extremely concerned" about DR Congo after the country announced it would decline a $1.7 billion international aid package. A war of words broke out between the United Nations and DR Congo after Kinshasa said on Friday it would not attend a donor conference in Geneva aimed at tackling a humanitarian crisis the Congolese government says has been vastly exaggerated by aid workers. "The EU is extremely concerned about the worsening crisis in the DRC," EU commissioner for humanitarian aid Christos Stylianides said at a press conference in the eastern city of Goma. "The humanitarian situation is getting worse day by day and unfortunately I saw enormous suffering...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Disgraced former South African president Jacob Zuma could appear in court within weeks on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with a decades-old $5 billion arms deal, reports said Sunday. Quoting sources close to the case, news websites News24 and TimeLive said the first hearing could take place in Durban on April 6. Prosecutors in the case allege that Zuma took kickbacks from the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms manufactured by five European firms including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales. It was announced last week that Zuma, who resigned as president last month, would face prosecution...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Six civilians were killed in attacks in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo where violence has claimed at least 130 lives since December, a local official said Saturday. Since late last year, scores of people have been killed in a flareup of clashes involving the Hema and Lendu communities, cattle herders and farmers who have a long history of violence over access to land. "Assailants attacked the localities of Penyi, de Dz'lo and de Mbachulu. Until now, we have found six dead and several wounded," said Mande Lonema, head of an area of the Walendu district where cattle herders and farmers from the Lendu communities live. The attacks in the volatile Ituri province took place overnight Thursday to Saturday and casualties...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
For a musician used to receiving personal insults from the president and anonymous death threats with the release of every new single, Emmerson Bockarie laughs a lot. The Sierra Leonean popstar, a thorn in the side of successive governments over his 15-year career, chuckles as he recalls the countless times politicians have sought to dampen his appeal, and the countless times they have failed. "Politicians make mentions of my music on TV and radio. That means they hear the songs and are getting the message," he notes with delight, settling down for an interview with AFP at his Freetown studio. Better known simply as "Emmerson", the Afrobeat singer is the bete noire of Sierra Leone's music scene, one of few...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Egyptians headed to the polls Monday in a presidential election to choose between incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and a little-known politician who has struggled to make the case he is a serious contender. Polling stations opened at 9:00 am (0700 GMT) for the three-day vote, in which Sisi is all but guaranteed to win a second four-year term. The president was among the first voters, shown on Egyptian television casting his ballot at a school in Cairo's Heliopolis district under tight security. Voters turned up early at polling stations and queued to cast their votes. Outside some stations, musical troupes showed up to celebrate the election. "What's the alternative other than Sisi? If we don't come to vote would that...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe says South Africa should have sent troops instead of a team of negotiators to prevent his ouster by the military last year. Mugabe said his regional neighbours betrayed him "in a sense", in an interview with the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper and other regional and international media. "When you look at their conditions, except for South Africa, they haven’t got the capacity to intervene," the 94-year-old is quoted as saying. "But South Africa could have done much more. It did not send an army, but just to engage." Mugabe who ruled Zimbabwe since independence from British colonial rule in 1980 was forced to quit when the military stepped in and ruling ZANU-PF lawmakers launched impeachment...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday said it was shunning a donor conference in Geneva next month aimed at raising $1.7 billion to tackle what the United Nations has called a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Jose Makila said the UN had overreacted and that aid bodies and NGOs in the country were propagating a "bad image of DR Congo throughout the world". "The Democratic Republic of Congo declines to participate in the Geneva conference" on April 13, he said. The United Nations has declared the humanitarian crisis in the DR Congo to be a Level 3, the UN's highest-level emergency. "While recognising that the country is facing an emergency situation ... the activation of the top-level humanitarian emergency...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Friday fired its deputy president and two other senior officials on misconduct charges, stoking fears of a split in the party ahead of key elections in July, a month after the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) expelled Thokozani Khupe, a former deputy prime minister, ending a protracted succession feud which flared into an open fight following Tsvangirai's death. "The national council resolved, by more than the mandatory two thirds of the vote that vice president Khupe be removed from the party," the party's deputy national chair Morgan Komichi said in a statement.

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