| Africatime
Sunday 26 March 2017
(Voice of America 03/25/17)
Sudan has been elected to the deputy chairmanship of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The move concerns some analysts, who point to a September report released by Amnesty International that accuses Sudan's government of using chemical weapons against people in Darfur's Jebel Marra region from January to August 2016. The report alleged that as many as 250 people, including children, might have died as a result of chemical attacks, and hundreds more were injured. In September, the OPCW released a statement that it was aware of the report and would "certainly examine the reports and all other available relevant information."
(AFP (eng) 03/25/17)
Tunisia on Friday summoned the British ambassador to the North African country to protest against what it called an "unjustified" ban on electronic devices on flights to the United Kingdom. The foreign ministry's head of European affairs, Mohamed Mezghani, told ambassador Louise de Sousa that Tunisia was "surprised" it was not consulted or informed of the decision ahead of its announcement. The ban on large electronics devices was "unjustified and does not reflect the security situation in Tunisia", he said. Mezghani also cited a 2016 report by the International Civil Aviation Organization which he said described
(AFP (eng) 03/25/17)
Russia is trying to expand its influence in Libya through a combination of military means and oil and weapons sales, a top US general said Friday. General Thomas Tom Waldhauser, who heads the US military's Africa Command, said Russia is "on the ground" in the border region between Egypt and Libya. "They are trying to influence the action, we watch what they do with great concern," Waldhauser told Pentagon reporters. "In addition to the military side of this, we've seen some recent activity in business ventures -- whether it's oil, whether it's weapon sales that perhaps were stopped when the (Moamer) Kadhafi regime took place."
(Reuters (Eng) 03/24/17)
Gambia said on Thursday it would set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and offer reparations to victims of former President Yahya Jammeh's government, which is accused of the torture and killing of perceived opponents. Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said in a statement the government will also probe the finances of Jammeh, who fled into exile in January to Equatorial Guinea after a rule that began in 1994 when he seized power in a coup. Jammeh lost an election in...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/17)
A contentious amendment to Mauritania's constitution, which would abolish the Senate and change the national flag, will be put to a referendum "as quickly as possible," the president said Wednesday. The proposal to modify the constitution, which has been in force since 1991, was approved by lawmakers in the lower house of the west African Islamic republic but rejected by 33 out of 56 senators earlier this month. "Due to this rejection, we have arrived at an impasse. But there is one way out: we will hold a referendum," said President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at a press conference late Wednesday.
(AFP (eng) 03/23/17)
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Thursday sacked his information minister after he criticised an ally of the president who had stormed into a television station accompanied by armed men. The sacking comes amid an uproar over the incident at one of Tanzania's main private broadcasters, seen as yet another example of the restriction of basic freedoms since Magufuli came to power in October last year. A statement from the presidency did not give any reason for the firing of Information...
(Voice of America 03/23/17)
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe say they have no confidence in the country's electoral commission and are calling for an international body to run the 2018 elections. Opposition parties led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a rally of about 500 people Wednesday in Harare at which they said the next election is heading for a dispute unless the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, or ZEC, steps aside. The rally follows the electoral commission's request to President Robert Mugabe's government to buy biometric voter registration equipment in preparation for Zimbabwe's 2018 elections.
(AFP (eng) 03/22/17)
A coalition of Zimbabwean opposition parties on Wednesday staged a protest ahead of next year's polls, demanding the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission they accuse of hindering free-and-fair elections. A group of around 200 protesters gathered at an open space outside the central business district after police banned a planned street march to the electoral commission head office. "Having failed the fundamental test of impartiality and independence required of an election management board, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must forthwith be disbanded and dismantled,"
(AFP (eng) 03/20/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will visit Washington in April for talks with US President Donald Trump that will include the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process, his office said Monday. A statement by the presidency said "the Palestinian issue will be discussed" with Trump during Sisi's "visit to Washington early in April". Sisi "stressed the importance" of the US administration's "pivotal role in pushing forward the peace process" to try to find a solution to the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
The head of Rwanda's only registered opposition party, the tiny Green Party, said on Sunday he will stand against President Paul Kagame, who is expected to run for third term in August presidential polls. Kagame is widely admired by many for restoring stability to the East African nation after its 1994 genocide, presiding over rapid economic growth and creating a relatively corruption-free government. But rights activists say those achievements have come at the expense of civil liberties. Some of Kagame's political opponents have been killed after they fled abroad, in cases that remain unsolved. Frank Habineza was elected to oppose Kagame in a Green Party congress of about 400 members.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appeared in a video on Sunday for the first time in a month since his abrupt cancellation of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Algiers triggered speculation over his health. Since a stroke in 2013, Bouteflika, 80, has appeared rarely in public and usually only in state news images with visiting dignitaries, leaving questions over whether the leader in power for nearly two decades will finish his term. In a video broadcast on Sunday on state television, Bouteflika was seen receiving his minister of Africa and Arab Affairs. It was his first such appearance since he postponed Merkel's visit to Algiers on Feb. 20 citing acute bronchitis.
(AFP 03/19/17)
The security situation in Mali "remains worrying" despite recent troop deployments and some progress on the country's peace accord, the head of the UN's peacekeeping force said Saturday in Bamako. "The overall security situation remains worrying. We are all too frequently attacked by armed groups," Herve Ladsous said at a press conference. Deployed since July 2013, the UN's 13,000-strong peacekeeping operation -- known as MINUSMA -- is considered one of the deadliest missions in peacekeeping since the UN deployed to...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/18/17)
Niger's lower house of parliament voted unanimously on Friday to investigate accusations that President Mahamadou Issoufou's former chief of staff improperly participated in the state mining company's purchase of 5.5 million pounds of uranium. A Nigerien newspaper published documents last month showing a bank transfer in November 2011 for $320 million from an account belonging to state miner Sopamin to an account controlled by an offshore company called Optima Energy. The bank transfer was signed by Issoufou's chief of staff at the time and current finance minister, Hassoumi Massaoudou, who lawmakers have said had no authority to do so. Local media has dubbed the affair "uraniumgate".
(AFP (eng) 03/18/17)
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo on Friday defended his controversial decision to appoint a 110-minister government, calling it a "necessary investment" in the small west African country. The new government nominated Wednesday -- which includes dozens of lower-level and regional ministers -- is a record for Ghana and has sparked a storm of commentary on social media and radio talk shows. "I'm aware that people are concerned about what they see as maybe the cost of this large government," Akufo-Addo admitted in an interview on national television Friday. "It is a necessary investment to make." Akufo-Addo, who was elected in December on a promise to fix a host of economic problems and fight
(AFP (eng) 03/17/17)
Many Africans have become accustomed to their leaders trying to cling to power at all costs, but in tiny Benin, the president appears to be trying to do the opposite. President Patrice Talon, a former businessman dubbed the "cotton king" of Cotonou, has put forward a proposal to limit the head of state to a single term of office. Reform of the "political model" was a central part of his election campaign last year, which saw him beat then-prime minister Lionel Zinsou in the race to replace Thomas Boni Yayi. He also proposed setting up a court of auditors and revamping political party funding.
(Xinhuanet 03/17/17)
The Assembly of People's Representatives (PRA) in Tunisia approved on Thursday night the candidacy of two new members of Youssef Chahed's National Unity government. They are the Minister of Religious Affairs Ahmed Adhoum and the Secretary of State for Trade Abdellatif Hmam, respectively with 119 and 120 votes in favor. Forty deputies voted against both candidates without any abstentions. "Tunisia and its people are currently facing a series of challenges that are the result of a legacy and an accumulation...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
South Africa's main opposition party was plunged into a racism dispute on Thursday after a provincial leader tweeted that colonialism had brought benefits including clean water. Helen Zille, former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party and the current premier of the Western Cape, apologised for the tweet, which unleashed fierce criticism from her own party and opponents. "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water," she wrote on Twitter. The DA, which won 22 percent of the vote in 2014's general election, has been gaining popularity and trying to shed its image
(Xinhuanet 03/16/17)
The Ugandan government on Wednesday dismissed a human rights report that called for an independent inquiry into the clashes between government forces and a tribal group in Rwenzori region in the western part of the country. New York headquartered Human Rights Watch in its report issued on Wednesday said the clashes late last year left over 150 people dead, including 15 children. The organization called for an independent, impartial fact-finding mission with international expertise into the killings. According to the government's statement, government troops clashed with a separatist tribal group in Kasese district in November last year, leaving 103 people dead and arresting over 180 people including a local king.
(Xinhuanet 03/16/17)
Sudan on Wednesday said the European Union (EU) has not fulfilled its commitments to supporting Sudan's efforts to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking. Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has informed a visiting EU delegation of the failure. "The foreign minister reiterated that the EU has not fulfilled its commitments made in Valletta Conference in Malta to support Sudan to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking via controlling its borders with neighboring countries," said Sudan's Foreign Ministry in a statement. On Tuesday, a joint work session was held at the premises of Sudan's foreign ministry between Sudan and Africa's working group at the EU Commission which brings together
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
The king of Morocco is to appoint a new prime minister, the royal palace announced Wednesday, after an unprecedented five months of talks on forming a coalition government ended in failure. "To break the current deadlock, the king has decided to appoint another member of the PJD (Justice and Development Party) to lead the government within the shortest time possible," a palace statement said. King Mohammed VI tasked Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane with forming a new government after the Islamist PJD won the most seats in elections in October 2016.

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