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Covid-19: Kenya rolls out contact tracing app
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe

The Ministry of Health on Monday disclosed that the government has rolled out a new-web based for contact tracing and surveillance.

Addressing the reporters during daily press briefs on Covid-19, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe said the application was developed in collaboration with development partners saying the new method of tracing the Coronavirus patients is reliable in comparison to phone calls the Ministry previously relied on.

The Minister averred that a team of 229 have been dispatched to the counties to boost the process. He also witnessed the hand-over of vehicles to 13 Counties to aid contact tracing program.

“We are receiving a major boost with rapid response vehicles to various counties. These vehicles have been procured by the Covid-19 health emergency response team at a cost of Sh200 million,” he said.

At the same time he announced 12 more Covid-19 related deaths in the country raising the number of fatalities to 195.  Three died at home while the rest in the hospital, said Kagwe.

The latest figures are the highest number of deaths the country has recorded in a single day since the first case was reported.

The CS also confirmed 189 new cases bringing the total number of positive cases in the African nation to 10,294. The new cases were detected from 1,205 samples analyzed in the last 24 hours.

In terms of gender, 106 were males and 83 females aged between 5 to 71 years.

The cases were spread across the country as follows: Nairobi (147), Kiambu (20), Machakos (11), Kajiado (5), Mombasa (2), Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Laikipia and Kericho have one (1) case each.

On a positive note, 65 patients have been discharged raising the number of recoveries to 2,946.

Total number of samples tested so far is 216,242.

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European Union steps up support to COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen
EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen

The European Union has granted another EUR 6.5 million (USD 7.33 million) to step up the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe.

The funds are a top-up for the EU’s existing support to the multi-donor Health Development Fund (HDF). The additional support will contribute to the supply of essentials commodities (PPE, diagnostic tests among others). Additionally, training of all frontline health workers will be conducted as well as for community health workers on Infection Prevention and Case Management. As part of the preventive measures, the grant will assist in developing innovative communication tools to maintain a high level of alert in the country.

Finally, the funds will contribute to a better coordination among all partners supporting the health sector with the guidance of the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC).

Announcing the additional grant, EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen said: “A global health threat needs a global response with timely and coordinated measures and solidarity. In view of the current rising epicurve which shows daily new COVID-19 positive cases, this timely support is appropriate to improving ongoing activities, which are part of an urgent response to shared priorities.

 The EU will continue supporting the people of Zimbabwe, monitoring the work of our trusted partner UNICEF to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met. We trust this will contribute to mitigate at medium terms, part of the triple crisis of socio-economic challenges, drought and COVID-19 that Zimbabwe is currently facing.”

In support to the National COVID-19 Response plan, Health Development Fund (HDF) funding partners (DFID, Irish Aid, SIDA, GAVI, EU) had already contributed to the immediate response in order to reinforce the basic and critical health services at all levels of care as well as using flexible procedures to support the early national response in March/April 2020. Support to the Health sector is one of the key support areas of the European Union in Zimbabwe under the 11th European Development Fund. Since 2016, the EU has provided over 108.26 million EUR (about USD 122.23 million) to the HDF and is one of the biggest donors to the sector.

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Sierra Leone : Abdul Aziz Islamic Foundation ends feasibility studies for the construction of hospital in Lutti Kambia district
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

From L-R Project coordinator , Abdul Charming Kamara , sheik Abdul Rashid Kamara and traditional leaders during the official handing over of the land to the Foundation , Lutti, Kambia district .
From L-R Project coordinator , Abdul Charming Kamara , sheik Abdul Rashid Kamara and traditional leaders during the official handing over of the land to the Foundation , Lutti, Kambia district .

The Abdul Aziz Islamic Foundation For the Poor and Needy , a charitable and non-profitable organisation registered in the United States of America has on  Friday 10th July ended  its final feasibility studies for the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital for the people of Lutti Gbana , Rosinor and its surroundings in Samu Chiefdom , Kambia district, Northern Sierra Leone.

In his statement , Chairman Kambia District Council , Mohamed Yayah Bangura ,  welcomed the construction of the hospital for the people of Lutti and its environs adding it would benefit the people  living in those  river line areas as they are mostly struggling with health issues and other challenges like clean water.

“First of all, we want to register our appreciation to the foundation. Alhamdulillah, we know that they are people that are supporting communities  to overcome lots of  obstacles especially in   Kambia district , Samu Chiefdom to be specific . We have a whole lot of problem in those river line areas. There are so many health issues especially in the dry season. They struggle to get water  and their health systems is very , very poor ,’’he said.

He added that the move is timely and as a council they  appreciate the kind of support the foundation is  bringing  to the inhabitants of Samu Chiefdom thus assuring  the organization of their support as the project will benefit the people of Kambia district.

In his statement ,  Chief Administrator Kambia district council, Dr. Edward Alpha said, the move by the Foundation was laudable as they are complementing the efforts of the government and thus the need to support them .

“  This is laudable because Other people have money, but they prefer  doing with it the other way , but if this foundation decided to construct a health centre or state of the art peripheral health Unit, its laudable and  it will help to a very large extent  to address public health services in the district and I think as a council, we would be the greatest beneficiary. What they are doing is what we are supposed to do,’’ he said.

Dr. Alpha expressed optimism and hope for the successful implementation of  the project thus calling on other people to emulate such kind gesture.

Head of the delegation Abdul Aziz Foundation in Lutti, Sheik Abdul Rashid Kamara said the organisation stands to help the poor and needy stating that since its inception it has been working on helping the poor and needy there  by providing food during the month of Ramadan to hundreds of people in the country, donating carpets to different mosques across the country  among many other interventions.

He said the building of the hospital was as a result of a feasibility studies that was done by the foundation adding that among the many challenges the village felt they needed was the need for a good health facility as the nearby health post was a bit far as women struggle whenever they wanted to give birth.

“The building of this hospital will bring a huge smile to all the inhabitants of Lutti Gbana, Rosinor and its environs and I want to urge you people to accept this project , own it , support it as it would be of benefit to and your children . Please take your kids to school , educate them so that they could medical doctors , and nurses and in turn they will be able to work in this hospital’’

Town Chief of Lutti , Pa Adikalie Sankoh on his part express happiness for the project in his community as the township is grappling with so many health challenges adding that  whenever pregnant women  wanted to deliver they have to go a long distance which sometimes  even cause them to give birth in the banks of the river or on their way to the health post.

“I am happy 100% . My people need this hospital , we have a hospital at Rosinor but its too distance . If we have hospital here at Lutti  it is really welcoming . We have over one hundred houses here  and the  surrounding town like Mafisor , Lutti Lol is a large place . The population is over two to three thousand people . we are glad ,we will be having a hospital from the Abdul Aziz Foundation,’’ he said.

Pa Sankoh said the land that would be used for the construction of the state-of-the-art hospital was donated by him and his mother so as to bring development to his community and its environs adding that they have been suffering for too long and the coming in of the foundation will be a saviour to them.

“we plan to hand over the land to the community and the Abdul Aziz Islamic Foundation . As a Town Chief of Lutti that wanted development in my life time that’s why I asked  my mother for us to hand over this piece of land for the construction of a health facility,’’

One of the inhabitants of Lutti , N’thuma M. Kamara  expressed delight for the construction of a hospital in her home town by the foundation , thus praying for a quick start of the project as women are really suffering whenever they are pregnant and ready to give birth.

“we want sober nurses and doctors to man this hospital when it would have been constructed . It will help so much as inhabitants and people from other surroundings will also enjoy the facility. May God bless the Foundation’’

The final feasibility studies were climaxed with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the Abdul Aziz Islamic Foundation and the local authorities and the  official handing over of the land to the organisation.

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East Africa holds its ground as Africa’s fastest growing region, despite COVID-19 disruption
July 12, 2020 | 0 Comments
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region’s economic growth was projected at more than 5 percent, well above continent’s average of 3.3 percent and global average of 2.9 percent.

COVID-19 curbs East Africa’s growth, but still the strongest in the continent; Report calls for transition to higher value-added activities to build resilience to shocks.

Economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed East Africa’s growth projection for 2020 down to 1.2 percent, a rate that outstrips other African regions and is forecast to rebound to 3.7 percent in 2021, according to the African Development Bank’s ( East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2020. The projection is under the baseline scenario that assumes the virus is contained by the third quarter of this year.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region’s economic growth was projected at more than 5 percent, well above continent’s average of 3.3 percent and global average of 2.9 percent. However, COVID-19-induced shocks and a locust invasion have contributed to job losses, increased humanitarian needs and will aggravate poverty and income inequality.

In the worse-case scenario, in which the pandemic persists until the end of 2020, growth is projected at 0.2 percent, still above Africa’s predicted average of -1.7 percent and -3.4 percent under the two scenarios.

At the launch of the report held in Nairobi on Wednesday, Simon Kiprono Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Labour, said East African countries could overcome the effects of COVID-19 and turn their economies around by mitigating the external and domestic risks.

“We need to implement a decisive and coordinated response to contain the spread of COVID-19; mitigate its health and socio-economic effects; accelerate structural transformation; improve the investment climate, and maintain the peace and security of our region,” he said.

The Regional Economic Outlook indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic will affect East African economies in many ways, such as falling commodity prices and trade, and restrictions on travel with a consequent negative impact on tourism. Waning financial flows have affected the region’s fiscal and current account balances, while disruptions in supply chains have hurt food production and distribution. With schools closed, an estimated 90 million learners have been excluded from the classroom.

Nnenna Nwabufo, the Director General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Office, pledged Bank support to steer the region out of the crisis.

“Our ambition is to address the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that social and economic development across the continent is accelerated, including through the creation of an African workforce of the future,” she said.

She noted that the Bank had responded swiftly to provide urgently needed support to address the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including support of $212 million to Kenya, $165 million to Ethiopia, $4 million to South Sudan and $10 million to the Seychelles.

Nwabufo called for a collective effort to address the development challenges such as COVID-19, rising public debt, and the locust invasion, in order to re-direct the nations towards a sustainable development pathway.  

The report’s authors called for urgent policy measures to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“East African countries should accelerate a real structural transformation by transitioning from low value-added production to higher value-added activities that could mitigate vulnerabilities to domestic and external shocks,” said Dr Marcellin Ndong Ntah, a Bank Lead Economist.

As well as investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region, this year’s report placed particular emphasis on “Developing East Africa’s Workforce for the Future”. To nurture skills for the future workforce, there is an urgent need for broad reforms in education, investment in education technology, addressing factors that stop children from attending school and establishing linkages between academia and industry, said Edward Sennoga, a Bank Lead Economist, and another of the report’s authors.

Julius Mukunda, Executive Director of the Civil Society Advocacy Group in Uganda, said in order to nurture growth, East African nations must stamp out corruption, and invest in areas in which the region has unique strengths, such as food production, not only to provide food, but also income for farmers to help them to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

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UK Accused of Allowing Billions in Crypto Fraud in its Indian Ocean Colony
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Chagos Islanders Seek Restitution of Popular .IO Domain

A beach on Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands. Photo credit Stephen P. Mallory/Shutterstock
A beach on Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands. Photo credit Stephen P. Mallory/Shutterstock

London (July 9, 2020): British Indian Ocean Territory is best known for the secretive US naval base on Diego Garcia Island but is also home to the top level domain .IO that is popular with crypto asset and technology companies.

The United Nations General Assembly, African Union, and International Court of Justice have found that Britain’s deportation of the Chagos Islanders a generation ago and continued occupation of the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) is unlawful and a serious violation of international law.

According to the Complaint the British have stubbornly refused  to vacate the Chagos Archipelago not only due to the presence of the US naval base but because billions of dollars in covert financial transactions are at stake.

In 1997 a secret agreement with the British Crown resulted in the creation of the top level domain country code .IO (ccTLD .IO).  .IO was a relatively low key alternative domain until about 2016 when its popularity exploded in connection with the rise of cryptocurrency.  In 2017, the company administering .IO was sold for $70 million to internet giant Afilias Ltd. which is the world’s second largest Internet domain name registry.

The Chagos Islanders are now seeking restitution and return of .IO which has made the Chagos Archipelago one of the world’s least known but largest offshore financial centers by daily dollar volume. 

A complaint has been filed with the African Commission of Human & Peoples’ Rights (the Banjul Court) which has jurisdiction over the Chagos Islands and the issues of recovery and restitution.

According to Dr. Jonathan Levy, the international lawyer representing the Chagos islanders, while .IO is utilized by legitimate companies, it is also remarkable for crypto asset based criminal operations: Ponzi and pyramid schemes, High Yield Investment Platforms, and fraudulent Initial Coin and Token offerings.  Dr. Levy explains: “The criminals know there is zero law enforcement in the British Indian Ocean Territory, they use only cryptocurrency, they need no address besides a .IO domain and crypto wallet to commit crimes like fraud, money laundering and extortion.”  Dr. Levy estimates tens of billions of dollars a day in unregulated crypto asset transactions take place in .IO involving hacking, tax evasion, money laundering, fraudulent investment schemes, gambling, terrorism and organized crime financing including the well-known crypto scams OneCoin and USITech.

A link to the case is here:

For more information contact:Dr. Jonathan Levy, Attorney & Solicitor

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COVID-19: T.B Joshua Ready To Offer Spiritual Healing For Patients In Isolation Centres
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua commonly referred to as T.B Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations; SCOAN has said he is ready to virtually offer prayers for COVID-19 patients in isolation centres around the world.

In an announcement posted to Joshua’s YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, the cleric called on relevant government and medical authorities to “organize those who are in isolation” and “arrange how to connect them to us on Emmanuel TV.”

“The blessing of Jesus is for those who knock and ask,” he said in the announcement, adding, “In whatever way you support to make this happen, we are a team; we are not doing more than you.”

“Together we shall pray for them. Together we shall be set free from this COVID-19,” the statement continued, quoting the Biblical reference in Luke 4:40 where Jesus healed “all who had various kinds of sickness after the mass prayer.”

“The same anointing that heals one is also able to heal all at the same time,” it concluded, calling on all interested parties to contact the church via their email address

Last week, the World Health Organisation reacted to a trending video in which a Cameroonian medical doctor was ‘healed’ from COVID-19 after receiving “interactive prayer” from Joshua’s ministry, acknowledging “spiritual leadership is very important in a time like this.”

His testimony was followed days later by a couple of university lecturers who equally acknowledged receiving healing from the dreaded virus, replete with medical reports before and after prayers from Emmanuel TV.

Since starting its ‘Interactive Prayer’ — in which online prayer is offered via video calls — Joshua’s ministry has prayed for COVID-19 patients from around the world including citizens of USA, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Honduras, and Cuba, reported.

In a report to send to by Ihechukwu Njoku, a freelance Nigerian journalist, the man of God said that the prayer session will be used to set free all those who are suffering for different kinds of infirmities as he referenced the book of Luke 4 vs 40.

Meanwhile, earlier reported that TB Joshua Wednesday, June 3, said that he is still waiting on God’s instruction to reopen his church. The man of God spoke in response to the federal government’s new guidelines on the lifting of the ban on religious gatherings.

The cleric who is known to heal people of various diseases has been silent in recent times. The cleric had made a bold statement of prayer concerning the end of coronavirus, the deadly pandemic that has practically brought the world to a standstill.

“COVID-19, this is your end! Lord Jesus, You have done it before; do it again,” he declared, further praying for “sin’s power” and “every influence of COVID-19 all over the world” to “be broken.”

At a time when the world is looking for cure for the deadly pandemic, many people have been questioning the “men of God” who are said to heal people as to why they haven’t done so for people suffering with the coronavirus. Whether TB Joshua can certainly heal people of coronavirus, many say only time will tell.

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Sierra Leone Opens Airdromes To International Travels
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Uzman Unis Bah

President Maada Bio
President Maada Bio

President Julius Maada Bio in a televised statement on the 9th July 2020 announced the reopening of the Lungi International Airport, with all scheduled commercial flights starting operation on Wednesday, 22nd July 2020.

Ministry Transport and Aviation has completed an audit of the planned procedures and plotted all possible situations for arrivals and departures at Lungi International Airport, the president affirms.

Comprehensive guidelines will be issued by the National COVID-19 Response Centre (NACOVERC) on the new procedures for air travel to and from Sierra Leone, the president said.

The government has taken measures to safeguard the lives of the citizens through an inclusive discussion with stakeholders and experts and urges everyone to adhere to strict compliance with all public health directives.

Moreover, the president also announced the easing of restrictions on places of worship, mosques and churches will reopen from Monday 13th of July 2020; and curfew hours are shifted from 11 PM to AM, the president states.

NACOVERC is expected to announce broad measures, which will be introduced by the Interreligious Council that will allow for the safe practice of all faiths. The president further warns leaders of all gatherings to make compulsory compliance with all protective measures against COVID-19 at their places of worship.

“Based on expert advice on the aerosol transmission of COVID-19 and the possible risk of rapid community infection among congregations, we advisedly closed all places of worship. I have since then held multiple consultations with the Inter-Religious Council, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Health officials, NACOVERC officials, experts, and other stakeholders,” Bio said.

The president urged citizens to take individual responsibility for protecting themselves and their families and friends from COVID-19. “Persons who are refusing to comply with health directives are exposing themselves, their loved ones, and their communities to the grave risk of infection and possible death,” the president cautioned.

Sierra Leone was the last country to register COVID-19 a case in West Africa on the 31st March 2020, but now the country’s figures are higher than that of Liberia and the Gambia combined.  Relaxing the COVID-19 restrictions does not mean the West Africa country is free from the affliction of the Novel Coronavirus; it’s still intertwined in the woods.

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Cameroon: Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations Calls For Open, Genuine and Transparent Dialogue
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations say it is imperative for the Cameroon Government forces and the Southern Cameroons armed groups to commit to fully adhere to humanitarian law
Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations say it is imperative for the Cameroon Government forces and the Southern Cameroons armed groups to commit to fully adhere to humanitarian law

The Government of Cameroon should adhere to the global call for the unconditional release of all Southern Cameroonians incarcerated within the context of the armed conflict as a show of good faith for genuine ceasefire negotiations.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations has welcomed the preliminary talks held between the Cameroon government and jailed leaders of the Southern Cameroons struggle led by Sisiku Ayuk Tabe.

In a released signed July 10, 2020, for the steering committee, the Coalition strongly believes that ceasefires are effective if negotiated with credible guarantees for compliance. At a time when the world yearns for global leadership in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to save the most vulnerable, The Coalition welcomes the unanimous United Nations Resolution 2532 of July 1, 2020, that called for a global ceasefire of hostilities for at least 90 days.

Since the conflict escalated in 2017, this is the first reported peace talks between the government and the Anglophone separatists. As per a communiqué released by the Interim Government of Ambazonia, representatives of the Cameroon government and leaders of the Interim Government led by Sisiku Ayuk Tabe were engaged in a peace talk geared towards ending the four year-long battle.

“Be reassured that we remain committed to the restoration of the independence of the homeland,” Julius Ayuk Table, self-decaled President of Ambazonia, currently serving life imprisonment for charged including terrorism said.

The statement further states that “no war has ever been wrapped up in the battlefield” and that “real, sustainable peace and independence are a product of the negotiation table.”

With Cameroon having the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Central Africa the country faces an increasingly daunting challenge, especially with the worsening sociopolitical crisis. In light of these, The Coalition strongly recommends:

1. The Government of Cameroon and the leadership of all Southern Cameroons armed groups to commit to an open, genuine, and transparent adherence to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2532.

2. On Human Rights Abuse and Humanitarian Response: The Government of Cameroon should adhere to the global call for the unconditional release of all Southern Cameroonians incarcerated within the context of the armed conflict as a show of good faith for genuine ceasefire negotiations. In the same vein, it is imperative for the Cameroon Government forces, and the Southern Cameroons armed groups to commit to fully adhere to humanitarian law. We welcome the “Ambazonian Defense Forces (ADF)” commitment on July 7, 2020, to allow safe passage for humanitarian aid workers under the auspices of OCHA.

3. Political Parties: At this critical juncture it is imperative for all political engagements to be geared towards encouraging the warring parties and credible international stakeholders to implement a negotiated ceasefire.

4. The International and Diplomatic Corp in Yaoundé should commit to advance the implementation of Resolution 2532. Their collective support is needed for the Cameroon Government to commit to genuine mediated negotiations for a ceasefire and its effective implementation.

5. UNDP Cameroon to ensure an enabling environment for sustained development and peace before commencing the implementation of the recovery plan. UNSC Resolution 2532 provides an opportunity to leverage UNDP’s expertise to ensure a ceasefire and peace agreement in line with UNDP’s core values.

6. To the United Nations Security Council and the UN Secretary General a. Hold a UN security council meeting to begin addressing the root causes of the armed conflict

b. Mediate and Monitor Ceasefire: Empower in-country UN Chief to ensure any negotiated ceasefire adheres to recognize international norms and instruments with guarantees for an effective implementation

Cameroon security forces patrolling the streets of Buea
Cameroon security forces patrolling the streets of Buea

A July 6 statement signed by the Minister of Communication, Rene Emmanuel Sadi has dispelled the news stressing that the reports circulated on media outlets “did not conform with reality.” This suggests that no such talks with the jailed leaders took place.

He added that all efforts were being taken by the government to end the crisis in the country’s two English-speaking regions but that all such measures were aimed at preserving the unity, and territorial integrity of the country, while He reiterated government’s call for armed groups to lay down their arms and embrace a peace offer by President Paul Biya.

Violence in Cameroon’s two-English speaking regions broke out following government’s crackdown of peaceful protest of teachers and lawyers who complained of marginalization. Non-state armed groups took up arms and demanded separation from La Republic du Cameroun.

The ongoing squabbles has caused more than 3,000 deaths and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Some have taken up refuge in other regions while others are refugees in neighbouring Nigeria.

Last year, Switzerland mediated talks between the government and exiled separatist leaders, but those leaders are considered less influential than Tabe and the discussions did not produce any significant results, Aljazeera reported.

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Nigeria:I didn’t purchase any house for my son in Abuja – Malami
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
Attorney - General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami
Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

The wedding fatiha of the eldest son of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abdulazeez Abubakar Malami took place under strict observance of the protocols and guidelines of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.

Honourable Attorney-Genral of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,SAN thanked friends, well-wishers and the general public for their prayers, goodwill for the wedding fatiha which took place Saturday, 11th July, 2020 in Kano.

Malami expressed appreciation for the understanding demonstrated due to COVID-19 pandamic the wedding fatiha was low-keyed.

Earlier the Minister has communicated in writing notifying friends and colleagues that due to current situation of COVID-19 he only solicited for their prayers and goodwill.

It is important to note that the wedding fatiha took place in Kano on Saturday 11th July, 2020 in the morning. Any other activity before or after the wedding fatiha is not connected with the marriage and we therefore disassociate ourselves from it in its entirety.

The attention of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has been drawn to a mischievous, deceitful and perfidious publication by the notorious factory of fake news in Nigeria, the Sahara Reporters with an intent to spread lies.

It is regrettable that the information communication technology tools have been hijacked by disgruntled elements in spreading fake news and blatant lies.

The report by the media is a clear violation of ethical journalism practices on verification of facts and authentication of claims. It evinces lack of professionalism and exposes rash and reckless presentation of figment of imaginations shrouded with bigotry and bundled with sentiments of unscrupulous questions.

For instance, who is the vendor of the purported house bought for the son of the Minister in Abuja at N300m? Where is the so-called mansion located in Abuja? Where are the title documents?

While refuting the claim, Malami said “God knows that I did not purchase any house for him in Abuja. Not even a rented house was secured for my son in Abuja, because he has no plan to live in Abuja”.

The allegation of hiring private jets for the marriage was preposterous. It is common knowledge that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had neither a father nor mother anywhere in Nigeria to be conveyed to Kano for the wedding. Who, then the Attorney-General is using the chartered flight to convey? Which jets are chartered? Who paid for the charter? Through which means was the money paid?

It is one of such libelous publications of which Sahara reporters is commonly known for targeted at selected few for unsubstantiated fabricated allegations while overlooking more serious reasonable allegations visibly open against its favoured sectional kingsmen.

*Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu(Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) Saturday 11th July, 2020

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Tribute: Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Akinwumi A. Adesina*

AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina with Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly
AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina with Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly

July 8 was all like every normal day, focused on work. I had no inkling there would be a storm, even though we have weathered many storms and floods in Abidjan in recent times. Like a jolting bolt of thunder, everything changed when my wife, Grace, called my attention to a news item that the Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly had died. I told her this couldn’t be true as he just came back and as far as I knew he was fine.

I quickly went to look at the news. I had not seen any official confirmation. I made frantic calls. Alas! Amadou Gon had died indeed. What a tragedy! This was a storm with massive lightening like no other. I couldn’t control my sadness. This man who had served his nation so loyally and with such dignity has passed on, while at work.

My thoughts went to his dear wife and family who have been thrown into sorrow, suddenly. My mind went to President Alassane Ouattara, to whom he was a beloved son, a loyal partner and confidant for some 30 years. My mind went to the government of Côte d’Ivoire, and the nation where I lived for 5 years in the 1990s and now for another 5 years so far as President of the African Development Bank. A beautiful nation whom Amadou Gon served dutifully, diligently, passionately and faithfully until his last breath.

Amadou Gon was an exemplary leader. He was my friend. I remember calling him while in Paris. I was concerned about him and although we had exchanged messages, I still was not satisfied. I wanted to hear his voice. We spoke. I was very happy he was well.

Amadou Gon deserved to be well. He was such a great champion of programs to accelerate the development of his country. He carried the vision of the President and the government wholeheartedly into every meeting, into every discussion. We met very often, and every time I was always amazed at how this very humble and serious minded public servant always put the development of his country first.

He worked very closely with the African Development Bank. He visited the Bank several times and took great interest in all matters that affect the Bank. He worked so hard with the Bank and several development partners to bring life to the social development policy of the government.

A humble man. A selfless man. A faithful man. A shining light. We met and spoke together on several forums around the world: on the plane, at airports, in high level forums and summits. My impression of him was the same: calm; wise; insightful. A man of few words, whose every word was always well honed for impact. He spoke always from his heart. An he had a heart of gold.

My heartfelt condolences go to his dear wife and family, and his aged mother. May God comfort them. My heartfelt condolences go to President Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Mr. Président, you have lost your closest ally and confidant, who served you and his nation faithfully until his last breath, working for the good of Côte d’Ivoire. May God comfort you, the government and good people of Côte d’Ivoire.

My dear brother, Amadou Gon, thank you for your friendship. I was looking forward to us meeting again, in our usual warm brotherly embrace, to chat on your favorite topic: development of Côte d’Ivoire. But Alas! That is no longer to be. I guard emotions and memories of your life – your great life; and dedication and contributions to your nation. Thank you Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. Thank you my dear friend and brother, Amadou Gon. Rest well. You will be sorely missed.

*Président, African Development Bank

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Gambia’s Bar Calls on President Barrow to Follow Due Process in Declaring State of Public Emergency
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Salieu Taal, President Gambia Bar Association
Salieu Taal, President Gambia Bar Association

The Gambia Bar Association has noted with great concern the successive declarations of a State of Public Emergency (SOPE) by the President of the Republic on the 19th May 2020, 10th June 2020, 1st July 2020 and 7th July 2020 respectively without resorting to the National Assembly to seek for an extension as provided and envisaged in the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

In a statement signed by Salieu Taal, President Gambia Bar Association explains that Section 34(1) of the Constitution Of The Republic of The Gambia gives the President of the Republic the exclusive power to declare a State of Public Emergency but limits the exercise of this power under section 34(2) by prescribing that a State of Public Emergency shall lapse after seven (7) days or if the National Assembly is not in session after twenty-one (21) days. Under the aforementioned provision, the duration of the State of Public Emergency can only be extended if prior to its expiration, a resolution is tabled and approved by two–thirds of the National Assembly Members.

The Constitution therefore subjects the exercise of the Presidential Powers to declare a State of Public Emergency to National Assembly oversight and scrutiny by prescribing the duration of any such declaration made by the President. It is important to note that whilst the President of the Republic has the power to declare a State of Public Emergency in accordance with section 34, the Constitutional power to extend a State of Emergency is vested exclusively on the National Assembly. This is unequivocally provided under Section 34(2) of the Constitution.
Against this background, it is of our view that the Declaration ofStateof Public Emergency pursuant to Section 34(6) of the Constitution on the 10th June, 1st July and 7th July without recourse to the National Assembly is not consistent with the dictates of the Constitution.
The purported declarations by the President of the Republic are in essence extensions of the existing State of Public Emergency already declared on 18th March 2020 and 26th March 2020 respectively which were subsequently extended by the National Assembly. It is our view that section 34(6) does not give the President the unfettered power or a carte blanche to declare a State of Public Emergency consecutively based on the same emergency (here the COVID-19) thereby circumventing parliamentary scrutiny and oversight, which is an essential check on the exercise of such emergency powers.
The right and proper course of action was for the Executive to table a motion to extend the State of Emergency before the National Assembly. This is in line with the spirit and substance of the Constitution, which is the supreme law of this country.

Whilst we take note that wording and literal interpretation of section 34(6) purports to give the President the power to make further declarations under the provision, such a view is manifestly absurd in a democracy as it will in effect render the powers given to the National Assembly under section 34(2) nugatory or redundant to say the least.
Furthermore such interpretation is tantamount to giving the President unfettered powers to declare a State of Emergency without any oversight and check by the National Assembly. In other words, if the President under 34(6) can declare a State of Public Emergency ad finitum without reverting to the National Assembly then this begs the question “What is the role of the National Assembly as envisaged and provided for under Section 34 (2) of the Constitution? Does it mean that the President can keep on declaring SOPE in perpetuity?

It is our view that the declaration of a State of Public Emergency consecutively by the President on the 19th May 2020, 10th June 2020, 1st July 2020 and 7th July 2020 is in effect a usurpation of the powers granted to the National Assembly and is a dangerous precedent for our democracy. 

Within the context of our democracy, it is important to note that the Declaration of a State of Public Emergency has serious ramifications given that during this period the State is vested with sweeping emergency powers and can legitimately curtail the enjoyment of fundamental rights. It is therefore imperative that such powers are exercised within the limits set by the constitution. 

Therefore the purpose of the constitutional requirement under 34(2) is to ensure that the National Assembly checks or restrains the exercise of the power to declare a SOPE by the President.

The Gambia Bar Association acknowledges and recognises the Government’s duty to protect its citizens and all those who reside in The Gambia against the spread of the pandemic outbreak known as COVID-19. The fight against COVID-19 is a collective battle for all Gambians and requires cooperation and collaboration of all the stakeholders. 

However, in discharging this noble responsibility, we urge the Executive to do so in close collaboration with the National Assembly.

We trust in the spirit of the Constitution and our current democratic dispensation, the Executive will ensure that any further extension of the State of Public Emergency is tabled for discussion and approval of the National Assembly as envisaged under the Constitution.

We also urge the National Assembly in the discharge of its function as an oversight body of the Executive to be cognisant of their responsibility as servants of the people and be influenced by the dictates of conscience and the national interest in line with section 112 of the Constitution.
For the Gambia Our Homeland

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Namibia’s first COVID-19 death recorded in Walvis Bay
July 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula sharing updates

Windhoek – The 45-year-old man who died on Wednesday in the Walvis Bay state hospital has become the first Namibian to succumb to COVID-19 after the earlier test results confirmed the infection, health authorities announced on Friday.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula told media that the deceased with a history of schizophrenia visited the hospital at the coastal town on July 5 complaining of dizziness, difficulty in breathing and a cough.

He was initially admitted in the transition ward after being diagnosed with pneumonia to rule out COVID-19. However, his condition deteriorated on July 6, says the minister.

“The patient complained of respiratory ailment. He showed signs of severe renal failure and sepsis. On the 8th July 2020, the patient’s condition worsened even further and he became restless and started hyperventilating. He died on the same day,” Shangula said in a statement.

Result of specimens taken from the deceased during the autopsy came out positive of Covid-19 and his death was registered as such, says the health minister.

The first two cases of the novel coronavirus were recorded in the country on 13 March, which is 116 days before the first fatality is recorded.

The health minister also announced 52 new positive cased of Covid-19 that include two Indian nationals.

Shangula said 49 cases are from the harbour town of Walvis Bay in the Erongo region, two from a quarantine facility at Okahandja in Otjozondjupa region and one from Oshakati in the Oshana region.

As of Friday, Namibia has 667 confirmed cases with one death, and 825 people in quarantine countrywide.

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