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Gambia:President Barrow Starts Nationwide Tour
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow   on Monday has started nationwide tour of the country to dialogue and assess the condition of the people and gather first hand information on the impact of government policies on their lives.

 The 20 days  tour is inline section 222 (15) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia which gave mandate to the President to a least twice tour the country to listen to the concerns of the people and the way forward for the country.

During this period, the president is expected to chair over 44 public meetings, and spot visits to development projects relating to agriculture, education, health care, youth entrepreneurship throughout the country.

 The president will use the opportunity to reiterate his call for unity, social cohesion, and harmony in the pursuit of peace, security and socio-economic and political progress of the country.

 He will also engage with the members of the public on the government’s development blueprint – the National Development Plan, particularly the President’s priority areas.

For the first part of the tour, the presidential delegation will hold meetings in North Bank Region and Central River Region-North, while the rest of Week One will be spent in the Upper River Region.

Over the weekend, the delegation will stop in parts of the Central River Region South and Lower River Region. The final leg of the tour will take place in the West Coast Region, Kanifing Municipality, and the Greater Banjul Area with a mega meeting in the City of Banjul.

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Malawi: Presidential elections case boils in court
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala

Opposition challenger Dr. Lazarus Chakwera
Opposition challenger Dr. Lazarus Chakwera

The flagship presidential elections case in Malawi has seen witnesses say that the results of the elections were altered by a ghost user in the system of the electoral body.

Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the UTM are in the Constitutional court challenging the re-election of Democratic Progressive Party leader Peter Mutharika as the Southern African country’s President in May this year.

A recent witness for the MCP, their sixth and last has made claims in the court that a ghost user was deleting results in the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) system.

He added that the said ghost user was also receiving from tally centers and entering own figures in system, all meant to the good of Mutharika.

His testimony in court has generally shown the relationship of computer databases to demonstrate that some of the information was deleted in the system of MEC.

Initially, the court dismissed an application by MEC to stop Suleman from using their electronic gadgets when testifying in court during the elections case in Lilongwe.

MEC asked the court to stop Suleman from using electronic gadgets when testifying in court saying the move is aimed at ensuring that the commission’s servers remain secure.

However, the court, on September 18 2019, allowed Suleman to use electronic gadgets in his presentation of how the alleged rigging of the May 21 election was conducted.

Meanwhile, Mutharika’s lawyers have said they will only parade 2 witnesses as they have confirmed the withdrawal of 68 others in the case.

According to lead counsel for Mutharika Frank Mbeta, said only Ben Phiri and Bob Chimkango will testify in court out of the 70 registered witnesses.

Prior to this change, the DPP planned to parade 243 witnesses before presiding judges ordered them to trim the number to 70.

Mbeta while saying that the system had no ghost users said Suleman brought to the court speculations and not facts.

And on his part, lawyer for MCP Mordecai Msisha said Mbeta should formally communicate to the court about the trimming of the witnesses.

The case still continues in court as various commentators keep advising parties to ready their supporters on the outcome of the case.
There are media reports suggesting that the court wants the ruling to be made before 6th December 2019.

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Cameroon: From Biya , A Mea Culpa on the Anglophone Crisis In Paris
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim
Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim

Cameroon’s octogenarian president, Paul Biya has admitted trying to assimilate former British Southern Cameroons into the majority Francophone system, formerly East Cameroon.

Speaking Tuesday November 12, at the Second Paris Peace Summit in France, the 86-year-old who has ruled Cameroon for thirty-seven years now confirmed that they did attempt to assimilate the English-speaking regions, thus harmonizing it with the French part of the country.

Their efforts he added failed to yield any fruits.

“We tried assimilating their system into the majority francophone system but because of identity differences, it failed,” he said while responding to questions from Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British billionaire who moderated a panel discussion he was in.

Biya’s ‘confession’ was received with mixed feelings by denizens in his crisis turn country, which has for years now been plagued with civil protest and calls for secession.

 One of the points advanced for separation been the assimilation and elimination of the Anglo-Saxon culture.

Since then, his remark has been making rounds on social media sites prompting responses from across the political strata.

To separatist advocates and sympathizers, it is clear prove and validation to their cause, more reason why they need to leave the union.

Paul Biya was sitting on the same panel as Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Mohan Kumar, chairman of the Research and Information system for Developing Countries, Hor Nambong, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and Hossam Zaki, Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

Though a president of a bilingual country for 37-years now, Paul Biya elected to have the question addressed to him translated to the dismay of his supporters.

Quizzed by Mo Ibrahim on the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, President Paul Biya first elected to go memory lane, detailing the genesis of the crisis, back to colonial times, thus giving the audience a broad-base understanding on how things got to the current level.

To him, the division of “his country” to colonial masters brought about all these problems and during postcolonial times, the possibility to reunite came forth and they attempted to integrate the English-speaking part with the majority French-speaking regions.

After falling due to what he describes as differences in identity, he announced that the Yaounde administration was putting in place a special status program for the English-speaking regions within the greater Republic of Cameroon.  

It is the second time within the last couple of months that President Biya is attending an international event in France. He has not visited the North West or South West regions since the crisis started and the statement on the special status is the first time he is making statement on the recommendations of the National dialogue .

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Gambia’s Defence Minister Wants Stability
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Sheikh Omar Faye, Defence Minister has told the various military installations they want the Gambia to stabilize and be peaceful so that there will be development.

“My priority is to implement the security sector reform, ensure that The Gambia is a safe place and one of the best places in the world,” he said during his ongoing nationwide tour to Military installations in The Gambia.

Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gambia Armed Forces Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh the tour has started on in the North Bank Region on 29th October, 2019 following a trip to Njongon and Kerewan with the aimed to familiarize the Honourable Minister with Gambia Armed Forces deployments and to have a first-hand impression of the current state of both living and working conditions of members of the Armed Forces and their families.

 On 30th October, 2019 they visited Lamin Koto, Military installations to after engagements in Farafenni (2Bn) Headquarters.

The Honourable Minister has availed himself the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the troops at this location and had brief engagements with elders of the community as well.

On 5th November, 2019 they  paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Lower River Region (LRR) Madam Rohey John  after engagements with troops of the 3 Infantry Battalion (Basse) in Upper River Region.

General Kinteh explained that apart from familiarising the Minister with their deployments, the other purpose of the tour is to see the working and living conditions of their troops and families as well as the challenges they have with their logistics.

He added they are also doing the tour to gather facts and put them together in the form of a comprehensive report and find ways and means of tackling the problems they come across during the tour.

“We expect that it is going to be a much better outcome after the tour,” he said.

He said their first engagement they meet the Ghanaian contingents deployed as (ECOMIG) forces in The Gambia in the North Bank Region.

 Mr. Kinteh said they believe that as part of good practice and good governance, it is always necessary to be able to engage themselves at different levels of command so that they get to know plans.

“This is an opportunity where they can air their views and also an opportunity where we can transmit the message of the transformation agenda that we have for GAF”, said the CDS.

He said they had an opportunity to engage members of the communities and learn from them how the Army is doing their work and how they can advise them to serve them better.

On his part minister Faye told the various military camps that ECOMIG are in The Gambia to help as they did in Liberian, Sudan, Darfur and other places.

“They are part of the system and globalized world,” he said. He stressed that they are looking at the territorial integrity of the Gambia and that they are looking at everything to ensure that they update on their gains and make sure that Gambians are informed.

The tour is subsequently hope to continue to other similar locations throughout the country especially in the Greater Banjul area and West Coast Region.

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Gambia goes to ICJ to defend Rohingya Muslims
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Legal team
Legal Team

The Republic of The Gambia has filed today before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague a lawsuit alleging that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has violated its obligations under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide for its genocidal actions against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority that lives in Myanmar.

 Genocide is a crime under international law, and all States have an obligation to prevent, to punish, and to not commit genocide. Myanmar has failed in adhering to its obligations on all counts in its brutal treatment of the Rohingya, who have been subjected to wanton acts of violence and malicious degradation with the specific intent of State actors to destroy the Rohingya as a group.

 The Gambia has stepped forward, on behalf of the 57 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and with the mandate of the Organization, to hold Myanmar accountable for its genocidal crimes against the Rohingya.

This action asks the ICJ to adjudge and declare Myanmar to have violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention, to order Myanmar to cease and desist from its genocidal acts, to punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations for the Rohingya victims.

 The Gambia has also asked the ICJ to impose Provisional Measures, as a matter of extreme urgency, to protect the Rohingya against further harm during the pendency of this case by ordering Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conduct immediately. The Gambia calls on the international community to support its legal effort, and to redouble all diplomatic and political efforts to cause Myanmar to stop, and never to repeat, its genocide against the Rohingya, and to assist in efforts to ensure justice and accountability for the crimes committed against them.

Justice Minister handover the lawsuit
Justice Minister handover the lawsuit

 The Agent for The Gambia before the ICJ in this case, and head of its legal team, is H.E. Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia. The Gambia has retained the services of Foley Hoag LLP, an international law firm with many years of experience representing States before the ICJ, as its counsel. The Gambia will also be represented by Professor Philippe Sands, of University College London, and Professor Payam Akhavan, of McGill University.

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Africa reminisced On 30th anniversary of Berlin Wall Fall
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Today in my native Cameroon, killings & atrocities are erecting new walls, literally & figuratively Dr Fomunyoh said at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation
Today in my native Cameroon, killings & atrocities are erecting new walls, literally & figuratively Dr Fomunyoh said at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation

As the world marked thirty years of the fall of the Berlin Wall, its ramifications on parts of Africa were part of an interactive discussion in Dickerson, MD, with people for whom division has been a reality.

Speaking at the event Dr Christopher Fomunyoh,  Senior Associate and Regional Director For Central And West Africa at the Washington,DC,based National Democratic Institute, NDI, started by reminding participants that before the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Conference of 1884 created its own walls from  which Africa is still to recover till date. Reverberations of the artificial boundaries that resulted from that conference are still very much present across many parts of Africa today, Dr Fomunyoh said.

On Cameroon, Dr Fomunyoh painted a graphic picture of the sad developments which have brought the country to the brink of a civil war.

“The killings and atrocities are erecting new walls, literally and figuratively,” Dr Fomunyoh said. Citing recent United Nations, Fomunyoh indicated that educational, and economic activities in the English-speaking regions have been grounded. The humanitarian emergency is now affecting close to 2 million people. Arbitrary arrests, burning of villages, wanton killings have become the order and the widespread insecurity has contributed significantly in keeping some 855,000 children out of school, Dr Fomunyoh said.

Echoing reports from some analysts who say believe that the situation in Cameroon remains one of the most under reported crisis in the world, Dr Fomunyoh said those who see a miniature of the Rwandan genocide in Cameroon may not be completely off the mark.

It is unfortunate that the government of Cameroon has continued with the logic of arrogance, bad faith, dishonesty, and mismanagement that have created profound mistrust between the Anglophones and Francophones in Cameroon, Dr Fomunyoh said, while affirming calls he has consistently made that only genuine dialogue, with the political will to push through profound political reforms can start the healing process in Cameroon.

Tony Culley-Foster sharing the Irish experience

The experiences and developments in Cameroon and Africa, shared by Dr Fomunyoh, mirrored challenges shared by other guest speakers from different parts of the world at the event which took place at a beautiful agricultural reserve  . Born in Germany, Ulrike Rodgers shared experiences growing up close to the wall. A Program Director for Francophone West Africa at the National Democratic Institute, Ulrike said both sides of the divide worked hard to drive the separation. Though her family lived less than an hour away from the wall, they and many others were clueless about life on the other side, she said.

Originally from Nashville Tennessee, and Lecturer of African and Security Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Travis Adkins shared personal, and family experiences of life growing up in the segregated American South. Despite the significant progress that has been made, the scars are still there, and the challenges remain many, Travis said.

It was a lively discussion with people for whom division has been a reality.

Tony Culley-Foster ,who lived in Northern Ireland before the Good Friday agreement, shared the checkered history of his country of origin. Mr. Foster who brought the torch of the 2012 Olympics and a piece of the Berlin Wall, said his experiences contributed to the creation of a network of young Ambassadors to fight for peace.

Dubbed stories from the Other Side of the Wall, the event was organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation, a German think tank in Washington, DC, which shares transatlantic perspectives on global challenges. Serving as moderator for the discussions was Emily Rodriguez, communications director for the Foundation. Participants were in unison that  more was needed from people across the globe for the best in humanity to re-emerge.

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Atiku: They gave him a false sense of hope
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Femi Adesina*

The Presidential dream continues to be elusive for Mr Atiku Abubakar.Photo culled from Today NG

After the Supreme Court threw out the legal challenge by Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the February 2019 presidential poll last week, two things flashed across my mind. One was a song, the other, a quote from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which I’d read over 40 years ago.
First, the song:
The strife is o’er, the battle done,
The victory of life is won,
The song of triumph has begun,

And then Shakespeare, as Macbeth was confronted by Macduff at the battlefront, and the former realized he had been fooled by the witches who had predicted that no man born of woman could ever kill him, and that he could not be defeated in any battle “till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.”
Macduff told Macbeth that he had been “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb, and was not biologically delivered as babies are. The advancing soldiers also bore before them trees they had cut from Birnam Wood, which meant the forest had virtually relocated to Dunsinane. Macbeth, confronted with defeat, had declared:
“And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”

Macbeth had been fooled, just as it happened to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who had been hoodwinked into believing that he was President already, before the February 2019 election.
Who were those that paltered with Atiku in a double sense? Who were the people that lured him into a losing battle? Who were those who told him he was on a giant horse, not knowing that he was riding on a cockroach? Let’s do a checklist.

Olusegun Obasanjo, and his foreign cohorts. The former president was the one that ruined Atiku Abubakar most, when they fought a bitter battle as they served together in government. Obasanjo wrote books, granted interviews, where he poured vitriol on his former deputy. He described him in words that won’t make you buy Atiku for ten kobo. In fact, he said God should punish him if he ever supported Atiku for president. And that lasted for about ten years.

Suddenly, with just months to the 2019 election, Obasanjo came singing another tune. He said he had forgiven Atiku, and started calling him “my President in waiting.” Were Nigerians fools? Can you approbate and reprobate at the same time? Can you strip a man naked in the marketplace, and cover him up in the bedroom? The damage would already be done. And so it was with Atiku.

Yes, Obasanjo has some clout, particularly internationally. He swung into action, trying to mobilize the international community behind his candidate. Some people followed him, and Atiku thought the deed was done. But they didn’t reckon with the hurricane called Muhammadu Buhari. The cyclone force was too strong, and it simply cleared everything in its path. It was a bitter lesson that the challenger learnt too late.

Obasanjo had always decided who should, and shouldn’t be President, right from the first time he left power as a military ruler in 1979. He was instrumental in some ways to the emergence of Shehu Shagari, Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, as presidents. He also contributed to pulling them down later with his mouth. By this year, Nigerians were simply tired of the overbearing attitude of the Otta chicken farmer. They thus refused to buy the candidate he had earlier rendered toxic, and was selling to them in borrowed robes.

Who fooled Atiku again? The Atikulators. And who are they? People who flocked after the candidate for many reasons, none of them altruistic. They were those who didn’t like Buhari, either because of ethnicity, language, religion, or the man’s aversion for corruption. They wanted business as usual, and it should be anybody but Buhari. So, they followed Atiku, not because they loved him, but they would have also followed a goat, if they had been told that the animal could get Buhari out of power. They put their money on the wrong horse, gambled, and lost.

Before the election, you saw and heard the Atikulators everywhere, boasting of how they were going to wrest power in the country. They were all over the place. In offices, marketplaces, churches, mosques, schools, television, radio, newspapers, almost in all traffic lanes of life. And they fooled their principal. He backed them up with piles and tons of cash, in major currencies of the world. To quote President Buhari, “they spent so much dollars, that the currency became devalued.” For Atiku, anything that money cannot do is not doable. Money answereth all things. He threw in more and more. But for the Buharists, it is not about money, not even a bottle of soft drink or water. It is about conviction. It is about integrity and accountability. It is about building a new country, devoid of greed and rapacity. So we followed the Mai Gaskiya (honest man) all the way. Nothing could be articulated against him. Not possible.

Again, the marabouts, prophets, some pastors and preachers. Yes, let me group them together, including the witches and wizards. They formed a confederacy, and said Atiku would win. Who is it that says anything when the Lord has not spoken? The marabouts collected money handsomely, and pronounced Atiku king. They did not tell him he would be king on an empty throne. The preachers, across the major religions, because of personal hatred, and possibly inducement, gave evil and false messages. They began to proclaim that Atiku was the messiah, when God had not said so. And the PDP candidate believed them. He felt there was no way he could ever lose the election. But he didn’t know that lying tongues were in action. The preachers had become inhabited by lying spirits, modern day Zedekiahs , who prophesied falsehood (1 Kings 22:11). They led Atiku to political perdition.

The social media. Populated by people with exaggerated sense of worth, they think they can do and undo. I call them the vocal minority. If you followed only the social media before the elections, you would think the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at the center was gone. They filled the landscape with so much wailing, till they became wailing wailers. We will do this, we will do that. Mere shooting of breeze. Superfluity of nothingness. Arrogant impertinence. The Buhari people simply kept their peace, while online warriors, most of who had no permanent voters cards (PVCs) continued to fire blanks.

A very credible and scientific study had showed before the polls that social media would account for only between nine and 11 percent of the ballots. And not all of the votes would go to PDP. The two major parties would share it. But from the noise online, you thought Atiku had coasted home. He, too, must have believed the lie. He paid dearly for it with a broken heart.

The coalition that thought they owned the country. They also fooled Atiku. They include politicians, businessmen, high net-worth people. They had never failed in anything before. If they showed you a red card, you were out of the game. God’s judgment, no appeal. Such people massed behind Atiku. Those who had corruption cases before the courts, those who had lost power and were forlorn and disconsolate, those who had always profiteered from the system and who felt that Buhari had closed the sluice gate, they all came together. Buoyed by Atiku’s promise that he would empower his friends when he got power, they were already licking their lips. Soon, our snouts would be in the honeypot again, they told themselves. But those who felt they were Nigeria’s landlords had long been given quit notices by Buhari, and ejected. Atiku thought they were still somebody, and learned the hard way. What a pity!

Wrong permutations. That was also Atiku’s downfall. It is an inexorable truth that it is only the person/party that builds the bigger coalition wins the Presidency in Nigeria (and almost everywhere else). But before the election, Atikulators had come with this jejune permutation. They would sweep the Southeast, the South-south, the North Central, share Northeast and Northwest, as well as Southwest. And Atiku would coast home. True? Well, dreams don’t cost anything. The dream eventually became nightmare.

Wrong strategy. It is on good authority that the winning strategy of the PDP had been based on data hack. That was why they fought tooth and nail for electronic voting, because they were allegedly in league with international forces that was adept at manipulation of election results. The plan was to intercept results as they were transmitted electronically, and record them for PDP. But it is said that if the abiku has learnt to die in dry season, the mother too would learn to bury in rainy season. The rest is history.

Many other forces fooled Atiku that space would not permit one to mention. People who promised access to the electoral commission’s server, when none existed in the true sense of the word. Some elements in the judiciary, who had made false promises. And the lawyers. Yes, we can’t but talk briefly about them.

Lawyers are professionals. They must ply their art, and make profit from it. They are learned people, while the rest of us are only educated. However, morality is everything. Why egg on your client, when you know he has the most useless case in the world? Nigerians knew Atiku lost the election. Lawyers too knew it. But man must chop. They encouraged the PDP candidate to go to court, despite knowing that the prayers were weak and improbable. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, said the suit was the worst he had ever seen in Nigeria’s history of election petitions. But the lawyers convinced Atiku otherwise. He lost at the Court of Appeal level, but there was probably more money to be made. So they encouraged a trip to the Supreme Court. Another ill-fated journey.

Sadly, after the Supreme Court threw out the case, Atiku was not gracious enough to throw up his hands in surrender. He called the judiciary all sorts of names. An opportunity missed to prove that he is not a sore loser and power monger. Where would he go next, World Court? Or as somebody has jocularly said, he may just decide to go to the lawn tennis court.

.*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity. Piece is culled from his Facebook page.

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Gambia: UDP Calls on Barrow to Quit after 3yrs Mandate
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Adama Barrow shakes hands with Ousainou Darboe who was sacked as his deputy. Photo: Facebook/ Omar Wally
Adama Barrow shakes hands with Ousainou Darboe who was sacked as his deputy. Photo: Facebook/ Omar Wally

Ousainou Darboe, leader of United Democratic Party, (UDP) has stressed that UDP believes President Adama Barrow should quit after his 3-year mandate.

Coalition of seven-party political including one independent backed President Barrow at the 2016 presidential elections campaigned for three years transitional period which he promised to honor, but suddenly President Barrow disregard the coalition saying he will serve for five years ‘whether one likes it or not’ because he is backed by the Constitution.

This spark angered among citizens formed a group called three years jotna threaten to hold a peaceful protest in December for President Barrow to honour the coalition agreement.

However, on Wednesday during a press conference Darboe, former vice president    called on Barrow to respect all four of the coalition’s agreement and that includes him step down in December as stipulated in the agreement.

 “If the three years was not part of the agreement, there would have been no coalition, so UDP urges all the parties to the coalition agreement and particularly the principal beneficiary of the coalition agreement that is President Adama Barrow to be faithful to what was agreement to by all the parties inculding President Adama Barrow and also for President Adama Barrow to fulfill his promises to the electorates,”

Former foreign affairs minister pointed that that if he is elected president he will serve a term of three years, step down, supervise elections and hand over the office of the presidency to whoever is elected in that elections.

President Barrow, was an executive member of the UDP rose to the ranks of National Treasurer before elected as UDP flag bearer in 2016.

He was later won primary elections to lead the coalition to run against President Yahya Jammeh at the 1 December 2016 presidential elections, backed by seven political parties including an independent candidate.

In March, 2019 he has relationship with the party members bitter because his ambitious to further his presidency and sacked some of UDP members from his government including his political ‘father’ Ousainou Darboe.

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Banned Kamto rally in Yaounde: 33 persons arrested, others injured
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

MRC Party militants have vow to continue protesting against the Biya regime
MRC Party militants have vow to continue protesting against the Biya regime

33 persons were arrested, while others were injured in Yaounde, Cameroon’s political capital as supporters and sympathizers of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM classed with forces of law and order as they carried out a banned protest match on Saturday October 2, 2019.

The CRM supporters were arrested as they attempted to force their way to the venue (Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium) where the rally was supposed to take place, while several other persons sustained injuries in the clash with security forces.

Olivier Bibou Nissack, spokesperson for Maurice Kamto said 30 out of the 33 persons arrested were later released late Saturday evening. “Three of our supporters have been arbitrarily detained at the First District Police Station in Yaounde,” Bibou Nissack added.

According to local media reports, security forces had taken strategic positions at the Omnisports neighborhood on Saturday morning after local authorities had banned a political rally of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement. The CRM leader, Maurice Kamto was supposed to make his first appearance since his release from jail on October 5.

Tension began to boil later after midday when Kamto was stopped by security forces few meters from the even ground as his supporters pushed through. After hours of a standoff, the leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement was forced to make a u-turn as security remained beefed up.

Another CRM rally scheduled for Douala this weekend has equally been banned by local authorities.

Since the announcement of the presidential results at the end of October, several unauthorized demonstrations have been organized by the MRC against what it calls an “electoral hold-up”.

Maurice Kamto, lawyer, former Minister of Justice and former MRC presidential candidate, came second (14.23% of the vote) behind Paul Biya, re-elected for a seventh consecutive term with 71.2% of the vote, according to the Constitutional Council’s results.

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Kenya:Political leaders read malice in the 2019 census report
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

President Kenyatta receiving the census results.Photo State House
President Kenyatta receiving the census results. photo State House

Just few hours after Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released 2019 census results, a section of political leaders have strongly disputed the outcome threatening to take legal action against the agency for what they term as misrepresentation.

“I’m shocked to see those results because that is not we expected. I think there is something fishy that has been done. But we shall have a meeting as Mt. Kenya leaders to look into these figures keenly and take a position on this issue,” reiterated a lawmaker from central Kenya.

The disgruntled leaders fear that the number recorded will attract fewer resources from the national government calling KNBS to review the numbers.

The result of the statistics which for the first time was captured electronically was released on Monday, November 4 by KNBS managing director Zachary Mwangi in the State House, Nairobi. The data indicated that the population grew by 9 million in the last 10 years. This year’s population stands at 47.5 million compared to 37.7 million in 2009.

There are more women than men as the former account to 50.5 per cent of the population. Also Kenyans are reportedly having less children with the statistics showing that average household size has declined since 2009.

“The average household size has decline to 3.9 in 2019 from 4.2 in 2009,” said Mr. Zachary Mwangi.

The 2019 census recorded the number of intersex people for the first time and they were found to be 1,524.

Speaking during the announcement of the results President Uhuru Kenyatta said the data will help the government in planning purposes.

“The numbers released today will go a long way in guiding successive planning for the benefit of all Kenyans. I expect that KNBS will release the other census volumes and make them available to planners,” said Mr. Kenyatta.

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Gambia: CRC Team to Deliver Draft Constitution
November 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow

Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, QC the Chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) today announced that it is on track to deliver a draft Constitution soon.

 “Consistent with its terms of reference, the CRC is well poised to deliver to Gambians at home and abroad a draft Constitution that will engender public debate and comments before finalisation”,

He intimated that significant strides have been made in collating and analyzing the public opinions received during the CRC’s consultation processes. The public opinions were gathered through different processes to ensure that a broad spectrum of Gambians were reached in order to ensure a fair balance to guide the CRC in making informed decisions during the drafting process.

These processes were the face-to-face dialogue with Gambians at home, face-to-face dialogue with Gambians living abroad, focused group discussions, dialogue with select Senior Secondary Schools, conduct of household surveys using specified enumeration areas, administration of online survey questionnaires, dialogue with stakeholders (both public and private), the CRC Issues Document and responses thereto, independent submissions to the CRC, and contributions made through social and the print media.

Justice Jallow indicated that the public consultation process has been a very challenging but fruitful one and he and his colleague Commissioners have learnt a lot in terms of the views and aspirations of Gambians and other stakeholders.

The CRC also wishes to assure the public that a lot of work has been going on behind the scene to ensure that The Gambia is counted among countries that have progressive Constitutions. Therefore, the CRC wishes to assure the public that it is doing its best to keep to its mandate and to deliver a draft Constitution for public consultation within the next few weeks.

It is the CRC’s expectation to publish the draft Constitution online and to make available a limited number of hard copies, and to thereafter embark on another round of face-to-face consultations with Gambians across the country to ensure that there is a good review process through active participation. The date and venues for the next round of consultations will be duly communicated to the public. The period for public consultations will be one month from the date of publication of the draft Constitution; the face-to-face dialogue within the country is envisaged to be for a two-week period. This will enable the CRC to complete its assignment as mandated under the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017.

The CRC is cognizant of the high expectations of Gambians concerning the drafting of this new national document of monumental importance. While the draft Constitution is not expected to touch upon or address every public opinion that has been canvassed, the CRC hopes that by publishing the draft Constitution the general public will have a good opportunity to review the draft and make constructive contributions in its finalisation. Therefore, the CRC remains committed to its mandate and will continue to ensure that the constitutional review process continues to be guided by the principles of Transparency, Participation, Inclusiveness, Representation, and National Ownership.

The five technical committees established to assist the CRC with expert inputs have all submitted their reports to the Commission. International consultants with good track records in the review and drafting of Constitutions in Africa, were also received recently by the CRC as part of its strategy to consult widely and harness best practices within and outside of The Gambia, in order to deliver a document that reflects international best practices consistent with the values and aspirations of Gambians. The Consultants will continue their assignments until such time as is necessary leading to the preparation of the final draft Constitution.

Work continues in earnest at the CRC Secretariat to assist the Commission in achieving its ultimate objective of drafting a sound Constitution which reflects the collective values, beliefs and aspirations of all Gambians, and a report in relation to the process of drafting the Constitution.

The CRC wishes to use this opportunity to thank and congratulate fellow Gambians and other stakeholders for their enthusiasm, support and positive contributions, and also to encourage them to continue to support the Commission as it journeys to the conclusion of its assignment. The Commission remains committed to its mandate and is therefore determined to deliver a draft Constitution that will reflect, as far as possible, the wishes and aspirations of the Gambian people, which take into account and embody, to the extent considered feasible, international best practices.

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Political unrest forces electoral body to postpone by-elections in Malawi
November 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
Protesters in Malawi have vowed to be on the streets until MEC chairperson Jane Ansah resigns. (VOA/L.Masina)

By James Mwala

The continued post elections impasse has forced the Malawi Electoral Commission to postpone a parliamentary by-election which was slated for early this month in the capital Lilongwe.

The elections were due to take place in Lilongwe South Constituency on 5th November following the death of one of the contestants – Agnes Penumulungu ahead of the elections in May.

But the Malawi electoral Commission has said that it has moved to postpone the elections due to the alarming situation and a state of affairs in the city and the nation.

There are continued protests against the authenticity of the elections which saw the Democratic Progressive Party claim victory.

The two opposition parties, MCP and UTM are currently in court seeking the nullification of the presidential poll while the civil society are demanding the heads of the MEC leadership over what they christen as incompetency in management of the elections.

But in a statam3ent, the commission says it had reached to postpone the elections after a heightened consultation process.

‘’ Since the launch of the official campaign period on October 19, 2019 the Commission has been monitoring the environment in Lilongwe South Constituency and also Matenje Ward in Kasungu. So far, the Commission has not received or witnessed any act of violence in Matenje Ward and all the voter mobilization activities and meetings have been running without interference.’’ reads the statement.

It adds: ‘’However, the Commission has received a complaint regarding the volatile situation in Lilongwe South. The Commission and staff have also been victims. On October 25, 2019 one of the MEC Commissioners was blocked and stoned while on a Campaign monitoring exercise. Secretariat staff who were putting up posters 2 were also stopped and verbally intimidated. The intimidation was intense that the Commission was forced to postpone all public voter mobilization meetings and activities that it had planned in the constituency.’’

The commission has also said that the move is to safeguard life and property of the people in the constituency and also MEC.

Meanwhile, the Commission will engage with the leadership of contesting candidates and be monitoring the situation on the ground. 3 Once the situation improves, the Commission will announce a new date for the polling.

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