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Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s Parliament passes Anti-corruption (amendment) act 2019
November 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

ACC boss, Francis Ben Kaifala with President Bio

Sierra Leone’s Parliament has on Thursday passed the Anti -Corruption amendment Act 2019 ,  a press release from the anti-graft agency has said.

According to the release, the Amendment Act provides for, among other things, increased penalties for offences under the Act; strengthens protection for witnesses and whistle-blowers; provides the ACC with alternatives to prosecution;in addition  widens the scope of corruption to include that the accused ‘offered’, ‘solicited’, ‘obtained’ or ‘received’ in addition to ‘gave and accepted’ an advantage.

‘’ reduces the year-long requirement that persons who cease to be public officers have to file a declaration in respect of their assets; provides for administrative sanctions for public officers who fail to submit their asset declaration forms or knowingly record false, inaccurate or misleading information in the forms; introduces trial of those accused of corruption in absentia; limits the scope of public officer to declare their assets and imposes sanctions for non-compliance; and vests in the ACC Commissioner power to direct that contracts with elements of corruption in their processing may not be proceeded with after agreement with the National Public Procurement Authority,’’ the release stated.

Following the passage of the Bill, the Commissioner of the ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. had this to say: “The People’s Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2019 fully empowers the ACC to make corruption very expensive and more efficiently confront corruption at all levels; including preventing the signing of contracts that are NOT in the national interest.

“The Bill, which was first tabled in Parliament some seven months ago, was passed after going through the legislative stages and committees in Parliament, including a vote by Members of Parliament specifically on the “contracts clause”; and thereafter the entire bill, following a vibrant bi-partisan debate. The Bill now awaits assent by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio to become Law,’’the ACC release ended.

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Mozambique: Frelimo party received $10m of hidden debt
October 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

The ruling party in Mozambique, Frelimo, received $10m linked to so-called hidden debts, a case about the biggest corruption scandal ever recorded in the country involving about $2b.

The information was revealed on Monday in an American court by FBI agent Jonathan Polonitza on the tenth day of Jean Boustani’s trial, the brain of the financial scandal revealed in 2016 by The Wall Street Journal.

The $10m was transferred to the party’s Central Committee account in four transactions carried out from March to July 2014, a period that preceded the election campaign for the 2014 general elections in which President Filipe Nyusi was the winner.

Prior to being a Frelimo candidate, Nyusi was Minister of National Defence, just at the time that fraudulent projects for the supply of different security equipment to Mozambique were approved, valued at around $2b.

However, U.S. investigations reveal that much of the money went to pay bribes and not to the proposed projects. Other money was simply diverted for personal purposes through overbilling of purchased goods.

Jonathan Polonitza was at the Brooklyn Court on Friday (25/10) and Monday (28/10) presenting evidence of illicit payments to personalities of the Mozambican political elite in the financing of fraudulent projects.

The transfer vouchers (Swift) were intercepted by FBI agents from an email sent by Jean Boustani to Frelimo on 9 April 2015.

Several people have already been arrested in connection with the case. Former Finance Minister Manuel Chang was arrested in South Africa where he is awaiting extradition to the United States or Mozambique.

The US charges relate to loans obtained from Credit Suisse and Russia’s VTB bank that were guaranteed by the Mozambican government, some of which it did not disclose, signed off by Chang during his 2005-2015 term as finance minister.

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South Sudan signatories to peace deal bicker on pre – transitional deadline
October 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with opposition leader Riek Machar before their meeting in Juba, South Sudan, Sept. 11, 2019. Photo credit VOA

JubaAs time ticks towards the November 12 deadline for the formation of the much – awaited unity government, the signatories to the revitalized peace deal are still bickering on the deadline.

This comes at the meeting between the visiting delegation from the United Nations Security Council and the South Sudanese warring parties’ leaders on the weekend in Juba, where parties were urged to compromise and form a unity government without delay.

The UNSC says there should be no more extensions……. the remaining issues of the number of states, the boundaries and other things can be discussed by inclusive South Sudanese government.

But the UNSC statement has annoyed ex-rebel leader, Riek Machar, threatened to pull out of the September 2018 peace deal and will not be part of that unity government due to be formed.

Opposition leader Machar, called for further delays to all the signatories to the shaky peace deal to complete the outstanding issues of security arrangements and determination of number of states and boundaries. A request that has turned down by the UN Security Council teams led by South Africa and United States.

However, Machar is not alone, he is in the same boat with his long-term political-ally, planner of 1991 Nasir; Dr. Lam Akol, also warned that forming a coalition government next month under the current circumstances will lead to its collapse.

Dr. Lam, leader of National Democratic Movement, who is also signatory to the peace says the absence of a unified army poses a threat to the stability of any unity government, called for two months’ extension of the pre-transitional period to enable the leaders to establish a necessary security force that will safeguard the coalition government.

“Why don’t we give ourselves –say two months –to get things right; resolve the issue of security and the issue of the number of states –rather than form a government that will collapse in two months?” said Lam. “We were in the same government in April 2016, yet things didn’t go right. The security is the backbone of this peace agreement, without it –there is no peace agreement,” Dr. Lam asserted, president Kiir’s critic. “I don’t see the reason why people talk about the suffering of people. Protection is not for VIPs but for the whole nation.  The time should be extended for two-months so that the security arrangements is completed,” said Lam.

But both Machar and Lam, received massive knockback from their colleagues, other signatories to the peace deal, insisted that the unity government must be formed by November 12 and outstanding issues addressed later. They were all speaking during the meeting with the UN Security Council teams in Juba.

“We are in critical situation and position. So, what is the way forward? We are of the opinion that the government should be formed on time by the November 12. But and this is very important that there must be safeguards to ensure that the outstanding, security arrangements will be completed. For instance, if the government is formed, the first six months of its tenure should be given to prioritize completion of the outstanding security arrangements. I would urge my colleagues that we should be more positive and consider the future of our people rather than entrancing ourselves in our different political positions but we need to compromise,” said Josephine Joseph Lagu, Head of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).

Meanwhile, Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, widow of late Dr. John Garang De Mabior, says the unity government must be formed in November to allow South Sudanese to rebuild their lives.

Nyandeng argued that the opposition leader’s security fears should not hold back formation of the coalition government next month.

“The government must be formed in November because people will run away if we continue to extend [the pre – transitional period],” said Nyandeng, who is considered by the peace agreement as an Eminent Personality. “He [Machar] talks about what happened in 2016, I was a witness. But these things cannot hinder the peace process or the implementation of the agreement. “For Dr. Riek to say that we have to extend six months, people of South Sudan cannot be kept in suspension when they are hungry. “I’m appealing to the UN to offer security to Dr. Riek when he is here,” she added.

Deng Alor Kuol, member of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – former Detainees (SPLM-FDs) urged for the compromise among the warring parties to form the government on time.

“It is our responsibility to exercise compromise because it is only when all of us are in power, then we will be able to address all the issues that we are faced with. But without all of us being involved, we will continue not having a money, we will continue with insecurity, our people will continue to be hungry and finally our people may not tolerate us; we should not underrate the people – my appeal is that we should not go back to war,” said Deng.

Gabriel Changson Chang, Deputy Chaired of National Pre – Transitional Committee (NPTC), a body tasked with the peace implementation, said the further delay for the formation of the government will demoralize the citizens.

“What we are trying to address is the suffering of our people and also any further delay will make everybody demoralized and that is where the ceasefire will be broken,” said Changson.

Peter Mayen Majondit, Head of the Umbrella of Political Parties, said the formation of an inclusive government will address all the challenges.

“The way forward is that we must form an inclusive government that must address the challenges, whatever time we extend, we are going to face the same challenges,” said Mayen.

South Sudanese expert says ex-rebel leader Machar’s decision to snub unity government is a great mistake and will project him as ‘anti-peace.’

The UNSC said it will not accept more delays to the formation of a unity government, while threatening to impose sanctions on leaders if a government is not formed by November 12, urging the parties to set aside their disagreements for the sake of peace.

South Sudan secured independence from north Sudan in 2011 after decades of a scorched – earth civil war that has killed two million lives but descended into its own political conflict in late 2013 after president Kiir sacked Dr. Machar as vice president.

But the 2018 revitalized peace agreement reinstates Dr. Machar as the first vice president, a position he briefly held before the country slid back to conflict in July 2016, a deal would also accommodate several opposition groups in a three – year administration expected to usher the country into democratic elections and pave way for development.

In May 12, the two principals agreed to form a unity government in six months and again, in September, reiterated that they will establish a unity transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

The key issues to the formation of a unity government, including the security arrangements; resolving of the number of states and their boundaries, which haven’t been completed despite earlier extension.

The revitalized peace deal is seen a significant milestone as it provides a clear roadmap for peace, political transformation, security sectors reforms, healing and reconciliation process, disarmament and compensation in the horn of Africa’s country.

With just a few weeks to the formation of a national unity government, the parties have failed to train half of 83,000 troops needed for the national army, national security and the police services.

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Gambia: UDP Leader Calls for Diaspora Voting
October 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Ousainou Darboe

Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has stressed that there is need for Gambians in the Diaspora to be given opportunity to vote in future elections.

 “Diaspora should be included in all the decision making of the country as they are playing a critical role in the advancement of the country,” he said shortly after his return from Europe tour on Tuesday.

Thousands of UDP supporters accorded their party leader and his entourage a rousing welcome from touring six European countries includes UK, Spain, Germany, Finland, Sweden and France where issues centering on Gambia and UDP were discussed

He describes his trip as ‘the best any political leader can have in his life.’ “I visited six countries, had fruitful engagement with party supporters and in the process of that engagement, some sympathizers and others who have heard a lot about UDP changed their allegiances and came to UDP,” former vice president said.

 He noted that the welcome accorded to him all over Europe is attributed to the confidence Gambians living in Europe has for the UDP based on principles and policies designed to change the outlook of the country.

He urged supporters to continue to ‘stand for The Gambia and for Gambians’.

“It is our duty as a party to ensure that all those who have suffered in one way or the other, their suffering does not go in vain,” the veteran lawyer cum politician  said .

Darboe, a former foreign affairs minister said UDP want to establish a government, create a situation where the government will be at the mercy of the Gambian people.

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Zimbabweans called upon to to support lifting of economic sanctions
October 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President Mnangagwa shakes hands with Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Cde Oliver Chidawu.Photo credit Zim Situation

Patriotic Zimbabweans have been urged  to come out in their numbers in support of the call for the lifting of unjustified economic sanctions.

 Addressing Journalists today in Harare, Zimbabwe’s minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Harare metropolitan province Engineer Oliver Chidawu (Senator) on the anti sanctions day urged citizens of the country to be mindful of maintaining peace,law and order as they express the commonly felt desire for the removal of the sanctions.

  “Let us come out in large numbers to show the world that Zimbabwe is a free,democratic and peace loving nation which needs everyone’s support as we strive for our economic emancipation,”Minister Chidawu said.

  SADC member states set aside the 25th of October, 2019 to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwe calling for the unconditional removal of the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the USA and its western allies.

  Chidawu said that the sanctions which the USA and its allies claim are targeted have not only brought untold suffering to the masses in Zimbabwe, but have also negatively impacted the SADC region as a whole.He added that the sanctions have also prevented the creation of mutually beneficial investment relations with the countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

  He said that upon his inauguration, the Head  of State and government, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a raft of policy measures that are meant to revive the economy not limited to the re-engagement policy.

 “The President’s policy intervention was predicated upon the full and sincere cooperation by all the United Nations member states,” Chidawu said.

  Chidawu added that it is saddening to note that despite government’s spirited  overtures led by the president, the USA and its allies remain adamant in their decision to have sanctions against Zimbabwe remain in place.

  “In the same vein, we are pleased that our brothers and sisters in the SADC region decided to join us in calling for the unconditional lifting of the illegal sanctions which have had a debilitating effect on Zimbabwe and negative knock effects on the entire SADC region,” Chidawu said.

  The 25th of October has been declared a public holiday in Zimbabwe to enable Zimbabweans to send a message over the need for the removal of the sanctions.   

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GAP Asks Ecowas Gov’ts to Intervene in Guinea’s Political Crisis
October 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Guinea’s President Alpha Condé

Gambia Action Party (GAP) has called for the intervention of governments in the Ecowas sub-region in Guinea Conakry political crisis.

Guineans have in recent weeks taken to the streets to protest against a plan by President Alpha Conde to amend the country’s constitution to enable him run for a third term. Several people have been killed during the protests.

Gambia Action Party in a statement said “the inhuman treatment meted on (sic) the people of Guinea Conakry is unconstitutional, we condemn it and equally calling on the President of Guinea, Alpha Condeh, to respect the mandate of the people, as well as ECOWAS to stop this human cruelty.”

On Wednesday, GAP issued a statement signed by party secretary general Musa Yali Batchilly lamented that: “Our people cannot continue to suffer from our leaders just in the name of power. Either side of the coin, when power is misinterpreted or mishandled it will create tensions and the vulnerable people of our society will suffer.

Batchilly pointed out that: “It’s our collective consciousness and duty to protect our children, women and people living with disabilities from unwanted territory or environment. We must all work towards maintaining the peace and tranquility within African continent, and condemn all threats against our peaceful coexistence”

“The very poor people who voted for Presidents should not be tortured just because they don’t succumb to their needs. Lasting solutions must be sought! Our African Presidents continue to cling on power and never ready to relinquish for the smooth transition and peaceful coexistence of their people.

“We call on all the governments within the sub region to put their diplomatic ties with Guinea to a standstill until this problem is addressed. We are with them during this hard trying times and hope this issue is resolved as soon as possible,” GAP leader concluded.

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South Sudan:UNSC, Machar in clashes over formation of unity govt by Nov 12
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Riek Machar .Photo credit AFP

Juba – The United Nations Security Council has insisted the South Sudanese warring parties should form a unity government by November 12 with no delay, while opposition leader Riek Machar is rejecting the date and , demanding a three-months extension.

The UN Security Council visits comes amid a mounting international pressure on South Sudanese leaders to settle outstanding issues and establish a transitional government by November 12.

The unity government, to be led by president Kiir and deputized by Machar, as part of the deal signed in 2018, would also accommodate several opposition groups in a three – year administration expected to usher the country into democratic elections and pave way for development.

The key issues to the formation of a unity government, including the security arrangements; resolving of the number of states and their boundaries, which haven’t been completed despite earlier extension from May 12.

A similar arrangement in then 2015 which provided for two armies in the country ended with heavy fighting in the capital, following a year after only three – months when Machar joined president Kiir in transitional government.

A unity government formation’s declaration came after a meeting between a delegation of members of the UNSC led by South Africa and United States and parties to the revitalized peace agreement in Juba on Sunday.

The UNSC said it will not accept more delays to the formation of a unity government, while threatening to impose sanctions on leaders if a government is not formed by November 12, urging the parties to set aside their disagreements for the sake of peace.

However, designated vice president, Dr. Riek Machar says the security arrangements and the number of states and their boundaries should be completed first the formation of a unity government.

Machar decries that the issues of security arrangements and the states were the cause of 2016 crisis, and such may replicate the same problem.

“The critical issues must be resolved,” said Machar during a briefing by a delegation of the UN Security Council. The security arrangements must be in place at least or the ceasefire which we have been enjoying for this whole year will be raptured,” he echoed.

Speaking to reporters, South African Ambassador to the Nations, Jerry Mathews Matjila says “there are minimum conditions for the parties to into November 12.”

“What Dr. Riek Machar wants is not impossible but we need political leaders who can compromise,” Amb. Mathews told the press at the end of their one – day visit.

South African diplomat further said the United Nations Security Council and the region will support the peace process in the world’s youngest nation.

“There should be no more extensions……. the remaining issues of the number of states, the boundaries and other things can be discussed by inclusive South Sudanese government,” said Amb. Mathews. If any leader needs security, we will give security. The United Nations can provide security, so the major was security. The government says we are committed, any number of people for protection is available.”

According to Mathews, the international community doesn’t see good reasons to delay the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan.

“We don’t anticipate that the remaining problems are so huge to not able South Sudan to move to November 12,” said Mathews.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft said South Sudan leaders should form a unity transitional government by November 12.

Craft further called on the parties to the peace deal to start making progress on the number of states and security arrangements.

The US diplomat pointed out that the UN Security Council delegation was encouraged by President Kiir’s recommitment to the revitalized peace agreement.

“We are disappointed by a statement from Dr. Riek Machar that the ceasefire would be in jeopardy when the unity government is formed by November 12,” said Craft. She stressed that the UN Security Council supports the formation of the unity government as originally planned.

But ex-rebel leader Machar says he will not be part of a unity government next month if established without the integration of the army force, a key condition of a peace accord signed last year.

“We in the SPLM-IO, our colleagues, would not be there, do not blame us because we don’t want to put the country into crisis,” said Machar, stressing that the aspect needed for the establishment of such a government is not there.”

But the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) said that the problems identified by Machar can be solved by the November deadline.

 “Now it is time to make a compromise necessary for the formation of the transitional government of national unity,” said Craft, the U.S Ambassador, as they are still holding to the November 12 deadline. “We expect both the government and the oppositions to unify together and to be able to put their people first.”

Despite, Machar’s refusal, the president Kiir’s administration and other opposition groups are ready to form the unity government as schedule, according to the country’s Information Minister Michael Makuei.

“The advice given to us by the UN Security Council, is that no change of schedule, no change of the program – you are advised to advised to establish your RTGoNU on the 12th of November,” Makuei told reporters, after a meeting between president’s administration and the UNSC teams.

President Kiir and Machar, including other parties signed a revitalized peace deal in September 2018 after a string of failed deals to end a civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, uprooted a third of the population from their homes and ruined the country’s economy.

In May, the two principals agreed to form a unity government in six months and again, in September, reiterated that they will establish a unity transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

However, the deal has stalled because the government has said it does not have the finances to fund the disarmament and integration of the army.

Machar met with president Kiir on Saturday to discuss the security arrangements, include the states and boundaries issue, as crucial components of the pact, but they could not come to an agreement on the issues.

Country’s Cabinet Affairs Minister, Martin Elia said the head of national army Jok Riak has assured them that 3000 members of a VIP protection force will be ready before November 12.

“Machar should not complain about the delay in implementing some of the key mechanisms because he has representatives in all the committees,” said Minister Elia, who is also the Secretary for the National Pre – Transitional Committee (NPTC), a body tasked with the implementation of the revitalized peace deal.

The UN Security Council advised Machar’s side to join the government so that the government is set up and if any problems, then they will be in a position to resolve them amicably.

The revitalized peace deal is seen a significant milestone as it provides a clear roadmap for peace, political transformation, security sectors reforms, healing and reconciliation process, disarmament and compensation in the horn of Africa’s country.

South Sudan secured independence from north Sudan in 2011 after decades of a scorched – earth civil war that has killed two million lives but descended into its own political conflict in late 2013 after president Kiir sacked Dr. Machar as vice president.

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Zimbabwe: Growing Hope for ZANU PF -MDC Government of National Unity
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Munhumutapa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) and his rival Nelson Chamisa. Photo/COURTESY

MDC Leader Nelson Chamisa has confirmed resolution to fresh talks between the two parties, highly emphasising bilateral relations meant to weave ray of light of a Government of National Unity.

Nelson Chamisa confirmed it on Sunday in Harare that there were moves towards an agreement to a Government of National Unity so that certain problems could be solved.

‘’There is a ray of hope for a Government of National Unity between the two parties, that is ZANU PF and MDC. Once we have reached final conclusions, we start to settle down for the talks.

‘’This is in response to challenges causing a crisis in the country.  Once we have settled down, we are towards a resolution meant to bring change in the country.’’

Chamisa said the talk deal between the two parties is now long over-due. He added that the long waited for dialogue has caused anticipation with the nation expecting a near change soon.

Themba Mliswa  a Parliamentarian for Norton constituency disputes a Government of National Unity, but calls for a Government of Transformation.

‘’Zimbabwe no- longer needs a Government of National Unity, but a Government of National Transformation. We do not just need to make a headway to smooth politics. We have economic challenges arising from bad politics. Let us focus on what is triggered at first, that is the economy at large’’, said Mliswa .

The two political parties have had a line up promise for dialogue since last year but there has been realised nothing. Zimbabwe Council of Churches has tried to mediate on the case without any foreseeable results.

One of the officials contacted for comment took it hard to come close to terms with the truth around the whole story. Asking for anonymity the official in the council of churches bares all that the two political parties are just buying time in the whole matter.

‘’There has been much time buying in the whole issue. Zimbabwe Council of Churches tried several attempts to come close and make the two agree but with all failure. 

‘’Talks have been put on the agenda for long but with no tangible results from both the two. The two belligerents have no close contacts to successful talks but just empty promises.

‘’I do not want to astray the nation but to tell the truth there is just an empty promise. This is so because there are past promises that have failed to materialise’’, he said.

An MDC Party supporter Big-Boy Chaumba known in the stronghold of party structures blames ZANU-PF for rigging elections. At the same time ZANU PF Party supporter Stanely Nyarugwe blames MDC for failure to accept results of the election outcome.

‘’ZANU PF rigged elections in 2018. Now they are aware of challenges but they want to take time to come to terms of agreement.

‘’Both of these parties will not come to an agreement because they know their strength and weaknesses. The nation is being brought to suspense without anything transpiring. There is much time buying and waste of it’’ , they conclude .

Mixed reactions to this discussion take both of the parties as problems the country faces. There are slim hopes for a Government of National Unity in any case. Even if it is put in place, it is expected to produce no good and positive results in terms of solving the Zimbabwean issue which is now 19 years old.

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Whatever the Election Outcome, Botswana’s ‘Democracy’ has Come of Age
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Botswana is heralded as a beacon of stability in a continent that is full of upheaval. However, according to former Botswana President, Botswana’ stability is soon to become a thing of the past if the current president Mokgweetsi Masisi is reelected for a full term in office come October 23. Ian Khama who put Masisi in the top job believes his successor is an autocrat who will reverse all the democratic gains that the country has enjoyed for decades.

The October 23 General Election in Botswana is going to be one of the most significant elections that Botswana has ever had. This is because for the first time, the election is not going to be a walk in the park for the incumbent like past elections but it’s going to be fiercely contested by three candidates who all have a huge chance of winning. This is going to present Botswana with a dilemma that it has never experienced before and one that has torn several African countries to shreds.

Hotly contested elections in neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other African nations such as Kenya, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Nigeria among others have always led to clashes often violent and in some instances, they have ignited civil wars as is the case with Ivory Coast. For Botswana, the upcoming elections, therefore, will put to the test, the country’s democracy.

Mokgweetsi Masisi will be running under the ruling party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which has ruled the country uninterrupted for the past 53 years. BDP will come up against a coalition of opposition parties under the banner ‘Umbrella for Democratic Change’ (UDC) and the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) a brainchild of the former president Ian Khama.

Strongly believing that the man he chose as his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi has become an autocrat, “The person who I nominated to be my successor, as soon as he took office became very autocratic, very intolerant and it has led to a decline in the democratic credentials that we have a reputation for,” Ian Khama is hoping that a win for the BPF will help Botswana return back to its former glorious past.

While both the UDC and the BPF pose a major threat to Masisi’s attempt to win his first full term in office, Khama’s main fear is the loose electoral alliance that it has with the UDC. The BPF which is a relatively new party sought to establish a close alliance with the UDC. However, by the time that the BPF sought to strike a deal with the UDC, the UDC had already nominated its candidates. So in many seats, the UDC and BPF candidates are standing against each other, which could split the opposition vote enough to give the BDP victory. And the BDP and many analysts believe that associating with Khama and the BPF will conversely dent the UDC’s chances in the urban areas, which are its stronghold, and where Khama isn’t widely popular.

Even more worrisome for Khama and the BPF is that not all elements inside the UDC are in favour of an alliance. Speaking to the Institute of Security Studies in Gaborone, deputy leader of the Botswana National Front which is the main party in the UDC, Prince Dibeela said it had been a ‘blunder’ to ally with Khama’s BPF.

The main question now as asked by Peter Fabricius of the Institute of Security Studies is, “For over half a century, Botswana has been an island of peace and stability in a stormy regional sea. But was that stability founded purely on the fact that one party has ruled since independence? If the BDP is defeated next week, will that change? Will it refuse to accept defeat and provoke an opposition backlash? And if the BDP wins again, will the UDC/BPF cry foul and take to the streets? Most Batswana say no, and they’re probably right. But then again they haven’t really been here before.”

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South Sudan parties to meet on future of transition
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir sign a power-sharing deal, August 5, 2018. Image: KagutaMuseveni/Twitter

Juba – South Sudan warring parties to the revitalized peace agreement are expected to meet in Juba on Saturday to discuss outstanding issues ahead of the extended pre -transition period deadline, says Peace Monitor body.

Addressing the last RJMEC Plenary meeting in Juba on Thursday, the interim chairperson of the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) Ambassador Augostino Njoroge said the parties have agreed to meet in Juba to resolve some of the outstanding issues such as the number and boundaries of states, agreement on the allocation of Ministerial portfolio, and submission by the parties of their nominees for the Transitional National Legislative Assembly among other issues before the deadline November 12.

“The incumbent TGoNU should, as a matter of urgency, avail more and adequate resources to the NPTC to facilitate ongoing cantonment, concurrent training and deployment of forces,” said Njoroge, adding that “the parties should meet and resolve the outstanding issue of the number and boundaries of states without further delay; and agree on what options are available come the 12th November deadline.”

JMEC says the peace deal has yielded dividends in the country since it was inked, adding that the permanent ceasefire has held and there is an overall improvement in the security and humanitarian across the country. According to UN, nearly 600,000 people have returned to their homes.

Speaking at the same meeting Gabriel Changson Chang a member of the National Pre- Transitional committee said the commission continues to mobilize for financial resources to fund some of the outstanding issues.

Four months ago, the government pledged to make available an additional $100 million to expedite the implementation of the pending tasks of the pre-transitional period, but Changson said they got 40,000 US dollar at the moment.

“The total amount received so far from the government is about 42 million US dollar out of the 100 million US dollar pledges,” said Changson.

“The regional and international partners and friends of South Sudan should enhance their financial, political and in-kind support to the full implementation of the R – ARCSS,” said Njoroge.

The Head of UN Mission in South Sudan David Shearer urged the leaders to the parties to demonstrate leadership in resolving the outstanding issues hindering the formation of RTGONU on November 12.

Security arrangements

Some progress has been made in the cantonment of forces. Out of the 25 designated cantonment sites for the opposition and 10 barracks for government forces, 24 cantonment sites and 6 barracks are operational. The registration of the forces is almost finished and that should be follows by screening, selection, training and deployment of the necessary unified forces.

Changson said about 60,995 forces were registered across the country and are ready for training soon.

“This is a huge number may not be trains in short period of time but we have to prioritized and our priority will be 3000 VIP protection forces as agreed upon and then the reasonable number of forces from 60,000 can also be train within this timeframe,” said Changson.

The IGAD council of ministers had required that at least half of the 83,000 necessary unified forces be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September, unfortunately, this deadline was not met. Last month, about 1,500 trainers were graduated and are ready to begin their work.

“I, therefore, urge the remaining process to be expedited and to be undertaken concurrently to catch up with lost time,” Njoroge said. “I appeal to the security mechanisms to expedite the selection of the forces for immediate training. In addition, I urge the DDR Commission to begin their work in the cantonment sites and barracks. I await an update from the JTSC on the plan for commencement of the training of forces.”

According to the revitalized peace agreement, the peace parties shall set up the reconstituted government of national unity on 12 November, exactly 26 days from today.

Despite reported progress in the implementation of the pre-transitional period, the peace parties have come under pressure for making anti-peace statements recently.

The President ,Salva Kiir, said he would go ahead and form a coalition government without his main co-signatory to the September 2018 peace accord if he [Machar] hesitates. But the SPLM-IO of Dr. Riek Machar said it would be part of the new unity government unless all the security arrangements and the numbers of states and its boundaries are put in place.

Last week, the United States threatened to impose fresh sanctions against South Sudan leaders if they failed to form a coalition government as scheduled on November 12.

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Mozambique: Nyusi headed for victory in chaotic election
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
Felipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique, casts his vote Oct. 15 in Maputo.(Associated Press)

By Arnaldo Cuamba

On Tuesday 15 October, Mozambique organized its general elections to choose the President of the Republic, provincial governors and deputies to the Assembly of the Republic. In general, the process started at the scheduled time, 7 a.m., and had a satisfactory participation of voters.

Of the 20,570 polling stations, including abroad, only 7 did not open in Cabo Delgado, namely in the Districts of Macomia, Muidumbe and Mocímboa da Praia. The situation has to do with the lack of security due to the extremist attacks that have terrorized the province since October 2017.

Young people and adults voted en masse making these the elections with the most participation since the first democratic ones in 1999. Initial reports suggest a turnout of about 50%. The independent observers point out that the candidate for his own succession in the presidency of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, dominates in the percentages with 70%. In second place is the leader of Renamo, Ossufo Momade (21%) and in third place is Daviz Simango, leader of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique with 7%.

In relation to the election of provincial governors and the assembly of the republic there are still no significant data. There is also no concrete date for the release of the data. The National Election Commission (CNE) will not announce partial results during the counting process as it has done in the past, CNE head Sheikh Abdul Carimo has told newspaper Canal de Mocambique in an interview published on wednesday. In the 2014 elections, the CNE called press conferences every few hours in the days following the vote, to read out results as they came in. This time they have decided against, Carimo says, because it “can create various negative interpretations.”

A shameful election

One of the important agents for the supervision of free, fair and transparent elections is the electoral observer. The truth is that 2,915 Mozambican observers were not accredited, although their applications were submitted more than a month ago to the electoral bodies. Many analysts believe that the act was deliberate in order to allow the fraud to occur.

The election night was marked by violence in the centre and north of the country. There was one death. A person was killed, shot and beaten by the police, and four people were shot in the lower limbs as police tried to disperse the crowd at Sao Vicente de Paulo Secondary School, Nacala-Porto, Nampula, province.

The election was also marked by situations of illegal ballot stuffing. Those who were captured brought with them ballots already marked in favour of the Frelimo party. There were also accusations of people who often voted for Filipe Nyusi and his party in an act sponsored by the electoral authorities.

Of the few independent observers who were accredited, those who dared to question illegal attitudes were arrested by the Mozambican police. These reports and more were brought from the central and northern parts of the country where Renamo carries a lot of weight.

“Frelimo’s level of fraud and misconduct was widespread and significantly higher than in previous elections and may have contributed to the qualified majority,” said the Center for Public Integrity, an independent organization that observed the elections.

Renamo boycott the counting

Renamo is boycotting all district vote tabulations, and has ordered its people not to participate in any way in those counts. The boycott was confirmed by an authorized Renamo source but there will be no public statement. MDM will continue to participate in the district counts, but may refuse to sign the district results sheets.

On Tuesday, speaking after voting in his homeland on the Island of Mozambique, Nampula Province, Northern Mozambique, Ossufo Momade, said he “will never” accept “rigged election results,” pointing out that the denial of popular will has led the country to military hostilities in the past.

“If these are manipulated results, we can never accept [them] and we are determined to do anything whatsoever that the people indicates,” said Ossufo Momade, when asked by journalists, whether he will accept a possible defeat in wednesday’s general elections across the country.

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US Congressional Delegation Meets President Barrow
October 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow on Monday morning received in audience a group of Representatives of the United States Congress at the State House in Banjul.

According to the leader of the parliamentary delegation known as the “House Democracy Partnership”, Congressman David Price of North Carolina, their discussions with the President was “very productive’’.

The group’s mission is to promote responsive, effective government and to strengthen democratic institutions by assisting legislatures in emerging democracies.

“We are here to show support, to learn and to express solidarity that our country feels with The Gambia as they take this path forward,” Congressman Price told waiting State House Press Corps.

President Barrow, on his part, said The Gambia cherished its longstanding friendship with the United States. He said his government appreciates the support given by the United States during the transition program.

“The reforms are still ongoing with the start of many important projects, such as the constitutional review, truth and reconciliation, civil service and security sector reforms. We are focused on the goals,” President Barrow told the delegation.  

They discussed democratic reforms aimed at transforming The Gambia into a full-fledged member of the comity of democratic nations in the world.

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