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Sierra Leone: International community condemns acts of intimidation and violence in re-run election
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

President Bio

President Bio

 

The International community in Sierra Leone has in a joint press statement today  condemned all acts of intimidation and violence during Saturday’s re -run parliamentary elections in constituency 110, western Rural district in Freetown.

The Joint statement by the international community in the country which included the British High Commission, Delegation of the European Union, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Republic of Ireland, and Embassy of the United States of America respectively came in the aftermath of Saturday’s election in constituency 110.

‘’We have followed with concern, the bye elections that took place in constituency 110 on 24 August EU and US Embassy staff were accredited as international observers and visited all polling stations .While elections were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner in the majority of polling stations, partners condemn all acts of intimidation and violence that marred the process. we note the decision of NEC to cancel the bye elections,’’ the joint statement said.

The joint statement further said they were calling upon all electoral stakeholders and the political party leadership, the police, and NEC to engage in a dialogue and to create the conditions for the electorate to exercise their civic duties in a peaceful environment and in a manner that allows for a credible outcome of future elections.

‘’This requires trust of the electorate in the independence of the institutions and confidence that political parties will engage in this process in full compliance with the law and with the code of conduct they have signed up to’’

The International Partners further noted that the country has made important progress in the consolidation of democracy and peace since the end of one-party state rule and the end of the civil war, as was also witnessed during the 2018 general and presidential elections but however said that this was not fully demonstrated during the bye -election in constituency 110 on 24 August adding that there is strong expectation that Sierra Leone will further consolidate democratic gains.

 

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Sierra Leone: NEC cancels Re-Run Parliamentary election in constituency 110
August 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Chief Electoral Commissioner , Mohamed Nfah Alie Conteh

Chief Electoral Commissioner , Mohamed Nfah Alie Conteh

Sierra Leone’s Electoral Body, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), has in a press statement today said it has cancelled Saturday’s Parliamentary re-run elections in constituency 110, Western Rural District due to violence in the centre which led to the destruction of 10 ballot boxes containing used ballot papers and other electoral materials destroyed.

‘’As a result of this incidence, voting did not end peacefully at the said polling stations. This seriously undermines the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and adversely affects the outcome of the polls. In View of the foregoing, the National Electoral Commission regrets to inform contesting political parties and the general public that it has cancelled the polls for constituency 110 Re-Run Parliamentary Election in the Western Area Rural District. A new date for the conduct of the said election will be communicated in due course,’’ the release said.

The press statement which was signed by the Chief Electoral Commissioner , Mohamed   Nfah Alie Conteh reads’’ By the power vested in it under section 33 of the constitution of Sierra Leone ,1991 (Act No.6 of 1991 ) and pursuant to the provisions of section 39(1) of the said constitution , section 69(1) and 70(1) of the Public Elections  Act 2012 (Act no 4 of 2012) and the judgement of the High Court of Sierra Leone dated the 31st May , 2019 , a Re Run Parliamentary bye lections was conducted by the National Electoral Commission  (NEC) in constituency 110 Western Area , on the 24th Day of August 2019, in accordance with the relevant electoral legal frame work.

The Vacancy occurred as a result of a judgement passed on the 31st day of May 2019 , in the High Court which ordered inter alia that the parliamentary election conducted on the 7th March 2018 in constituency 110 in the Western Area Rural District be declared null and void; the seat be declared vacant and the National Electoral Commission to conduct elections ‘’not later than three months from the date of this order’ in the said constituency.

‘’Tallying was done at the NEC National Data Centre at Wellington Industrial Estate Freetown on 24th August 2019. Accredited political parties’ agents and observers witnessed both the lections and the tallying processes. A total of 135 polling stations results were entered into the result data base representing 93% of the total number of polling stations in constituency 110. After entering results of the 135 polling stations, the difference between the two candidates with the highest valid votes is 174 excluding results from 10 affected polling stations, which materially affect the status of the result,’’ the NEC release further stated.

Four (4) political parties contested the parliamentary Re-Run elections, the All People Congress party, (APC) the National Grand Coalition (NGC), the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the Unity Party UP)

‘’The Commission wishes to assure the public of its continued commitment to conduct transparent and credible elections in Sierra Leone, ‘the release ended.

Meanwhile, the main opposition APC party has in a strong worded statement said ‘’ The APC wishes to emphatically make it known that we shall not accept the verdict of NEC to illegally cancel the results that we have been able to win at huge costs to our party , and we call on the international community and all peace -loving and patriotic     Sierra Leoneans to bring pressure to bear on NEC to reverse their arbitrary decision in the best interest of peace and stability in our beloved Sierra Leone’’

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi holds talks with Vladimir Putin in Russia
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who is in Russia on an official visit since Tuesday until friday. The leaders discussed issues related to the further development of Russian-Mozambican cooperation in various areas, as well as current international and regional issues, according to a press release seen by Pan African Visions.

Following the talks, Putin and Nyusi witnessed the exchange of documents signed during the a meeting at the Kremlin, Moscow.

The list of signed documents includes an intergovernmental agreement on mutual protection of classified information and an agreement on cooperation between the interior ministries of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mozambique; as well as documents related to technical cooperation in geology and minerals’ extraction, as well as cooperation between Rosneft, the Mozambican National Institute of Oil and the Mozambican National Hydrocarbons Company, including on the development of natural gas deposits on the shelf of Mozambique. Inter RAO-Export and EdM (Mozambique) also signed a memorandum of understanding in power generation.

Putin told Nyusi that its government is ready to develop relations between both countries in all areas. “I am sure that your visit, Mr President, will give a boost to the ties between our countries” he said adding that “we are very happy to see you”

On April when Mozambique was severely affected by destructive Cyclone Idai, Russia has delivered 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid, following the the country appeal to the international community for help.

On Tuesday Nyusi thanked Putin for the help.

“I would also like to thank you for the material and moral support you have been providing us” Nyusi said, “We would like to thank all Russian people for this”

On wedsneday Russia has pardoned 95% of Mozambique’s debt, according to an announcement made by the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi at a meeting with Russian and Mozambican businesspeople.

Nyusi’s visit is the first by a Mozambican head of state to Russia since the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. The last Mozambican statesman to visit Moscow was Joaquim Chissano, in 1987.

 

 

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Mo -Ibrahim Foundation Statement on the formation of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan
August 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
Abdalla Hamdok has been sworn in as Sudan's new Prime Minister.Photo AP

Abdalla Hamdok has been sworn in as Sudan’s new Prime Minister.Photo AP

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation welcomes the establishment of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan as a significant milestone for the country and Sudanese citizens. We hope that a new chapter will begin for Sudan, marking a peaceful transition to a civilian-led, stable democracy.

Democratic civilian rule is the only way to ensure sustainable good governance shared by, and for, all the people of Sudan. The pursuit of an inclusive dialogue between all parties and effective support from the international community will be essential to the success of this transition.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation warmly congratulates Abdalla Hamdok on his appointment as the first civilian Prime Minister of Sudan. We support his vow to prioritise economic prosperity and build a lasting peace across the country.

The Foundation recognises Abdalla Hamdok’s unwavering commitment to upholding standards for leadership and sound governance in Africa throughout his career. We are grateful for his commitment as Chair of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) Advisory Council over the past six years.

Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “Sudan is at a critical turning point in its history. What has been achieved is amazing and showcases the ability of a committed civil society, led by women and youth, supported by continental and regional institutions, to achieve a peaceful and democratic transition. We must now all commit to the sustainability of this success, key for the whole continent.

I am also happy to see two women as members of the Sovereign Council, including one representative of the Coptic Christian minority. I hope that more young people and women will take an active part in this new government.

We wish Abdalla Hamdok all the best as he steps up to his new position and the important task at hand.”

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South Sudan Parties in Addis Ababa to discuss security, states issues
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

File picture.South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (front L) and South Sudan's rebel commander Riek Machar exchange documents after signing a cease-fire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia

File picture.South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (front L) and South Sudan’s rebel commander Riek Machar exchange documents after signing a cease-fire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia

Juba – South Sudanese parties to the conflict convened for a consultation meeting in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa to discuss the stalled security arrangement and the number of states.

This comes after Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, summoned representatives of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement to converge at the Ethiopian capital on August 20 – 21.

The security arrangement and the states border are tasks that were meant to be completed within the pre-transitional period.

According to the program seen by Pan African Visions, the consultation meeting will listen to reports from the National Pre-Transitional Committee, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, and the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.

The participants shall also go into closed-door meetings to discuss the “Security Arrangements Implementation, its challenges and the way forward.” This meeting is intended to review progress made during the pre-transitional period which is about to elapse.

In May, President Kiir and main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar extended the pre-transition period after falling to implement the security arrangement such as cantonment of forces, screening, reunification and deployment.

However, the parties are left with less than three months to complete these tasks and to form the unity transitional government.

President Kiir’s group is headed by the Minister of Information, who is also the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth.

“We are going for this meeting to go and thrash out some of the outstanding issues and we identified the challenges and see how best we will address them,” Makuei said quoted by Eye Radio.

The parties shall also listen to a summary report of the Independent Boundaries Commission, a report which has already been submitted to the parties. The body recently completed its finding on the number of states needed in the next transitional period.

But Makuei said this report was submitted late, thus hindering the parties from properly scrutinizing the document.

“They only gave us…a copy to each party yesterday [Monday, Aug 19]. They have not yet reproduced the official copy to the members, so I doubt if we are going to discuss the report of the IBC,” Said Makuei. “They should have given to the parties earlier so that they discuss and come out with their positions,” He added.

Meanwhile, the government, including other opposition groups, says the parties to agree are not expected to extend the pre-transitional period beyond November 2019.

The SSOA, SPLM-IO, FDs and the incumbent government are expected to share various portfolios in the next coalition government -at the national and state levels.

President Kiir and Dr. Machar as First Vice President are expected to lead a government of national unity with four other Vice Presidents represented by the Former Detainees and the Opposition Alliance.

The main task of the unity government is to restore permanent and sustainable peace, stability and security in the Horn of Africa’s country.

Dr. Machar has repeatedly led descending voices not to form the government without proper security measures as guaranteed in the security arrangements, argued that they want a well- trained and unified security sector that can “guarantee the stability” of the next power sharing government.

Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, South Sudan Opposition Alliance’s leader said any further delay will not be in the interest of the ordinary person.

“I think the public is putting pressure that we need to implement this peace in latter and spirit, and the extension is non-renewable,” said Bakosoro. “We are going to table that and see what is the next move. Of course, we put the interest of the public first rather than the interest of the individual.”

IGAD also extended the invitation to local pressure groups or civil society groups to act as observers during the discussions.

This is a first evaluation meeting of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement since the extension of the timeline in May this year.

The one-day consultation discussions will be addressed by IGAD Executive Secretary, representatives of Troika [US, UK and Norway], China, EU, UN, AU, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, and the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers.

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Cameroon: Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, 9 others handed life sentences
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Sisiku Ayuk Tabe

Sisiku Ayuk Tabe

The Yaounde Military court has handed life sentences to leaders of the Ambazonia separatist movement. He and nine others were convicted of charges including “terrorism and secession”, government lawyer Martin Luther Achet told AFP news agency on Tuesday. They were equally ordered to pay in FCFA 250 billion to the court

In a press release from the Communication and Media Committee of the Defense Team of Sessekou Ayuk Julius Tabe and others, Media and Communication Chairman Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemous stated, “Let the entire world be informed that at exactly 5:38 am this Tuesday the 20th day of August 2019, the President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia and the nine (9) others have been slammed the life sentence by the Yaounde Military Tribunal in gross violation of their rights as accused persons.”

Ayuk Tabe was the first self-proclaimed president of “Ambazonia”, a breakaway state declared in October 2017 in two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon. The verdict brings to an end a case that has been dragging for more than a year now. Observers say this decision has killed all hopes of an effective back to school in the South West and North West Regions.

In January 2018, Ayuk Tabe was arrested with 46 other separatists in the Nigerian capital Abuja. They were then handed over to Cameroon in a move that was ruled illegal by a Nigerian court in March this year. In late May, Ayuk Tabe said he was willing to take part in talks with the government, provided this took place abroad and the government released all who had been detained since the start of the Anglophone crisis.

Renowned Human Rights Lawyer Barrister Felix Agbor Balla in a Facebook post categorically stated, “The sentencing of Sisiku and Co. to life imprisonment is an affront to due process and the rule of law”. “The right to fai trial is a fundermental human right. The sham process is a reflection of the sham management of the country.”

Is Mancho Bibixy next to get life imprisonment?

Mancho Bibixy addressing a crowd in Bamenda shortly before his arrest

Mancho Bibixy addressing a crowd in Bamenda shortly before his arrest

The Cameroon government is accusing Mancho Bibixy of tampering with the integrity of the nation by “demanding the partition of Cameroon through the creation of the State of Ambazonia.”He is also charged with trying to use violence to demand a return to Federation and for not being in possession of his Identity card

Mancho is being detained at the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde since his arrest in Bamenda on January 19, 2017. The detention of Mancho for thinking about a federal state and at the same time independence of the Southern Cameroons is an indication that he is a prisoner of conscience. “He was abducted and bundled to Yaounde, without being given time to take anything along. It is surprising that he is being accused of not having an identity card,” one of Mancho’s friends explained in anger.

Described as very courageous, ‘liberation spirit’, He is said to have also made close contacts with other Southern Cameroons liberation activists worldwide. “It was so until 21 Nov 2016 when God commanded me to take the struggle to another level,” Mancho is quoted as saying. “I expect Southern Cameroonians to hold on to this struggle as if that’s the only thing they have remaining in this world.

The crisis which has been going on for more than 2 years now has seen many killed, displaced or become refugees in neighboring Nigeria. Attacks by both sides have left 1,850 dead, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, while the UN says 530,000 people have fled their homes. According to UN aid officials, more than one in six people in Cameroon-4.3 million need humanitarian aid, an increase of 30 percent from 2018.

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Nigeria:EKWEREMADU’S ASSAULT AND THE DYNAMICS OF REVOLUTION
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Omoshola Deji*

The assault of Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Germany is unsurprising, but shocking. Unsurprising because it’s certain Nigerians would revolt against their leaders misrule someday. It is shocking because many never envisaged such could happen now, and in this manner. The popular support, but low turnout at Omoyele Sowore’s Revolution Now protest, and the fading outcry for his release is a pointer that Nigerians want a revolution, but are reluctant to revolt.

Aside shocking the reluctant populace, Ekweremadu’s assault also stunned the revolution vanguards. Most never imagined any tribe could, at this moment in time, revolt against the same leaders they have been programed to exalt and defend irrationally. Is revolution taking a new, unexpected dimension? Departing the long occupied arena of inter-ethnic confrontations for home?

Ekweremadu is the leading political figure of the Igbo ethnic group. He was Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President for three consecutive terms (2007-2019). Ekweremadu comes next to the late Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria’s first elected Vice-President (1979-1983). Ekwueme and ex-President Shehu Shagari’s government was deposed in 1983 by retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s incumbent President.

At the invitation of the Igbo community in Germany, Ekweremadu was in Nurnberg to deliver a keynote address at the Ndi Igbo Second Annual Cultural (new yam) Festival. He was denied entry to the event by irate members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Igbo secessionist group led by Nnamdi Kanu, a fugitive wanted for jumping bail to hide abroad after the military unjustly invaded his home. Kanu is undergoing trial for treason at the Federal High Court in Abuja. The Nigerian government proscribed IPOB, declaring it a terrorist organization in 2017.

On the instruction of Kanu, IPOB on 17 August, 2019 attacked and tore Ekweremadu’s cloth for allegedly not advancing the course of Igbo independence and not condemning the killing of his people by Fulani herdsmen. In all fairness, Ekweremadu couldn’t have done much, being an opposition figure. He spoke against the Military’s Operation Python Dance in Igbo land, but apparently not as vehement as IPOB wanted. Ekweremadu was being cautious. Defending IPOB fervently would have set him against the northern senators who are largely in support of the military invasion and IPOB’s proscription. Not playing along could have resulted in his removal as Deputy Senate President.

It would have also put him at loggerheads with the federal government. The President’s intolerance to criticisms would make him unleash his attack dogs against Ekweremadu. He would have been terribly harassed, arraigned on trumped-up charges and incarcerated. Nigerians won’t be surprised if Buhari arraign him for sponsoring treason and a proscribed organization. The circumstance surrounding the condition at the time puts Ekweremadu at a crossroads: to either pick ‘self’ or ‘us’. He settled for ‘self’ as most of the IPOB members that assaulted him would have done.

Kanu also picked ‘self’ over ‘us’ by abandoning the secession struggle at the most crucial time. Many of the hundreds of families who lost lives and properties are still grieving to date. They surely aren’t happy that Kanu brainwashed their loved ones to fight a battle he has no capacity to win. If those affected are Lustitia, their sword won’t spare Kanu for taking cover abroad after destabilizing the polity. He may neither be contacting the bereaved nor providing them support. If that’s the case, then it is unreasonable for IPOB to assault Ekweremadu for a wrong Kanu is also guilty of.

The southeast governors are more deserving of IPOB’s intimidation than Ekweremadu. They were conspiratorially silent when the python was dancing and IPOB was being proscribed. They failed to speak despite being immune from the incarceration and prosecution Buhari is using to silence critics. Be that as it may, the governors’ silence may not be unconnected with Kanu’s personalization of the secession struggle and uncouth utterances. He singlehandedly issued sit-at-home orders and called for the boycott of elections. This didn’t sit well with the politicians and Ohaneze Ndigbo, the leading Igbo socio-cultural group. Ekweremadu is just a lone voice among these persons. He cannot order them to do his bidding.

But then, one cannot exonerate Ekweremadu of blame. Ekweremadu is elected to represent his constituency and region, not himself. If the wish of the Igbo majority, as it seems then, is to secede, it is Ekweremadu’s responsibility to interface with the federal government and find a middle ground. This should have been done with IPOB and other relevant stakeholders in the know, but Ekweremadu acted differently. His action was largely self-serving. Escaping prosecution from alleged corrupt practices was his priority. He chose to favor ‘self’ when he is elected to represent ‘us’. He deserves to be punished, but through the ballot, not assault.

Ekweremadu was punished for the wrongs of his fellow elites ruining Nigeria. He was made to feel the anger of the people. Nigerians across boards believe the assault is a viable way of making leaders accountable. Assault is immoral, but many are willing to get involved, if it would bring good governance. If corrupt politicians are being shamed, there’ll be less misrule as they and their families can’t stay away from schooling, receiving treatment and holidaying abroad. Nigeria would transform when the politicians have no other choice than Nigeria.

Celebrating new yam festival in faraway Germany is a misplacement of priority, at a time when incessant killings is occurring in Igbo land. Who among the organizers of the festival owns a farm or ever planted a yam? The real farmers who should be celebrating their outputs are being killed and losing their loved ones and farms to bandits. Partying under this situation is a mockery of the farmer’s misfortune. Leadership is service. The huge cost of organizing the events and the travel expenses incurred by dignitaries such as Ekweremadu could have been used to assist those who lost persons and properties during the secession struggle and bandits attack. Wealthy Igbos and the foreign branches of Ohaneze Ndigbo needs to be more philanthropic.

IPOB’s assault on Ekweremadu is somewhat unjust and misdirected. Buhari and his appointees who outlawed the organization and apparently failed to address the challenges in the southeast have been left unthreatened. Those at the helm of affairs are ignored for the governors who can neither control the security agencies nor restore Biafra. The unintended consequence of IPOB’s action is that her real ‘oppressors’ chance to win elections is being heightened by her actions. Defaming the People Democratic Party’s government in the southeast would only help the All Progressives Congress have an easy win in 2023. But for one thing, Ekweremadu’s assault is a message to the President’s top aides that it may be their turn next.

Aside the president and vice, Nigerian leaders can’t get the extraordinary protection they enjoy in Nigeria abroad. Unlike in Nigeria, where protesters are being hounded, the western nations allow people to enjoy their right to peaceful protest. Nigerians in the diaspora would be allowed to air their grievances, but assaults won’t be tolerated. That of Ekweremadu sailed through because it was unexpected. The foreign security agencies would be more present in Nigerian high profile gatherings to forestall future occurrence. IPOB has vowed to give Igbo leaders the Ekweremadu treatment wherever they are sighted abroad. This could create a bandwagon effect. Aggrieved persons and groups from other regions of the country may adopt the same strategy.

Ekweremadu’s assault and Sowore’s Revolution Now are well-coordinated moves against government and high-profile politicians. Could this be the manifestation of the decisions reached when Kanu and Sowore met abroad? Or the hounding of unharmed local protesters attracted sympathy abroad? Is the Buhari government’s intolerance making peaceful protesters adopt a violent approach? Has the government’s high handedness created another menace? Do the aggrieved protesters have a more violent approach of driving home their point in the bag? The time is pregnant.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

 

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World Humanitarian Day: UN SG Calls on the Protection of Humanitarian Workers in conflicts
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

UN Secretary-General António Guterres meets refugees and migrants in a detention centre in Tripoli, Libya. 4 April 2019. © UN Photo/Florencia Soto Niño

UN Secretary-General António Guterres meets refugees and migrants in a detention centre in Tripoli, Libya. 4 April 2019.
© UN Photo/Florencia Soto Niño

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says world leaders, and all parties to conflict must ensure that humanitarians are protected from harm as required under international law. The UN scribe was speaking as the world celebrates the International Humanitarian Day, with tributes being paid to women humanitarians around the world.

In his address, the UN SG said “World Humanitarian Day honors humanitarians around the world who risk their lives to help save and improve the lives of others. This year, we pay special tribute to women humanitarians and the huge difference they make for millions of women, men, and children in urgent need.”

“From supporting civilians caught up in crisis, addressing disease outbreak, women humanitarians are on the front lines” while adding that “their presence makes aid operations effectively by increasing their reach. It also improves the humanitarians respond to gender-based violence which increases during crisis.”

He added that serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law continue around the world, and they must be investigated and prosecuted.

In a tweet, David Gressly, UN Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator saluted all the women humanitarian workers who have been at the battlefield against the dreaded Ebola virus. He said, “Each #Ebola crisis has its own challenges. I am Grateful for the amazing #WomenHumanitarians and partners addressing the current outbreak in #DRC.”

He added “I stand with all the #WomenHumanitarians who relentlessly put their lives on the line in the fight against #Ebola. Let’s honor their efforts by working together to ensure no more lives are taken by this terrible disease.”

Allegra Baiocchi, UN Development and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon on her part tweeted “It is #WorldHumanitarianDay! Stand up for humanitarian workers around the world. Honor their courage, their commitment, and their sacrifice.

As a part of this year’s celebration, the UN and partners are launching the #WomenHumanitarians globe campaign to pay special tribute, and raise support for the work women do to save lives and alleviate human suffering.

The day celebrated every 19 August dates back to 2003 when the UN Headquarter in Bagdad was targeted by a large terrorist truck bomb, killing 22 people including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN’s top representative in Iraq.

Across the globe, 250,000 aid workers are women-a figure that amounts to more than 40 per cent of the humanitarian workforce as aid work becomes increasingly difficult. Since August 2003, more than 4,500 aid workers of all genders have been killed, injured, detained, assaulted or kidnapped while carrying out their work, according to the UN. That averages five attacks per week. Women’s aid workers are also high risk to being robbed, sexually assaulted and other violent attacks.

Last year was the second-worst on record, and the worst for the past five years concerning aid workers security, according to ReliefWeb. In 2018, there were 405 victims, with 131 aid workers killed, 144 wounded and 130 kidnapped across the world. ReliefWeb added that “So far in 2019, some 156 aid workers have been attacked on the job with 57 killed, 59 wounded and 40 kidnapped.”

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Equatorial Guinea Denies Reports of Border Wall with Cameroon
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Equatorial Guinea's Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono Angue

Equatorial Guinea’s Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono Angue

The Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue has denied reports that his country plans to build a wall along the border with its neighbor Cameroon. Foreign Minister Esono Angue said despite the diplomatic rift between the two countries, it would be resolved through dialogue.

“The wall does not exist. Those talking about the wall lack information. When there is a problem between two countries, it is necessary to solve the problem through peaceful and diplomatic means. The media are free to propagate information but I insist there is no wall,” Angue told reporters in Yaounde after meeting with Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.

According to Esono Angue, he was sent by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea to consolidate bilateral relationship which he described as “excellent” between the two countries.

His remark comes a few weeks after Western media had reported that Equatorial Guinean soldiers had crossed the Ntem River that forms a natural border between the two countries and erected milestones in the town of Kye-Ossi on the Cameroonian side, reports VOA.

Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz, Equatorial Guinea Ambassador to Cameroon in a meeting with Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, however, said his country plans to build a war, but reports that its military had installed milestones in Cameroon’s territory are misleading, as per VOA.

Equatorial Guinea has equally accused Cameroon of allowing its citizens and West Africans to enter its territory illegally. According to multiple reports, more than 100 migrants from Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Benin on their way to Equatorial Guinea are currently stranded in Cameroon after they were rescued from their capsized vessel in the Atlantic Ocean.

In late July, Rene Claude Meka, Cameroon’s Army chief of staff warned that Cameroon would not allow any expansionist ambitions after visiting the 180 km border between the two countries.

 

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Malawi: Constitutional Court continues hearing elections case
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) wants the elections nullified

Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) wants the elections nullified

The Constitutional Court in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe continues to hear an elections case in which two parties are contesting against the Presidential results of a poll that took place in May this year.

The two, Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and Saulosi Chilima of UTM want results of the election that saw Peter Mutharika win a second term bid nullified.

The had sued the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and Mutharika as first and second respondents of the case.

The two accuse MEC and Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of reportedly indulging in a series of malpractices in the elections.

They also accuse them of among other things conniving to the use of erasing fluid Tippex which as seen in results had initial figures erased for newer ones.

From last week, the court had ruled against an application by the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale to have the case adjourned.

Kaphale, representing the state had been cross examining Chilima on issues spanning from his sworn statement. The issues raised are intimidation of election monitors, influence on presiding officers, unsecured ballot papers, holding of ballot papers by unauthorized persons and arrest of persons.

On Monday, Kaphale had led Chilima into equating the concerns to 0.259% of annomalies from entire 5002 polling centers in Malawi.

The court will have over 500 witnesses from the first and second petitioners as well as the respondents.

Interestingly, the two petitioners also want Mutharika and MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah in court for cross examination.

Malawi laws do not allow a sitting President for any form of trial.

There have been series of protests in the major cities against the way the elections were managed. The Civil society want Ansah to step down, a thing she has incessantly denied saying the poll was free and fair and certified by all concerned stakeholders.

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Cameroon: SDF to Withdraw Parliamentarians, Boycott Elections if Biya Fails to End Crisis
August 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi says the party will boycott November session should Biya fail to end the crisis

SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi says the party will boycott November session should Biya fail to end the crisis

The Social Democratic Front Party, SDF has announced that it will boycott the upcoming parliamentary election as well as not sending parliamentarians to the budgetary session in November if President Biya failed to solve the presence crisis in the English speaking part of the country.

In a communiqué signed by the party’s national chairman, John Fru Ndi, after a NEC meeting in Douala, on 10 August, the SDF notes that “President Biya declared the ongoing war in the NW and SW Regions and it is incumbent on the President, not only to bring the civil war to an end, but also provide a definitive solution that will create an enabling environment for children to return to school in September 2019, and for elections to take place; failure to which the SDF shall be obliged to withhold its parliamentarians from attending the November 2019 session.”

On the upcoming parliamentary/municipal elections, Fru Ndi states that “If elections are convened and held under the present circumstances, the SDF will not participate and this will tantamount to breaking the country into two.” “The declaration of war sparked a spiral of violence which led to disastrous consequences: maiming, rape, torture, kidnapping, mass killings, looting, destruction and torching of schools, hospitals, houses and razing of entire villages” He added  while indicating that “this has caused thousands of casualties and displacement of persons, who today, are refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), paradoxically fulfilling the secret assimilation agenda of Anglophones especially the annihilation of the educational and Common Law systems.”

The communiqué further stated: “The SDF calls on the CPDM Senators, CPDM Members of the National Assembly, CPDM Mayors and CPDM Councilors of the North West and South West Regions who have exhibited disturbing indifference and support to the oppressive government irrespective of the frustrations and atrocities inflicted on the Anglophone people whom they purport to legitimately represent, to stop using the Anglophone problem for political ends.”

The SDF has called on the separatist fighters to exercise restraint. It equally reminded Francophones that the Anglophone problem is a national issue, which if not urgently addressed, will lead to irretrievable separation of the country.

SDF Party officials

SDF Party officials

Recalling the recent visit of the new PM, Dr Dion Ngute to Buea and Bamenda, the SDf release noted that the visit was a smokescreen intended to deceive the people of NW and SW because the security situation has not changed after the visit. In the resolutions of the NEC meeting, the SDF condemned what it termed “laborious attempts to muzzle the media by MINAT, Paul Atanga Nji.”

The recent position from the leader of the SDF Party may be seen as a victory for the separatist fighters. Ni John has been constantly told to remove his parliamentarians from Yaounde. During his last abduction, the separatist fighters again called on him to remove his parliamentarians from Yaoundé. Ni John however said He will not do so as it is an avenue for him to communicate with the Head of State. This strategy from the SDF is meant to get the attention of the CPDM run government who have failed considerably to end the violence with has been going on for the past 3 years.

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European Union sends Election Observation Mission to Mozambique
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

The European Union will send an Election Observation Mission to Mozambique to observe the general elections scheduled for 15 October this year, following an invitation by the Mozambican authorities.

This decision, according to an EU note, once again reflects the organization’s commitment to support the consolidation of democracy in Mozambique, where the EU has observed all elections held since 1994.

Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Ignacio Sánchez Amor, Member of the European Parliament, as Head of the Election Observation Mission.

“A successful electoral process can contribute to the stability and confidence needed for the country’s growth and development,” said Federica Mogherini.

The core team of the Electoral Observation Mission, made up of 9 analysts, arrives in Maputo on Wednesday and is expected to remain in the country until the electoral process is completed and will prepare a comprehensive final report. Upon the arrival of the core team, 32 other long-term observers will be joined and will be deployed across the country. Another 76 short-term observers will be deployed to polling day.

The ongoing electoral cycle in Mozambique began with the municipal elections of 10 October 2018, followed by the presidential, legislative and provincial elections taking place on 15 October.

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