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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chagos Islanders Seek Restitution of Popular .IO Domain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A link to the case is here:   https://tinyurl.com/IOdomain

For more information contact:Dr. Jonathan Levy, Attorney & Solicitor info@jlevy.co

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

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Uzman Unis Bah

President Maada Bio
President Maada Bio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Akinwumi A. Adesina*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Président, African Development Bank

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

By Bakary Ceesay

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

By Andreas Thomas

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula sharing updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More troubles for Namibia’s flag carrier
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Windhoek – The Windhoek High Court on Wednesday overturned a decision by the Transportation Commission of Namibia to suspend Air Namibia’s air license over cash crisis and safety concerns.

The national flag carrier turned to the court after the Commission resolved to temporarily suspend its Air Service License as the company struggles to remain solvent.

Judge Marlene Tommasi has since interdicted the transportation commission from going ahead with the suspension until August 3, 2020.

“The suspension of Air Namibia’s service license has been suspended by the High Court,” the airline spokesperson Paul Nakawa told media after the court decision.

“Air Namibia shall continue to fly all domestic flights as per published schedule. Safety remains at the heart of Air Namibia’s operations and we call on our esteemed passengers and stakeholders to continue supporting Air Namibia.”

The temporary suspension was to take effect on Wednesday at midnight until 22 July 2020 to afford Air Namibia time to sort out its finances. The suspension could have prohibited the airline from operating commercial flights.

The airline operates a fleet of 10 leased aircraft for its domestic and continental routes as well as the Windhoek to Frankfurt route.

The transport commission in the ministry of works and transport said it moved to ground the airline’s operations out of concern about its ongoing financial challenges.

“Taking all the factors into consideration and the requirements of the Air Services Act, namely that the operator must be financially able to provide a safe satisfactory and reliable air service,” the commission’s head Eldoretter Harmse said in a statement.

Nonetheless, Air Namibia troubles are far from over as the state-owned airline struggle to keep afloat.

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has refuted recent media reports that the government has given up on Air Namibia and decided to have it liquidated.

Shiimi who chairs the Cabinet Committee on treasury has said no decision has been taken to liquidate the company.

But different options are on the table to restructure the company that employs about 800 people. The airline has a significant debt which if leaseholds are factored in will amount to mover than N$5 billion ($335 million).

“This means for the new business plan to be implemented, taking the outstanding debt into account, an amount of over N$7 billion ($470 million)will have to be spent in the current financial year which makes it unaffordable,” he said.

The government has already turned down Air Namibia’s request for N$2 billion ($134 million) bailout in October 2019. Instead, the government agreed to provide a N$578 million ($39 million) loan guarantee for the national airline.

Air Namibia has been allocated N$984.6 ($66 million) for the 2010/21 financial year. The loss-making parastatal has been the cause of headache for the State that has spent over N$8 billion ($537 million) to bail it out for the past two decades.

And President Hage Geingob believes the airline does not worth the headache, after his recent public call to liquidate the airline.

“Air Namibia must be liquidated. We have a very serious problem with air Namibia,” Geingob stressed while answering questions regarding the unprofitability of the national airline in parliament on June 5. “It must be restructured and if liquidation is the thing, we must do that.”

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CFI Faults Draft Law on Cultural and Artistic Association in Cameroon
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Officials of the Cameroon Film Industry decrying the law on Culture and Artistic Association in Cameroon
Officials of the Cameroon Film Industry decrying the law on Culture and Artistic Association in Cameroon

The Cameroon Film Industry (CFI), a platform of film stakeholders in Cameroon with representatives from the producers, directors, actors, technicians, and writers’ guilds have called for a revision of the draft law on cultural and artistic associations tabled before parliament on June 29, 2020.

The members amongst other things made it categorically clear that the draft law greatly ignores the bicultural nature of Cameroon enshrined in the preamble of our constitution. To them it is reflected in the fact that the law does not take into consideration the organizational differences that exists in the two cultural systems of Cameroon.

“The law is unconstitutional because it raises a lot of conflict with other laws, Takum Fred Che, Financial Secretary of CFI said. “You cannot take a situation where the 1990 Laws that have guaranteed that Associations can be created at the grassroot level bringing it to the people. But this draft is centralizing the whole thing back to the Minister of culture.”

He added: “You have to procedurally suffer and even have to do a lot of documentation to make sure your application move from the sub divisional level to divisional, regional, and national level. It makes the Minister the only person to accredit and authorize the existence of federation. This totally goes against the 1990 liberal laws.”

The members further indicated that the law makes room for just a single federation totally taking away the freedom to form one which makes the draft unconstitutional. “The law is also practically difficult to apply because finally it is unclear if associations shall be under the management and control of MINAC or MINAT, thus creating a fertile ground for conflict of functions, responsibilities, and powers,” a concept note from CFI noted.

CFI which is a major stakeholder in the film sector of the country according to officials were and are being ignored and sidelined in the drafting of the law. The law to the officials does not have what it takes to harness, nurture and maximize their potentials.

CFI added: “The September 22, 1979, law which is used as base is misrepresented in the present law because whereas the 1979 law was intelligent enough to know that cultural groups and artistic groups cannot be governed under the same law, this one erroneously thinks they are the same. While the 1979 law uses the terms, “company,” “union,” and “guilds” to distinguish the appellations used depending on the area of competence, this drafts attempts to use them as hierarchical structures that are directly related and dependent.”

Proposing solution to the draft law on cultural and artistic Associations in Cameroon, the members of CFI said a clear distinction between cultural groups and artistic groups had to be made, with specific laws elaborated for each to ensure their smooth functioning. 

“Artistic groups should be governed by internationally established rules that respect and know guilds as agglomerations of common interest,” CFI said. “A confederation of federations representing our bicultural nature should be established in the artistic groups with equal representation.”

The draft bill has however been adopted leading CFI, and other stakeholders involve grappling with the fallout of the “bad” bill as stated by some officials.

The bill according to the Minster of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji is one that is going to make the industry more profit and make it closer to their minister than how it was before.

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DECLARATION OF NON INTERNATIONAL ARMED CONFLICT IN AMBAZONIA (SOUTHERN CAMEROONS)
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

On July 4, 2020 at Accra, Ghana, the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS), an international organization serving the emerging states of Africa seeking self-determination declared the conditions for a Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC) under Article 3 of Geneva Convention (1949) are met.

The NIAC request was made to the OEAS after consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC )by the Ambazonian armed forces who have been battling the armed forces of Cameroun since October 2017.

The purpose of the NIAC is to provide relief to the Ambazonian civilians who are the true victims of the conflict as well as participants to the conflict who have laid down their weapons due to sickness or wounds and to extend the protection of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to them.

Ambazonian forces have pledged to cooperate with the ICRC and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF).  Camerounian government forces stand accused of targeting civilians, burning villages, and mass murder. Some of the less disciplined Ambazonian forces stand accused of hostage taking, theft, and assassinations.

Since October 2017 casualties have exceeded 25,000 and up to a million people have been displaced by fighting in one of Africa’s most contentious conflicts.  Ambazonians are seeking the independence of the former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons from French speaking Republique du Cameroun.

*OEAS

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