Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:49:34 +0000Lawyer requests bail for ousted Sudan leader in corruption trial’s deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir appeared in court Saturday for the second hearing of his corruption trial, during which his defence asked for his release on bail. Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in on Monday when his trial on graft charges opened. In the first hearing, an investigator said that Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years. The judge in Khartoum Saturday heard three witnesses, two of them investigators who searched Bashir’s residency after his ouster and the other a banker. “We ask the court to release the accused on bail,” Bashir’s lawyer Hashem Abu Bakr said, to which the judge answered he would examine a written request. After the hearing, as a massive security convoy escorted the 75-year-old Bashir back to prison, two opposing groups of demonstrators had gathered. One group of a few dozen protesters were chanting slogans for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the the country’s deadly conflicts. “Bashir is a killer” and “He has to face justice”, chanted some of the demonstrators. Another smaller group had turned out in support of the deposed leader, who was forced from power by relentless protests in April after 30 years in power. While the sight of Bashir sitting inside a cage in a courtroom was unthinkable only months ago, many in Sudan and abroad have warned that this trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces. The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur. AFPSat, 24 Aug 2019 10:49:34 +0000editorial@africanews.com parliament approves new electoral bill ahead of 2020 polls Ethiopian parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, HoPR; today approved a new electoral bill ahead of much anticipated national polls slated for next year. Lawmakers convened in an extraordinary session to debate and pass the law which had been under construction since Abiy came into power in April 2018. The revised law of political parties registration and electoral ethics has been adopted unanimously by Ethiopia’s parliament, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The privately-owned Addis Standard portal added that a proposed clause meant to boost the involvement of women was dismissed by the lawmaker. The said clause sought to give priority to women who received equal votes with men during the polls. The ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF; is on record to have stressed its readiness to organize the polls on schedule. The EPRDF currently holds all seats in the parliament.Competing parties in Africa’s second most populous nation have also made similar calls but with a core demand that electoral reforms be passed. There is a new head of the electoral board in the person of Birtukan Mideksa and international partners including the European Union have pledged financial support to help the electoral process. Analysts have meanwhile expressed concern over rising insecurity which saw Ethiopia emerge the worst in the area of internal displacement due to conflicts. Ethnic based clashes soiled Abiy’s first year in charge at a time he was championing widespread political reforms.Sat, 24 Aug 2019 09:48:10 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) probing deadly stampede at rap concert have opened an investigation into the cause of a stampede ahead of a rapper’s concert at an Algiers sports stadium that left five youths dead, including a 13-year-old. The prosecutor’s office in Sidi M’Hamed said in a statement on Friday that an inquiry to determine the circumstances of the drama the night before was being opened. The TSA online news site said that a stampede erupted at the entrance to the stadium that killed five people aged 13 to 22. The concert by Algerian rapper Soolking had not yet started. The site quoted civil defense spokesman Khaled Benkhelfallah as saying that 86 others were rescued. He said he knew nothing of the circumstances that led to the stampede. APSat, 24 Aug 2019 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com in West, Central Africa shuts 9,000 school, 1.9m kids affected - Report Hussaini said he first heard screaming. Then people fired guns, shooting at and killing at least one of his teachers in his northern Burkina Faso village. It’s been more than a year since Hussaini has been to school. “I used to love school, to read, to count and to play during recess,” the boy, identified only by his first name, told the United Nations Children’s Agency. He is not alone. More than 9,000 schools have closed and more than 1.9 million children in West and Central Africa have been forced out of school because of increasing violence in the region and attacks specifically targeting education facilities, UNICEF said Friday, saying it’s triple the amount closed in 2017. Attacks on schools in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where an Islamic extremist insurgency has grown, have doubled in the past two years, the agency said in its report, adding that those countries have seen a six-fold increase in school closures because of the violence. “In many conflicts in this region, education is at the heart of the issue of these disputes. There is a mistrust toward what is perceived as western style education, so that means it is deliberately attacked,” said an author of the report and UNICEF Johannesburg-based Chief of Communications Patsy Nakell. “These are regions that are already deprived in education and access to education for girls in particular.” School is also the one place where children of conflict still have joy and are challenged to learn new things, said Nakell who noted the trend as catastrophic. More than 2,000 schools are closed in Burkina Faso, along with more than 900 in Mali, due to an increase in violence across both countries, UNICEF said. In April 2017, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger had 512 schools closed and now they have a combined 3,005 since June 2019, the agency said. Islamic extremists in the region have spread attacks further and increased attacks along the border regions of these nations. Insecurity in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has left more than 4,400 schools forcibly closed since 2017, UNICEF said. In Central African Republic, there was a 20 percent increase in attacks on schools, UNICEF said. UNICEF has called on governments, armed forces, the international community and those who are a part of the conflict to “take concerted action to stop attacks and threats against schools, students, teachers and other school personnel in West and Central Africa – and to support quality learning for every child in the region.” Many of the gains that were made in these regions are now at risk, and more than 70 percent of emergency education programs are underfunded, said Nakell. “With more than 40 million 6 to 14-year-old children missing out on their right to education in West and Central Africa, it is crucial that governments and their partners work to diversify available options for quality education,” said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Marie-Pierre Poirier. “Culturally suitable models with innovative, inclusive and flexible approaches, which meet quality learning standards, can help reach many children, especially in situation of conflict.” UNICEF has worked with authorities to support what they call alternative learning opportunities. In Nigeria for example, the organization said basic education is being introduced into Quranic schools. In Burkina Faso and Cameroon, lessons are being broadcast, and children who have never been to school in Burkina Faso, and Congo can also now learn via radio. In Mali, there are now community learning centers. The threats, however, remain. Father Arcadius Sawadogo of the Catholic Church in the insecure town of Dori in northern Burkina Faso says that education is key for the region. “For us to develop, we need education. Especially for girls. Without education, our children are facing a future of joblessness and poverty. It is a catastrophe.” APSat, 24 Aug 2019 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Zimbabwean comedienne was abducted, tortured, abandoned wave of abductions, torture and arrests in Zimbabwe are targeting opposition activists and other government critics, the latest being a popular comedian dragged from her home by armed and masked men. Barely two years after euphoric scenes engulfed Zimbabwe following the forced resignation of former repressive ruler Robert Mugabe, frustration and fear have returned. Comedian Samantha Kureya was this week dragged from her bed, stripped naked and tortured by masked men with assault rifles for skits perceived as anti-government. She spoke to The Associated Press from her hospital bed. “I am living in fear,” she said, complaining of “severe pain” in her legs and on her back. Kureya said the men claiming to be police officers dragged her from bed half naked and bundled her into a waiting car on Wednesday night. They beat her using short whips, forced her to roll in a stream of sewage and drink from it, she said. “I was wearing my underwear and a T-shirt when they took me, they didn’t even give me a chance to dress properly,” she said. Her abductors forced her to strip naked during the torture and warned her against mocking the government before abandoning her to seek clothing and help from strangers, said Kureya. She had received threats on social media before the abduction, she said. Her latest skit mocked security agents for beating up demonstrators that included elderly women. Political tensions are rising in Zimbabwe as the economy deteriorates with inflation at over 175% and growing dissatisfaction with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe less than two years ago with promises of a “new dawn” and a “flowering of democracy.” Human rights groups say at least six activists were abducted and tortured by suspected security agents ahead of an opposition demonstration last week. Police later used violence to disperse demonstrators in Harare on August 16. On Friday, police broke up a protest by a group of teachers and arrested nine people, including a lawyer for the teachers and a journalist filming the arrests, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO providing them with lawyers. They are yet to be charged, said the organization. One of the activists abducted and tortured ahead of last week’s demonstration, Tatenda Mombeyarara had visible wounds on his legs, hands, buttocks and back. His kidneys were damaged and doctors put metal plates and pins on his fractured left leg and hand, he said, showing AP a scan while lying on a hospital bed. He said he was beaten with sjamboks (short whips), gun butts and a wheel spanner and also submerged in a pool of dirty water at a quarry dumpsite. “They told me ‘you think you are a hero, all that will end today. You are going to die and your American sponsors will not save you’,” said Mombeyarara, who has been in hospital for the past nine days. “I am still traumatized. The pain was unbearable. I thought I was going to die.” An opposition member of parliament said unknown people fired shots at his house Wednesday night, while a top official was arrested Thursday and accused of failing to stop supporters from demonstrating against the government. Since January, more than 20 activists have been charged with plotting to unseat Mnangagwa. Police spokesman Paul Nyathi said the recent abductions and attacks “are being investigated” but denied that security agents were involved. “We cannot blame security agents (for the abduction) because investigations are still underway,” he said. Government spokesman Nick Mangwana blamed the attacks on “a force” he associated with Mugabe “to impair President Mnangagwa’s image as a sincere reformer.” The U.S embassy in Zimbabwe and the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe said in a joint statement earlier this week that reports of worsening human rights abuses were of “great concern.” Kureya, the comedian, said she would continue poking fun at the government despite her abductors threatening to “put a bullet” in her mother’s head if she continues with her work. “That is how I survive,” she said. “I don’t have any other job, plus we all can’t just keep quiet when things are as bad as they are in this country.” APSat, 24 Aug 2019 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Lagos environment agency appoints the first female head a bid to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for residents of Nigerian’s commercial city, Lagos, a Public Health practitioner, Dolapo Ayokunle Fasawe has been appointed as the new head of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA). LASEPA is the environmental regulator for Lagos State in charge of assisting the public and private organizations, industries, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to achieve compliance by providing environment-friendly solutions to varied environmental challenges. In a press statement by the Chief Public Affairs Officer LASEPA, Bola Ajao, the appointment of Fasawe as the new head of the agency is seen as remarkable in the history of the agency being the first female to head the agency since its establishment 23 years ago. In 2018, the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAM) popularly known as Public Private Participation, mentioned Lagos State as one of the dirtiest cities in the world. The Vice-Chairman of AWAM, David Oriyomi, in Lagos said the city had become dirty due to deliberate attempts to relieve the waste managers of their job. It is hoped that with the appointment of Fasawe, Lagos would get a facelift and government may entrench some form of synergy with waste disposal operators. Fasawe had played a very pivotal role in engaging state governments and non-governmental organizations towards improved healthcare service delivery, innovations, and initiatives across Nigeria. Her appointment is not unconnected with her very impressive track records in the State’s health sector and the general wellbeing of residents of the State and Nigeria as a whole. In 2014, the new General Manager of LASEPA coordinated the State Emergency Public Health Information Strategy for the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Lagos State. She pioneered and coordinated 28 outings of the Eko Free Health Mission to various LGA in the state where over 800,000 Lagosians have benefited. It would be recalled that the present administration of Babajide Sanwo Olu in Lagos state has resolved to ensure that machinery is put in motion to have a cleaner, safer and sustainable environment for all the residents. With more than 17 years’ experience in pioneering new models of providing sustainable, efficient and effective health-impacting programs, Fasawe is expected to bring her expertise to bear in the management of the affairs of the agency in line with the policy thrust of the administration of the Governor of the State.Fri, 23 Aug 2019 19:35:14 (DIBIE IKE Michael) Africa's endangered crane population on the rise Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, has been on the endangered species list for years, but a recent aerial survey shows a decades-long conservation effort is bringing the bird back from the brink of extinction. Every year, South African conservationists fly in transect patterns across the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal to determine how well the birds are doing. “We cover over 25,000 square kilometres over 5 days and we therefore determine a minimum population size of all three of our crane species Wattled Cranes, Grey Crowned Cranes and South Africa’s national bird the Blue Crane,” said Tanya Smith, regional manager of the African Crane Conservation Programme. The survey is one of the longest running of its of its kind globally, and captures crane sightings in real-time, using specialised computer software and GPS co-ordinates. The previous 13 counts showed increasing population trends of all three species. Conservation efforts include safeguarding the crane’s natural habitat and educating communities and land owners about their importance. “Our Grey Crowned Crane population is the only increasing population in Africa and we’re certain of that because of the aerial survey,” said Tanya Smith, regional manager of the African Crane Conservation Programme. South Africa’s crane population may be increasing slowly, but their habitat is dwindling worldwide. Estimates are that Africa only has 7,000 Wattled Cranes, 35,000 Grey Crowned Cranes and 25,000 Blue Cranes left in the wild.Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:36:06 (DIBIE IKE Michael) U-15 tourney in Eritrea: East Africa sweeps all semi-final slots are underway in Eritrean capital Asmara which is hosting the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, CECAFA, under 15 championships. Per the calculations of Group A, Kenya and Tanzania have qualified for the semi finals. Kenya bagged 10 points to top the group whiles Burundi came second with seven points. Rwanda and Uganda have qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament after Day 8 fixtures were dispatched. Uganda had the easiest task of beating South Sudan by 5 – 0 whiles Rwanda managed a slim 2 – 1 win over Tanzania to go through. The four teams will return to action on Wednesday (August 28) with semi-final clashes. The final has been scheduled for August 30, 2019, in Asmara. Hosts Eritrea stuttered on day one as they failed to win their fixture against Burundi. The East Africans prevailed 2 – 1 in the game. The Eritrean team, however, redeemed their chances on Day 5 (August 20) beating neighbouring Sudan emphatically by 6 – 0. Eritrea went on to lose by 2 – 1 to Kenya in a game that was billed a do or die affair. Whiles in the battle of the whipping boys, Somalia put two unanswered goals past Sudan on Day 7. Match Day results: DAY 8 (August 23) results Tanzania vs. Rwanda 1 – 2 Uganda vs. South Sudan 5 – 0 DAY 7 (August 22) Eritrea vs. Kenya 1 – 2 Somalia vs. Sudan 2 – 0 DAY 6 (August 21) Tanzania vs. South Sudan 6 – 0 Rwanda vs. Ethiopia 3 – 0 DAY 5 (August 20) Kenya vs. Burundi 1 – 1 Sudan vs. Eritrea 0 – 6 DAY 4 (August 19) Tanzania vs. Uganda 0 – 2 South Sudan vs. Ethiopia 1 – 1 DAY 3 (August 18) Sudan vs. Kenya 0 – 4 Burundi vs. Somalia 2 – 1 DAY 2 (August 17) Rwanda vs. South Sudan 3 – 0 Uganda vs. Ethiopia 3 – 0 DAY 1 (August 16) Kenya vs. Somalia 3 – 1 Eritrea vs. Burundi 1 – 2 East African dominance: East African sides have proven superior as the fixtures enters Day 6 (August 21). Burundi, Kenya and Uganda have won their first two fixtures booking qualification for the next round. Kenya and Burundi played a one-all draw on Tuesday. The tournament kicked off on August 16 and is expected to end on September 1. Sides that have struggled include South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Tanzania. Even though reports indicated that Djibouti were due to participate, that did not happen and groups were reconfigured into two of five teams each. Group breakdown of competing teams: Group A – Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan Group B – Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania #CECAFAU15 #Eritrea Photos from Eritrea’s resounding 6-0 win over Sudan.— Natti (@nattiyebio) August 20, 2019 Ethiopian lads made history with outing Despite being the first major tournament Eritrea is hosting, history was made by the Ethiopian lads who lost their first match last Saturday against Uganda 3 – 0. They became the first Ethiopian team to play in Asmara in over two decades – the period during which both countries were engaged in a border row. Incidentally, none of those boys were born when the war broke out in 1998. They attained the feat after a friendly match planned for Asmara between the two senior sides failed to hold last year. According to CECAFA General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, the aim of the tournament is to develop talents at the grassroot level which is the basic stage in the development of a player. Photo Credit: Eritrea Football Federation websiteFri, 23 Aug 2019 17:31:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) vote: Somali govt rejects process, Kenya celebrates Modobe Kenyan government has officially congratulated winner of the controversial Jubbaland regional state elections in Somalia on Thursday. A statement issued on Friday (August 23) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whiles congratulating Ahmed Mohamed Islam ‘Madobe’ also hailed what it said was peaceful and credible elections. The statement comes barely 24-hours after the Federal Government of Somalia, FGS; as expected rejected the outcome of the elections. Mogadishu described the vote as a “self-appointed” process and that it was not in line with electoral process set out by the Ministry of Interior and other relevant provisions. The statement from Nairobi also underlined its continued support for the Jubbaland administration tasking Madobe’s government: “to work in close collaboration with the FGS and the dissenting opinions in line with the Federal Constitution and statutory framework in order to usher in a new era of reconciliation.” Regional proxy wars were widely reported in the run up to the polls. Madobe is said to be an ally of Nairobi whiles his opponent was backed by the federal government and Ethiopia. The state was put on lockdown before and during the vote. MPs in the southern Somali region casted their votes in the region’s leadership election which returned incumbent Ahmed Madobe as winner by a landslide. The former rebel leader was declared winner in the first round having received 56 votes, more than two-thirds of the 74 MPs who voted; main contender Anab Mohamed Dahir got 17 votes. Kenya congratulates re-elected Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe, calls upon the region to work in close collaboration with the Federal Somali Govt – statement— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) August 23, 2019Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:30:13 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) social media outrage saves giraffe with bone tumour endangered breed of the giraffe specie, the rothschild, in Kenya has been given treatment for what authorities say is a bone tumour. The condition caused it to have a big swelling around one of its eyes. Despite being resident in the Lake Nakuru National Park, it took social media outrage to force the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to go to the aid of the ailing giraffe. KWS confirmed on Thursday that the said giraffe suffered from a bone tumour. “While it is in able condition to move, feed & water, excising the tumour proved difficult due to the extent of the growth that would cause potentially serious complications,” they wrote on Twitter. “Led by Dr. Titus Kaitho, our vet team administered a palliative treatment of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs and the giraffe will be closely monitored,” their statement added. A section of Kenyans on social media are incensed that it took social media to get the authorities to act and save an animal under their care. The incident coincided with a Geneva conference where nations around the world moved to protect giraffes as an endangered species for the first time, drawing praise from conservationists and scowls from some sub-Saharan African nations. Thursday’s vote by a key committee at the World Wildlife Conference known as CITES paves the way for the measure’s likely approval by its plenary next week. Kenya was a key campaigner for strict protection. The plan would regulate world trade in giraffe parts, including hides, bone carvings and meat, while stopping short of a full ban. It passed 106-21 with seven abstentions. “So many people are so familiar with giraffes that they think they’re abundant,” said Susan Lieberman, vice president of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “And in Southern Africa, they may be doing OK, but giraffes are critically endangered.” Lieberman said giraffes were particularly at risk in parts of West, Central and East Africa. The Wildlife Conservation Society said it was concerned about the multiple threats to giraffes that have already resulted in population decline, citing habitat loss, droughts worsened by climate change and the illegal killings and trade in giraffe body parts.Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:23:40 +0000editorial@africanews.com methods, vaccines needed to eliminate malaria- WHO World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday new methods will be needed to possibly wipe out malaria. The WHO’s Global Malaria Director, Dr. Pedro Alonso at a press conference said current vaccines are flawed and cannot help achieve this goal. “We need to have real political leadership and commitment that translates into the financing that is required to ensure universal health coverage for all the population at risk. With the tools we have today, the tools meaning the vector control mechanisms or tools to fight the vector, of the mosquito that transmits malaria, with the type of drugs that we have today, with the type of vaccines that we have today we can go very far”, he said. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO regrets stalling progress in the fight against malaria over the last couple of years. “In some cases we are witnessing a resurgence of malaria. We’re therefore not on track to achieve our agreed upon goals. And this has led the World Health Organization together with Rollback Malaria Partnership and other major stakeholders, putting countries, the endemic countries at the centre in accelerating our response”, Dr. Alonso added. Alonso revealed this while presenting the results of a WHO-commissioned report on evaluating if eradicating malaria should be pursued. He said the experts concluded that ongoing uncertainties meant they were unable to formulate a clear strategy. Thus, they could not propose a definitive time-line or cost estimate for the eradication. APFri, 23 Aug 2019 10:57:09 +0000editorial@africanews.com 'stroll' towards global protection amid extinction fears around the world moved Thursday to protect giraffes as an endangered species for the first time, drawing praise from conservationists and scowls from some sub-Saharan African nations. Thursday’s vote by a key committee at the World Wildlife Conference known as CITES paves the way for the measure’s likely approval by its plenary next week. The plan would regulate world trade in giraffe parts, including hides, bone carvings and meat, while stopping short of a full ban. It passed 106-21 with seven abstentions. “So many people are so familiar with giraffes that they think they’re abundant,” said Susan Lieberman, vice president of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “And in Southern Africa, they may be doing OK, but giraffes are critically endangered.” Lieberman said giraffes were particularly at risk in parts of West, Central and East Africa. The Wildlife Conservation Society said it was concerned about the multiple threats to giraffes that have already resulted in population decline, citing habitat loss, droughts worsened by climate change and the illegal killings and trade in giraffe body parts. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, hailed the move, noting that giraffes are a vulnerable species facing habitat loss and population decline. A key African conservationist said it could help reverse drops in giraffe populations, as the move would help better track numbers of giraffes. “The giraffe has experienced over 40% decline in the last 30 years, said Maina Philip Muruthi of the African Wildlife Foundation. “If that trend continues, it means that we are headed toward extinction.” Still, not all African countries supported the move. “We see no reason as to why we should support this decision, because Tanzania has a stable and increasing population of giraffes,” said Maurus Msuha, director of wildlife at the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. “Over 50% of our giraffe population is within the Serengeti ecosystem, which is well protected. Why should we then go for this?” CITES says the population of wild giraffes is actually much smaller than that of wild African elephants. “We’re talking about a few tens of thousands of giraffes and we’re talking about a few hundreds of thousands of African elephants,” said Tom De Meulenaar, chief of scientific services at CITES. He said the convention was intended to specifically address the international trade in giraffes and their parts.Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Ethiopia's 'uniquely female' annual festival in Tigray, Amhara regions is Ashenda about? It is a cultural celebration associated with northern Ethiopia especially to the Tigray and Amhara regional states. It is uniquely female as it is reserved for girls and young women. It is a yearly event during which the target group engage in different fun activities including drumming, dancing and socialization. It usually takes place between August – September. Participants are usually adorned in dresses with elaborate embroidery, jewelry and hair styles. It last from a minimum of three days and could also stretch for weeks. Some reports add that it signifies the end of a fasting period known as called filseta. The most known name of the festival is “Ashenda” which is the name for a tall grass that the girls usually tie around their celebration gowns as a type of decoration. The main festival every year is held in Mekelle. Other names for the festival include: Shadey, Ashendye, Solel, Mariya etc. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also sent his best wishes for all celebrants, state media reported. President Zewde in Tigray for Ashenda 2019 Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde joined celebrants in northern Ethiopia for a uniquely female annual celebration, the Ashenda. Speaking in the capital of Tigray regional state Mekelle, the president rallied efforts to ensure that the ceremony attains a cultural heritage status under the United Nations Education, Cultural and Scientific Organization, UNESCO classification. State-run Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted her as saying: “... it is the responsibility of all to preserve these heritages from the impact of globalization. “Just like Meskel, Fichee-Chambalaalla and Gada system, I believe that Ashenda will be registered as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO,” she added stressing the need to increase and consolidate efforts at combating child marriage and gender based violence. Three days of freedom: 2018 documentary on Ashenda .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:40:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) of the day, August 22, 2019 samples the best pictures of the day’s news.Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:25:18 +0000editorial@africanews.com FIFA meddling too much into African football?, the world football governing body is in charge of all six continental football confederations. The body supervises the running of the AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC, CAF and UEFA. CAF, the Confederation of African football has for the last two decades been under FIFA’s microscope for usually the wrong reasons. National football federations have regularly not escaped the wrath of FIFA, through threats of suspension and the investigation and banning of members from taking path in football activities. From age cheating to crowd troubles and even match fixing scandals, these have frequently invited the body to Africa. A recent tag on mostly the Confederation of African football by FIFA has been the ‘‘Normalization Committee. The greatest of all broke loss when FIFA announced a normalization committee for Africa’s football governing body CAF. A question I put to some journalists across the continent, Is FIFA meddling a little too much into African football?. Angu Lesly joined the conversation from Buea in Cameroon. Fernand Dedeh a former Journalist with the Ivorian National Television RTI, shares the same opinion that so long as Africa catches cold, FIFA will always be around. The normalization syndrome affects the continent from North to South East to West. Even the highly rated FA’s on the continent stand the risk. The discussion continues on get more sports updates and news. @philemonmbaleFri, 23 Aug 2019 08:24:44 (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN), Nigeria lose former footballers: Agogo and Chiejine football associations in West Africa are mourning two ex players. The Ghana Football Association, GFA; on Thursday confirmed the death of Manuel Junior Agogo a former striker who died at the age of 40 in London. Agogo became a household name for Ghana especially during the 2008 African Cup of Nations which Ghana hosted. He played 27 times for Ghana and scored 12 goals over the period. His club stints included donning the jerseys of Nottingham Forest, Bristol Rovers and Hibernian of Scotland where he ended his career in 2012. He also played for clubs in Egypt, the United States and Cyprus. Local media portals extensively reported news of his ill health months back as he bemoaned having been deserted by his compatriots during his hard time. Social media space is replete with messages of condolence for Agogo. The Nigerian Football Federation, NFF; also announced same day the demise of former player of the female national team, the Super Falcons, Stephanie Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine. She was a four-time Women’s AFCON winner and ex striker with the Super Falcons. The NFF said Stephanie passed on after a brief illness on Wednesday, 21st August 2019. She captained the first set of the U19 National Women’s team to the first U19 World Cup in 2002. The Ghana Football Association is saddened by news of the sudden demise of ex-Ghana star Junior Agogo. On behalf of the Ghanaian football fraternity, we extend our sincere condolences to the family of our Black Star, Junior Agogo. May his soul Rest In Peace— Ghana Football Association (@ghanafaofficial) August 22, 2019 Gutted..Thanks for the memories JUNIOR??? R.I.P bro— ASAMOAH GYAN (@ASAMOAH_GYAN3) August 22, 2019 Junior Agogo’s greatest moment in a Ghana jersey. Winner versus Nigeria in 2018 Afcon quarter final. #3Sports— Michael Oti Adjei (@OtiAdjei) August 22, 2019Fri, 23 Aug 2019 05:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) rebels want Ethiopia's 2020 polls to be held on schedule Ethiopian rebels, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF; have made pronouncements about political developments in the country. At a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday (August 21), its chairman Abdirahman Mahdi Madey spoke about ONLF’s position principally on elections slated for next year. “ONLF believes that the election should take place on time. If for any reason the election is postponed there should be a mechanism to integrate other opposition forces and liberation forces into the federal structure so there could be a power sharing and genuine representation for all,” Abdirahman told local media. The group are largely based in the eastern Somali regional state and only in October 2018 returned from exile. They had been based in Eritrea and agreed to return home to pursue peaceful political struggle after agreeing a deal with the federal government in October 2018 in Asmara. Their fighters returned home after which leadership also flew into Addis Ababa. ONLF said they will maintain their liberation credentials despite planning to register as a national party with the election board. The group describes itself as one that: “struggles for the right of self determination of all Somalis in Ogaden. “ONLF categorically declares that it will pursue the rights of Somali people and that of all nations in Ethiopia through peaceful political means,” Abdirahman added. The 2020 polls have been a crucial talking point in Ethiopia’s political reform arena. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF; has stressed their desire to ensure that the polls hold according to schedule. Opponents have said challenges such as insecurity and need for political reforms are crucial before the polls are held. Waves of unrest in different parts of the country have forced further postponement of a long-delayed national census. But opposition parties are keen to avoid any delays despite outbreaks of ethnic violence that have contributed to the displacement of 2.4 million Ethiopians. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation. The executive committee did not give a date for the poll. “The executive committee have decided the election to be conducted next year,” committee member Getachew Reda said. But ONLF believes“the federal arrangement is still incomplete and needs to be improved; and the rights [enshrined] in the constitution for self-administration need to be implemented.” ONLF also believes that all nations are “not equal in the federal structure” & that must change.— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) August 21, 2019Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) President reshuffles cabinet President Adama Barrow on Thursday reshuffled his cabinet, appointing Sheikh Omar Faye as defense minister for the first time in 22 years. In a statement, the presidency also said a former controversial police chief, Yankuba Sonko, will now lead the interior ministry. A Gambian human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh, hailed the appointment of a defense minister, but said “Mr. Faye’s choice is an important step backwards” since he was a “ key support of the dictatorship in The Gambia”. Faye served as head of communications under Yahya Jammeh in 2005 after he returned from the United States. He was also Youth and Sports minster, before being appointed as ambassador to Washington. Sonko was the Inspector General of Police during the April 2016 crackdown on a rally calling for political reforms. AFPThu, 22 Aug 2019 22:25:42 +0000editorial@africanews.com dominate FBI's massive bust of online fraudsters United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Thursday that it had arraigned scores of suspected fraudsters behind a variety of scams and online fraud cases. The U.S. Attorney General, Nick Hanna, said during a press conference that majority of the suspects were based in Nigeria in what is believed to be one of the largest cases of online fraud in American history. “FBI agents along with federal and state law enforcement authorities arrested a total of 14 defendants in the US, all named in a sweeping fraud and money laundering case. “Those arrested today are among 80 defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges that millions of dollars were taken from victims through a variety of scams and online frauds,” he said. Hanna disclosed that the scammers had taken advantage of vulnerable status of most of their victims like the elderly. In all, over 250 count charges ranging from “conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aggravated identity theft” have been filed against the suspects. Beside the 80 suspects that have so far been charged, another 57 were being hunted globally by the authorities. Business Email Compromise, BEC scam, was at the heart of the fraudulent actions that deprived victims of millions of dollars. “We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. BEC scam is used to hack email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either completely bogus or that should have been otherwise paid to legitimate companies. “Indictments showed very specific allegations against this suspects many of whom are based in Nigeria in terms of stealing money from victims. The indictment also focuses on those responsible for enabling these fraud schemes including operatives in Los Angeles.” The latest development comes barely a week after the high-profile arrest of a celebrated young entrepreneur Obinwanne Okeke by the FBI for conspiracy to commit fraud amounting to 12 million dollars. The Forbes under 30 millionaire and founder of Invictus Group is being charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud according to reports. He allegedly hacked into a digital system of a steel company in the US, stealing a whopping $12 million of the company’s money via fraudulent emails and doctored correspondence.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 21:15:07 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) encouraging the business climate encourages investors to explore areas of growth Cameroon is rich in natural resources including oil, gas, agriculture, production and processing among others. The country whose North-West and South-West regions remain shaken by insecurity invites partners to come invest in promising and income-generating areas such as crude oil, which remain one of the sectors still spared by the crisis. We interviewed Ekoko Mukete, Vice-President of the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, on the institution’s work to encourage the business climate in Cameroon.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com the 7th TICAD in sight 7th Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s development begins next Tuesday, an event focusing on future relations between Africa and Yokohama. Education, development, public and private sectors… These are some of the topicss to be discussed in Yokohama at the 7th Tokyo International Summit on African development. TICAD 7 will come back to’‘The Nairobi Declaration’‘, adopted in 2016, which highlighted the idea of’the promotion of resilient health systems for quality of life”, such as one of its priority areas on the continent. Africa which is considered as the continent that suffers the most from infectious and other diseases, is a real obstacle to its development. Tunisia : satisfactory rating for economy Good points for Tunisia whose reserves have increased this year thanks to income from tourism and exports. Tunisia’s macroeconomic performance has been strong since the beginning of the year, recording 5.4 billion euros within 96 days of imports. Tourism, energy and mining sectors have reached their highest scores in nearly seven years. Theses positive indicators come amidst many imbalances that the north african country is currently facing.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:18:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com of Gabonese judge stirs controversy judges are reacting to the suspension of Paulette Ayo Mba Akolly, President of the Libreville Court of Appeal. Akolly had approved an opposition request for a medical examination of President Ali Bongo. The aim was to ensure that he was capable of leading the country. Germain Nguema Ella is President of Gabon Judges’ Union. “It seems that the colleague has overlooked it. But how can she ignore it. By deciding to refer the case back on the 26th, had it somehow decided that the decision of the Court of Cessation had no value? But she can’t say it. It is not for the Court of Appeal to assess the decisions of the Court of Cessation, whatever that decision may be. Because the decisions of the Court of Cessation have absolute force in the sense that it has no appeal. And if there is an appeal, there is only the Court of Cessation in the case of a flap of judgment which can decide whether it was wrong or not”, he said. For Nicolas Nguema, the suspension will not undermine their determination. Nguema tells Africanews, despite the suspension, they will continue to their fight to know about he health status of their president. “We are asking for a neutral and independent medical expertise to assess the state of health of Ali Bongo Ondimba’s cognitive abilities. Today, the situation is the same as that experienced with the divestiture of President Akoli. But we will continue. It’s only one step. We have no choice but to continue to strike at this system and their iniquitous decision. So that one day we can change this system from the inside out in every way we can,’‘ Nguema said. The magistrates are on holiday and it is not certain how this legal tussle will end. Bongo 60, suffered stroke while attending a conference in Saudi Arabia. He has since returned to Gabon after spending more than five months abroad to recover.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:29:40 +0000editorial@africanews.com African court rules display of apartheid flag constitutes hate speech the apartheid- era flag in public is now a crime in South Africa. The ruling by Johannesburg High Court said publicly displaying the flag constitutes discrimination against black people and violates equality laws. “It is declared that subject to the provisor in Section 12 of the Equality Act, any display of the old flag constitutes; a) hate speech in terms of Section 10.1 of the Equality Act. b) Unfair discrimination on the basis of race in terms of Section 7 of the Equality Act”, said High Court judge, Phineas Mojapelo. The decision is in response to a request from the Nelson Mandela Foundation following a white farmers’ demonstration in 2017. The flag had been flown while they were denouncing the murder of some of their members. Two Afrikaans lobby groups say banning the flag would stifle freedom of expression. “In our view as we’ve argued in this case, displaying something, displaying a symbol, displaying a flag even if it’s a very offensive flag or a very offensive symbol, simply displaying it in our view is not sufficient for it to be hate speech. For it to be hate speech, it has to be coupled with some form of a call to action to actually inflict harm or something to that effect,” said, Afriforum Deputy CEO, Ernst Roets. The Apartheid flag comprises horizontal blue, white and orange bands with three small flags of Britain, the Orange Free State and the South African republic. The flag, which originally symbolized the union of the Afrikaner and Anglophone white communities, had come to be associated with the apartheid or racial segregation regime, which had been in place since 1948. ReutersThu, 22 Aug 2019 12:54:57 +0000editorial@africanews.com's new PM to prioritize peace and economic alleviation’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was sworn in on Wednesday (August 21) as leader of a transitional government, and vowed to make achieving peace and solving the country’s economic crisis a priority. The appointment of the renowned economist came as General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the outgoing head of the military council, was sworn in as leader of the new Sovereign Council that will run the country for three years until an election. “The revolution’s deep-rooted slogan, ‘freedom, peace and justice’ will form the program of the transitional period,” Hamdok told reporters at a news conference in the capital Khartoum. “I was largely nominated by the Forces of Freedom and Change. After being sworn in today, I believe I am the Prime Minister for the whole of Sudan. Through this understanding, let us find common ground together. “I believe that both the Revolutionary Front and National Representatives have the potential to (inaudible). I know, perhaps, the Revolutionary Front quite personally. I know their leaders, and even those who do not belong to the Front. “I know the fighter Abdel Aziz and many others. I believe that there is a fertile environment, if we manage it correctly, for us to cross with the country to the shores of safety.” Burhan and other military officers overthrew veteran leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April in response to months of protests over economic hardships and dictatorship. The composition of the 11-member Sovereign Council that will run the country for the transition period, superseding the military council which has been disbanded, was completed on Tuesday (August 20), consisting of six civilian and five military figures. Nine members of the council were sworn in about two hours after Burhan took the oath on Wednesday. The final member, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Taishi, will be sworn in at a later, unspecified date, state news agency SUNA said. The United States, Britain and Norway welcomed Hamdok’s appointment, calling it a historic moment for Sudan and urged the military to “engage constructively” with the new government. REUTERSThu, 22 Aug 2019 12:29:09 +0000editorial@africanews.com celebrate new Prime Minister streets of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, were a scene of joy and jubilation marking celebrations of the appointment of the new Prime Minister. A new beginning with a civilian as head of government. Economist Abdallah Hamdok was sworn in on Wednesday as the country’s Prime Minister. He will have to lead a transitional government following Omar al-Bashir’s toppling after his 30 year rule “We are very satisfied with the appointment of the Prime Minister of Sudan. It is a great success after a struggle that lasted months and after having lost many martyrs,” said Mohammad abdukader, student. “We congratulate the Sudanese people on this day because the new Prime Minister has taken the constitutional oath. For the first time, Sudan will have a prime minister of a civilian government after a long struggle and a great revolution,” said Samah Alsedik, housewife. After months of protests… The new leader is now in charge… But the pressures to effectively address the list of challenges lie ahead.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:27:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com's head of public procurement suspended for 'selling contracts' Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority, PPA, has been suspended by the president in the wake of an investigative report alleging improper conduct on his side. Mr. Agyenim Boateng Adjei has since been referred to relevant authorities for two separate probes. One on conflict of interest and the other over potential acts of corruption. The suspended official according to an investigative documentary was found engaging in acts of selling government contracts using a private company. His company, Talents Discovery Limited, had been awarded contracts from across key government institutions and they were reported to be demanding cuts from contractors. He admitted to the journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, that he was a 50% shareholder of the said company but added that he had duly declared his interests to the PPA board. The conflict of interest leg of the probe has been handed to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, CHRAJ, whiles the potential acts of corruption has been handed over to the Office of Special Prosecutor.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:22:58 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) era for Sudan with new govt [The Morning Call][The Morning Call] of Sudan’s new ruling body, the Sovereign Council, have been sworn in, a day after the final signing of a long-anticipated power sharing agreement between the military and the civilian alliance.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:59:54 (Jerry Bambi) magistrate suspended over Bongo hearing [The Morning Call], in Gabon, the magistrate who was to examine the opposition’s request for an expert report to judge President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s ability to govern after his stroke, has been suspended from office. Judge Paulette Akolly had decided on July 26 to hear an opposition’s request that President Ali Bongo submit to a medical examination to determine if he can still perform his duties, 10 months after having suffered a stroke.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:59:50 (Jerry Bambi) Michael Jackson art exhibition unveils in Finland art exhibition of the legendary Michael Jackson is facing criticism over allegations of sexual abuse against the late iconic musician ten years after his passing. The organizers in Finland that have come under fire insist that they are not celebrating the artist but rather merely showcasing him and his impact to the pop culture. “We can’t shy away from these difficult subjects but we… we of course condemn all kind of abuse as a museum, but we also want to provide a platform for open discussion and for artists’ voices,” said Arja Miller, Espoo Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition was very well received by critics when it first unveiled in 2018 in London, then Paris, Bonn before the latest opening in Helsinki. But recent series of allegations have further tarnished the musician. In a shock documentary broadcast earlier this year by the American television channel HBO, “Leaving Neverland”, two men say they were victims of repeated sexual assaults by the star when they were children “He will stay as an icon somehow, you cannot just erase him. And who knows, things will develop in different ways. Cos I remember already when he died, people were kind of, ‘OK, now he’s got to rest in peace.’ But ten years later, it’s a new story coming up,” said Dan Mihaltianu, artist. Artists including Andy Warhol, American photographer David LaChapelle and British potter Grayson Perry are among those that have contributed to the exhibition that has a collection of both old and new artworks. Many of Michael Jackson’s inspired art works play with the boisterous and grotesque, such as the giant golden statue of the superstar with his domestic chimpanzee.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:57:17 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Bamenda on lockdown after sentencing of separatist leaders of Cameroon’s North West region, Bamenda, is experiencing a social shutdown following eruption of violence after the recent sentencing of separatist leaders by a military court. According to a BBC witness, businesses have remained closed whiles people have also remained at home for fear of getting caught in clashes. Reports said after Tuesday’s sentencing of Sisuku Ayuk Tabe and nine others to life imprisonment by a military court in Yaounde, fighting broke out between suspected rebels and state security forces. “It’s like the end time is near for the people of Bamenda. The act of the military court sentencing these leaders has actually given the impression to the population that there is no hope,” the resident said. Social media reports also indicate that people are voluntarily deserting the north west region to other parts for fear of attacks. Bamenda and Buea, capital of the adjoining South East region, make up the Anglophone region of the country. The twin regions have been center of a security crisis between government and separatists since 2017. For months, separatists “forced” residents to observe an unofficial social shutdown on Mondays. During the last elections, there were clashes between government forces and separatists. There has been a humanitarian crisis that has spiraled from the situation as people in the region continue to flee from the violence – some to other parts of the country, others into Nigeria. The United Nations estimates that at least 2, 000 people have been killed and more than 530,000 displaced since fighting broke out. It says about 1.3 million people are in need of assistance. In 2018, the government installed a new military headquarters in Bamenda in what analysts said was a sign that authorities were taking the fight to separatists elements. There have been reports of burning down of villages and abductions in the region. The government is on record to have hinted about dialogue to end the situation but very little by way of concrete efforts have been seen. Switzerland’s ambassador to Cameroon in July disclosed that his government is trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the separatist crisis in which an estimated 2,000 have died. Ambassador Pietro Lazzeri said the negotiations are being guided by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. “Over the last months we have been trying to create dialogue among the parties because we have the acceptance of the parties. “We are doing it because we have a certain expertise. We are referees, we are not the players. We need the willingness of the parties in order to build the dialogue,” Lazzeri said on Cameroon’s state media over the weekend. “My country intends to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis that has been claiming so many lives in the restive English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Besides the dialogue, we have been providing humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the separatist war,” he added.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:27:25 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s Davido projects 100m YouTube views with 'Blow My Mind' David Adedeji Adeleke known by his stage name, Davido, has made an audacious prediction on YouTube relative to views for his new musical collaboration. He is projecting a 100 million views for the “Blow My Mind” video which was posted three weeks ago on the video-sharing platform. The collaboration with American musician Chris Brown has been viewed over 10 million times as at Tuesday (August 20) when Davido hinted that there was 990 million target to be reached. “10 Down!! 990 to go!!!” he captioned a video showing the cartooned photo of himself and Chris Brown with their minds “blown.” The audio version also posted on YouTube has grossed 1.3 million views over the same period. ? ? ?? !! 10 Down!! 990 to go!!!— Davido (@iam_Davido) August 20, 2019 His tracks are used to making million of views on YouTube. His Aye track has 56 million views in five years, Gobe has made 32 million in six years whiles Skelewu had gotten 25 million in five years. Davido is a household name across Africa when it comes to music. The artiste has flown across the continent and around the world playing shows. Some of his hit songs include “If” and “Fall.” .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s controversial Jubbaland polls: Incumbent wins re-election Madobe has secured reelection as leader of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Jubbaland region after a poll in the capital Kismayo on Thursday morning. Full name Ahmed Mohamed Islam, Madobe polled 56 out of 74 votes whiles his contender Anab Mohamed Darir got 17 votes. It was a first-round win for the incumbent since he got more than two-thirds of the vote. He has since been sworn into office despite the federal government saying it was not going to recognize the outcome according to reports. The election had a heavy dose of subregional “meddling” with Kenya thought to be throwing their support behind Madobe whiles Ethiopia and the Somali government backed Darir. Kismayo was put on lockdown days to the vote with authorities reporting that an Ethiopian aircraft had at a point been refused permission to land. Ethiopia and Kenya play significant security roles in Somalia as part of efforts to combat the Al-Shabaab insurgency that continues to rattle the Horn of African nation. Last Saturday the Somali government said it would not recognise the result of the election in Jubbaland, saying the candidate selection process violated the national constitution. Analysts held that the stand-off risks sparking a dangerous wider conflict. The stakes for all parties, local and international, are high. With good seasonal rainfall, lush farmlands and the lucrative Kismayo port, Jubbaland is one of Somalia’s more wealthy and stable regions. As well as providing a friendly buffer-zone for Kenya, its shoreline delineates a hotly contested maritime zone claimed by both Somalia and Kenya with potential oil and gas deposits. Kenya does not want to lose its ally, Madobe, said Hussein Sheikh-Ali, a former national security advisor and founder of the Hiraal Institute, a Mogadishu-based think-tank. “They installed him and he’s a trusted figure,” he said. Lockdown in Somali city of Kismayo ahead of crucial Jubbaland polls— africanews (@africanews) August 21, 2019Thu, 22 Aug 2019 09:33:16 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) delegation delivers Afwerki's message to Burhan in Khartoum Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea on Wednesday sent a delegation to Sudan to deliver messages aimed at boosting bilateral and regional ties. The team led by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab first visited the South Sudan capital Juba before flying to the Sudan capital Khartoum. They delivered Afwerki’s message to his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir. “President Salva Kiir stressed Eritrea’s long-standing solidarity with South Sudan and welcomed the contents of President Isaias’ message. “The two sides agreed on follow-up measures to boost both bilateral and regional ties,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel wrote on Twitter. Over in Khartoum, they met with leader of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, who was sworn in earlier on Wednesday as head of the 11-member team leading Sudan’s post-Bashir transition. Eritrea was the only neighbour of Sudan that missed the final signing of the peace pact between the Transitional Military Council, TMC; and a protest movement.Thu, 22 Aug 2019 05:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) is better, using travel agents or online platforms to book your flights? disruption of transport sector by digital technologies is having significant impact in Africa. The revolution can be felt in air travel especially in the once lucrative business of air agency. With the 24 percent of Africans able to access mobile phones and internet according to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), E-commerce has made it easy to access airline services and make online payments. Africa has over 100 airlines operating in its skies with more coming up, but even with all this great growth in the aviation industry in Africa, travel agency, a very critical player in the sector is facing major business decline. One of the oldest global travel agency company, Thomas Cook, is battling to stay afloat after incurring major debts partly blamed on customers switch to digital flight platforms. I sat down with a travel agency owner, Sami Chege, here in Pointe Noire to understand what is going on with the travel agents ; Is the business being replaced by the internet of things? “Most of the time we used to expect people to come into our offices to make travel requests and travel bookings. But now with technology, everyone can go online and make their own decisions and make their hotel bookings and make their travel itenanary which has made everything much easier. So we as travel agencies are loosing business to all these travel platforms. What used to happen before is that airlines for a time,they would rely a lot on the travel agencies because they had more exposure and they had more access to the clients but now with the technology that is coming up now, the airlines are able to access the clients directly,they are able to talk directly to the client. Travel agencies were the ones that were able to talk to people and convince them to use this airline instead of this airline,” said sammi Chege, director, Travel World. But what does the future hold for the business? “The future of travel is going to be consolidation and going online. Its going to be offering more solutions and what you can do better than your competition, because it is not going to be more of the pricing because really at the end of the day, travel is more of a service,“said Sammi Chege, director, Travel World. Efforts to get comments from airlines were futile,however the South african Airlines did manage to get back to me saying ‘‘the internet has not made travel agencies irrelevant or redundant. Customers have their own preferences in terms of which channels they use to book, be they direct or indirect. The market allows for the existence of both direct and indirect sales & distribution channels.’‘ We ran a survey to understand if you, as the travelers are leaning towards digital platforms or travel agency. From the 32 responses that we got; 59 percent said they would rather book their flights online or on Apps. Also 27 of the 32 respondents said they believe that digital flight platforms are overtaking travel agencies. When we asked if they would use travel agencies to book their flights these were some the responses we got : ‘Only during rush hour’ ‘Yes only for what is not found online. Tailor made special destination and packages’ ‘They have the knowledge to recommend the best hotels / airlines to fly.’ ‘No. I can easily book it with any app’ ‘If my journey is complicated (several connecting flights)’ ‘Not really, sometimes they are not truthful’ ‘No, because there are cheaper alternatives.’ Then we turned the question and asked if they would book online and why… ‘To get air mile points’ ‘Only through the official website of the airline.’ ‘Yes. Quick, easy, controllable, price options clear’ ‘Yes. Less stress and at your comfort ‘ ‘No. Complicated’ ‘But the most common answer we got was ; Yes. Its convenient’ One thing is clear, travel agencies will have to evolve with the rate at which technologies and airlines are growing to survive the industry. For matters travel, hit me up on Twitter @fmlemwaThu, 22 Aug 2019 04:52:26 +0000editorial@africanews.com, Rwanda presidents agree ceasefire after Angola, Congo mediation leaders of Uganda and Rwanda agreed on Wednesday to re-open the border between the two countries following a summit mediated in Angola, ending months of tensions that raised fears of armed hostilities. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda also agreed to “refrain from actions conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other,” according to a statement issued in the Angolan capital, Luanda, at the end of the latest round of talks between the two leaders. Talks since July have been mediated by the leaders of Congo and Angola. Rwanda’s government closed a busy border crossing with Uganda in February, stranding traders in what Uganda describes as a trade embargo. Rwanda’s government ordered its citizens not to travel to Uganda, claiming that Rwandan citizens were not safe across the border. Rwandan authorities also accused Uganda’s government of backing rebels opposed to Kagame and demanded the expulsion from Uganda of the business interests of a Rwandan tycoon who is critical of Kagame. But Ugandan officials made a counter-charge accusing Rwandan state agents of operating unlawfully in Uganda, including in the alleged abductions of Rwandan citizens wanted back home. Tensions between Rwanda and Uganda raised fears of possible armed conflict as Kagame and Museveni made threatening remarks at public events. After Museveni warned that “those who try to destabilize our country do not know our capacity,” Kagame countered that “nobody anywhere can bring me to my knees.” In the 1990s the armies of Uganda and Rwanda went to war in eastern Congo when they backed rival rebel groups. Many parts of eastern Congo remain lawless, with armed groups still operating there. There had been concerns among some analysts that any tensions between Uganda and Rwanda could lead to a proxy conflict in eastern Congo. Kagame and Museveni, authoritarian leaders who have ruled their countries for many years, have increasingly disagreed in recent years as Kagame, once an intelligence lieutenant for Museveni, asserts his authority at home and in the region. Kagame, who grew up as a refugee in Uganda, was a Ugandan army major before he led Uganda-backed rebels who took power in Rwanda at the end of the 1994 genocide. Although it remains unclear when the main border crossing will actually open, news of the agreement to resume cross-border activities as soon as possible brought relief to some traders. “Life was hard for us traders,” said Livingstone Arinayitwe, a Rwandan dealer in sports shoes who used to buy his merchandise from Uganda. “Business all over the world is about affordability and opening the border is what I want.” APThu, 22 Aug 2019 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com museum works to restore rare slavery painting of the annual remembrance day for the abolition of the slave trade, art conservationists are working to restore a rare painting of a kneeling African slave to go on display in the British port city of Liverpool. Acquired by the International Slavery Museum in February 2018 through Ben Elwes Fine Art, London the “Am Not I A Man And A Brother” painting depicts an enslaved African, kneeling, bound in chains and looking to the sky. Senior Painting Conservator for Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, David Crombie said they don’t know exactly what age the painting is but imagining it’s late 18th early 19th century, as it relates to the Slavery abolition movement. “There is obviously a link to that date as that is where the image comes from. We don’t know exactly. The picture itself is a fairly conventional oil painting on canvas which has a ground layer, and the layers that I’m cleaning – this varnish, are on top of what I would describe as just conventional oil paint,’‘ he added. The painting is based on a design commissioned by the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787 and was used by the potter Josiah Wedgwood to campaign against slavery, ‘‘Yes, I’m working on this image here which is the image of enslaved African, but it’s very interesting because it’s an extremely rare oil painted version of a figure emblem that was part of the abolitionist movement and only two oil paintings are known to survive with this image,’‘ Crombie said. The artwork is still being restored and is due to go on display later this year and will be positioned next to “The Hunted Slaves” by Richard Ansdell. Both paintings offer very different depictions of enslaved Africans. Millions of African men, women and children were torn from their homes and shackled into one of the world’s most brutal globalised trades between the 15th and 19th centuries.Wed, 21 Aug 2019 18:31:37 +0000editorial@africanews.com marks three-year polio eradication on Wednesday marked three years free of endemic wild polio with health officials saying the nation’s progress in fighting the crippling viral disease could result in the whole of Africa being declared polio-free early next year. According to health officials, the three-year milestone sets in motion a continent-wide process to ensure that all 47 countries of the World Health Organization’s African region have eradicated the virus. Executive Director of the National primary health care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib in a press conference urged the country to ensure they do not lose sight of the huge amount of work left to be done before being certified polio free by relevant global organisations. “Today, the 21st day of August 2019, Nigeria makes history having achieved three years without a case of wild polio virus, WPV. The last wild polio virus case was isolated in a child in Borno state on the 21st of August 2016,” he added. Polio is a viral infection that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours. Children under five are the most vulnerable, but people can be fully protected with preventative vaccines. “We must remember that the battle is not over yet, we have to maintain our efforts and intensify them to make sure the historic gains are sustained and that polio-free certification is obtained for Nigeria in due time next year,’‘ said UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Pernille Ironside. 'Major milestone': #Africa on brink of eliminating polio The Guardian Nigeria marks three years without a wild polio case, meaning Africa could be declared free of the disease in 2020. via theafricamentor</a> <a href="">#entrepreneur</a> <a href="">#africabiz</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Africa Mentor (TheAfricaMentor) August 21, 2019 Latest Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) figures show that there have been a total of 65 cases of wild polio worldwide so far in 2019 – 53 in Pakistan and 12 in Afghanistan.Wed, 21 Aug 2019 17:54:13 (DIBIE IKE Michael)'s son gets new $16m charge in Liberia currency printing saga former deputy governor of Liberia’s central bank has been rearrested and slapped with a further charge for his involvement in the printing of $16 million worth of local currency notes. Charles Sirleaf, a son of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is now facing charges that are amounting to $120 million. Before his latest arrest on Tuesday (August 20), he was already facing a charge relating to unlawful and unregulated printing of about $104m worth of local banknotes. The Liberian currency is known as the Liberian dollars. The solicitor-general, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, confirmed to a BBC reporter in Monrovia that Mr Sirleaf was released shortly after his arrest on health grounds. “We wanted him to be alive when we prosecute him,” he is quoted to have said. The West African country has been gripped with the case of missing bank notes from the ports in 2018. Another detainee in the ongoing probe is Milton Weeks, a former central bank governor. Liberia president ordered a full probe into the incident that sparked off protests in parts of the country. Justice Minister Musa Dean in March 2019 confirmed that the arrests of Weeks and Sirleaf was in connection with a forensic audit report which had implicated them in the saga. The Kroll report said that Liberia’s Central Bank acted “unilaterally and unlawfully” by printing and importing into the country three times the amount of banknotes it had been authorised to do, a US-contracted international investigation report disclosed.Wed, 21 Aug 2019 16:26:28 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s new cabinet inaugurated, president remains Petroleum minister President Muhammadu Buhari has formally inaugurated his new cabinet following a successful re-election earlier this year. The event took place at the presidency in Abuja where 43 ministers – substantive and ministers of state, took their oaths. According to the list, President Buhari maintained his position as Petroleum Minister, a post he has held since 2015. A number of appointees from the last cabinet maintained their portfolios among others, Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment), Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Babatunde Raji Fashola (Works and Housing) and Abubakar Malami (Minister of Justice). The Nigerian Senate vetted and passed all nominees and passed all of them for appointment. Senators postponed their annual recess for a week to screen the nominees. Out of the 43 appointees, seven of them were women. The female appointees and their respective portfolios are as follows: Sharon Ikeazor – Anambra, Environment, State Amb Maryam Katagum – Bauchi, Industry, Trade and Investment, State Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed – Kaduna, Finance, Budget and National Planning Ramatu Tijani Aliyu – Kogi, FCT, State Gbemisola Saraki – Kwara, Transportation, State Sadiya Umar Faruk – Zamfara, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Dame Pauline Tallen – Plateau, Women Affairs Buhari was re-elected in March but Nigeria has been without a cabinet since the ministers serving during his first term stepped down in May. The gap led to a slowdown in investment and a near-halt in decision making, according to investors, contractors and diplomats. Buhari took about six months to form a cabinet at the start of his first term in 2015. The swearing-in of 43 ministers-designate by President MBuhari</a> is underway at the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Bashir Ahmad (BashirAhmaad) August 21, 2019 Complete list of appointees: 1) Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah – Abia, Mines and Steel Development, State 2) Muhammed Musa Bello – Adamawa, FCT 3) Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio – Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta 4) Chris Ngige – Anambra, Labour & Employment 5) Sharon Ikeazor – Anambra, Environment, State 6) Adamu Adamu – Bauchi, Education 7) Amb Maryam Katagum – Bauchi, Industry, Trade and Investment, State 8) Timipre Silva – Bayelsa, Petroleum, State 9) Sen. George Akume – Benue, Special Duties 10) Mustapha Baba Shehuri – Borno, Agriculture, State 11) Godwin Jedi-Agba – Cross River, Power, State 12) Festus Keyamo – Delta, Niger Delta, State 13) Ogbonnaya Onu – Ebonyi, Science and Technology 14) Dr. Osagie Ehanire – Edo, Health 15) Clement Ikanade Agba – Edo, Budget and National Planning, State 16) Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo – Ekiti, Industry, Trade and Investment 17) Geoffrey Onyeama – Enugu, Foreign Affairs 18)Dr. Ali Isa Pantami – Gombe, Communication 19) Emeka Nwajuba – Imo, Education, State 20) Suleiman Adamu – Jigawa, Water Resources 21) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed – Kaduna, Finance, Budget and National Planning 22) Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud – Kaduna, Environment 23) Mohammed Sabo Nanono – Kano, Agriculture 24) Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) – Kano, Defence 25) Hadi Sirika – Katsina, Aviation 26) Abubakar Malami – Kebbi, HAGF and Minister of Justice 27) Ramatu Tijani Aliyu – Kogi, FCT, State 28) Lai Mohammed – Kwara, Information and Culture 29) Gbemisola Saraki – Kwara, Transportation, State 30) Babatunde Raji Fashola – Lagos, Works and Housing 31) Adeleke Mamora – Lagos, Health, State 32) Mohammed A. Abdullahi – Nasarawa, Science & Tech, State 33) Amb. Zubairu Dada – Niger, Foreign Affairs, State 34) Olamilekan Adegbite – Ogun, Mines & Steel Devpt 35) Sen. Omotayo Alasuadura – Ondo, Labour, State 36) Rauf Aregbesola – Osun, Interior 37) Sunday Dare – Oyo, Youth and Sports 38) Dame Pauline Tallen – Plateau, Women Affairs 39) Rotimi Amaechi – Rivers, Transportation 40) Mohammed Maigari Dangyadi – Sokoto, Police Affairs 41) Engr. Sale Mamman – Taraba, Power 42) Abubakar D. Aliyu – Yobe, Works and Housing, State 43) Sadiya Umar Faruk – Zamfara, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social DevelopmentWed, 21 Aug 2019 14:31:57 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) in Somali city of Kismayo ahead of crucial Jubbaland polls southern Somali state of Jubbaland has blocked access to the capital city Kismayo and its main airport ahead of Thursday’s vote to elect a president of the semi-autonomous region, a senior regional official said on Tuesday. The move underscores escalating tensions between Jubbaland authorities and the federal Somali government in Mogadishu, which has been seeking to exert control over the election process in the last month. “We have closed all the approaches to Kismayo to prevent the Somali federal government, which is using all possible ways including Ethiopian forces, to disrupt the Jubbaland election,” Mohamud Sayid Aden, vice president of Jubbland, told Reuters. On Saturday the Somali government said it would not recognise the result of the election in Jubbaland, a key battleground state for counter-terrorism operations, saying the candidate selection process violated the national constitution. The stand-off risks sparking a dangerous wider conflict. Incumbent Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe, who is seeking re-election this week, is a key security partner for Kenya, while Ethiopia has grown closer to the federal government in Mogadishu in the last year. Both Ethiopia and Kenya have significant numbers of peacekeepers in Somalia. Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants have been fighting the weak, U.N.-backed Somali government and its international allies for over a decade in a quest to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The stakes for all parties, local and international, are high. With good seasonal rainfall, lush farmlands and the lucrative Kismayo port, Jubbaland is one of Somalia’s more wealthy and stable regions. As well as providing a friendly buffer-zone for Kenya, its shoreline delineates a hotly contested maritime zone claimed by both Somalia and Kenya with potential oil and gas deposits. Kenya does not want to lose its ally, Madobe, said Hussein Sheikh-Ali, a former national security advisor and founder of the Hiraal Institute, a Mogadishu-based think-tank. “They installed him and he’s a trusted figure,” he said. REUTERSWed, 21 Aug 2019 12:00:42 +0000editorial@africanews.com Sudan's 11-member Sovereign Council: All you need to know’s pro-democracy movement and the army announced a joint ruling body on Tuesday. The new, 11-member body — called the Sovereign Council — has since been sworn in as at Wednesday. The Sovereign Council formally brings an end to the reign of the military junta, Transitional Military Council – TMC, that took power after the ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir in April. The Council is to rule Sudan for a little over three years until elections can be held. The two parties – protest leaders, army – officially signed a transitional power sharing agreement on August 17 after months of political and mediation back and forth. The military composition of the SC Gen. Abdel-Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, who chaired the TMC, will lead the Sovereign Council for the first 21 months, council spokesman Lt. Gen. Shams el-Din Kabashi told a televised press conference in the capital, Khartoum. A civilian leader appointed by the protest movement is to follow Burhan for the next 18 months, according to the deal. Others members of the military sitting on the SC include: Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, who served as deputy head of the military council, was also appointed to the new council along with Kabashi, Lt. Gen. Yasser Atta and Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Gaber, said the spokesman. All were members in the disbanded military council. Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, has consolidated power since al-Bashir’s overthrow, and is the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. Protesters accuse the RSF of leading the crackdown against them since the brutal break-up of their sit-in camp in Khartoum earlier in June. The civilian composition of the SC Among the five council members named by the pro-democracy movement are a woman and a journalist. Both sides agreed on the appointment of a Coptic Christian judge, Raja Nicholas Issa, as the 11th member of the council. All council members took their oath of office before the country’s top judge and Burhan on Wednesday. How protests came to topple Bashir Mass demonstrations initially erupted in Sudan in December 2018 over dire economic conditions but quickly turned into calls for al-Bashir to step down after three decades in power. The military later overthrew the leader, but protesters have continued to take to the streets and demand a swift transition to civilian government, fearing the military could cling to power. The tortuous negotiations over the joint military and civilian council went on over the last few months despite a deadly security crackdown. At least 250 people have been killed protests began, according to organizers. The deal also includes a protest movement-appointed Cabinet along with a legislative council with a majority from the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, the main protest coalition. The legislative body is to assemble within three months. First post-Bashir Prime Minister and challenges ahead Protest leaders nominated a well-known economist, Abdalla Hamdok, to serve as prime minister during the transition. He had till now been the deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa since November 2011. Hamdok was also sworn in on Saturday and is expected to name a cabinet in the coming days. Analysts and security watchers have held that the formation of a cabinet will be another crucial step in the transition process. The military is to nominate the defense and interior ministers in the transitional government, according to the deal. Sudan’s ailing economy and peace with armed groups remain among the top challenges facing the new administration. Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, had failed to keep the peace in the religiously and ethnically diverse Sudan, losing three quarters of the country’s oil wealth when the mainly animist and Christian south seceded in 2011 following a referendum. That loss of oil revenue plunged the economy into a protracted crisis that continues to this day. Sudan has also been convulsed by rebellions in its far-flung provinces for decades, and while a rebel alliance has joined the pro-democracy coalition, it said last week that it should be represented in the transitional government. The power-sharing deal calls for the government to reach a peace agreement with the rebels within six months. APWed, 21 Aug 2019 11:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com foreign currencies in short supply we reflect on the problem of the currency crisis in several African countries… From Nigeria to Zimbabwe to the Central African states, the problem is real. The dollar, the euro and the pound sterling, which are widely used in international trading, are in short supply. Much has been said about the origin of this situation. Beyond the fact that economies are essentially extroverted; oriented towards satisfying external needs, beyond the structure of African economies refractory to the transformation of their own raw materials to specialize in exports of raw materials. This situation should challenges our states as a priority. How do we get out of this? Many, like the analyst Idriss Linge, believe that it is imperious to transform the structure of African economies from top to bottom, so that they cease to be mere powder suppliers of raw materials to the rest of the world… Certainly we can question the role of certain companies and multinationals that export the essential, if not all their benefits… Some companies, businessmen and even individuals can be blamed for their currencies in foreign bank accounts. Accentuating the currency crisis… Economic intelligence specialists we consulted during the preparation of this segment implore with all their hearts the advent of strategic states in Africa… They underline a kind of physical inactivity, lack of audacity, lack of revolt of our states… In Africa it is still normal to import most of what we eat while arable land in abundance suffers from fallow. In Africa, it is normal to import biscuits, eggs, mineral water, needles, etc… In short, to squander the rare currencies laboriously acquired to obtain products that are within our reach… President Buhari, whose country spent $503 million on food in 2018, has been hostile to spending precious dollars now to buy food that can be produced… And $503 million, I would point out that this is the profit made in China in 2015 by the American car manufacturer General Motor… This is the amount that the continent’s largest economy spent in 2018 to import rice only. It is thinking time for Africa @maembleWed, 21 Aug 2019 11:34:26 (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN) heightens border surveillance with DRC over Ebola concerns we fear an Ebola epidemic in Burundi? The country is not taking chances with the haemorrhagic fever. Burundi authorities have stepped up health controls along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo increasing surveillance and safety procedures on the border movement. After confirmed cases of the virus in the Congolese area of South Kivu, international authorities and organisations are raising awareness about the spread of the haemorrhagic fever disease to neighbouring countries. “We were accompanied by representatives of certain international organizations that closely monitor human health issues, and this is quite normal because if Burundi were also to be affected by cases of Ebola… “... we understand that this is a problem that would have come from elsewhere. So to say, Ebola is not a national issue, it is an international issue,’‘ said Joseph Butore, second, vice president of Burundi. Burundi has vaccinated its health workers on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country in which the virus has already killed nearly 1,900 people in one year, according to the World Health Organization.Wed, 21 Aug 2019 11:24:22 +0000editorial@africanews.com judge sitting on Bongo's 'medical eligibility' case suspended top judge in Gabon who recently admitted a case challenging the eligibility of President Ali Bongo to continue in office has been suspended by the Ministry of Justice, local news portal Gabonactu has reported. The case in question surrounds the president’s health following months abroad for treatment and recuperation from a stroke. On August 12, Judge Paulette Ayo Mba, who is president of Libreville Court of Appeal, ruled that a petition seeking an order for the president to undergo health checks to determine if he can continue in office was valid. The judge’s suspension comes five days to the next hearing of the case and barely a week after the president’s first public appearance since resuming his duties after a lengthy medical absence. An opposition coalition made up of political opposition, civil society and trade union movement filed the suit requesting the visibly ailing Bongo be assessed medically. A lower court dismissed the case in May, saying only the two houses of parliament, or the Constitutional Court acting for the government, were empowered to determine whether the president was unfit. On Friday, the 60-year-old Bongo took part in events on the eve of celebrations to mark Gabon’s 1960 independence from France, laying a wreath at the tomb of the country’s first president, Leon Mba. Early on Saturday morning, many people had flocked to the seafront, trying to make their way through many security barriers to catch a glimpse of their leader. “There are people who said he was sick, but he was able to greet us,” said Mama Youssouf, a young spectator in the crowd. We wanted to see him with our own eyes,” a policeman said ahead of the parade. There has been speculation for some time about the state of Mr Bongo’s health. He returned to Gabon at the end of March after five months of recovery abroad following after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia last October. Standing straight in an army vehicle, in a dark suit and dark glasses, Bongo on Saturday arrived at the military parade on Libreville’s main boulevard along the capital’s seafront. He used a long cane to walk to an observation stand, applauded by dignitaries there and he climbed the stairs by himself to his seat, next to his wife Sylvia Bongo, AFP journalists at the scene said.Wed, 21 Aug 2019 11:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) junta leader sworn in as head of Sudan transition council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the outgoing head of Sudan’s military council, was sworn in as head of the newly-formed Sovereign Council in front of the head of the country’s judiciary. The remaining 10 members of the Sovereign Council will be sworn in later on Wednesday. Prime Minister-nominee Abdalla Hamdok is also expected to be sworn in later in the day. Sudan completed on Tuesday the formation of the 11-member Sovereign Council that will run the country for a three-year transitional period until elections. Hamdok, an economist who has served in international institutions, was nominated by Sudan’s main opposition alliance which negotiated for months with the Transitional Military Council to reach the agreement that led to the Sovereign Council’s establishment. ?? Sudan takes a step forward in its transition to civilian rule today after its new ruling body was unveiled ➡️ Abdalla Hamdok becomes prime minister ➡️ General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan becomes chairman of the new sovereign council— AFP Africa (@AFPAfrica) August 21, 2019 The council replaces the Transitional Military Council that Burhan headed, which had ruled Sudan since the overthrow of long-time president Omar al-Bashir in April. It is now the highest authority in the country but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers. REUTERSWed, 21 Aug 2019 09:44:24 +0000editorial@africanews.com police rearrests 'millionaire kidnapper' freed by soldiers in Nigeria have rearrested a notorious kidnapper who was weeks back forcibly released by soldiers from detention. Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, was arrested on Monday (August 19) by police operatives at his hideout in the north central Kano State. “It would be recalled that the Police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume since 6th August, 2019 following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State which resulted in the brutal murder of 3 – Police Officers and two (2) civilians, ... “and injury to five (5) others. The suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs,” a police statement read in part. In a video confession in Hausa, the suspect is heard saying: “I am Hamisu Bala alias Wadume. Police operatives came and arrested me, after my arrest, soldiers pursued them and opened fire till some policemen lost their lives. “They took me to their army headquarters, cut off my handcuffs and allowed me to escape, since my escape; I have been in hiding till the police rearrested me.” The police had in early August made public demand for the army to come clean on the whereabouts of the kidnapper and also demanded justice for their slain officers. After a meeting with security service chiefs, President Buhari ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to the deadly clashes. The committee has yet to present its results. Police rearrest notorious kidnap kingpin Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wudume.— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) August 20, 2019Tue, 20 Aug 2019 16:31:09 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Nigerian vet houses rescued animals Nigerian conservation has created a safe haven for animals rescued from danger. Mark Ofua is a veterinarian. In 2009, he quit his job to start a centre which protects wildlife. Watch our reportTue, 20 Aug 2019 15:37:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Kagame rejects FT report on 'cooked poverty figures' the second time in a week, Rwandan president Paul Kagame has responded to a recent report by the Financial Times, FT, that poverty figures were manipulated in 2015. The president’s latest response was at a press briefing in Namibia where he is on an official state visit. Whiles addressing the issue of poverty in a joint press briefing with his host Hage Geingob, Kagame praised the Rwandan people and their resolve in bettering their lives post the 1994 genocide. Further admitting that there was more to be done, he added: “We are very fine. We have problems we have to deal with every day. “My brother mentioned poverty, that creates other problems.We have been reducing levels of poverty very fast in actual fact, so it is helping us to resolve those other issues that people talk about He said the decentralized nature especially of agricultural growth made it easy to measure its impact. “You can’t cook these numbers. If you are able to do that and everybody else that deals with you in scrutinizing these numbers then there is a problem in the world not just Rwanda. “If we cooked numbers we would be cheating ourselves not anybody else. Those writing stories about us are not people we want to please or satisfy. We want to satisfy ourselves. “It originates from the stereotypes that Africans can do fine, they must be doing things that must be validated from the outside. We don’t want to be validated, we want to do things that are good for us not just to please others,” Kagame added. His first rebuttal on the issue was last Wednesday when he told a youth gathering in the capital Kigali that the reports were far from the truth. According to the FT, official data on poverty in the East African country was being “faked” to paint picture that did not represent the reality on the ground. The article said data from the National Institute of Statistics was designed to fit within Kagame’s narrative to hoodwink foreigners. Poverty had instead increased over the years, said the paper. Government data shows that by 2017, extreme poverty in Rwanda had dropped to 34% of the population, down from over 60% in less than 10 years. “First of all, I wish I could make any data [tow] tow my line, because my line am convinced is a good one,” said Kagame at a youth conference, amid repeated applause. “…I’ll bet with anyone that there is nothing fake or fabricated or doctored about the progress we are making. No question about it.” “If anyone is saying we still have problems to deal with, then he is right, because we have many problems we have to deal with. There is no question about that. There are many challenges we have to deal with…”Tue, 20 Aug 2019 14:30:11 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) United slam racist attack on Pogba after penalty miss United are working on identifying individuals who racially abused Paul Pogba online after the midfielder missed a penalty in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. Pogba won a late penalty but had his effort from the spot was saved by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio. The draw cost United top spot in the Premier League standings, leading to a handful of supporters racially abusing the Frenchman. “The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also,” United said in a statement. “Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative. “We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.” Defender Harry Maguire termed the abuse “disgusting” and called on social media companies to verify user accounts to prevent supporters from abusing players anonymously. “Social media need to do something about it,” Maguire said in a tweet. “Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people.” Forward Marcus Rashford also stood in solidarity with his team mate. “Manchester United is a family,” he said in a tweet. “Paul Pogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all.” Last week Chelsea boss Frank Lampard also urged social media companies to take stricter action after 21-year-old striker Tammy Abraham was the target of racist abuse after his missed penalty in the UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool. REUTERSTue, 20 Aug 2019 12:56:59 +0000editorial@africanews.com soldiers killed by terrorists, counteroffensive launched Faso’s military says extremists have killed at least 10 soldiers in the country’s north. The military said in a statement that several more soldiers were wounded in Monday’s attack in Soum Province near Mali’s border. The military said an air and land operation has been launched “in reaction to the barbaric attack” to “neutralize” the assailants. Violence by Islamic extremists has been increasing in Burkina Faso’s north and east. Attacks have already killed hundreds and thousands have fled the violence in the country. Burkina Faso’s government last year declared a state of emergency in many of the country’s northern regions. Burkina Faso’s foreign minister in May warned that extremist violence is gaining ground in the Sahel region, including in Mali, Niger and Chad, and could destabilize West Africa. APTue, 20 Aug 2019 12:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com