Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 22:33:24 +0000Nigeria's former army chief killed by gunmen Badeh, Nigeria’s former army chief has been killed by gunmen who attacked his vehicle while he was returning from his farm on Tuesday, an army official confirmed. Then Air Chief Marshal, Badeh served as Chief of Defense Staff under the erstwhile Goodluck Jonathan government. Head of the Air Force Public Relations Unit, Ibikunle Daramola, wrote on Twitter: “It is with a heavy heart that I regretfully announce the unfortunate demise of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who died today, 18 Dec 18, from gunshot wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.” The current Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar described the death of Badeh as “an irreparable loss,” in a statement that also commiserated with the bereaved family. Nigerians have reacted to the news of his death with demands for government to probe the death. The Senate President was among the first top government officials to react. Nigeria has suffered another great loss with the passing of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. My heartfelt prayers go to his family and our Armed Forces at this tragic time. May the Almighty grant him eternal rest. Amin.— Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) December 18, 2018 Ex-chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, strong critic of the MBuhari</a> government, was just assassinated along Abuja-Keffi Rd. This is a man who knew a lot about the inner workings of this government. His death must be investigated. It is too convenient. You may be next <a href="">#RenosDarts</a></p>&mdash; Reno Omokri (renoomokri) December 18, 2018 How can a former Chief of Defence Staff be killed like a common criminal on our highway. What is the hope of ordinary Nigerians then? OMG, this is unbelievable. RIP Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh. You didn't deserve a death like this NigAirForce</a> <a href="">HQNigerianArmy MBuhari</a></p>&mdash; Olola Seun Akioye (seunakioye) December 18, 2018 News of the gruesome murder of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, is both saddening and alarming. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, and I hope that those responsible are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.— Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara (@YakubDogara) December 18, 2018 BREAKING: Nigeria’s former defence chief, Alex Badeh, shot dead Mr Badeh, a retired air chief marshal, was shot dead along the Abuja-Keffi road. The air force confirmed the death in a couple of tweets on its official Twitter handle. What a sad one ?— CBN Gov Akinsola Ak?? (@cbngov_akin1) December 18, 2018 BREAKING: Alex Badeh, CDS under GEJ assassinated.— Oluyemi Fasipe?? (@YemieFASH) December 18, 2018Tue, 18 Dec 2018 22:33:24 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Sudan: UN opens mobile court UN “mobile court” has begun legal proceedings that will see 27 suspects go on trial over a period of two weeks. Some of the suspects to be tried at the makeshift court in Bentiu, in northern South Sudan have waited for a year without trial. UN Mission in South Sudan helped refurbish the courthouse now operating at the directive of the country’s Chief Justice. For the first time since 2013, justice will be done for several victims in the region. “We are working on a judicial system so that accused persons can be tried quickly. They should either be charged or released if they have not committed a crime. They should only be in prison if they have done something wrong. No one should be sentenced without being tried or it will mean that justice has been postponed, but with lawyers who are here to defend according to the law, that is a good thing and it encourages me to move forward, because there are lawyers here for the accused. “, said Judge Peter Mazen, Senior Judge at the Bentiu Mobile Court. The mobile court consists of two judges, two prosecutors, an investigator and two defense lawyers. South Sudan’s civil war has killed almost 400,000 people since 2013, about half dying from violent injuries. Fighters on all sides accused of gross human rights violations, including gang rape, abduction, sexual slavery of women and girls and child recruitment.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 20:19:16 +0000editorial@africanews.com to use contested voting machines for Dec. 23 election Democratic Republic of Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission is preparing contested voter machines for the December 23 Presidential election. The move comes after thousands of voting machines went up in flames last week in the capital Kinshasa. Opposition parties have strongly contested the introduction of untested tablet-like voting machines for the election. They argue that the machines are more vulnerable to vote-rigging than paper and ink, and could be compromised by the unreliability of Congo’s power supply. The commission believe the voting machines will facilitate, speed up and give reliable and truthful results in the long-delayed December 23 polls. Last week’s blaze at a depot destroyed 8,000 of over 10,000 voting machines due to be used in the capital Kinshasa, but CENI said the election would go ahead as scheduled. Though the commission has said nothing on who it believes is responsible for the fire, the ruling coalition and leading opposition candidates immediately traded accusations of blame. ReutersTue, 18 Dec 2018 19:01:45 +0000editorial@africanews.com villagers inspect ruins after Boko Haram attack of Zabar mari, an agricultural village near the Nigerian town of Maiduguri inspected damages after an attack by Boko Haram. At least four farmers were shot and their bodies were burned. The jihadist group has intensified its attacks on farmers in recent months, accusing them of passing information to the military According to a local rice farmer, Hassan Muhammad, everything was reduced to ashes. “Yesterday, at 6 p.m., they (victims) found them in the bush, shot them dead and burned their bodies. They also went into a rice field and set fire to it ,” he said. Insurgents invaded rice fields in the village, 10 kilometres from Maiduguri, on Sunday and shot dead four people, who were protecting the crops from potential thieves. “We’ve been afraid for more than five months now. Almost every week, we lose loved ones. We certainly can’t stop farming because it’s the only way we can survive,“Garba Kyari said. Last month, Islamist insurgents killed nine farmers and kidnapped twelve others in the village of Mammanti, near Maiduguri. Boko Haram split into two factions. The one loyal to the movement’s historical leader, Abubakar Shekau, is known to target civilians, including in village attacks and suicide bombings.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 16:43:52 +0000editorial@africanews.com telling festival unites Africans in Kenya don’t chickens steal? When did the moon learn to be kind? Answers to these mysteries were revealed at the Re-Imagined Storytelling festival in Nairobi, Kenya. Dozens of storytellers from Africa and elsewhere have gathered to revive a variety of stories… a tradition long forgotten. According to a Kenyan story teller, Wangui Wa Kamonji the tradition of story telling must be retained. “Our past is important to me, our story is important to me and I talked about it a little bit in the story I told on stage. It is what connects us to our memories, to our ancestors and guides us, it teaches us how to live, how to be good people, how to interact with others, how to interact with the environment.How do you do all these things? Stories are the ones that guide us, that anchor us, Kamonji says. In the age of smartphones and Netflix, spoken art seem gradually dissapearing, according to Maimouna Jallow, organizer of the festival. “I started this journey about three years ago and went to several small villages in search of folk tales from East Africa. Almost everywhere I went, people didn’t remember their own stories, and the generation of people who told those stories is approaching 80, so it was very important for me to see how to preserve not only the stories, but especially the culture of oral storytelling.’‘ ‘’ I also think it’s very different to watch television or read a book, but to have this storyteller in front of you, with an audience that can interact with it, it’s a very valuable thing that we risk losing” she concluded. With a salute to African cultural giants; Thomas Sankara, Fela Kuti and Ama Ata Aidoo, the storytellers addressed themes on corruption, war, obsession with glory and materialism. So, what answers the question ‘why don’t the chickens steal?’- because the chicken has squandered all the wealth that has been attributed to it as king of heaven. When other birds discovered its misdeeds, it was banished from the air and became man’s favourite dish. A delicious delicacy. So, the story goes. REUTERSTue, 18 Dec 2018 11:12:20 +0000editorial@africanews.com Review: Top African news per country [Djibouti – Guinea-Bissau] the year rounds up, Africanews’ digital team looks back at the major news items from across the continent. Our 2018 Review page looks at the different information blocs on our website – news, sports, business, sci-tech and culture. In other perspectives, our team will look at news trends over the course of the year. Trends shall include: women of the year, peace deals of the year, Africa’s relations with the world, review of the various presidential elections etc. With respect to the country by country review of major news items, at least three will be reviewed whiles taking stock of how the different countries handled issues back home, with neighbouring countries and the world at large. Our special tab on the Africanews homepage ‘2018 Review’ is LIVE with a pool of articles and photo stories looking back at the year. We are using an alphabetical arrangement in respect of country reviews. This first part concentrating on Algeria through to Chad. DJIBOUTI: Peace talks with Eritrea, opening of Free Trade Zone Djibouti over the course of the year sought UN help to resolve a diplomatic stalemate with Eritrea. They lodged a request with the secretary general to push for mediation over border dispute and the issue of prisoners of war. Early on in the year, a number if African leaders flew in to join President Omar Guelleh to inaugurate what at the time was said to be the biggest Free Trade Zone in Africa. In addition to the other military bases stationed in the tiny Horn of Africa nation, China opened its first base outside the country. DR CONGO: Kabila agrees to go, protests amid crackdown, Ebola resurfaces Politics, security and disease, much the usual suspects featured in a long year for DRC, and yet there is still a long way to go as polls are held on December 23 to elect a new set of lawmakers and a president. Kabila agreed to step down in August 2018, it means that after a two-year delay, DRC could be looking at post-Kabila years. Earlier in the year, anti-government protests were heavily clamped down on including one by the powerful Catholic Church. In the midst of the chaos, Ebola returned claiming the lives of scores. The WHO responded swiftly along to local authorities. The recent outbreak is marked as the second deadliest in the world. Insecurity in parts of the country has also affected quite a number of people, even the Ebola responders suffered attacks that made the response perilous. Denis Mukwege was name co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize award. Ex veep Pierre Bemba was released by ICC, returned home but barred from presidential race. Ex-Katanga governor Moise Katumbi also barred from contesting even returning home from exile. EGYPT: Al-Sisi re-election, GERD talks, attacks on copts President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi contested for a second term and won by a landslide after zooming past an unknown opponent. Opposition call for a boycott is said to have affected turnout. Then Egypt continued its demands on the Nile waters on which Ethiopia was banking its hopes for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. Talks were held between Ethiopia PM and Al-Sisi whiles foreign affairs ministers and experts also met for talks. Attacks on especially copts also continued in the year as Al-Sisi continued to drum his resolve to keep all Egyptians safe. The army also reported fighting off terrorists in parts of the country. ERITREA: Peace with Ethiopia, UNSC lifts sanctions, Asmara reengages Ethiopia – Eritrea made peace after two decades of hostilities. The move had good rebound across the wider Horn of Africa region with nations forging new ties with the view to better cooperation. The lifting of nine-year old sanctions by the United Nations was another major highlight for Eritrea. It was largely allied to peace with Eritrea and a shift in US position on the matter. Asmara has in the wake of the two developments continued to actively engage within the region and beyond. The Gulf states – Saudi and UAE, the United States, European Union, Russia and others have all leaned in start engaging with Eritrea. The country was also elected to serve on the United Nations human rights council, promising by that, to right human rights issues back home. ETHIOPIA: Peace with Eritrea, Abiy’s high speed reforms, good year for women in politics When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over Ethiopia was on the brink of implosion, security and political watchers had said. That is no longer the case, even though threats largely exist in the form of insecurity. Abiy’s inaugural address promised reforms across the board. It promised peace at home and with Eritrea and a better Ethiopia than the one he inherited. The reforms have been rolling in thick and fast in the area of politics, economy, state institutions etc. The Eritrea peace has been durably delivered and the deadly protests of years ago are gone. Women are half of Abiy’s 20-seat cabinet. The country has its first woman president and chief justice. It has first woman defense minister and peace minister and a woman is tasked with the 2020 polls which Abiy has invested time into – meeting opposition groups on charting a way forward. EQUATORIAL GUINEA: 2017 coup confirmed, VP entourage held in Brazil, opposition freed In December 2017, the Equatorial Guinea government reported having foiled an attempted coup. It wasn’t until early 2018 the government gave details blaming mercenaries from Cameroon and Chad. VP Teodorin Obiang Nguema was also stopped during a trip to Brazil, members of his delegation were said to be carrying huge sums of monies and watches valued in the millions of dollars. Back at home, he had given orders that lawmakers needing to travel abroad needed clearance from his office. A number of detained opposition members were also freed. GABON: Bongo’s ill health, ICC drops probe, legislative polls Despite starting late in the year, President Ali Bongo’s I’ll health has been the biggest news from the oil rich central African nation. He is currently convalescing in Morocco after being transferred from Saudi Arabia where he was hospitalized when he was in Riyadh for an investment summit. Government recently confirmed that he suffered a stroke. The International Criminal Court this year said it was dropping a probe into post-election violence in the country. Following chaotic 2016 presidential polls, ICC had said it was considering a probe. Delayed legislative polls were also held with the ruling party maintaining its majority in the parliament. GAMBIA: New VP, Jammeh commission and comeback talk The Gambia continued its rebuilding efforts in the post-Jammeh era. But it still had Jammeh looming over the immediate future. Two commissions related to his era were launched – the truth and reconciliation commission and the financial probe body. After barely a year in charge, President Barrow replaced his vice. He appointed Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main ruling party to replace Fatoumatou Jallow Tambajang. A leak audio also alleged that Jammeh was in talks over a return to the country, he remains in exile in Equatorial Guinea. His mother who died in exile was however brought back home for burial. GHANA: Kofi Annan goes home, FA chief busted, Mahama wants to rerun Ghana received the world as one of its illustrious sons, Kofi Annan was buried at a military cemetery in the capital Accra. Annan, a former UN secretary general died in Geneva where he was living. The country’s football association chief Kwesi Nyantakyi was also busted in an undercover operation, part of a wider investigative piece into the country’s football. Nyantakyi resigned his posts at CAF and FIFA in the wake of the exposé. The country’s local football was suspended but Ghana managed to escape a FIFA ban by working with the body to institute a normalization committee hoping to get the game back on track. A rare anti-government protest hit the country as a US-Ghana military cooperation agreement got citizens worried. US first lady Melania Trump picked Ghana as one of four stops on her first solo trip outside of the US. GUINEA: Anti-government protests, Bollore corrupt deal, economic crisis The West African country had its fair share of protests decrying governance style of President Alpha Conde. Other planks of the protest were due to economic issues Early in the year, government was cited in a corrupt deal involving French business giants Bollore. The case which involved the running of ports was dismissed by government. GUINEA BISSAU: Political crisis persists, ECOWAS slaps sanctions The country’s political crisis stretching to last year got to a head, forcing the regional bloc ECOWAS to slap sanctions on the country. A wooden boat carrying migrants also got into an accident that reportedly claimed the lives of a number of people. Visit our ’2018 Review’ page for moreTue, 18 Dec 2018 16:14:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com 'auditions' for South Africa's football team Bafana Bafana Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, who recently joined Twitter has continued to amass and impress his followers with video content, the latest being a clip of him playing football with children. The 49 second video that shows the 76-year-old running around a pitch and kicking a football, was captioned with a message to the coach of the national football team. ‘‘Someone tell Stuart Baxter I’m match fit Bafana Bafana.’‘ Someone tell Stuart Baxter I’m match fit BafanaBafana— Jacob G Zuma (PresJGZuma) December 17, 2018 Zuma, who was president of South Africa from 2009 until 2018, joined the microblogging site last week and has since amassed over 100,000 followers, engaging them with a mix of video tweets and messages busting fake news about him. READ MORE: Ex-South Africa prez busts fake news, account days after joining Twitter Tweeps love Zuma The ex-president’s skills impressed many of his followers and caught the attention of Cape Town City football club, who tweeted, saying ‘Baba uCoach Benni is watching’. Baba uCoach Benni is watching ?— Cape Town City FC (@CapeTownCityFC) December 17, 2018 I swear this account gives me life ???. Baba doing the most on this Twitter sphithiphithi— GabaSenne (@GabaSenne) December 17, 2018 SA has been boring for the last 10 months you saved us Msholozi we can now laugh— GM (@gmalau32) December 17, 2018Tue, 18 Dec 2018 15:11:54 (Daniel Mumbere) Al-Shabaab militants killed in 2 days by U.S. airstrikes U.S. military said on Monday it had killed 62 militants in six air strikes on Saturday and Sunday in the vicinity of Gandarsh in Somalia’s south-central Banaadir province. The military’s Africa Command (Africom) said four strikes were carried out on Saturday, killing 34 militants, and two more on Sunday, which killed 28. “Africa Command and our Somali partners conducted these air strikes to prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks,” Africom said in a statement. The air strikes, among the deadliest this year, did not kill any civilians, the statement said. “At this time we assess these air strikes did not injure or kill any civilians.” The United States carries out regular air strikes in Somalia in support of a U.N.-backed government there, which has been fighting against an al Shabaab insurgency for years. Last month, the U.S. military said it had killed 37 militants. REUTERSMon, 17 Dec 2018 19:05:21 +0000editorial@africanews.com electoral commission to gazette opposition party [The Morning Call]’s electoral commission says it is completing the verification process to have the main opposition party gazetted. Maj-Gen Mugisha Muntu, former president of Uganda’s main opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), had quit to form another political party in October. The launch of his new party is planned for after Christmas. We discuss the party politics in Uganda and what this means for the country.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 13:23:34 (Jerry Bambi) Forum South Africa 2018 [Sci tech] fourth edition of the Science Forum South Africa has been held in Pretoria. The platform saw the gathering of thousands of participants including scientists, policy-makers and students to open up discussion on the fourth Industrial Revolution. Ignatius Annor was offered a travel grant by the South African Department of Science and Technology as an international media representative for the 3-day event. He brings you some highlights on this week’s edition of Sci Tech. @IgnatiusAnnorTue, 18 Dec 2018 09:39:52 (Ignatius Annor)'s VP pledges crackdown on corruption’s may elections hits up as vice president, Saulos Chilima, takes leadership of the opposition Movement for Transformation (UTM) party on Monday. A head position that paves way for him to challenge President Peter Mutharika in next year’s elections.The Democratic People’s Party’s (DPP) ticket handed to him by Mutharika to run along him in the 2014 elections did little to hold him back. The vice president left the DPP in June to form the UTM, criticizing corruption, nepotism and patronage within the ruling party. “ Our country continues to experience entrenched and institutionalized corruption, cronyism and nepotism at all levels of our society. I therefore call upon all Malawians to join this agenda and mission were we shall all save and reclaim our mother Malawi,’‘ Saulos Chilima said. Saulos Chilima was elected unopposed by some 900 delegates who gathered in Lilongwe for the first UTM Congress since its formation five months ago. The 45 year old, is considered a possible rival of 79-year-old President Peter Mutharika, who won the 2014 elections, two years after the death of his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika. AFPTue, 18 Dec 2018 11:48:16 +0000editorial@africanews.com pledges extra 50 million euros to G5 Sahel alliance President Emmanuel Macron on Monday met with his Burkinabe counterpart, Roch Marc Christian Kabore at the Elysee Palace where Macron pledged an additional 50 million euros ($56,757,500 US dollars) to the G5 Sahel alliance. “In keeping with the Sahel emergency plan put in place by the Burkina Faso government, the French development agency will invest near to 50 million euros additional funding in the region in 2019 in the areas of professional integration, electrification of rural areas and in water and water purification,” Macron said. The G5 Sahel alliance, which is composed of five West African countries, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Niger and Mauritania, is focused on the fight against organized crime and terrorism which is on the rise in the region. Kabore stressed that the fight against terrorism in West Africa is urgent as over 600 schools in the east of the G5 Sahel region and northern Burkina Faso are closed due to the presence of jihadist activity. “What we wanted to state was that set of counter-terrorism measures are really urgent because today we have almost 600 schools which are closed between the east, the Sahel and the north of Burkina Faso. These are large figures and demands that we can co-ordinate our operations between countries, between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and be able to reduce the circulation of these people between our borders,” said Kabore. During his visit Kabore and Macron signed two agreements pledging the extra cash injection to contribute to the electrification of train lines between Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso and to contribute to investments in professional integration, rural electrification and water treatment.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 11:03:34 +0000editorial@africanews.com United sack coach Jose Mourihno United has sacked its manager Jose Mourinho, following a dismal start to the 2018/19 season. The English club side announced on Monday, that it was partying ways with the 55-year-old Portuguese gaffer, who has been with the club since 2016. ‘‘The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future,’‘ read part of the statement. Manchester United has announced that Jose Mourinho has left the Club. We would like to thank him for his work during his time at Manchester United and wish him success in the future. #MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 18, 2018 The statement added that a new caretaker manager would be appointed to run affairs at the club, until the end of the season. United are sixth in the table with 26 points from 17 matches. The club is 19 pints behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, who they lost to (1-3) last weekend. Reactions on social media With ManUtd</a> 19 points behind <a href="">LFC after 17 games, with the vast majority of players playing way below their best…and dour football to boot. Given Mourinho was allowed to spend hundreds of millions on those players the split seemed inevitable.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 18, 2018 Mourinho was sacked on December 18th 2015 by Chelsea after losing 3-1 to Klopp's Liverpool. Today, 18th December 2018, Mourinho gets sacked by United after losing 3-1 to Klopp's Liverpool…— Nãif ➰ (@NaifFCB_) December 18, 2018 Where is that #MourinhoOut party? I'm in the mood to start drinking alcohol NOW!!!!!!!!! Time to celebrate.— Talkative Rocker (@beewol) December 18, 2018 The after party of Jose’s exit will be at manifestive</a> <a href="">#Manifestivities18</a> on Dec 23. Thank you! ????‍♀️</p>&mdash; Juliet Bawuah (julietbawuah) December 18, 2018 I will always love you Mou.❤️❤️ Life happens and somethings have to be.— Juliet Mafua (@julietmafua) December 18, 2018Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:56:14 +0000editorial@africanews.com's freed prisoners demand release of separatists leaders [The Morning Call] than a day after being released from detention centers, some of the people accused of fighting for the creation of an English-speaking state in Cameroon have called for the movement’s leaders to be released if President Paul Biya wants peace in the country. Their call comes after more than 289 people who had been arrested for attempting to create an English-speaking state, were freed on Friday after President Paul Biya had ordered legal proceedings against them to be stopped a day.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:42:38 (Jerry Bambi) Sudan gov't protests new US sanctions, calls for dialogue Sudan’s government has protested the decision of the United States to impose fresh sanctions and cut financial aid to the country. Addressing a press conference on Monday, the foreign ministry spokesman Mawien Makol warned that the ‘unjustifiable’ actions of the US government could undermine the implementation of the recent peace agreement. “The government of South Sudan would like to register its concern and protest in the strongest terms against these unjustified unilateral sanctions, and on other USA statements designed to undermine the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan,” Makol told journalists. Last Friday, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on an ex-Israel military officer and two South Sudanese nationals, Obac William Olawo and Gregory Vasili, accusing them of fuelling conflict in the world’s youngest nation. The Treasury also reaffirmed an earlier position by national security advisor John Bolton, that no financial assistance would be henceforth extended to South Sudan, ‘unless its morally bankrupt leaders end their internal fighting’. READ MORE: United States launches new ‘Prosper Africa’ policy to counter China and Russia “The decision by the US can only be described as unjustifiable. It comes in the wake of the peace deal. The US should provide support in pursuit of holdout groups to join peace,” Makol said, adding that the country is ready to dialogue with the United States. “The government of South Sudan has endeavoured to promote dialogue with the government of United States of America, and welcomes any proposals on improving bilateral relations, and requests the US administration to engage in a more positive manner with Juba.” South Sudan’s homegrown peace deal will not fail – President Kiir— africanews (@africanews) August 4, 2018Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:14:03 (Daniel Mumbere) ban: father of dying child pleads with officials to allow mum into the U.S father of a dying child on Monday made a passionate appeal to United States officials to issue a waiver to President Trump’s travel ban. This will allow the boy’s mother to be reunited with her son in the U.S. Ali Hassan delivered an emotional speech at press conference in Sacramento. “Thank you to everyone for being here today. I’m here today because my son Abdullah needs his mother. My wife is calling me every day, wanting to kiss and hold her son….for one last time. Time is. Time is running out. Please help us get my family together again. As you know, my wife was denied a return to the U.S. to see her son. My son Abdullah is only two years old. We celebrated his birthday just two days ago. So I am here today for your support and help to bring my family together for the one last time. Thank you”, Hassan said. His wife is a Yemeni national and thus not allowed into the U.S since the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s ban from Muslim-majority countries. They include Libya, Somalia, Iran, Syria and Yemen. “Now we see the Muslim ban’s effect in the most dehumanizing way and we are running out of time. We are calling for the department of state to issue a Muslim ban waiver to allow Shaima, the wife of a U.S. citizen, the mother of a U.S. citizen to hold her child one last time and to allow her to mourn with dignity. We are ready to fly her out at a moment’s notice, as soon as we receive this waiver to fly her out of Cairo to San Francisco…hopefully today”, said Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of the council on American-Islamic relations, Sacramento Valley. Hassan’s 2-year old son, Abdullah suffers a rare brain disease. He is not expected to survive and the family has postponed removing him from life support so his mother could see him. No public remarks have been made about the family’s request by the U.S State Department. ReutersTue, 18 Dec 2018 08:55:41 +0000editorial@africanews.com police arrest Somali man who threatened to attack Vatican police are holding a 20-year-old Somali man who threatened to bomb several churches in the country, including St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Police told reporters in the southern city of Bari that the man, identified as Omar Moshin Ibrahim, was detained last Thursday and that a magistrate had charged him on Monday with instigating terrorism and supporting terrorism. Police said Ibrahim was stopped following a month-long surveillance operation as he was about to leave Bari where he worked for a cleaning company. Investigating terror threats The investigation, the police officials said, included wiretaps in which Ibrahim was heard telling someone, “Let’s put bombs in all the churches of Italy. Where is the largest church? It is in Rome.” In another conversation, they said, he was heard praising those who “killed on the path of Allah” and hailing last week’s shooting at the Strasbourg Christmas market in which a gunman killed five people. Police added that the man used the alias of Anas Khalil and called himself “Yusuf” on social media, and had arrived in Italy in 2016. He was suspected of having been a militant of Islamic State previously. Italian police have increased security around churches, including St. Peter’s, ahead of Christmas, which draws big crowds to the Vatican area.Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:33:17 +0000editorial@africanews.com Review: Top African news per country – [Algeria – Chad] the year rounds up, Africanews’ digital team looks back at the major news items from across the continent. Our 2018 Review page looks at the different information blocs on our website – news, sports, business, schi-tech and culture. In other perspectives, our team will look at news trends over the course of the year. Trends shall include: women of the year, peace deals of the year, Africa’s relations with the world, review of the various presidential elections etc. With respect to the country by country review of major news items, at least three will be reviewed whiles taking stock of how the different countries handled issues back home, with neighbouring countries and the world at large. Our special tab on the Africanews homepage ‘2018 Review’ is LIVE with a pool of articles and photo stories looking back at the year. We are using an alphabetical arrangement in respect of country reviews. This first part concentrating on Algeria through to Chad. ALGERIA – Ailing president to run for another term, parliamentary crisis After local elections in 2017 which were won by the ruling party National Liberation Front party and its allies led by President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, the ailing president was again in the news as the party had nominated him as candidate for elections slated for 2019. Bouteflika in 2018 traveled to Geneva for medical checks. He has in the lasy few years gone to Europe to seek medical care – becoming a key member of ‘Africa’s sick presidents’ list. A parliamentary crisis in the country eventually led to the forced removal of its speaker of parliament who decried the move as a coup. Another key incident was the military plane crash that claimed over 270 lives. The April incident happened near Boufarik airport, in the capital Algiers. The plane was carrying more than 100 military personnel, a local TV station said. Find more news on Algeria ANGOLA – Lourenco charting his path, Dos Santos’ ‘squeezed,’ economy still sluggish In his first year, Angolan president Joao Lourenco showed that he was his own man and was going to run the country as he deemed fit. The former first family took a big hit in 2018, both children of Lourenco’s predecessor, Isabel and Jose Filomeno, were kicked out of their high level posts. Filomeno and other top officials are the subject of a corruption probe that has been launched by the government. Lourenco also attended his first United Nations General Assembly in September and has gotten involved in the regional affairs much more than dos Santos did. The Angolan economy continued its sluggish form even as government stressed its resolve to turn things around. Dos Santos gave his first interview as a former president fending off claims by Lourenco that the treasury was empty when he came into office. Botswana – New president in, a piece of the royal wedding Botswana had a new president in the person of Eric Mogweetsi Masisi, taking over the reins from now immediate past Ian Khama. In naming his new government, President Masisi struck a good chord with young Africans as he named a 30-year-old as minister. Bogolo Kenewendo is till date handling the Investment, Trade and Industry portfolio. The royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle, apparently started off somewhere in Botswana after the Harry disclosed that he had actually proposed when the duo were on a private trip to the country. BURKINA FASO – Attack on army HQ, abandons Taiwan, G5 Sahel duties There was a coordinated attack on the headquarters of the army and the French army in March this year. There were casualties reported on both sides as government blamed terrorist elements for the incident. Also in the course of the year Ouagadoudou, opted to go with one-China policy after a long period holding off. They abandoned the recognition of Taiwan as a country leaving only eSwatini in that bracket. Burkina Faso was also in the forefront of talks surrounding the G5 Sahel anti-terrorism force meant to secure the region. President Roch Marc Kabore routinely met with Mauritanian, Chadian, Nigerien and Malian counterparts fro talks. Burundi – Referendum holds, rights issues persist, Buyoya arrest warrant Burundi entered 2018 in a tense mood after government insisted on going ahead with a constitutional referendum aimed at scrapping presidential term limits. Despite stiff opposition, the vote was carried out with the ‘YES’ vote winning – as expected. The big news was of President Nkurunziza’s announcement that he was not going to seek a fresh term when his mandate expired in 2022. Burundi also clashed with a number of United Nations agencies in the year. Refusal to cooperate with UN rights group and belatedly a demand that the UN body closes its offices in the country. CAMEROON – Anglophone crisis rolls on, Biya wins seventh term, AFCON hosting loss Like Burundi, part of Cameroon – the Anglophone region – was in a state of active conflict and largely so throughout the year. Separatists managed to ground normal social life in the two regions – Northwest and Southwest. Fighting between them and state security forces resulted in deaths on both sides, whiles the displacement spiral continued unabated. Some into the French zones whiles others fled into Nigeria. President Paul Biya contested for a seventh term and beat eight others to a new term. A court petition by the opposition failed. Cameroon also got a new opposition chief in ex-minister Maurice Kamto who garnered 14% of the votes, he entered a belated coalition with another candidate. Allied to security, the country was stripped of the rights to host the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, after CAF found that they were behind in terms of preparation for the mid-2019 event. Insecurity also played a role in the body’s decision. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – Security crisis, arrest of ex-militia leaders, France – Russia spar The state of insecurity in the Central African republic continued across the year with its attendant humanitarian toll of the displaced. There was chaos in parliament after a lawmaker reportedly pulled a pistol during proceedings. Then the speaker was replaced in a move he decried as illegal. He has since been replaced. Russia also developed an increased interest in the country as it began giving training to security forces in the country. The move led to a condemnantion by France with the claim that Russia was looking to have undue influence in the country. In the last quarter of 2018, two former militia leaders have been arrested and hauled before the International Criminal Court, ICC, for their respective roles in violence. COMOROS – Controversial referendum, anti-govt protests President Azali Assoumani’s government went ahead with a controversial referendum that will see him continue in office. The vote affirmed the president’s ‘YES’ campaign which allows him to contest another term after his current term runs out. The vote led to protests and a subsequent clampdown by the military. Assoumani visited some of the restive regions of the island nation. A former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi was also arrested and charged for alleged passport fraud. CONGO REPUBLIC – IMF program bites, OPEC membership, Pool region disarmament The Republic of Congo continued to experience sluggish economic progress under an IMF agreement that the country is into. The most recent visit of the IMF team to the country was in November. In the middle of this year, Congo officially become the fifteenth member of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The country’s membership was concluded during the 174th Ordinary Meeting of OPEC. Meanwhile on the political space, former security minister and presidential aspirant General Mokoko remains in prison since he was detained in 2016 for calling for an uprising after losing presidential polls. CHAD – Deby visits Israel, anti-govt protests, G5 Sahel engagements President Idris Deby Itno became the first Chadian leader to visit Israel in over four decades. He met Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu with the issues of security and fight against terrorism topping the agenda. “We have a common struggle, as you have already mentioned Mr. prime minister, against a thing which is a scourge of this century, and this is terrorism. Humanity must simply get rid of it, heal from it,” Deby said in a press event. Back home, anti-government protests against austerity measures continued in earnest. The army also reported defeating rebels located in the north of the country. Chad’s role in the area of migration was also prominent over the year. President Idriss Deby also joined his colleagues under the banner of the G5 Sahel nations and the Lake Chad group – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad – in discussing issues of terrorism. Visit our ’2018 Review’ page for moreMon, 17 Dec 2018 21:21:51 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) president Isaias Afwerki returns to UAE for bilateral talks president Isaias Afwerki is in the United Arab Emirates where he met the Crown Prince for talks on bilateral ties of cooperation and matters of mutual interest. Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed posted a photo on Twitter where he is seen with the Eritrean leader along with other Emirati officials. Mohamed bin Zayed receives the President of Eritrea to discuss cooperation and friendship as well as issues of mutual interest, he wrote. Afwerki left Asmara on Monday morning, the Eritrea’s Information Minister, Yemane Meskel wrote on Twitter. He had just returned on a historic visit to Somalia and Kenya from last week through to the weekend. This is the latest round of visits Afwerki has made to the country this year. On one such visits, he was joined by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with the two being awarded gold medals for their respective roles in the Ethio-Eritrea peace deal agreed in July 2018. The deal brought an end to decades of hostilities following a deadly and costly border war after Eritrea refused to respect an international border ruling. Abiy agreed to implement the ruling and flew to Asmara where the two leaders signed a deal. Since then till now, relations have normalized on all fronts with the most recent being the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from the former militarized areas. Mohamed bin Zayed receives the President of Eritrea to discuss cooperation and friendship as well as issues of mutual interest— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 17, 2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:14:54 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) election hub: Top opposition candidate calls for debate Fayulu, leader of the Lamuka coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, has called for a national debate between contestants in the December 23 elections. His call comes four days to the end of campaigning, December 21, and under a week to the opening of voting centers. According to Fayulu, the occasion will help candidates share their ideas with voters. He made the call via a Twitter post on Monday. “I propose a live broadcast debate on national television and Radio + private media between presidential candidates. “This will be an opportunity to demonstrate that (for) on the ground ideas and their implementation, our coalition brings concrete proposals,” his tweet read. Fayulu’s challenge comes at a time when candidates are busily campaigning across the country as they canvass votes to replace outgoing Joseph Kabila. The DRC is hoping for its first ever peaceful transition of power. The Lamuka coalition comprises three aspirants and two banned hopefuls. The two are former vice president Jean Pierre Bemba and ex-governor of Katanga province, Moise Katumbi. Other major candidates in the official pool of 21 include a former minister of interior Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, running on the ticket of the ruling coalition and Felix Tshisekedi, a son of a deceased veteran opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi. Je propose un débat retransmis en direct à la télévision et radio nationale + médias privés entre les candidats à la présidentielle. Ce sera l’occasion de démontrer que sur le terrain des idées et leur mise en application notre coalition apporte des propositions concrètes. #RDC— Martin Fayulu (@MartinFayulu) December 17, 2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:17:41 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) army op kills civilians in Moyale hotel, violence persists deadly shooting incident involving the Ethiopian army has claimed the lives of a dozen civilians in a hotel located in Moyale, a border town with Kenya. Local news portals cited sources that confirmed that the incident took place as federal forces were holding talks with ethnic militia groups – Oromo and Somali – to hand over the security of Moyale. Since his coming into office in April 2018, the biggest headache to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been the subject of internal insecurity. It has led to record displacements across the country. Incidentally the worsening crisis has been in or connected to his home region, Oromia, which is also Ethiopia’s largest regional state. Abiy leads the ruling party in the region, the Oromo Democratic Party, ODP. Reports from late last week through to the weekend indicated that heavy fighting between the two ethnic groups had killed at least 21 people and wounded 61. The situation had also led to an escalation of violence that has sent hundreds fleeing across the border to neighbouring Kenya. Outbreaks of violence in the south between the Oromos and especially the Somalis have escalated in recent times. The two groups have been engaged in prolonged conflict which has however intensified in recent months. Early this year at least 5,000 Ethiopians were forced to seek refuge in Kenya after several civilians were killed in what the Ethiopian military said was a botched security operation targeting militants in the country’s south. “People have been killed, business premises bombed and torched, houses have also been set ablaze in the fight between Oromo and Somali Garre fighters,” said Wario Sora, a human rights activist from Moyale on the Kenyan side. Patrick Mumali, Moyale sub-county deputy commissioner, confirmed late on Friday that hundreds of Ethiopians have crossed the border to Kenya. An internal U.N. report dated Dec. 13 and reviewed by Reuters also confirmed the fighting, with heavy artillery being used, and said there was likelihood the conflict could spill over into Kenya. An Ethiopian source in the capital in touch with people in Moyale said at least several dozen people had so far died in the fighting, which was more intense than previous clashes in the same area earlier in the year. In the Oromiya region, the largest in the country and home to the largest ethnic group, the Oromo, there are at least four separate conflicts along ethnic lines in addition to a border dispute that risks erupting into new violence, aid groups say.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:02:16 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) girls 'smuggled' across borders for FGM procedures - Group in Kenya are being taken across the border to countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia for female genital mutilation (FGM) to avoid a crackdown on the harmful traditional practice at home, campaigners said on Monday. Kenya criminalised FGM in 2011 with a minimum punishment of three years imprisonment and a U.S. $2,000 fine – spearheading efforts to curb the internationally condemned ritual with the most comprehensive anti-FGM legislation in east Africa. But while fear of the law – coupled with increased awareness of the harmful effects of FGM – has helped reduce prevalence rates, say campaigners, the deep-rooted practice persists as communities discover new ways to evade prosecution. “Cross-border FGM is becoming an increasing trend in the areas we work along Kenya’s border with Uganda and Tanzania, especially in December during the school holidays,” said Agnes Kola, womens’ rights coordinator for ActionAid Kenya. “It is all very secretive but when we have community meetings, we are informed of such cases and we see it as an emerging challenge to our anti-FGM programs.” Kola said there was no data available on the numbers of girls in Kenya travelling to neighbouring countries for FGM as much of it was underground and that it was a new trend. An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, says the United Nations. Seen as necessary for social acceptance and increasing a girl’s marriage prospects, FGM is prevalent across parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is usually performed by traditional cutters, often with unsterilised blades or knives. In some cases, girls can bleed to death or die from infections. It can also cause lifelong painful conditions such as fistula and fatal childbirth complications. ‘VACATION CUTTING SEASON’ In Kenya, one in five women and girls aged between 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone FGM, says the U.N. While some cases have been brought to court under Kenya’s anti-FGM law, implementation remains a challenge, largely due to a lack of resources and capacity of law enforcement agencies and difficulties reaching remote areas. U.N. data shows 75 cases of FGM were brought before Kenyan courts in 2016 but only 10 cases resulted in a conviction. Campaigners said cross-border FGM is being seen among communities such as the Maasai, Pokot and Kuria who live along Kenya’s west and southwestern borders with Uganda and Tanzania. It has also been witnessed with Oromo and Somali communities near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia and Somalia. The same communities live on either side of the border and have strong ancestral ties, said campaigners. As a result, they daily informally cross the porous border for trade, cattle grazing and visiting relatives. “So when vacation cutting season happens in December, it has become very easy for parents to take their daughters across the border for FGM,” said Tony Mwebia from the Men End FGM campaign. “No one is going to suspect anything. The girls come back and are kept at home after the procedure to recover until school starts – no not even the teachers are able to detect anything.” As well as enforcing Kenya’s law, which also allows for the prosecution of FGM cases performed outside the country, community awareness on the the other side of the border was also key to curbing cross-border FGM, said campaigners. “Governments need to show commitment to laws with adequately funded and resourced strategies to ensure communities understand why FGM is harmful and that ending the practice is in the best interest of all members of society,” said Ann-Marie Wilson of 28 Too Many, an anti-FGM campaign group. REUTERSMon, 17 Dec 2018 19:47:53 +0000editorial@africanews.com leaders in Austria for Africa-Europe High Level Forum high-level meeting between Europe and Africa is due to open in Austria today as leaders from the continent gather in Vienna. The event will be hosted by Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz. The Africa – Europe High Level Forum has in attendance leaders of the two continental blocs, the African Union, AU, and the European Union, EU. For Africa, AU President Paul Kagame is in Vienna along with his soon to be successor, Egyptian president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. The AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat is also present. Kagame will co-chair the forum with the host who currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council. Some African heads of state who are in Vienna for the forum include Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Nigerian vice president Yemi Osinbajo is representing Buhari, Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde is also in attendance. The Forum is basically focused on Digital Cooperation between the two blocs. It will focus on areas such as connectivity & infrastructure, skills, entrepreneurship and e-services. President Kagame begins remarks: The presence of so many leaders from Europe and Africa is going to be productive and is very meaningful. We have all been working hard to inject a new tone and energy into the Africa-Europe relationship #Africaeurope2018— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) December 17, 2018 ????Upon invitation of PaulKagame</a>, President of Rwanda and the Chairperson of the <a href="">_AfricanUnion for 2018, and Austrian Federal Chancellor sebastiankurz</a> the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe takes place in Vienna next week. ?That&#39;s on the agenda ?<a href="">#eu2018at</a> <a href="">#africaeurope2018</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; EU2018AT (EU2018AT) December 13, 2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:54:12 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) professor jailed 2 years in 'sex for grades' case Nigerian professor has been handed a two-year jail term by a high court in Osogbo, capital of the southern Osun State. Richard Iyiola Akindele, a former lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, had been accused of demanding sex from one of his students in order to change her grade from fail to pass. He changed his not guilty plea to guilty of demanding sex from Monica Osagie, one of his students, as condition to get a pass mark in his course. In April 2018, an audio recording of a phone conversation between the two emerged, where he was heard demanding rounds of sex before she could pass the course. The federal High Court led by Justice Maureen Onyetunu sentenced him on four counts. Three carried twnety-four months sentence and one carried twelve months. All sentences are to run concurrently. The ruling has largely been celebrated by Nigerians on social media who are hoping that it will boost the fight against female harassment in tertiary institutions across the country.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 19:40:28 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) of the day, December 17, 2018 samples the pictures of the day’s news.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 18:41:29 +0000editorial@africanews.com 2021: I. Coast, CAS appeal CAF withdrawal move [Football Planet] Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) is unhappy with the Confederation of African Football (CAF). FIF has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against a decision by CAF to withdraw its hosting rights for CAN 2021 in favor of Cameroon. Also, Senegal retains its Beach soccer title after beating Nigeria again in the African Cup of Nations final. This is their fourth title in this tournament. And we head to Tunisia to speak with the new coach of the Eagles of Carthage. Alain Giresse is a retired French international footballer and talks to Football Planet about his vision for the Tunisian national football team. Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has more on this week’s edition of Football Planet.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 15:17:52 (Wahany Johnson SAMBOU) emerges 'The Future Awards Africa 2018' young person of the year sponsor of the ‘Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill, in Nigeria, Samson Itodo has emerged as ‘The Young Person of the Year’ at the 13th edition of“The Future Awards Africa” held on Sunday at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. The ground-breaking bill, which was finally signed in 2018, sought to advance youth participation in Nigerian politics, challenging post-Independence laws that preclude citizens under the age of 30 from participating in Federal, State, and Local Government election. The Communication Manager, The Future Awards Africa, Rick Nwanso in a press statement said Samson Itodo took the top prize in a category made up of several inspiring Nigerians including author, Tomi Adeyemi; artiste, David ‘Davido’ Adeleke; academic, Nemitari Ajienka, and scientist, Dr. Mahmoud Maina. Receiving his award, Itodo emphasized the importance of active youth participation in the electoral process especially the upcoming 2019 elections in Nigeria. He advised young Nigerians to leverage the opportunities provided by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill to get involved and create real impact in their communities. “The 2019 elections are very important because we cannot create true change in Nigeria without electing leaders who intend to develop the country. So when we go out next year, I beg you to look around you and search for true leadership those who actually have the integrity and intention to lead. It’s all in our hands,” he said after receiving the award. Other personalities who witnessed the event include Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria; Biodun Shobanjo, Chairman, Troyka Holdings; Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation; Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of Young Progressives Party; Obiageli Ezekwesili, presidential candidate, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria; entrepreneur and philanthropist, Jumoke Adenowo; Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde; Salawa Abeni and many more. Zainab Balogun, Ahmed Musa, Simi, Samson Itodo win at The Future Awards Africa 2018 | See Full List— Naijawapaz_ng (@naijawapaz) December 17, 2018 The Future Awards Africa has been called the ‘Nobel Prize for Young Africans and the ‘most important youth awards’ by Forbes. It is a set of prizes given annually to celebrate and accelerate innovation, creativity, and enterprise among young Africans aged 18 –31. It produced over 150 winners and over 1550 nominees since its first edition in 2006. It is presented in conjunction with The Future Project, which has the mandate to build and empower citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship. This focus on Human Capital Development is informed by our value proposition: Africa’s growth needs a generation of young people who are gainfully employed and able to demand and secure better leadership.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 17:29:15 (DIBIE IKE Michael) Felix Tshisekedi win DRC presidency that eluded his father? Tshisekedi Tshilombo, one of the leading opposition candidates vying for votes in Sunday’s presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), says he will not try to compete with his father’s reputation. The 55-year-old father of five is mostly known for being the son of the late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Etienne Tshisekedi’s legacy Felix Tshisekedi’s father founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (known by its French initials UDPS) in 1982, and was a feared rival of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who died months after being ousted in 1997, and later of Presidents Laurent and Joseph Kabila. Under his leadership, the UDPS became the country’s largest opposition party, but he never succeeded in winning office. His legal challenge to the official results of the 2011 presidential election, which showed he won 32 percent of the vote to Joseph Kabila’s 49 percent, failed. Natural successor? The veteran opposition leader died in 2017 leaving a big question over who would succeed him. Etienne’s former chief of staff Albert Moleka says his son was not necessarily the obvious choice. “Etienne Tshisekedi was very vocal about his scepticism towards his son’s abilities. He was very demanding of his son,’‘ Moleka told the BBC. “He was someone who fought for the people and so he wasn’t going to give his son a free pass.” Moleka said it was the presidential hopeful’s mother, Ms Marthe Kasalu, who pushed for the son to become the leader. In March this year, he was voted in as the party’s new head and became its de facto candidate for the presidential elections. Felix Tshisekedi’s credentials But Felix did not simply cash in on his father’s name. He has been immersed in politics from a very young age, and the aspiring president had to work his way through the party. He also had to suffer the consequences of his father’s political activism. When the UDPS was created, the Tshisekedi family was forced into internal exile to their home town in the central Kasai Province. They stayed there until 1985, when President Mobutu allowed the mother and children to leave. Felix Tshisekedi then went to the Belgian capital, Brussels. After completing his studies there he took up politics, working his way through his father’s party to become national secretary for external affairs for the UDPS, based in Brussels. “He made powerful friends and allies among the diaspora there, but he was sometimes overlooked, and so it wasn’t easy for him,” said Moleka. “Felix has always shown a lot of willingness. He’s courageous but his problem is that he needs to figure out what his ultimate goal is.” For now, the presidential hopeful is attempting to represent change for DR Congo, which has not known a peaceful transition of power since independence in 1960. “I don’t have any ambition to rival my father. He is my master, and you don’t rival the master,” Felix Tshiskedi said. “But I’m going to try my best to perpetuate his dream, his dream of a country of rule of law, of a better Congo, where our sons and daughters can flourish, that’s what I am pursuing.” ALSO READ: Background to DR Congo’s delayed 2018 presidential polls Felix’s grand plan for DRC If elected on Sunday, Tshisekedi has said he will make the fight against poverty a “great national cause”. He aims, for example, to increase the average per person income to $11.75 a day, compared to $1.25 today. “It’s really the minimum we can do I think, and the minimum people expect from us,” the candidate told the BBC in an interview in the capital, Kinshasa. He says his programme can be accomplished over two presidential terms – a period of 10 years – and will cost an estimated $86 billion. When presenting his programme during a press conference, the candidate was pressed about his lack of experience. “It’s true I don’t have experience in bad governance or in the pillaging of my country,” he responded, “but I do have experience in the respect of human rights and civil liberties.” Can a divided opposition unseat Kabila’s government? In recent months, opposition parties in the DR Congo, including the UDPS, had said that they would pick a joint candidate for the election to increase their chances of defeating the governing party. There is only one round of voting and the candidate with the largest share of the vote wins, therefore a split in the opposition vote could prove disastrous for them. But after the opposition parties made the decision to pick Martin Fayulu as the unity candidate, Tshisekedi backed out and decided to run. He was supported by Union for the Congolese Nation leader Vital Kamerhe, who is his running mate. READ MORE: Tshisekedi, Kamerhe assure supporters of victory on return to DRC Although Tshisekedi argued he was simply following the wishes of the party base, many in the country have criticised his decision not to support Fayulu. “We are living in dangerous and unstable times but at the same time there is a strong desire of the population to have these elections, because people are really fed up with this regime, installed since 1997, that has brought its load of violence, incredible violence.” In order to become president, something his father never managed to do, Tshisekedi must convince opposition supporters that he is the candidate best placed to capitalise on that feeling as well as overcome the power of the governing party. ALSO READ: Kabila’s candidate unveils manifesto ahead of Dec. pollsMon, 17 Dec 2018 14:50:32 +0000editorial@africanews.com"Leaving?": a documentary film that gives migrants a voice [This is Culture]“Leaving?” is a quick question that runs the minds of millions. Why some people choose to take such huge risk to reach Europe.The documentary film co-produced by “De l’Autre Côté du Périph’” and “LUMAN Communications” takes a closer look at this situation. The Cameroonian director, Mary-Noël Niba, tired of always seeing the same narrative about migrants in the media ,wants to see it changed. One of the objectives of this documentary is to break the stereotype image of the West, being a much better place than Africa;as though Africa has nothing to offer. She yearns to encourage those who wish to take the path back to the continent, to dare to believe in Africa.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 09:58:46 +0000editorial@africanews.com Congo heads to polls amidst security, health crisis towards the December 23 presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been marked by acts of violence. At least 5 supporters were killed on the sidelines of candidate’s meetings. It is an atmosphere that recalls the demonstrations of 2016, before Joseph Kabila’s mandate expired and security forces shot down 26 demonstrators. Dr. Denis Mukwege, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, fears that Kabila is preparing a war against his own people. ‘‘The Congolese people have experienced immense suffering for 20 years and we no longer need conflict. We are already living in a state of almost permanent conflict. But this exacerbation (resulting from the conflict believes that it is likely to follow the election) could be fatal for this wounded population. And so, I think we must avoid that, today we must not wait until 24 December when all candidates will use non-peaceful means to claim (victory) and act. I think there are many signs today that the elections will be anything but transparent, credible and above all peaceful”, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. Authorities are also concerned about the resurgence of community conflicts, particularly in the town of Beni, where more than 3,000 troops have been deployed. The main threat remains including that of Ugandan ADF fighters and Mai Mai militiamen, who, according to the army, were responsible for Sunday’s fire against the electoral body’s warehouse in the east of the country, raising concerns about the elections. Another concern is the Ebola virus, which has so far infected nearly 500 people and killed more than 200. The second worst epidemic in the history of the DRC. D.R Congo is Africa’s biggest miner of copper and metals used in gadgets, like cobalt and coltan. However, a slowdown linked to falls in commodity prices has triggered steep budget cuts and a 30 percent fall in the Congolese franc. More than half of the world’s cobalt, which is a key component in lithium-ion batteries, comes from the DRC. Competition for the Central African nation’s vast mineral resources has fuelled two decades of conflict in its eastern provinces, including a 1998-2003 regional war that killed millions, most from hunger and disease. ReutersMon, 17 Dec 2018 13:55:35 +0000editorial@africanews.com Africans celebrate country's beauty queen at Miss Universe Africans took to social media to celebrate Tamaryn Green, the country’s representative at the Miss Universe pageant. The 24-year-old Miss South Africa, was crowned runner-up, behind winner, Catriona Gray of the Philippines. ‘‘I can’t put into words the overwhelming gratitude I feel today. South Africa, I could feel your love and support on the Miss Universe stage and I am so thankful for you,’‘ Green posted on social networking site, Twitter. ‘‘I am so proud to be South African. To Catriona, may your reign as Miss Universe be abundantly blessed.’‘ I can’t put into words the overwhelming gratitude I feel today. South Africa, I could feel your love and support on the Miss Universe stage and I am so thankful for you. I am so proud to be South African. To catrionaelisa, may your reign as #MissUniverse be abundantly blessed.— Tamaryn Green (TamarynGreen) December 17, 2018 Congratulations ? TamarynGreen you are our own shining MissUniverse in our own country… #SouthAfrica Official_MissSA we love you ❤— Dylan Schnittker (SchnittkerDylan) December 17, 2018 Well done TamarynGreen! You did well and so proud of you. All the best in all your endeavors! With love from Zambia— InongeMatamwandi (AmakeFuture) December 17, 2018 Poised in beauty and grace the Official_MissSA, Tamaryn Green brought home the #MissUniverse First Runner-up title! Congratulations, our hearts are swelling with pride.— (vuzutv) December 17, 2018 TamarynGreen was the front runner tbh, they just didn't want South Africa to take it back to back. Congratulations Tam Tam, we are proud of you ??? #MissUniverse— MELANIN? (Katleho_Katz) December 17, 2018 South Africans won the pageant in 2017 (Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters) and 1978 (Margaret Gardner).Mon, 17 Dec 2018 13:46:24 (Daniel Mumbere) countries shun implementation of open skies policy 26 African countries committed to the establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in May this year, many of them failed to sign the implementation of the framework last week. At the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Air Services Negotiations conference in Nairobi, up to 13 countries were expected to sign the Memorandum of Implementation and African Civil Aviation Commission, which is the executing agency of SAATM. “Kenya is also committed towards the full realisation of the African Union’s initiative that will see Africa converging into one air service market,’‘ president Uhuru Kenyatta said, while opening the conference. But when the time came to follow through, Kenya was one of the countries that failed to sign up to the implementation. The EastAfrican newspaper reported that Kenya was yet to align its national laws with the treaty. “The ratification has to go through parliament and we are made aware that some countries are yet to do that. That could explain their no-show at the signing ceremony.’‘ Countries are reportedly assessing several factors including; impact of international carriers in their domestic market terms and conditions for foreign carriers operating within domestic airspace amendments of bilateral air service agreement new multilateral air service agreements for international carriers How much progress has been made? The SAATM is operational in 14 countries, who signed up for the implementation in May. Togo, which hosted the launch of SAATM, has operationalised the treaty through agreements with other countries, where cross-border flights are now treated as domestic flights in the region. Last week, the countries that signed up to the implementation include The Gambia, Botswana and Burkina Faso. Chad, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, which were expected to sign up, delayed their own implementation timelines. “We know that the delay in their commitment is a result of consultations and also aligning their laws to accommodate this new dawn,” said Tefera Mekonnen, secretary general of the African Civil Aviation Commission. ‘‘I am confident that these countries will commit to the decision in the coming days. So far we are positive on the progress of the signing of the memorandum of implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.’‘ The African Union Commission believes implementation of the open skies policy will pave way for its other flagship projects like the African Passport and the free movement of people. SUGGESTED READING: Kagame takes over AU leadership, commits to visa-free regimeMon, 17 Dec 2018 12:33:51 (Daniel Mumbere) chief calls for greater international cooperation [The Morning Call] 2018 Doha Forum came to a conclusion on Sunday, ending two days of discussions on policy, international order and politics. As the forum ended the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres called for international cooperation to deal with the challenges facing the world today. “Challenges are growing outward while many people are turning inward, he says. Our journalist Ronald Kato now reports.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:06:02 (Jerry Bambi) elections in Ivory coast marred by violence [The Morning Call] months after the violence that led to the cancellation of several municipal elections in Ivory Coast, violence has again marred the resumption of the once cancelled elections.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:05:57 (Jerry Bambi) Champions League draw: Liverpool vs Bayern, Man United vs PSG fans all over the world are relishing the mouth watering ties served up for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, including a match between last season’s finalists Liverpool and German champions Bayern Munich. The round of 16 draw, held on Monday paired defending champions Real Madrid, who are chasing a fourth successive title, and Dutch side Ajax. Juventus, who have the services of Portuguese talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, will take on Spain’s Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo won four titles with Real Madrid. Struggling Manchester United have been handed a seemingly herculean task of stopping Neymar and Mbappe’s Paris Saint Germain. Spectacular. The round of 16 draw ? Most exciting tie? #UCLdraw— #UCLdraw (@ChampionsLeague) 17 décembre 2018 The other round of 16 fixtures include Tottenham vs Borussia Dortmund, Lyon vs Barcelona and AS Roma vs FC Porto. The first legs will be played on February 12-13 and February 19-20, while the return legs will be played on March 5-6 and March 12-13. Fans are now sharing their predictions and thoughts on several social media polls. ???— #UCLdraw (@ChampionsLeague) 17 décembre 2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 11:53:08 (Daniel Mumbere) improving women's rights and economy El Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. Over the past six months, Sharm El Sheikh has played host to two international conferences and now it is at it again. This time for the Africa2018 forum. I arrive a day earlier than schedule, and head straight for what would be my first interview. Ms Chilese Kapwepwe is the first woman secretary general of the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa COMESA. I ask her about the role of women in the African agenda. “I think that there is a critical role for women to play in the development agenda for Africa because firstly we make up, obviously about half of the population”, she says. Ms Kapwepwe explains further, “If we are not involved, we are not using quite a large proportion of the skills base and the experience that women bring to these positions. Secondly, I think diversity is important in decision making and it has been proved that even for example in corporate boards where you have diversification, you have much more gender sensitive and diversified decision making.” With my interview with her gone well, the stage now seemed set for this coverage. It is now Saturday, the first of the two days for the forum. There are over 1000 people comprising of some heads of states, policy makers and business leaders from across the continent all convened here to talk about the promotion of Intra Africa trade and several other development issues on the continent. On this day, there are two events, one on youth, and the other on improving women representation. At the Women’s Empowerment Agenda event, Ugandan Educator and consultant Professor Maggie Kigozi lauded the achievements made with the increasing number of women representatives in governance on the continent. But she also underscored the importance of doing more to sustain the progress. “At the pace at which we are going it would take us 200 years to achieve equality. So the other solution is affirmative action” she says. “Where it was done before, like 30 percent members of parliament have women seats and that is provided for in the constitution and it had to implemented. So, it has been done, so it’s just a matter of now moving that figure from 30 to 50 per cent and saying how do we make it work and it can work” Professor Kigozi adds. Professor Margo Thomas is the founder and CEO, of the Women’s Economic Imperative. For her, there’s need for more women representatives and greater representation. “Greater voice for women in policy making, in civil society and in the private sector and these things all need to come together, so that at the end of the day everybody wins” she explains. The discussions from women then moved on to economic matters on the second day. I speak with some business leaders and ask them what it would take to boost trade and investments in Africa. “I think it has to be a win-win situation.” Emma Wade Smith, the UK’s trade commissioner for Africa tells me. While she wants to grow trade relations between the UK and Africa, it would be her delight to see more African products in the UK market. And taking part later in a panel session on “investments and partnerships- the global perspective”, she spoke of her country’s leader Theresa May’s visit to three countries on the continent earlier in the year. That first official visit of the British prime minister is one Wade-Smith says was aimed at solidifying already existing and strong trade and diplomatic partnerships with the continent. Adama Kone, is Ivory Coast’s Minister of Economy and Finance. “If the interstate or intra-state trade is carried out as it should be, because the UEMOA has around 100 million people, and the CEDEAO is about 300 million people, then this is a very big market. If trade develops well between our different states, I think that each state will profit from it”. Mr. Kone who was also on the same panel with Emma Wade Smith says, when asked about the importance of boosting the intra Africa trade. With over 200 start-ups represented, many showcasing their products and services at an exhibition at the forum, business is booming. But also is it on the streets of Sharm El Sheikh. Some traders share some of their experiences with me. “Before now, the economy was not good. But now, we are the best. We have now a lot of products made in Egypt and a lot of people working”, one trader manages to tell me in his broken English. Moustapha Hussein, another trader explains it politically. “Between President Mubarak and Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, was nothing. But with Al sisi, things have started picking up again, step by step, better than before”. For many here, it is only right that their businesses experience a boost with the influx of leaders to their city discussing the way forward for economic growth. After all charity they say say begins at home.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 11:37:42 (Jerry Bambi) tells US to learn from Zambia denial: 'Reflect, before blurting things out'’s foreign ministry on Monday said it hoped that the United States has learned ‘not to blurt things out’, following Zambia’s denial of claims by a White House official that China is about to take over its state power utility to recover debt. Speaking in Beijing at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said this wasn’t the first time a U.S. official had been caught out on this kind of issue, though she gave no details on that. “I hope the they can learn a lesson and reflect on things, and going forward not blurt things out again,” Hua said. US claims U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Thursday that China’s quest for more power in Africa was evident in nations like Zambia, where China was poised to take over utility company Zesco to collect the $6-10 billion debt. READ MORE: United States launches ‘Prosper Africa’ policy to counter China and Russia Zambia responds Zambian presidential spokesman Amos Chanda told Reuters that China was not planning to take over Zesco and that the figure of between $6-10 billion given by Bolton was wrong. Zambia’s total external debt was now $9.7 billion including $3.1 billion owed to China, he said. Chanda said Zambia valued its relations with both China and the US and would not deal with either of them exclusively. In June, Zambia decided to delay all planned borrowing indefinitely, slowing down the accumulation of new debt amid worries about the risk of debt distress.Mon, 17 Dec 2018 10:02:42 +0000editorial@africanews.com Tanzania's 'repressive' amendments to Political Parties Act’s opposition parties have mounted stiff resistance against amendments to the Political Parties Act, which they say are designed to undermine their activities and consequently the democratic space in the country. They have called upon the lawmakers who are expected to vote on the bill next month, to reject the amendments. The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party enjoys a parliamentary majority. The group of parties and legal experts are also considering a legal challenge to the proposals by the Registrar of Political Parties. “Unfortunately, if the law is tabled, we all know that CCM will pass it without consideration of its legality and we will then have to go to court,” Fatma Karume, the president of the Tanganyika Law Society, told the EastAfrican newspaper. In this article, we look at some of the provisions of the law, that the opposition are vehemently protesting. Immunity for Registrar of Political Parties The bill, if passed would protect the Registrar of Political Parties from litigation for actions taken, including how he deals with the opposition. Section 7 of the proposed amendment states: “No suit shall lie against the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or other officers appointed under this Act, for anything done or omitted to be done in good faith, in the performance of any function under this Act.” Political parties banned from ‘activism’ The political parties are also protesting provisions banning them from operating as pressure groups. The bill defines a pressure group or activist group as “a group of people that influences public opinion or government action in the interest of a particular cause.” The opposition leaders say this would make it impossible for them to hold political campaigns and conduct policy work. Regulating political coalitions While the new law recognises the formation of coalitions by political parties, the opposition protests the provision that empowers the minister responsible for good governance to prescribe how such a coalition would be set up. They argue that a minister, being a member of the ruling party, would likely set regulations biased against the opposition. Financial regulations The bill bans political parties from receiving financial support from abroad. The opposition says this provision is likely to affect the CCM party too, which has been one of the beneficiaries of Chinese Communist Party. Under the new amendments, the registrar can order a specialised financial audit for any political party, in addition to suspending government subsidies to political parties for up to six months. Micro-managing internal affairs of parties Section 5B gives powers to the registrar to request any information from a political party, a leader or a member. The opposition accuse the state of seeking to have full control of parties and effectively ‘spy’ against them. “How is it possible to give party registrar the mandate to monitor intra-party elections? This very mechanism will be used by the ruling party to choose who should be its opponents,” said CUF director for foreign affairs Ismail Jussa. Jail terms and hefty fines The new law also proposes jail terms of up to 20 years, and hefty fines for parties members involved in militia-type activities. The government claims it has struggled to implement the current law, because of existing punitive gaps for breach of the law. Regulating civic training Section 5A of the bill requires anyone wishing to conduct civic education or any kind of capacity building training to a political party to seek permission from the political registrar. ‘‘Restrictions on people or institutions expected to provide civic education and capacity-building training are intended to restrict sister parties from assisting each other,’‘ argued the Chadema political party. Gov’t responds The registrar of political parties, Retired Judge Francis Mutungi, has dismissed the protests of the opposition, accusing them of disseminating propaganda instead of educating the public on the bill. “They complain that the bill bans political parties from functioning as pressure groups while they know for sure that the two are very different things,” Mutungi told the local Citizen newspaper. He advised those opposed to the proposals to use official channels including the planned consultative meeting on December 21-22 in Zanzibar, to air their views. SUGGESTED READING: Tanzania’s policies displease alliesMon, 17 Dec 2018 09:14:16 (Daniel Mumbere) televised presidential debate in Madagascar two finalists in Madagascar’s presidential run-off elections took to state television on Sunday evening for a debate ahead of Wednesday’s vote. It is a first for this Island nation between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. At the opening of the debate, the latter accused his opponent of having seized power in 2009 in favor of a “coup” . “You were the leader of the coup movement in 2009. Because of this, the Malagasy people have been trapped in the circle of poverty,” the former head of state said. Ravalomanana retorted saying “you live too much in the past, what we expect from us is what we can bring to the people today”, he said. Ravalomanana, who was elected in 2002 was forced to leave the presidency of the Island nation seven years later after a series of violent protests supported by Rajoelina, who was then mayor of Antananarivo. Rajoelina was then installed as the head of a non-elected presidency by the army. “I do not work for myself, to enrich myself, but I will work and will do everything to make Madagascar a developed country”, Ravalomanana said. ‘‘The international financial aid was 60% under the presidency of Ravalomanana, but in the transition of his presidency there was none. “But I could do it, we could do it, we can run the country without any financial help from abroad”, Rajoelina said. Rajoelina, 44, won the first round of polls on November 7 with 39.23% of the vote, just ahead of Ravalomanana, 69 with 35.35%. The second round of votes will be held on Wednesday, December 19. AFPMon, 17 Dec 2018 08:51:45 +0000editorial@africanews.com Ravalomanana, Rajoelina work overtime to win votes ahead of run-off second round The Malagasy will head to the polls for the second time in two months, to decide the winner of presidential election run-off, on Wednesday. The vote pits two former presidents, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, whose rivalry has dominated politics on the Indian Ocean island for years. Campaigning for Wednesday’s election has been personal, with Rajoelina dismissing his rival as an old man who should “retire and go milking his cows.” Ravalomanana has cast his rival as a “destroyer” and denounced his “provocations”. While experts are worried that a close result could revive instability, if rejected by the loser, the two candidates have worked overtime to win the support of voters. “The stakes are enormous, and both men have invested heavily, including financially, in this election,” said analyst Marcus Schneider of the Bonn-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation. “If the results are tight, the loser could challenge the results and plunge the country back into crisis.” Promises and handouts for votes About 45 percent of the 10 million registered voters abstained from the first round, and the two surviving contenders have criss-crossed the country via helicopter as they pull out all the stops to secure votes on Wednesday. Promises and handouts have been distributed liberally to voters who are among the poorest in Africa. In the south of the country, hit by perennial food shortages, Rajoelina’s campaign activists openly distributed cheap rice and oil. “It’s not for propaganda, it’s just to help the population,” said Serge Serge, the owner of a restaurant in Fort Dauphin that hosted the event. “This is the realisation, ahead of time, of the promises of President Rajoelina.” “It’s very good to do this, the prices are too expensive in the market,” said Pauline Lalao, 42, one mother jostling in line, confirming she would vote for Rajoelina as “he understands our problems.” Ravalomanana has not been shy with promises either. In Antananarivo on Saturday, he unveiled kit that he said he would give to all schoolchildren if he wins. “Here are the backpacks for the children,” he told thousands of supporters. “If they all have the same uniforms, they will be able to study well… I would love your children as if they were mine”. For one supporter of “Daddy” — Ravalomanana’s nickname — the choice is clear. “He is the only one able to develop Madagascar,” said Laza Rabaromanana, 34. “When he was president, he was the only one who got all the children into school… he really knows how to do everything.” Second round campaigns start Campaigns for the second round of voting in Madagscar’s presidential poll kicked off on Tuesday. Presidential hopeful, Marc Ravalomanana, who came second in the first round, believes he has all iot takes to close the gap and become the country’s next president. “The difference between me and the first placed candidate was just 3 or 5 percent,” Ravalomanana told AFP at his palatial home on Monday in the capital Antananarivo. “We can catch up and overtake him.” Andry Rajoelina got 39.23 percent of votes and Ravalomanana 35.35 percent in last month’s poll, according to final results, setting up the pair for a close contest in the December 19 run-off to lead the Indian Ocean island nation. Ravalomanana has a tense relationship with Rajoelina, who succeeded him with the backing of the army in a 2009 uprising that generated deep political divisions and damaged investment. Undecided voters Ravalomanana is counting on mobilising voters who abstained in the first round, 46 percent of the nearly 10 million elegible voters, to close the gap with Rajoelina. Both Ravalomanana and Rajoelina appealed to the Malagasy to come out and vote, after the High Constitutional Court confirmed the second round. Will the losers back the frontrunners? Ravalomanana is also hoping to secure the backing of the 34 presidential hopefuls who were knocked out in the first round. “I’ve already had (those) candidates come here, yesterday and the day before,” he said. Former president Rajaonarimampianina, who came third in the first round with 8.82% has ruled out picking sides in the closely-fought contest. “He didn’t keep his promise, he had said he would back me if I came out on top and vice versa,” complained Ravalomanana. “(But) his supporters have already come out in support of me and that’s enough.” November 28: Court confirms second round Madagascar’s High Constitutional Court has confirmed that former presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, will contest the second round of the presidential election. Neither candidate secured 50 percent of votes cast, required to secure an outright victory. The country’s top court said on Wednesday, Ravalomanana got 35.35 percent of the vote in the November first round, while Rajoelina got 39.23 percent. “The two candidates cleared to go to the second round are Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana,” Constitutional Court judge president Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa said. Current president Hery Rajaonarimampianina got just 8.82 percent, the court said, and will not take part in the second round, due on Dec. 19. The court rejected his request to have the election cancelled. Madagascar is hoping for the second peaceful election since upheaval in 2009 when Ravalomanana was forced out of office by protests led by Rajoelina in what the African Union and other international organisations said was a coup. The court said total voter turnout was 53.95 percent of the registered voters. Ravalomanana withdraws fraud complaints Madagascar’s former president Marc Ravalomanana, who won the first round of the November 7 presidential election, has withdrawn his legal complaints over alleged irregularities, his lawyer said on Wednesday. Neither Ravalomanana nor his arch-rival Andry Rajoelina, won the 50 percent of votes required for a first-round victory in the November 7 ballot. A run-off vote is scheduled for December 19. “For the peace and sovereignty of Madagascar, the TIM (Ravalomanana’s party) have decided to withdraw all their complaints,” Hasina Andrianadisaona, Ravalomanana’s lawyer, told reporters. Rajoelina who took 39.19% of the first-round vote against Ravalomanana’s 35.29%, also lodged complaints with the courts and accused election officials of “manipulation”. The election commission issued a statement in response to Rajoelina’s allegations insisting that it had “ensured the transparency of the electoral system at all times”. Election result to be challenged Madagascar’s presidential election result is likely to face stiff legal challenges, following accusations of electoral fraud and corruption against the electoral body. AFP says appeals have already been lodged with the country’s High Constitutional Court. Madagascar’s electoral commission announced results on Saturday, confirming an expected presidential election run-off after neither of the candidate obtained the 50% of votes needed to win outrightly. According to the Independent electoral commission, former presidents Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, will contest the second round having secured 39.19% and 35.29% respectively. The outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina, placed third in the polls with only 8.84% of the vote. The commission said turnout was 54. 3%. Police urges calm ahead of results With 96 percent of all polling stations counted, Madagascan police on Friday called for calm, as results showed two former presidents leading the close presidential race; Andry Rajoelina was on 39.38 percent and Marc Ravalomanana on 34.19 percent. Outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina came in third place with about nine percent. “The electoral process is at a delicate moment, sensitive to any tensions and rivalries, so all stakeholders are urged to protect the best interests of the nation and to guarantee order,” the police said in a statement. The three leading candidates have all raised allegations of fraud and malpractice by election authorities. Thirty-six candidates participated in the first-round election. The second-round duel between the two top vote winners — required if no candidate scores above 50 percent in the first round — is to take place on December 19. Partial results point to election run-off With 80 percent of the ballots counted from last week’s vote, two former presidents are in the lead, with Andry Rajoelina on 39.63 percent, while Marc Ravalomanana was on 35.42 percent, pointing towards a close race for the presidency in the head-to-head second round. Outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina was in third place with eight percent. “Given the results of the CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission), the second round is now inevitable,” Madagascan analyst Mahery Lanto Manandafy told AFP. Under Madagascar’s electoral regulations, the two frontrunners go through to a run-off, scheduled for December 19 — if neither manages to secure more than 50 percent in the first round. Both Ravalomanana and Rajoelina were banned from contesting the last election in 2013 under international pressure to avoid a repeat of political violence that engulfed the island in 2009. Ravalomanana, 68, and Rajoelina, 44, are bitter rivals and this is the first time they have faced each other at the polls. Ravalomanana ruled from 2002 to 2009 until he was ousted in a military-backed coup that installed Rajoelina who was in power until 2014. Rajaonarimampianina succeeded him, ruling until earlier this year. EU approval, incumbent president claims fraud While Madagascar’s president Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is running for a second term, has complained about some electoral irregularities, the EU observer chief said last Friday that there were not enough irregularities to affect the outcome of Wednesday’s election. Rajaonarimampianina on Thursday complained against the use of an invalid voter register, delays in the opening of the polls in some places, intimidation and ballot-stuffing. But the EU’s chief observer Cristian Preda said any irregularities observed so far were not sufficient to change the outcome or call the vote into question. “We are in a good atmosphere. The disputes are part of the democratic game… it’s normal, it’s human. Disputes must be handled by the law enforcement bodies,” Preda said. Campaign financing He however noted that the lack of a cap on campaign spending by the candidates had put some at a disadvantage, without providing any names. The result of the first round of voting in one of the world’s poorest countries could hinge in part on which of the frontrunners, all wealthy men, spent the most money. “In 2013, the European Union recommended capping candidate expenses and in future reports, there will still be this recommendation,” Preda said. ALSO READ: Madagascar Presidential candidates express concern over finance Leading candidates optimistic As election officials count votes, following Wednesday’s presidential poll, the frontrunners have expressed optimist about their chances of winning. Incumbent president Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is facing a stiff challenge from two former presidents, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. “I am optimistic and positive, I do not think there will be a second round,” dairy tycoon Marc Ravalomanana said at his political headquarters, where dozens of supporters gathered. For his part, former nightclub promoter Andry Rajoelina spoke to hundreds of supporters gathered at the studio of his TV chain Viva, saying he was satisfied the early results “express the desire for change.” Rajaonarimampianina called it “a big day… a victory for democracy” after casting his ballot. While election observers are hoping for a peaceful election, having detected no anomalies in the polls, some are worried about the possibility of a second round. “The big risk of this election is that it will return us to an era of crisis,” said Sahondra Rabenarivo, an analyst at the Malagasy Observatory on Public Life. “It’s very important that the results are credible and that the third-placed candidate accepts them.” If the poll needs to go to a second round, it will involve only the two top candidates and take place on Dec. 19. Polls close, issues during voting Polling stations closed in Madagscar at 5pm local time (14:00GMT), having opened as early as 6am (3:00GMT). While the head of the European Union’s observer mission, Cristian Preda, reported that there were no issued during the voting, some voters in the capital reportedly could not find their names on the voters’ register. #Madagascar ‘s electoral commission, CENI says there’s been a 40% turnout in the presidential election.Also problems with voters roll- we spoke to many people who couldn’t find their name on the list so did not vote. They say they had registered. In some instances whole families— Fahmida Miller (@FahmidaMiller) November 7, 2018 With close to 10 million registered voters, the electoral body, CENI reported a turnout of 40%. Vote counting is now underway, in the presidential race that pit incumbent President Hery Rajaonarimampianina against his two main challengers are former heads of state: Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. Polls open The Malagasy people demonstrated enthusiasm as they started voting early on Wednesday morning in a presidential election, hoping for change of the Indian Ocean island’s fortunes in terms of job opportunities, poverty eradication and corruption. Voter Sahondramalala Nirisoa told Reuters she had arrived early because she needed to get to work. “I hope and I pray for a change,” she said. “That is why I came to vote.” Background There are nearly 10 million registered voters in the country of 25 million people, data from the electoral commission showed. Few analysts expect an outright winner from the 36 total who are contesting. All three leading candidates have criss-crossed the island in a hunt for votes and each has pledged to accelerate recovery for an economy the International Monetary Fund forecasts will grow at more than 5 percent this year, its highest rate in a decade. If the poll needs to go to a second round, it will involve only the two top candidates and take place on Dec. 19. Since a peaceful election in 2013, investors and donor governments re-engaged following a four-year freeze that began after Rajoelina came to power. The events of 2009 prompted an exodus of foreign investors from a country that is one of the world’s poorest despite reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals. The island was hit by a fresh political crisis in April sparked by a legal amendment by Rajaonarimampianina’s government that would have prevented Ravalomanana from standing for office. Rajaonarimampianina approved a new law removing that provision the following month, allowing Ravalomanana to register as a candidate. READ MORE: Madagascar presidential polls: Here’s everything you need to knowMon, 10 Dec 2018 06:15:25 +0000editorial@africanews.com denies US claims of Chinese takeover of power company has denied claims by a White House official that China is about to take over its state power utility to recover $6-10 billion debt, noting the utility was never provided as collateral and its debt to Beijing was only $3.1 billion. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Thursday that China’s quest for more power in Africa was evident in nations like Zambia, and China was poised to take over Zambia’s utility company Zesco to collect the debt. Zambia’s presidential spokesman Amos Chanda told Reuters the figure of between $6-10 billion given by Bolton was wrong. Zambia’s total external debt was now $9.7 billion including $3.1 billion owed to China, he said. “It is regrettable that such information can come from such a high-ranking official. In fact, Zesco is not within the scheme of Zambia’s debt to China,” he added. Chanda said Zambia valued its relations with both China and the US and would not deal with either of them exclusively. Bolton had called the business practices of China and Russia in Africa “corrupt” and “predatory” and said the United States planned to counter their economic and political influence. In June, Zambia decided to delay all planned borrowing indefinitely, slowing down the accumulation of new debt amid worries about the risk of debt distress. President Edgar Lungu said last month Zambia is committed to improving the transparency of its debt management and will ensure that debt levels remain sustainable. The IMF rejected Zambia’s borrowing plans in February, saying they risked making its debt load harder to sustain. Finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said last month the government plans to send a delegation to China by the end of this year to discuss Zambia’s debt and debt restructuring. REUTERSSun, 16 Dec 2018 18:04:03 +0000editorial@africanews.com PM's crackdown targeting Tigrayans - Ex-Minister former Ethiopian minister says Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is not necessarily in charge of the country but that he was driving the international narrative about the country. Getachew Reda, who held the Communications portfolio under Abiy’s predecessor also averred that the federal government was unduly targeting Tigrayans in a recent anti-corruption and human rights crackdown. “There are efforts to corner the people of Tigray, but we don’t believe that’s going to work because we are steeped in the tradition not just of defending ourselves but also rising up to whatever challenge ”Abiy controls the international narrative but not necessarily the country,” he told Reuters in an interview. He is the latest high-ranking official from the northern Tigray region to denounce the clampdown that has seen Tigrayan officials and former generals arrested by the federal authorities. The Tigray regional state through its leader Debretsion Gebremicheal, has held two rallies calling for Abiy’s government to respect the constitution and stop political witch hunting Tigrayans. Although an ethnic minority, Tigrayans had dominated the country’s political and security heirachy for the last decades until earlier this year when Abiy, from the dominant Oromo ethnic group rose to power. Abiy has since April undertaken fast paced reforms in the democratic, business and security sectors. He has increasingly called on citizens to support the reforms which are said to be fragile due to rising insecurity.Sun, 16 Dec 2018 17:49:39 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban), South Africa officially bid to host AFCON 2019 - CAF and South Africa have officially put in bids to host the next African Cup of Nations, AFCON; the continent’s football governing body said on Saturday. The Confederation of African Football, CAF, revoked hosting rights of Cameroon, who till early December were billed to host the tournament slated for mid-2019. CAF cited inability to complete logistics and insecurity in parts of the country as part of the reason Cameroon could not host the competition. Yaounde has vehemently rejected the claims. Bidding was reopened for hosts with South Africa being the first to express interest. Egypt threw their hat in only after Morocco – who had hosted the CHAN earlier this year, opted out. CAF statement on official bids for AFCON 2019 Following the statement issued on 6 December 2018 concerning the process to agree on a new host country of the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON), the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) today confirms that: Formal applications have been received from the Egyptian and South African football associations to host the AFCON 2019; The international consulting firm Roland Berger will now review the bids and seek additional materials and conduct inspection visits where required; A CAF Extraordinary Executive Committee Meeting will take place in Dakar, Senegal on 9th January 2019 to agree on the new AFCON 2019 Host Nation. An announcement will be made by CAF after that meeting. CAF will make further statements when appropriate.Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:57:29 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) review: Egypt, Eritrea worst jailers of journalists in Africa the year 2018, Egypt topped as Africa’s worst jailer of journalists, a press rights group, Committee for the Protection of Journalists, CPJ reported last week. Egypt according to CPJ’s Prison Census has 25 journalists behind bars for a range of offences including fake news. Eritrea is sub-Saharan Africa’s worst jailer, both countries make the top five countries. Egypt’s figure moved up by five because as at December 2017, there were 20 journalists in jail. “In Egypt, at least 25 journalists are in prison as the administration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has increasingly arrested journalists and added them to existing mass trials. “Mohamed Ibrahim, a blogger known as “Mohamed Oxygen” who covered allegations of election irregularities and police abuse, is one of more than 40 defendants in one case charged with false news and being members of a banned group. “National security prosecutors have repeatedly renewed Mohamed Oxygen’s 15-day pretrial detention since his April arrest,” the report stressed. What the report said about Eritrea Rounding out the top five worst jailers worldwide is Eritrea. With 16 journalists behind bars, Eritrea continues to imprison more journalists than any country in sub-Saharan Africa; Cameroon is next with seven. Most of the journalists imprisoned in Eritrea have been in custody since President Isaias Afwerki abruptly shut down the independent media in 2001, and it is unclear whether they are all alive. The lack of a breakthrough in Eritrean press freedom and other human rights is in contrast to neighboring Ethiopia; the two countries struck a peace deal in June after two decades of hostility, according to news reports. CPJ found no journalists jailed in relation to their work in Ethiopia for the first time since 2004. Top jailers of journalists worldwide There were at least 251 journalists jailed for their work worldwide on Dec 1. These are the worst jailers: – Turkey 68 – China 47 – Egypt 25 – Saudi Arabia 16 – Eritrea 16 – Vietnam 11 – Azerbaijan 10 – Iran 8 – Cameroon 7 – Bahrain, Syria 6 – Morocco, Russia, Rwanda 4 Other findings from CPJ’s prison census include: Ninety-eight percent of jailed journalists are locals imprisoned by their own governments. The five foreign journalists on CPJ’s census include a Ukrainian in Russia and a Russian in Ukraine. Thirteen percent, or 33, of the jailed journalists are female, up from 8 percent last year. Freelancers accounted for 30 percent of jailed journalists, in line with recent years. Politics is the riskiest beat, followed by human rights. Those imprisoned for covering human rights including Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters in Myanmar sentenced to seven years each for violating the Official Secrets Act because of their work uncovering military atrocities in Rakhine state. CPJ added that its prison census accounts only for journalists in government custody and does not include those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state groups, such as several Yemeni journalists CPJ believes to be held by the Ansar Allah movement, known as the Houthis. These cases are classified as “missing” or “abducted.” Visit our ’2018 Review’ page for moreSun, 16 Dec 2018 14:35:13 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Africa prez busts fake news, account days after joining Twitter after joining micro-blogging platform, Twitter, South Africa’s former president has began busting fake reports and accounts associated with his family. On Sunday morning, Zuma who joined Twitter last Friday had pointed out a fake account in the name of his son, Dudzane, after the said account welcomed him. “Thank you very much for welcoming me but who are you because my son is not on twitter,” he replied to user, @Duduzane_Zuma. The account which was opened in August 2016 offered an explanation. No baba I am on Twitter but not consistently, I have to be careful of what I write because it might have an impact on my court case. This is a legit account.— Duduzane Zuma (@Duduzane__Zuma) December 16, 2018 Zuma also slammed a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that alleged that he had sold some properties he had in Dubai. The former president sarcastically said he had indeed sold a property before requesting the newspaper to help him with title deed and address of the property because he needed money to settle legal fees. A High Court last Thursday ruled that Zuma had to pay his own legal fees in cases – civil and criminal – dating as far back as 2005. The state has been ordered to compute and retrieve all payments to that effect. Zuma had earlier on Friday disowned an account that purported to be raising funds to help him settle the legal fees. I am still learning about the sphithiphithi of social media— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) December 15, 2018 READ MORE: South Africa court orders ex-president to pay his legal fees The 76-year-old former president served as head of state between 2009 to 2018. He was replaced earlier this year by his then deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and head of the ruling African National Congress, ANC, and as president. Zuma had suffered a raft of legal losses particularly relating to corruption and abuse of office. His relations with the wealthy Gupta family is currently being investigated by a government commission.Sun, 16 Dec 2018 13:36:40 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) MP Bobi Wine evades arrest, authorized concert scuttled lawmaker and music star, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly referred to as Bobi Wine evaded an attempt by the police to arrest him in southern Uganda on Saturday. Bobi Wine was in hiding as at Saturday evening after reporting via Twitter that police had raided a hotel where he was resting ahead of an authorized show that evening. “The police are looking for me everywhere. They have even blocked most roads in search for me! I will try not to avail myself to them – Arua is still fresh in our minds, & we know what they can do. “But this injustice must end and we must put it to an end by ourselves,” his last tweet of Saturday evening read. It was accompanied by photos of police leading members of his team away. The MP and his team had arrived in the southern Uganda town of Jinga where he was billed to hold a concert. He noted that they had arrived in the town in broad daylight and to a reception by teeming fans. The Police at the time of the raid were not known to have issued any arrest warrant for him. But Team Bobi Wine have since been escorted out of Jinga with the MP stating that some mebers had been assaulted and were being held in undisclosed locations. In a Facebook post on Sunday, he called out the police and confirmed that despite their attempt to arrest him, he had managed to return to Kampala, the capital. “Shame, shame and shame on you for attacking and waylaying me and my team in the night at my hotel in Jinja. Even when I had made my appearance in broad day light waiting to perform at a show which I was paid to sing at and which you cleared!” his post read in part.Sun, 16 Dec 2018 12:09:40 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) military court jails 66 soldiers who 'stormed' PM's offices military court in Ethiopia on Saturday jailed 66 soldiers for between five and 14 years for marching on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s palace in October, ruling they had broken military ethics, officials said. The 66 were among 200 soldiers in fatigues and red berets who descended, armed, on the compounds of Abiy’s residence and office on Oct. 10 and met him in what the government initially said was a bid to press for a rise in pay. But Abiy, who was shown on state television that day doing push-ups with the soldiers, subsequently announced that leaders of the group had “nefarious aims” to stop reforms and unnamed members had “regretted missing out on the opportunity to kill him”. On Saturday, Colonel Meshesha Areda, head of the military tribunals directorate, told reporters that a military court sentenced one defendant to 14 years in prison, while 65 others were slapped with sentences ranging from five to 13 years, for “violation of military ethics”. “These sentences delivered today will serve as lessons,” prosecutor Captain Hailemariam Mamo told reporters. There has been no word on legal action against other members of the 200-strong group. The defendants’ lawyer Desalegn Dana said he would lodge appeals for a few suspects. Since his appointment in April, 42-year old Abiy has presided over a raft of reforms in the Horn of Africa country, including the pardoning of dissidents long outlawed by the government. He has also acknowledged and condemned abuses by security forces, even likening them to state terrorism. But violence has plagued the nation of 100 million people, often pitting different ethnic groups against each other, remains a challenge. About 2.7 million people have been displaced this year, 2.2 million of which were forced to flee due to ethnic clashes. REUTERSSun, 16 Dec 2018 11:17:20 +0000editorial@africanews.com converts high security prison to intelligence training facility Federal Government of Somalia, FGS, has converted a maximum security prison into a training facility as part of reforming its national intelligence apparatus. The news was relayed by Director of Communications at the office of the president, Abdinur Mohamed. He said the conversion of the Godka Jilacow Prison was part of genuine reforms on the part of government. His Twitter post making the announcement said officials of the National Intelligence and Security Agency, NISA, were to be trained at the facility with human rights being a core aspect of the training. The Godka Jilacow prison, located in the capital, Mogadishu, has before the current move, served as an interrogation center for NISA, which had its offices close to it. It is believed to be where many suspected militants are being held. Terrorists have in the past staged attacks on the facility aiming to break in and free detainees. One such attack was in 2014 even though the authorities managed to stave off the heavy incursion, killing all militants involved according to a report. The Horn of Africa country has over the past few decades suffered varying degrees of deadly attacks by al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab insurgents in different parts of the country. The militants are said to be aiming at establishing a country run by strict intepretation of Islamic law – Shariah, they are aiming to topple the federal government by their activities. With a largely underfunded military force, the African Union’s Mission, AMISOM, has been a key player in the security operations in parts of the country. The United States has routinely also carried out air strikes against the group. Al-Shabaab holds some territory in the country where they are the established and recognized government by the people. Somali Govt converts Godka Jila’ow Prison into a training facility as part of wider reforms to National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). Officers will be taught about Human Rights. The Govt is committed to genuine reforms. HSNQ_NISA</a> <a href="">MoIS_Somalia 4rukun</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Abdinur Mohamed (AbdinurMA) December 16, 2018Sun, 16 Dec 2018 10:31:10 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) staff of US govt ordered to leave DRC ahead of polls U.S. State Department said on Saturday it had ordered non-emergency government staff and family members of government employees to leave Democratic Republic of Congo a week before a presidential election that it fears could turn violent. Campaigning for the long-delayed Dec. 23 poll to choose President Joseph Kabila’s successor had been mostly peaceful until this week, when security forces opened fire to disperse opposition gatherings, killing at least four people. A fire in the capital Kinshasa also destroyed thousands of voting machines and ballot boxes early on Thursday morning, and Kabila’s ruling coalition and opposition candidates traded blame for the incident. The State Department also said in an e-mailed advisory to citizens that it had “limited ability to provide emergency services” to U.S. citizens located outside Kinshasa, especially in the east and the central Kasai provinces. The U.S. embassy in Kinshasa closed for a week last month over what it said was a possible terrorist threat. Two diplomats told Reuters the purported threat was related to the arrest of a cell of Tanzanian jihadists from a Ugandan Islamist group. Britain advised its citizens on Wednesday against travelling to Congo, while the U.N. human rights chief on Friday called on Congolese authorities to halt violence and inflammatory speech ahead of the election. Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, is due to step down after the election. His refusal to leave power when his mandate officially expired in 2016 sparked violent demonstrations in which security forces killed dozens of protesters. REUTERSSun, 16 Dec 2018 09:25:51 +0000editorial@africanews.com ruling party picks Mnangagwa as candidate for 2023 polls’s ruling party on Saturday gave the go-ahead to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a second five-year term in 2023, all but ending speculation the 76-year-old would step down for one of his deputies at the next election. Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017 after veteran leader Robert Mugabe was forced to resign following an army coup. He was then elected in a July presidential vote that his main opponent says he won fraudulently. His endorsement by ZANU-PF members – so soon after the vote and as Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in a decade – will be seen by critics as taking a page from Mugabe, who pursued holding on to power at all costs. Mnangagwa, nicknamed “Crocodile”, did not make reference to the resolution backing his run for a second term as he closed a two-day conference of some 6,000 ZANU-PF members in Esigodini, 500 km south-west of the capital Harare. “We are in the process of reforming our party. We have the duty and burden to explain these reforms to our people. We want to entrench the rule of law,” he said, without giving details. ZANU-PF also said it planned to amend laws restricting media freedom and anti-government protests, one of several demands by the United States, which maintains sanctions on the president and senior party figures. Mnangagwa has previously called for U.S. sanctions against himself, ZANU-PF officials, top military figures and some government-owned firms to be lifted. The sanctions were imposed during Mugabe’s rule for violations of human rights and democracy. REUTERSSun, 16 Dec 2018 10:00:34 +0000editorial@africanews.com