News Briefs 16 October 2020


Parliament Nullifies By-Election Suspension

The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has announced that the Statutory Instrument 225A/2020 has been deemed unconstitutional by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

This follows the recent announcement by the Vice President and Health Minster, Constantino Chiwenga that by-elections had been shelved indefinitely due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the decision was met with widespread resentment from all quarters alleging that it was unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Mbizo Member of Parliament, Settlement Chikwinya said the decision by Mudenda is a step in the right direction as now the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission can pronounce new dates for the by-elections.

AllAfrica 15 October 2020

Zim Female Magistrates Sexually Harassed at Work, Says Former Boss

Corruption accused former chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has made startling claims Zimbabwean female magistrates were being sexually harassed at work.

The one-time topmost magistrate said this when his trial commenced Wednesday, some months after a tribunal set to look into alleged acts of misdemeanour cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Guvamombe stands accused of abusing his powers after he offered internship to former cabinet ministers, Supa Mandiwanzira and Saviour Kasukuwere at the Harare Civil Court in the full knowledge they had pending criminal cases before the courts.

The two were pursuing law studies.

He is also accused of defeating the course of justice after he allegedly interfered with a case involving a business partner’s son.

AllAfrica 15 October 2020


Some Swaziland Schools to Remain Shut Amid Fear of Coronavirus Surge

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini has announced that some schools in the kingdom will continue to remain closed until at least January 2021 amid fears that there could be a new surge in coronavirus cases.

Dlamini in a statement said, ‘Health experts have warned us that we are in danger of experiencing another upsurge of cases over the festive season if we do not take heed of the COVID-19 [coronavirus] health prevention protocols.’

He added, ‘As we relax the restrictions on travelling across borders, we anticipate an influx of people travelling into and out of the kingdom. This has a further potential of increasing the numbers of cases if measures to control the pandemic are ignored.’

AllAfrica 13 October 2020

Eswatini, Cuba celebrate 15 years of medical collaboration

Eswatini and Cuba are celebrating 15 years of the beginning of Cuban medical collaboration with this southern African kingdom.

Cuba’s collaboration with Eswatini in this field, recalls Kenya’s Beatriz Monjes Leyva, head of the island’s brigade of health professionals here, began in 2005, with the arrival of the first 20 doctors in the former Swaziland after the signing of the first cooperation agreement on the subject between the two countries.

Then, for the first time, Eswatini had a neonatologist, as well as an oncologist, pediatricians, general practitioners, a surgeon, a gynecologist and comprehensive general practitioners.

This, he explained to Prensa Latina, was the answer to a request from the current King, His Majesty Mswati III, to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel

Prensa Latina 11 October 2020

Democratic Republic of Congo

WHO names independent body to investigate DRC sex abuse claims

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was setting up a seven-person independent commission to investigate claims of sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers during the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In an investigation published last month by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The New Humanitarian, more than 50 women accused aid workers from the WHO and leading charities of demanding sex in exchange for jobs during the 2018-2020 crisis.

Five out of seven of the organisations named in the expose have pledged to investigate, as has DRC’s health ministry.

Aljazeera 15 October 2020

More than 50,000 Flee New Armed Attacks in Eastern DR Cong

The U.N. refugee agency is racing to help tens of thousands of Congolese forced to flee a recent upsurge of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than two-thirds of the DR Congo’s 5.5 million internally displaced people fled because of armed conflict in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The latest surge of fighting, which has displaced more than 50,000 people, is compounding the misery of a displaced population that is the largest in Africa.

The U.N. refugee agency reported that brutal attacks in North Kivu, many blamed on the armed group Allied Democratic Forces, have displaced a huge number of children, including many who are unaccompanied.

Voice of America 09 October 2020

Central African Republic

Central African Republic villagers share what little they have with refugees

When thousands of people fled in canoes across a river into the Central African Republic as refugees earlier this year, they arrived in a tiny village whose residents had little to give.

Yet the villagers opened their hearts and their homes to the desperate newcomers from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I could not bear seeing children and their mothers sleep rough, even less so during the rainy season,” said Rachel, 39, a single mother from Toko Kota village who welcomed ten women and children into her home.

“We are all hungry. Finding something to eat is a real problem here and we drink water from the river. We don’t have much, but we are always hospitable,” she said.

In all, more than 3,000 Congolese refugees fled an attack on the town of Buda, in Congo’s Nord Ubangui province, in late May, for Toko Kota, a village on the Ubangui River in southern Central African Republic. Half are children and a further 30 percent are women.

UNHCR 13 October 2020

Ten armored personnel carriers arrive in Central African Republic from Russia

The first batch of ten Russian armored personnel carriers BRDM-2 was airlifted to the capital of the Central African Republic Bangui on Thursday, a staffer of the Russian embassy in the CAR told TASS.

“The first batch of the vehicles has been delivered. Another ten are due to arrive on October 20,” the embassy official said, adding that it was Russia’s gift.

The armored personnel carriers were delivered from Russia by an Antonov-124 Ruslan cargo plane. There was a parade at the airport reviewed by CAR President Faustine-Archange Touadera.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) welcomed the arrival of Russian military equipment. It said in a statement that the supply of military vehicles would help enhance security ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections due on December 27.

Tass 15 October 2020


Somalia and UN Sign Five Years Cooperation Deal

The Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations today signed a new cooperation agreement which sets out how the country and the world body will work together over the next five years to achieve peace, stability and prosperity for all Somalis.

The signing ceremony for the agreement – the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNCF) – was held in the capital, Mogadishu, and attended from the government’s side by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, and the Federal Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Gamal M. Hassan

From the world body’s side, those attending included the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, who also serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia.

AllAfrica 15 October 2020

Somalia’s new electoral model: A setback for long-overdue 1 person 1 vote

After lengthy discussions and negotiations, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and federal member state leaders agreed upon the electoral model and set a timetable for the election. The approved electoral model is the replication of the 2016 elections model with some modifications. They have increased the number of delegates who will elect each member to 101, which many believe means more corruption, bribery and fraud. They have also increased the registration fee up to $10,000 for the lower house and $20,000 for the upper house, limiting the number of people running for each seat. Therefore, money is the first determiner of qualifying or disqualifying someone for running for a parliamentary seat. That means if the candidate does not pay the registration fee, he or she cannot run for the parliament post of his clan.

Of course, placing such a policy as a prerequisite would deny some people the opportunity to run, especially the ambitious young generation that dreams of making an impact in their homeland but does not have the money for registration nor the will to bribe delegates and clan elders. This is another reminder of how money controls everything, from registration to campaigning to the election.

No doubt, it plays a critical role in the Somali political spectrum. Meanwhile, the process of electing the upper house members had also been changed. This time the state parliament member will select who will represent that state in the upper house.

Daily Sabah 14 October 2020


The RSF still using brute force against unarmed civilians

With the Sudan Uprising nearing its two-year anniversary, the country’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) seem to have stuck to their guns by using power to suppress Sudanese citizens.

While the RSF claim they are enforcing the rule of law by cracking down on illegal immigration and trafficking explosives, or protecting borders, a bird’s eye view shows the use of brute force against unarmed civilians and displacing thousands.

Who are the RSF?

The RSF was not always a recognised entity; the group, previously called ‘Janjaweed’, swiftly rose to power during the Darfur civil war, in 2003, with impunity and armed support from the Sudanese government.

Both the Janjaweed and the government asserted that any conflict in the Darfur region was only tribal between the Arab tribes and African ones known as Masalit, Zaghawa and Fur.

The African Report 06 October 2020

Sudanese leaders divided on normalisation with Israel

Sudan’s fragile interim government is sharply divided over normalising relations with Israel, as it finds itself under intense pressure from the Trump administration to become the third Arab country to do so in short order — after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

According to analysts, Washington’s push for Sudan-Israel ties is part of a campaign to score foreign policy achievements ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Sudan seemed like a natural candidate for the US pressure campaign as it struggles to be removed from a US list of states sponsoring terrorism. Sudan can only get the international loans and aid that are essential for reviving its battered economy once that label is removed.

While Sudan’s transitional government has been negotiating the terms of removing the country from the list for more than a year, US officials introduced the linkage to normalisation with Israel more recently.

The Arab Weekly 05 October 2020

South Sudan

New ceasefire agreement signed in Rome

A new commitment by South Sudan’s warring parties to silence their weapons represents a beacon of hope for the ravaged nation.

Thanks to its tireless efforts and experience in conflict mediation, the Rome-based Community of Saint Egidio on Wednesday announced a breakthrough in talks between South Sudan’s government and the Opposition Movement Alliance who have agreed to a ceasefire and to pursue dialogue in the quest for peace in the world’s youngest nation.

It was also announced that the Saint Egidio Community is organizing meetings between military and political representatives of both sides to ensure the opposition is included in established mechanisms to monitor ceasefire violations.

The Vatican 15 October 2020

South Sudan abandons plans to introduce new currency

South Sudan said it has reversed its plans to introduce a new currency as the pound continues to depreciate against the U. S. dollar and other major currencies due to the economic crisis.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of Information and Broadcasting, said the move to change the local currency was only a mere proposal by the economic crisis management committee as a means to salvage the economy from further collapse but was not agreed and passed by the cabinet.

“The change of national currency (South Sudanese Pounds) was brought in the discussion of previous cabinet meeting as one of the long-term economic measures, but it was not agreed and passed by the council that time,” Makuei told the reporters in Juba on Wednesday evening.

Xinhua 15 October 2020

Western Sahara

Algeria: Western Sahara conflict is a colonialism issue

The Western Sahara conflict is an issue of colonialism, the Algerian President Tebboune announced on Saturday, stressing that there was no solution to the issue except through a “Sahrawi people’s referendum”.

“For the Algerian people, army and institutions, the Western Sahara conflict is an issue of colonialism,” Tebboune was quoted by Russia Today as stating.

Tebboune’s remarks came after the United Nations recently declared that there was no resolution to the crisis – which has been ongoing since 1975 – except through a referendum.

The Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated area mostly comprising desert regions, situated in the northwest coast of Africa. A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then, it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Sahrawi people, led by the Polisario Front.

Middle East Monitor 16 October 2020

Khatri Adduh : Mandating Minurso to monitor human rights in Western Sahara

Khatri Adduh, member of the National Secretariat, in charge of the political organization of the Frente POLISARIO, called on Tuesday for mandating the UN Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor human rights in Western Sahara, subject to increasing Moroccan abuse.

In an interview to APS, Adduh said that the human rights violations committed by the Moroccan occupying forces in Western Sahara “require greater international effort by both international observers and media in order to follow-up and report the blatant violations and the repression policy pursued by the Moroccan authorities against the Sahrawi citizens.”

In this regard, he said that the heavy sentences issued by the Moroccan occupation against the Sahrawi citizens and their disastrous condition in jails, for simply “having demanded their rights stated by the UN resolutions, chiefly the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.”

Sahara Press Service 15 October 2020