DRC election hub: Top opposition candidate calls for debate

17 hours ago

Martin 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, 2018


Eritrea president Isaias Afwerki returns to UAE for bilateral talks

17 hours 2 minutes ago

Eritrean 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 pic.twitter.com/4MjjaHfT4E— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 17, 2018


Ethiopia army op kills civilians in Moyale hotel, violence persists

17 hours 15 minutes ago

A 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.


Operation “Northern Shield” at the Israeli-Lebanese Border: Why Hassan Nasrallah Remains Silent

17 hours 45 minutes ago

The operation “Northern Shield” was launched with great fanfare by the Israeli occupier on December 4, allegedly aimed at “exposing and neutralizing the cross-border attack tunnels that Hezbollah dug from Lebanon to Israel”. Indeed, the Lebanese Resistance has repeatedly promised

The post Operation “Northern Shield” at the Israeli-Lebanese Border: Why Hassan Nasrallah Remains Silent appeared first on Global Research.


2018 Review: Top African news per country – [Algeria – Chad]

17 hours 56 minutes ago

As 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 more


Kiev Sends Tanks and Troops to Donbass, Poroshenko Regime Hatching an Armed Provocation?

18 hours 15 minutes ago

The Russian news agency TASS reports (December 16, 2018) on disturbing developments pointing to the deployment of Ukrainian troops and tanks against Donbass. “A spokesman for the DPR defense ministry Daniil Bezsonov said that tank and mechanized battalions of

The post Kiev Sends Tanks and Troops to Donbass, Poroshenko Regime Hatching an Armed Provocation? appeared first on Global Research.


A Green Future for Oman: A Trail for Environmentalism in the Arab World

18 hours 56 minutes ago

Oman has long proved an outlier among the monarchies at the western edge of the Persian Gulf. Most Omanis subscribe to Ibadism, not Sunni Islam, and the Omani Sultan, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, has pursued a much quieter foreign

The post A Green Future for Oman: A Trail for Environmentalism in the Arab World appeared first on Global Research.


Kenya girls 'smuggled' across borders for FGM procedures - Group

19 hours 29 minutes ago

Girls 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.


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.



Nigerian professor jailed 2 years in 'sex for grades' case

19 hours 37 minutes ago

A 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.


Itodo emerges 'The Future Awards Africa 2018' young person of the year

21 hours 48 minutes ago

The 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 https://t.co/U1LeA838kW pic.twitter.com/64TyADAGIY— 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.

12 minutes 8 seconds ago
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