Africa 

Stand in solidarity to preserve Africa’s hard-won progress, urges UN chief

At the virtual launch of a UN briefing paper focusing on the impact of COVID-19 across Africa, Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that citizens across the continent have done much to advance their own well-being, detailing strong economic growth, an on-going digital revolution, and a bold free-trade area agreement.  But, he added, “the pandemic threatens African progress”. The UN chief elaborated on the coronavirus’ potential to aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease, saying “much hangs in the balance”.   Demand for Africa’s commodities, together with…

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Africa 

Guterres encourages Member States to reach agreement over Ethiopian Nile dam project

Through his spokesperson, the Secretary-General noted on Tuesday that “good progress” is being made in negotiations between the three countries in hopes of achieving a mutually beneficial agreement. Going up along the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan, and under construction since 2011, the $4.5 billion dam – also known by its acronym GERD – will be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric power plant once completed. Negotiations centre on the pace at which Ethiopia fills the 74 billion cubic metre reservoir behind the dam and the impact that could have on…

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Africa 

‘Alarming’ military build-up underway in Libya, as COVID-19 heightens insecurity

Stephanie Williams, who is also Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, said on Tuesday that while the rest of the world adjusts to life with the novel coronavirus, Libyans have dealt with almost constant bombardment and frequent water and electricity outages during the holy month Ramadan. At the same time, an “alarming” military build-up is underway as foreign backers send increasingly sophisticated and lethal weapons to the warring sides – the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the so-called opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General…

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Africa Leaders 

Mubarak Bala: Facebook Posts and Freedom of Expression

Some Muslims have asked the police to prosecute Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala for making some posts on Facebook. They claim that his posts insulted the prophet of Islam. And for that reason, they want Mr. Bala penalized. Others are threatening to execute him. The police have arrested Mr. Bala and may soon charge him. In this piece, I argue that the police should unconditionally release Mr. Bala because what they said he did was not an offense against the state. I am aware that some Muslims are unhappy with the…

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Africa 

Malawi: Dire costs for campaign amid virus – experts

Officials and experts are sounding the alarm as Malawi shifts to top campaign gear with giant rallies for an unprecedented presidential re-run despite the coronavirus pandemic. Malawi University of Science and Technology virologist Gama Bandawe warned that the consequences would be dire. “It effectively leaves us to face the full unmitigated force of the pandemic,” he told AFP. He said Malawians “will only fully understand the impact once we start to see burial teams and mass graves” because the disease is “deceptively undramatic until it is too late”. Malawians will…

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Africa 

AU and UN appeal for ‘stable and peaceful environment’ for Burundi elections

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the partners said they have been following the electoral campaign and remain concerned about reports of intimidation and violent clashes between supporters of opposing sides. “The two Organizations encourage all entities involved in organizing the 20 May 2020 elections, the defense and security forces and state-owned media to fully contribute to preserving a stable and peaceful environment, pre-requisite for free, inclusive, fair, transparent and credible elections in Burundi,” the statement said. “They urge all political actors to refrain from all acts of violence and…

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Nigeria OP-ED 

Mubarak Bala: Why They Hate Him

For allegedly making posts and comments on his Facebook page which some Muslims interpreted as insults on the prophet of Islam, police in Nigeria arrested Mubarak Bala. They have detained and held him incommunicado for almost three weeks. The Islamic establishment has refused to speak out against this illegality and infringement on his fundamental human rights. In fact, some Muslims have threatened to kill Mr. Bala if he was not adequately punished by the ‘state’. It is important to ask, why do they hate Mubarak Bala? Why is there so…

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Africa 

UN welcomes arrest of top suspect in Rwanda genocide

Félicien Kabuga, alleged to be a leading figure in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, was apprehended in Paris by French authorities as a result of a joint investigation with the UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). He was indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Arrest sends  ‘powerful message’ “Mr. Kabuga’s apprehension sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even…

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Ethiopia coronavirus: 306 cases, how about 100 cases hit in a week

May 16: Cases pass 300 mark Total confirmed cases = 306 (new cases = 19)Total recoveries = 113 (new recoveries = 1)Total deaths = 5Active cases = 189Tests within 24-hours = 4,044Total tests = 53,029 As of May 9, Ethiopia had recorded 210 cases, it means that it took a week for the next 100 cases to be registered. The index case was recorded on Mar 13, it too 25 days for the 50th case to register on April 7. The next eleven days produced a further 50 cases as…

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Africa coronavirus: DRC’s returnees from Europe, Zim lockdown extended

The coronavirus pandemic has been confirmed in over 180 countries globally since it was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic due to its spread. All African countries except Lesotho have since recorded cases as governments roll out measures to combat the spread. In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent. Major African stats: May 16 at…

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