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[l] at 10/19/19 9:50am
A military court sentenced former Equatorial Guinea Chief of Staff Ruslan Hermes Nguema Oyana to 18 years in prison on Friday for embezzlement of public funds, the country’s military sources reported on Saturday. Colonel Oyana was also ordered to reimburse the 38 million CFA francs (about 58,000 euros) embezzled, the same sources noted, confirming information broadcast on state television. After two months in command of the army, Colonel Oyana was dismissed by a presidential decree in December 2018. Colonel Oyana had been promoted at the same time several other officers had been demoted. Equatorial Guinea, a small oil country in Central Africa, is ruled by Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 77, the world’s oldest head of state in terms of longevity (excluding monarchy), after 40 years in power.

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[l] at 10/19/19 6:00am
Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo on Saturday accused the government of violating a recent peace agreement by using “violence” during the general elections this week and called for the election to be cancelled. “The ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) (...) has violated the cessation of hostilities agreement, which states that violence and intimidation must not be used in pursuit of political objectives,” writes the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) in a statement, calling for the 15 October election to be cancelled and “new elections” to be held. Mozambicans voted on Tuesday in a climate of high tension, following a violent campaign fuelled by accusations of fraud on behalf of the regime by the opposition and civil society. Renamo also claims that some of its delegates were arrested after surprising election organizers who were distributing more than one Frelimo ballot to voters. “There have been arbitrary arrests of agents (...) and voters who tried to complain about everything, about the stuffing of ballot boxes, were unable to exercise their right to vote,” Renamo continued in its statement. The Mozambican Electoral Commission (CNE) began on Friday to publish very partial results of Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections, which not surprisingly give a large lead to the incumbent president and the ruling party. These elections were also a test case after the fragile peace agreement reached in August between the ruling party and Renamo, the former civil war rebellion (1975-1992). This agreement was supposed to put an end to their clashes, which have been recurring for more than forty years. But the election campaign rekindled tensions between the two sides.

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[l] at 10/19/19 6:00am
Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo on Saturday accused the government of violating a recent peace agreement by using “violence” during the general elections this week and called for the election to be cancelled. “The ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) (...) has violated the cessation of hostilities agreement, which states that violence and intimidation must not be used in pursuit of political objectives,” writes the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) in a statement, calling for the 15 October election to be cancelled and “new elections” to be held. Mozambicans voted on Tuesday in a climate of high tension, following a violent campaign fuelled by accusations of fraud on behalf of the regime by the opposition and civil society. Renamo also claims that some of its delegates were arrested after surprising election organizers who were distributing more than one Frelimo ballot to voters. “There have been arbitrary arrests of agents (...) and voters who tried to complain about everything, about the stuffing of ballot boxes, were unable to exercise their right to vote,” Renamo continued in its statement. The Mozambican Electoral Commission (CNE) began on Friday to publish very partial results of Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections, which not surprisingly give a large lead to the incumbent president and the ruling party. These elections were also a test case after the fragile peace agreement reached in August between the ruling party and Renamo, the former civil war rebellion (1975-1992). This agreement was supposed to put an end to their clashes, which have been recurring for more than forty years. But the election campaign rekindled tensions between the two sides.

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[l] at 10/19/19 4:30am
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar ON Saturday arrived in Juba to try and save the fragile peace agreement as the mid-November deadline for forming a government with President Salva Kiir approaches. The two men “will meet behind closed doors at the presidential palace today,” said a spokesman for Machar’s SPLM-IO party, Manawa Peter Gatkuot, after the rebel leader arrived. South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013, two years after its independence from Sudan, when Mr. Kiir, a Dinka, accused Machar, then his vice-president, a member of the Nuer ethnic group, of plotting a coup d‘état. The conflict, marked by atrocities and the use of rape as a weapon of war, has killed more than 380,000 people and forced more than four million South Sudanese, nearly a third of the population, to leave their homes. The peace agreement reached in September 2018 has led to a sharp drop in fighting, although it has not completely ceased. The deadline negotiated in May was intended in particular to allow the cantonment of combatants and their integration into a unified army, but little progress has been made since then. The deadline for the formation of this government, in which Machar is to assume the position of First Vice-President, has already been delayed before being set for 12 November. In addition, technical aspects of the agreement, such as those relating to the demarcation of borders between States, have not made any progress. Machar, who lives in exile in Khartoum, also seeks guarantees for his personal safety before returning permanently to Juba, which he fled under heavy fire when a previous peace agreement collapsed in July 2016. Efforts to have the warring parties confine their troops to a unified army – a crucial point of the peace agreement – have made little progress. According to observers, the only way forward, in the absence of progress on such sensitive issues, is for Machar and Kiir to reach a new political agreement that will allow them to move forward with the formation of a power-sharing government.

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[l] at 10/19/19 4:19am
Mali’s army on Friday evening “neutralized” about 50 enemies in a counter-offensive launched after the deadly attacks by jihadists earlier this month in the center of the country. The army is still looking for 27 soldiers missing since the double jihadist attack of September 30 and October 1 in Boulkessy and Mondoro. The attacks resulted in the most casualties the Malian army has suffered in years. Two civilians were killed in Mondoro, 38 soldiers died and 17 were wounded in Boulkessy, according to the army. During the subsequent field recovery and sweep operations, with “a very increased engagement” of the French Barkhane force with Malian troops, “about fifty enemies (were) neutralized, about thirty wounded, materials destroyed”, as well as a large fuel stock, the army said without explicitly saying if the “neutralized” enemies had died. No other source confirmed these figures on Friday evening. The operations confirmed the presence of women involved with the armed groups, the army noted. Even in a country that has been plagued by deadly insurgencies, Salafist and jihadist insurgencies and inter-community violence since 2012, the events in Boulkessy and Mondoro have struck people’s minds and raised even more bluntly than before the question of the absence of a solution to the conflict and the possible impotence of the authorities. The Malian army also reported on Friday the attempted theft of a large stockpile of weapons by one of its soldiers, deputy head in charge of the equipment division. The soldier had placed about 100 assault rifles in his vehicle on October 12 before they were discovered. The said soldier is still on the run.

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[l] at 10/19/19 2:30am
Guinea’s public prosecutor on Friday requested before a court in Conakry the maximum penalty of five years in prison for the main protest leaders against a possible third term bid of President Alpha Condé. The court will issue its judgment next Tuesday. In a court under high police protection and full of people, Prosecutor Sidy Souleymane Ndiaye requested the same five-year prison sentence against seven of the eight defendants, with a fine of two million Guinean francs each (194 euros). He requested the release of the eighth defendant. The defendants are leaders of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, a coalition of political parties and civil society groups behind demonstrations in Conakry and several cities in Guinea. The prosecutor likened their action as an “insurrection”. He spoke of “insidious, serious and dangerous statements to disturb public order”. The authorities claim these protests are illegal stressing police did not approve of them. From the beginning, he justified the repression of the protests on grounds of public safety. The prosecutor also noted that the FNDC had called for the paralysis of mines, banks and all economic activity. The defendants’ lawyers contested that their clients had called for the demonstrations and requested for their release. “In prison or in freedom, I will fight against Alpha Condé‘s policy for a third term, I will fight to prevent Alpha Condé from having a third term,” said one of the defendants, Ibrahima Diallo. “The Guinean Constitution is not a rag,” said one of the lawyers, Halimatou Camara, calling supporters of a third term of office “arsonists”, in a warning against the risk of escalation if Alpha Condé confirmed his plans. The protest has already resulted in ten deaths among the demonstrators and 70 gunshot wounds, and nearly 200 arrests, according to the FNDC. The authorities claim nine people have lost their lives. The FNDC intends to block President Condé‘s plan to have the Constitution revised to run for a third term in office when his second term expires in October 2020. Guinea’s current Constitution limits a president to two term limits. The NGO Human Rights Watch has called for an end to the repression, the release of those arrested and an investigation into the violence. The authorities have banned all demonstrations since July 2018, but repression has intensified in recent days. It recalls that in the past it has extensively denounced the “excessive use of lethal force” by Guinean police and gendarmes during demonstrations and acts of brutality against demonstrators. It denounces the “almost total impunity” of the security forces. “The systematic ban on all demonstrations, the arbitrary arrest of civil society leaders and the use of violence to disperse demonstrators show that the government is prepared to trample on human rights to repress the protest,” the statement noted. The international community is alarmed by the current tensions in a poor country despite its significant mineral resources, with uncertain stability and a tradition of extremely violent protests and repression.

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[l] at 10/19/19 2:00am
The U.N. human rights office called on Egypt on Friday to free a prominent blogger, lawyer and journalist allegedly mistreated in custody who are among nearly 2,000 people detained since street protests began a month ago. Officials at the interior ministry were not immediately available for comment. The state prosecutor’s office said in late September that it had questioned a number not exceeding 1,000 suspects who took part in the demonstrations. “Unfortunately such arrests are continuing, and have included a number of well-known and respected civil society figures,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva. Protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo and other cities have followed online calls for demonstrations against alleged government corruption. Sisi, who came to power after, while army chief, leading the 2013 overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, has overseen a broad crackdown on dissent that has extended to liberal and Islamist groups, and which rights groups say is the most severe in recent memory. Journalist and activist Esraa Abdelfattah was arrested by plainclothes security officers in Cairo on Oct. 12 and was reportedly beaten after she refused to unlock her mobile phone, Shamdasani said. Abdelfattah is on a hunger strike, she added. Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and software engineer, was released in March after serving a five-year sentence for protesting without permission, but was re-arrested on Sept 29, Shamdasani said. The same day, his lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer, was arrested while attending the interrogation, she added. Abdel Fattah was struck by guards on his back and neck while being forced to walk down a corridor in his underwear, while al-Baqer has been subjected to physical and verbal abuse, and denied water and medical aid, she said.

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[l] at 10/19/19 2:00am
Guinea’s president Alpha Conde has become the latest African head of state to seek an extension his legal mandate, a move that fuelled protests in the country this week. If Conde tries to run for a third term in 2020, he would be copying from an established playbook in Africa, where incumbent presidents have sought, often successfully, to remain in power by massaging, bending or outright breaking laws often meant to ensure democratic handovers of power. Below are details on how some of Africa’s longest-serving leaders have managed to stay in power, or are trying to do so, denting hopes of a dawn of democracy across the region. Guinea’s Alpha Conde Conde’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020, but the 81-year-old leader has refused to rule out running again. In September, he asked his government to look into drafting a new constitution, raising concerns he might use it as a reset button on his presidency and run again. Conde was first elected in 2010. Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza Nkurunziza, in power since 2005, announced in 2015 he would run for a third term in what his opponents saw as a breach of the constitution which only allowed leaders to rule for two terms. Since his re-election, hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces and half a million have fled abroad. A referendum in May 2018 overwhelmingly approved changes that extended the length of presidential terms to seven years. Under the new constitution, Nkurunziza is now able serve a further two terms, potentially extending his rule until 2034. The opposition rejected the results and the United States said the process had been marred by voter intimidation. Cameroon’s Paul Biya Biya, 86 and sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest leader, took over the presidency in 1982. The national assembly adopted a constitutional bill in April 2008, removing a two-term presidential limit to allow him to extend his rule past 2011. He has won two elections since then that opposition candidates have said were fraudulent. Chad’s Idriss Deby Deby has ruled Chad since coming to power after a 1990 coup. A 2005 referendum removed a two-term limit from the constitution. Parliament approved a new constitution in 2018 reimposing the two-term limit, but it will not be applied retroactively, meaning Deby could serve two terms after the next election in 2021, potentially ruling until 2033. Comoros’ Azali Assoumani The president, a former military officer who first seized power in a coup in 1999, won a referendum in 2018 to extend term limits and end a system of rotating power among the archipelago’s three main islands off Africa’s east coast. The vote allowed him to run for two more five year-terms. The opposition dismissed the referendum as illegal. Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou Nguesso The constitution in Congo Republic was changed by referendum in 2015, lifting term and age limits that would have excluded Nguesso from running again. He won a new five-year term in a 2016 election, although the opposition rejected the outcome, alleging fraud. He has ruled for all but five years since 1979. Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh Lawmakers in Djibouti approved a constitutional amendment in 2010 that paved the way for Guelleh, in power since 1999, to run for a third term. He has won two subsequent elections. Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara Ouattara, in power since 2010, has claimed the adoption of a new constitution in 2016 would allow him to run for a third term in the 2020 presidential race because a new constitution would mean the first two terms did not count. He has not yet said if he will stand for re-election. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame In 2015, Rwandans voted to extend the constitution’s two-term limit. Under the changes, Kagame could seek another seven-year term and two five-year terms after that, potentially remaining in power until 2034. Kagame, who won a third term in 2017, has faced mounting criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media, and suppression of political opposition. He denies wrongdoing. He first came to power in 2000. Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe Togo changed its constitution in 2019 to cap the presidential mandate at two five-year terms ostensibly in response to opposition calls for an end to a political dynasty that started when Gnassingbe’s father seized power in a 1967 coup. However it does not take into account the three terms Gnassingbe has already served since coming to power in 2005, the latest of which ends in 2020. Gnassingbe could therefore remain in power until 2030. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986. A term-limiting clause that would have prevented him from seeking re-election was deleted from the constitution in 2005. In 2017, lawmakers voted to remove a constitutional limit on the age of presidential candidates, paving the way for 75-year-old Museveni to stand again in the 2021 election. REUTERS

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[l] at 10/19/19 1:30am
At least 28 people have died as a result of heavy rains that have been raining for a week in northeastern Ghana, rescue services told AFP on Friday. “We have so far counted 28 dead. About 640 people in six communities had to leave their homes, we relocated them,” said George Ayisi, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). “About 286 houses collapsed as a result of the disaster, making life difficult for the population (...). Most of the displaced have lost their personal belongings – clothes, valuables, money,” he added. “It doesn’t look like the rains will stop soon. The meteorological service has informed us that the rains will last until the first week of November, so we must be prepared for everything” in this region located more than 800 km from the capital Accra, according to Mr Ayisi.  According to NADMO, a total of 46 people were killed in heavy rains and floods this year in Ghana, where these phenomena are frequent.

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[l] at 10/19/19 1:10am
Mozambicans took to the polls on Tuesday taking part in presidential, provincial and legislative elections, pitting the two main parties, Frelimo and Renamo against each other. In this article, we highlight the election issues, presidential candidates, electoral guidelines and the process from voting to announcement of official results. Opposition rejects results Frelimo, Nyusi gain early lead US expresses concern over credibility of polls Observer missions share initial observations Electoral body decides against provisional results Vote counting underway Polls close President, opposition leaders vote Polls open Will peace deal hold? Presidential candidates Election issues Electoral guidelines Opposition MDM party rejects results The opposition Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) denounced a “shameful electoral process”. In a statement issued on Friday, the MDM expressed its “indignation” and “rejection” of the electoral process. “We claim that there has been fraud,” the party added, “these elections were neither fair, free nor transparent.’‘ The main opposition party, Renamo has refrained from making any official comments since Tuesday’s election. Preliminary results give Nyusi lead Mozambique’s electoral commision released first results of Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections, which indicated that the incumbent president and the ruling party had taken an early lead. After counting 830,000 ballots cast, representing just over 6% of the 13.1 million registered voters, the current head of state, Filipe Nyusi, who is running for a second term, has polled nearly 75% of the votes, according to the results published by the NEC on its website on Friday. The main opposition candidate, Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party Renamo, the former rebellion of the civil war (1975-1992), received 20% of the votes, according to the same results. At the last presidential election, Mr. Nyusi won with 58% of the votes in front of the historical leader of the Renamo Afonso Dhlakama (37%). In the legislative elections, Frelimo, which has led Mozambique since its independence from Portugal in 1975, is well ahead with 70% of the votes after counting 750,000 ballots, ahead of Renamo with 22% of the votes, according to initial results. The NEC is scheduled to announce the results of the provincial elections on Monday, which also took place on Tuesday. United States expresses concerns In a statement on Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique issued “serious concerns about (...) irregularities that could have consequences on the perception of the integrity of the electoral process”. The statement cited “discrepancies” between the voters’ lists and the population census in several regions, including in the provinces of Gaza (south) and Zambezia (central). The statement added that in many polling stations in Gaza, the turnout at the end of the day was “almost 100%” while it remained “low until mid-afternoon”. EU criticises ruling party The European Union observer mission deployed in Mozambique on Thursday raised an alarm, citing unfair conditions and unjustified use of state resources by the ruling party, as well as widespread violence. “An unlevel playing field was evident throughout the campaign,” the EU mission said in a statement. “The ruling party dominated the campaign in all provinces and benefited from … incumbency, including unjustified use of state resources, and more police escorts and media coverage than opponents.” Frelimo spokesman Caifadine Manasse said the EU claims were “unfounded”. “Frelimo went to these elections as a governing party, but competed on equal terms with the other parties,” Manasse said. “The European Union is acting badly in making such pronouncements …We work on the ground using our means, the means of the Frelimo party and the candidate.” Very few results have yet trickled out, although an official at the electoral commission said they may start coming out on Friday, the law allows 15 days in total after the vote. “Inter-party violence was prevalent as well as mistrust between the main political parties and a lack of confidence that the electoral administration … (was) independent,” the EU said, adding that there was also little public trust in the independence of the police. African observer missions urge caution African observer missions were more sanguine, with both the African Union team lead by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and the Southern Africa bloc SADC praising the poll for being peaceful and well organised. “We commend (the electoral commission) and the state for conducting successful, peaceful and orderly elections,” SADC mission chief Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told journalists. “Parties and people must be patient and remain committed to Peace as the results are being compiled for validation,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is Zimbabwe’s defence minister. The former rebel movement Renamo seeks to control its traditional heartlands in central and northern provinces but it faces the waning popularity of its candidate, Ossufo Momade, and a challenge from younger opposition party, the MDM. Tensions rise over results proclamation Voters in Mozambique are wary of the possibility of post-election violence, following the decision by the electoral commission to not publish provisional results. The electoral body indicated that it will only release the final results within the mandated 15-day period following Tuesday’s vote. ‘‘The official electoral results could take a long time to come out, and so that could lead to irregularities and violence,’‘ Egidio Guambe, director of ‘Plataforma Transparencia eleitoral said. The counting of results itself has not been without incident. Watchdog Sala da Paz said police fired tear gas and warning shots in the central province of Nampula — a Renamo stronghold, after opposition supporters refused to leave polling premises to “protect their vote”. ‘‘We cannot say that the process was 100 percent free and fair but we definitely think it would be an acceptable process where we definitely believe that the political parties also can accept the outcome of these elections,’‘ said Hermenegildo Mulhovo, member of Sala da Paz. According to unconfirmed reports, police had killed a voter during the incident in circumstances that were still unclear and 73 people had been arrested for “disturbances in polling stations”. Vote counting, ballot-stuffing allegations Allegations of ballot-stuffing have persisted in Mozambique despite Tuesday’s dismissal of the same by the country’s electoral commission as ‘completely untrue’. The Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) refuted reports by opposition parties that an unauthorised private company brought ballot boxes and voting material into Mozambique, with the intention of undermining the election. STAE says all voting material was produced by the companies Academica and Uniprint, which won the tender. It’s director Felisberto Naife added that a through investigation of these allegations would be conducted, including a process of evaluating authenticity of extra ballot papers. On social media, several observers and voters shared pictures and videos showing the ongoing process of counting and tallying votes. Ballot counting is ongoing in the Mozambican general elections? Balsu skaitīšana Mozambikas vispārējās vēlēšanās #MozambiqueElections #eleições2019 #ilovemyjob pic.twitter.com/XyDf4rSdZx— Linda Mazure ?️ (Vinotava) (@Vinotava) October 15, 2019 #MozambiqueElections Sample from a polling station in Beira Number of voters 158 Number of ballots in the box 252 pic.twitter.com/sfTt4UFwO2— Zenaida Machado (@zenaidamz) October 15, 2019 Polls close At 6pm local time (1600 GMT), polls closed as stipulated by the law. Mozambicans will hope that authorities can announce the outcome as soon as possible. The law allows for 15 days for results to be announced. Fragile peace President Filipe Nyusi praised Mozambicans for deciding their destiny in elections and called for peace and calm to continue. “Mozambique has chosen peace,” he said after casting his ballot at a school in the capital Maputo. Outside of Mozambique’s remote north, the main security risk would come from a disgruntled opposition. “If [the vote] is manipulated, we will never accept it,” Renamo presidential candidate and party leader Ossufo Momade said after casting his ballot in Nampula, in the north. “We have to do whatever we can do, if the people want us to,” he said, without elaborating on the warning. Momade is seen by analysts as less likely to turn to violence than his predecessor, but also as less able to maintain control of the party and supporters. Both opposition parties, Renamo and younger challenger the MDM, have already made allegations of vote rigging. The run-up to the vote was marked by sporadic violence, including the killing of an election observer and attacks from a breakaway group of Renamo fighters that killed one person. Polls open On Tuesday, 20,000 polling stations welcomed Mozambicans to cast their votes. Throughout the day, nearly 13 million registered voters were expected to select a President of the republic, 250 deputies, ten governors and members of provincial assemblies. We are looking forward to a successful outcome as the good people of Mozambique visit the polling stations across the country today to perform this important civic duty. GEJ pic.twitter.com/AqIyu83XuB— Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) October 15, 2019 Will election make or break peace deal? President Filipe Nyusi is widely expected to win a second term, while the main opposition party, Renamo hopes to win more political power,following a peace deal signed between the two civil war rivals in August. Under the deal, provincial governors will now be picked by the main party in each province, rather than the government in Maputo, and Renamo is banking on traditional provincial strongholds such as Sofala to gain influence. “The biggest threat to the peace process is if Renamo does not deliver a good number of provinces,” said Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at Chatham House. Frelimo has dominated the politics since the southern African country’s independence from Portugal in 1975. Presidential Candidates President Felipe Nyusi is the incumbent, having succeeded his mentor Armando Guebuza as head of Mozambique in 2014. The country’s first president from the Southern region, Nyusi is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency in his home region. Ossufo Momade, took over the reigns of the National Resistance of Mozambique (Renamo) last year, when its historic leader, Afonso Dhlakama died suddenly. He signed the peace deal with government to end the decades-old conflict, but is yet to win the full support of the movement’s armed wing. David Simango, who seceded from Renamo in 2009, is contesting the presidency for the third time. Since 2003, Simango has been mayor of the Mozambican city of Beira, ravaged by Cyclone Idai six months ago. Mario Albinois the outsider of the presidential election, leading the United Movement for Integral Salvation (AMUSI), which was created by former members of Simango’s party. READ MORE: Meet Mozambique’s four Presidential candidates for the Tuesday election Election issues President Nyusi has pledged to develop the country’s gas reserves, and consequently tackle the extreme poverty that is fuelling an Islamist insurgency in regions like Cabo Delgado. Mozambique is set to become a top global gas exporter, and expects investments worth $50, more than four times its current GDP. Nyusi’s government has taken a hit in reputation by the relentless attacks on villages in the gas-rich region, a Frelimo stronghold. Attacks have increased in the run-up to the vote, making campaigning impossible in some districts, said Human Rights Watch researcher Zenaida Machado. While a peace deal was signed in August to end decades of hostilities, a breakaway faction of Renamo fighters that disputes some aspects of the accord has been staging attacks in the group’s traditional central strongholds, demanding that party leader Ossufo Momade resign and the election be postponed. Senior Frelimo politicians and associates, including a former finance minister and the ex-president’s son have been charged in a $2 billion debt scandal that has tarnished the party’s image. The discovery of previously undisclosed loans, all guaranteed by the government, prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and a sovereign debt default. READ MORE: Mozambique charges 20 in connection with $2 billion hidden debt scandal Six months after two cyclones ravaged the country, killing hundreds and wreaking destruction across central and northern regions, the effects are still being felt, in the lead up to the election. Researchers say affected Mozambicans lost their voter cards or identity documents needed to cast ballots, during the storms. Opposition parties have also accused the government of not doing enough to assist affected people High-stakes election Renamo fought Frelimo for 16 years from 1977 to 1992 in a Cold War conflict that killed about one million people. It ended in a truce but sporadic violence has flared in the years since,including after Renamo challenged election results in 2014. The problem for Renamo in places such as Beira, the capital of Sofala province, is that Frelimo, as well as the smaller Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), are muscling in on its traditional turf. Nyusi’s credibility has been knocked by the insurgency and a graft scandal that sank the economy, but Frelimo holds numerous districts in Sofala following local elections last year, and dozens of people told Reuters the ruling party had their vote. Frelimo spokesman Caifadine Manasse said it had consolidated the rule of law and tackled graft. Chatham House’s Vines said if Renamo wins three or four of Mozambique’s 10 provinces in next week’s vote, that should be sufficient to placate its supporters. But any fewer and a recent bout of party infighting over the peace deal could worsen. Renamo’s leadership could lose control of sections of the party, threatening commitment to the agreement or even a return to targeted violence, he said. Renamo spokeswoman Maria Ivone Soares said the party was convinced it would win in Sofala and other provinces. “The results are unlikely to be disappointing because of the … corruption, unemployment, inequality and misery that have been promoted in this country since national independence.” Electoral system The president is elected using the two-round system, and must win an absolute majority to avoid a run-off or second round. The 250 members of the Assembly are elected by proportional representation, where the party with the most votes appoints the leaders in each region. Mozambicans in the diaspora (Africa and Europe) are also represented. Polls open at 7am local time (0500 GMT) and close at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT). The law allows 15 days for results to be announced.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Daniel Mumbere)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 11:10pm
The jailing of nine Catalan separatists by Spain’s Supreme Court for their part in the region’s 2017 independence bid has ignited a backlash of anger across Catalonia. Meanwhile, Britain and the European Union have a struck a new Brexit deal after days of intense back-and-forth negotiations. Also, Turkey vows to press on with an offensive in northern Syria until its mission to create a safe zone is complete. Stay tuned as we will have reports on this and other stories as we retrace the major current events covered by the Euronews editorial team presented by Elayne Wangalwa. elayneshani

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[l] at 10/18/19 9:26am
South Africa was once again the scene of violence described as xenophobic in early September 2019 but the South African authorities prefer to talk about crimes. We take a retrospective view of the incidence of targeted attacks on particular nationals in some African countries over the years.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 8:44am
The NGO Positive Youths Africa has launched a project in Cameroon to offer psychological support to victims of the anglophone crisis. Called the Afrogiveness project, organizers say victims of trauma or emotional shock, most of whom are children will be offered support.. So how exactly do they plan to go about this?

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Jerry Bambi)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 8:18am
Millions of Sufi devotees converged in Senegal’s Touba on thursday where they marked the exile of the Mouride Brotherhood founder Ahmadou Bamba by French colonialists 125 years ago.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Jerry Bambi)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 7:46am
Since he burst upon the comedic scene in Egypt back in 2011, political satirist, author and stand-up star Bassem Youssef, has been endlessly compared to The Daily Show’s former host, John Stewart. It’s not just a passing physical resemblance the two share, it’s a knack for lambasting and lampooning global leaders and shining a spotlight on social and political unrest. Forty-five-year-old Youssef’s journey to stand-up and comedy was unconventional, given his early career as a heart surgeon. [IME S02E36 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 1] Bassem Youssef’s talk show / Archive However, inspired by the Egyptian revolution of 2011, he created a series of short satirical shows on his YouTube channel and views soared to five million in just three months. His popularity led to his own weekly television show, called Al-Bernameg, which at its height saw a third of the Egyptian population tune in for his rapier satirical analysis of the actions of the then-Presidents and the Muslim Brotherhood. [IME S02E36 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 2] Bassem Youssef in Egypt, 2013 / Archive His fame came at a price and, having been accused of disturbing the peace and security of the country, he ultimately relocated to the United States to further his career and spread his message in English. The comedian was recently in the UAE, providing entertainment at the inaugural GQ Awards, where Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah from Egypt won ‘Man of the Year’. During his trip to the capital, Youssef – who’s been named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ by Time magazine, spoke to Inspire’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham about spreading his political satire beyond the Arab world. [IME S02E36 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 3] Bassem Youssef speaks to Inspire Middle East Q&A with Bassem Youssef: Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham: When transferring or translating your material from Arabic to English, is any of the potency or the nuance lost? Is the message in any way diluted? Bassem Youssef: You can’t translate humour. You can explain the humour, but you have to be in the mindset where you have to perform for the people who speak the language. So, when you perform, you’re not doing the same jokes – you’re not doing the same stories and just translating them. You have to repackage it, and that’s only the beginning. Because if you’ve got the words right, you have to adopt the same kind of delivery, the same kind of cadence – the same kind of pacing of the people. Rebecca: You’re now a U.S. resident. Can you draw any parallels from working and satirizing the political situation in Egypt back in the day, with what’s happening now in the United States – and how your material is being received by leaders? Bassem: The right, or conservative wing in America or in Egypt, is similar everywhere. The messaging, the way that they reach to the masses, the way they use populism sometimes, it’s the same everywhere. A major difference, of course, the only difference, is the margin of freedom with what you’re allowed to criticize and satirize. You’re allowed to satirize or criticize the system, the authorities, and the administration [in America]. I think the biggest takeaway for me when I am there in the United States, is that I am learning and receiving more. Because in Egypt, there was kind of a meteoric rise for me. It was very fast, very quick. But, in America you have to kind of have to sit back and take your time. Rebecca: Whilst in Egypt, at the height of the authorities monitoring you closely, how real were your fears for your life? Not least of you becoming a political prisoner? Bassem: I was really worried about the content. I was really worried about it. I had a deadline every week, I had a show that was watched by millions and I had to deliver. I had to do the best I could do. So, I really didn’t think about that. People from the outside were more concerned. Rebecca: I’m intrigued to know what for you is the last taboo. Is there anywhere you ‘won’t go’ satirically? Is there any one person who is above political satire? Bassem: Sometimes, we’ll go and discuss something that could be too shocking for the masses. That could turn people off. But again, these are very, very, very, very subjective issues. In general, nobody should be above satire, and nothing should be above satire. Rebecca: You’ve referenced your work as ‘subjective’. It’s your opinion and you’re not seeking to impose it on others, you say. So, tell me what is your opinion on the current economic and political situation in Egypt, given so many years of turmoil? Bassem: My opinion about what’s happening in Egypt is quite clear. There is a reason why I’m not there anymore. I think it’s not really sustainable to have people worried about expressing their opinion openly. There is a very high rate of populism and I think that will, in the long-term – well, you just can’t keep that. If you look at history, even modern history, you cannot have a huge country with tens of millions of people, having to worry about expressing themselves – and using excuses like nationalism or the love of the country. This could backlash, could backfire, and I don’t think it’s good and useful in the long run. Rebecca: You’ve admitted in the past to having something akin to imposter’s syndrome. You feel like you’re not quite worthy of being where you are. Where does that stem from? Bassem: You think that there’s more, or other, people that are more talented than you. You wonder if you’re ever going to do it. So, I discovered it’s normal, and I think it is also important to have this kind of feeling because it grounds you – it humbles you. Rebecca: You started your career as a heart surgeon. Are there any transferable skills that you’ve taken from one discipline to the next? Bassem: There is the work ethic, because when you do medicine – it’s just brutal. It’s being a nerd, being very involved in the world that you do. And it’s putting in the hours, that repetition. Rebecca: There are constant comparisons between you and John Stewart. Is it true that you started that rumour at the start of your career and it somehow stuck? What’s the story? Are you genuine friends? Bassem: Basically, in the early days when I was still on YouTube, when people were asking me, “Who was your inspiration?”, I was mentioning John Stewart in every single sentence. So, I love him, I’m inspired by him. Rebecca: What is it that you take from his work that inspires you? Bassem: Well, I’m very honored to call him a brother and he’s been extremely supportive. I think what I take from him is – I think he established the art of television political satire. And I think that everybody right now – anybody right now – who has looked at a late-night show in the United States, they have been inspired by him. SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: BASSEM YOUSSEF MEETS MOHAMED SALAH Bassem Youssef pulled funny faces with Mohamed Salah in Abu Dhabi. Voir cette publication sur Instagram mosalah !!!!!! Une publication partagée par Dr/Political Satirist/Vegan (bassem) le 8 Oct. 2019 à 12 :14 PDT

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[l] at 10/18/19 6:11am
The government of South Africa has apologized for the power cuts that have affected the country for two days, which is threatening the fragile economy of the continent’s leading industrial power. For a while now power cuts have been recurrent as many users record damages at homes and in businesses. “We must, on behalf of the government, apologize to all businesses, to students who cannot take their exams, for the inconvenience this causes. We are studying the problems affecting Eskom and we want to assure South Africans that we will return to a normal situation,” South African Vice President David Mabuza told Parliament . Public electricity giant Eskom, which supplies 95% of the electricity produced in South Africa, took a nose dive when the company in June 2019 announced a debt of more than 1 billion dollars, hitting record net losses. Eskom cited breakdowns in their plants as the cause of these cuts and promised a return to normalcy soon. The government of President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in July that it will device a rescue plan to support the power supplier.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 6:02am
Flooding has reached alarming heights in the streets of Yaou, a small town located in the South East of Ivory Coast. Since Friday heavy rains have killed five people and an extensive damage to properties and businesses. The country’s economic capital is also affected by these floods. Traffic to the east of Abidjan has become difficult as firefighters step up efforts to rescue victims. Last year, the rainy season, which runs from May to July, resulted in 18 deaths and hundreds of affected families. Abidjan has 5 million inhabitants, many of whom live in precarious conditions, with uncontrolled construction, often in flood-prone areas.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 10/18/19 3:39am
Desperate African migrants are paying their way into detention centres in Libya, the UNHCR said Thursday These migrants are hoping to be eventually resettled out of war-torn Libya. Vincent Cochetel is the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean situation. “Sometimes they feel better protected in detention centres than outside detention centres. Because some nationalities outside detention centres are targeted by human traffickers, are kidnapped, and then you have extortion, you have torture. So, some people don’t feel safe in many urban centres in Libya. So, some of them prefer to be detained, even if the conditions are not good in those detention centres. Others try to bribe their way to get inside the detention centre in the hope that UNHCR will resettle them”, he told journalists in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNHCR laments the lack of resources to help empower the migrants. “Our programmes are not very well resourced, around 35 percent in those countries. But, if we were able to meet their needs, mainly in the area of education, vocational training, job placements in those countries, those people, many of those refugees would not feel the urge to go to Libya and to try to see a better future by going through Libya basically”, Cochetel added. In July, an airstrike by opposition forces killed more than 50 people at the Tajoura detention centre in Tripoli. There have been international pressure on countries to find a safe place for the trapped migrants and refugees. Reuters

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[l] at 10/18/19 2:53am
Algerian member of parliament, Baha Eddine Tliba has been detained. The businessman was remanded in custody on Thursday over money laundering and secretly financing political parties. According to the official APS news agency, Tliba is facing prosecution for illegally financing the electoral campaign of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Baha Eddine Tliba, a member of the former president’s National Liberation Front party, had his parliamentary immunity lifted on September 25 at the request of the Justice Minister. He is one of the last victims of an Algerian judicial hunt for powerful businessmen close to Bouteflika since his resignation in April. Most of them are suspected of having taken advantage of their ties with the former president or his entourage to obtain benefits or public contracts. AFP Picture via Facebook

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[l] at 10/18/19 2:11am
Lawmakers in Benin announced on Thursday that they would vote for electoral reforms ‘‘as soon as possibl’‘e. The MP’s also say they would grant amnesty to those still in detention since the post-electoral violence in May. This they say will help to resolve the current political crisis in the West African nation. Speaker of the National Assembly, Louis Vlavonou told the media that between five and six laws will be taken up for implementation. Last week, President Patrice Talon summoned registered political parties in the country for a political dialogue to try to resolve the political crisis. At the end of the dialogue, representatives of nine political parties recommended the amendment of the electoral code to promote participation of all political parties in the electoral process. Dozens of people are still locked up after opposition protests in May following the legislative polls. AFP

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[l] at 10/18/19 12:44am
Professional footballers are associated with exquisite lives, fast and luxury cars and riches and some have question why players should be payed hugely just for running and kicking a round inflated object. The clue can be found in their fitness levels, consistency and inputs from childhood to becoming a professional but also their professional footballing calenders look very different from a regular guy’s. These footballers have unbelievable schedules in the course of 12 months and some go for an entire year without having up to 4 weeks of rest, let me retake that … some professional footballers go for one full year without up to 30 days of rest. Running, shouting, travelling and scoring. Some are extremely charged that they play about 7 competitions within 12 months, including their domestic competitions, champions league, Europa league, super cups as well as Fifa’s World club championship. Now let us Narrow things down to some African players. We look at their footballing calender 11 months ago from now. The case of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah whose season was stretched right up to the summit of European club football, the Champions league finals, it was even more evident how these players spend less time not playing football in the course of one year. The champions league finals was played on June 1 while the Afcon was to kick off 20 days after, meaning that both Salah and Mane had less than a week to join Egypt and Senegal to finalize preparations ahead of the competition. After playing week-in week-out through the tough and energy consuming English premiere league, travelling for hundreds of thousands for league and champions league matches, Salah and Mane just like many other African footballers plying their trade in Europe and around the globe, then came the physical and all demanding African Nations Cup in the heart of the deserts in Egypt where scourging temperatures coupled with the intensity of the competition sapped out the best of what is left in these players. They are professionals and it is part of their job, no denial here. The competition took out the majority of the summer holidays for these players from June to July. Salah, Egypt’s vice captain after losing 0-1 to South Africa on July 6th at the Afcon, two days later rejoined Liverpool’s team that left for the US for pre-season preparations. Meaning that the player had just one week of rest before travelling for the US. For Senegal’s Mane the story was different as he led his side through to the finals of the Afcon, scoring 3 goals along the way. Mane played 6 matches, two more than Salah at the Afcon and while he lost the finals to Riyah Mahrez on July 19, Salah and Liverpool were already in the USA for pre-season preparations. Mane finally made a brief stop in Dakar with the Senegalese team to showoff their Silver medal to the nation, before joining Liverpool in the US for pre-season. On Monday October 14 Egypt played a friendly match against Botswana and guess what, Mohamed Salah was intentionally left out of the squad just so he can get some rest while Sadio Mane played for Senegal in their 1-1 draw against Brazil last week. Whether it is the nature of their job or the player’s commitment, the case of Salah and Mane as well as many other top flight professional footballers has precipitated the conclusion that some footballers go for less than two weeks in an entire football season without getting rest. @philemonmbale

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)] [Link to media]

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