Tanzania’s main opposition party said on Wednesday its leader had been arrested with ten other party figures, in what it called proof that President Samia Suluhu Hassan was persisting with the authoritarianism of her late predecessor John Magufuli.
The Chadema party said leader Freeman Mbowe and the others had been detained before dawn at a hotel in the lakeside city of Mwanza, where they had been planning to hold a meeting later on Wednesday to discuss proposals for a new constitution.
The arrests followed the detention of dozens of other party members last week for holding a meeting without permission. The Mwanza region’s police commander and the regional commissioner both did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment. On Tuesday regional commissioner Robert Gabriel had told reporters that gatherings without government permission were banned in line with policies introduced since Hassan took office to curb COVID-19.
“We are condemning this violation of human rights for Tanzanians and this is a sign that the dictatorship that was prevailing during President Magufuli’s administration is still persisting,” Chadema said in a statement.
Chadema’s former presidential candidate, Tundu Lissu, who lives in self-imposed exile in Europe, tweeted that Hassan’s rise following Magufuli’s death in March had brought “hope that Magufuli’s reign of terror and war on democracy would end.
“Last night’s arrest of Chairman Mbowe and CHADEMA leaders has dashed any such hope. It’s now time for nationwide protests and international isolation of her regime.”
Tanzania has long denied opposition party accusations that its government practices authoritarianism.
Chadema has proposed changing the constitution, which says that this is necessary to protect democracy following the rule of Magufuli. Hassan, of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, had served as Magufuli’s vice president before succeeding him when he died in March of what the government called a heart condition but opponents suspect may have been COVID-19.
Chadema said it had no information on where Mbowe was being held, while the other party figures were detained at Mwanza’s central police station. Chadema had announced plans to hold a meeting in Mwanza, on Lake Victoria, on Wednesday, and said all attendees would observe health guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, Mbowe had told a news conference: “If they want to arrest Chadema supporters due to the constitution issues, let them expand their prisons. We are ready to be arrested and we will not seek bail.” Magufuli had been Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 sceptic, dismissing the virus as harmless, resisting any restrictions to halt its spread and rejecting vaccines.
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Olympics: Ivory Coast, Egypt Reach Quarter-Finals In Football
Ivory Coast and Egypt both qualified for the quarter-finals of men’s football tournament, while South Africa crashed out on day six of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ivory Coast qualified as runners up from Group D after a tough 1-1 draw against Germany, knocking the Europeans out of the tournament. AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Manchester United’s Eric Bailly both featured for the Ivorians in the encounter at the Miyagi Stadium in Tokyo.
The Ivorians opened the scoring when German right-back Benjamin Henrichs deflected the ball into his own net in the 67th minute. Ivory Coast striker Youssouf Dao did well to put the German defence under pressure, forcing the defender into an error.
In the 73rd minute, a brilliant free kick from substitute Eduard Lowen saw the Germans draw level. However, game finished 1-1 and the result was enough for the Ivorians to finish as runners up in the Group.
Ivory Coast will now face Spain for a place in the semi-finals of the competition. Spain won the group after a 1-1 draw with Argentina.
Australia 0-2 Egypt
The Egyptians progressed to the quart-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a 2-0 win against Australia, finishing as Group C runners-up ahead of Argentina on goal difference. Both teams finished on four points to progress to the next round.
Ahmed Rayan scored for Egypt from close range just before half time after he was set up by some great individual work from Ramadan Sobhi. The Egyptians made sure of the win five minutes from time as Ammar Hamdy scored following a fumble from the Australian goalkeeper Tom Glover.
Egypt will face the gold medal holders Brazil, who won Group D ahead of the Ivorians, in their last eight match on Saturday.
Mexico 3-0 South Africa
It was an Olympics that South Africa’s football team will want to forget as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Mexico, ending its hopes of advancing beyond the football group stages at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
South Africa needed to win by two goals or more after their first two Group A matches against France and Japan ended in defeat. Also, Japan needed to beat France in the other encounter for South Africa to qualify for a spot in the quarter-final.
First-half goals by Mexico’s Ernesto Vega (18th minute) and Luis Romo (45), as well as Henry Martin’s strike on the hour mark, condemned South Africa to end a woeful campaign. Mexico and Japan advanced from Group A to the quarter-finals.
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ECOWAS Parliament Speaker advocates for technology to curb insecurity
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Tunis has challenged Parliamentarians and governments of Member State on the need to harness the merits of the latest technological advancements, innovations and intelligence as viable tools to curb insecurity in the region.
The Speaker of the Community Parliament gave the challenge in his remarks, at the opening ceremony of the de-localised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights and Telecommunications and Information Technology of the ECOWAS Parliament, holding at Winneba, Ghana, from 27 – 30 July, 2021.
According to Dr. Tunis evidence shows that societies mired in violent conflict are often characterized by lack of development and shortage of economic opportunities.
“So, we must strive for the return of peace in our region as it remains the key component to sustainable development”, he added. “
“As the world continues to witness innovations and changes in the ICT architecture, the judicial system and its policy makers now have the opportunity to bring justice, law and order closer to the people.”
Through the rapid development of Telecommunications and Information Technology, he argued, administration of justice can be improved and made effective for the smooth running of the society.
“The digitization of legal systems is a development that has come to stay, and I have no doubt that if improved upon, life will be made easier for the people. “
This is because it stands to reason that peace can only prevail in a society that has justice and equity”, he said.
“Furthermore, it is pertinent to consider the conduct of elections, which is the bedrock of democracy and good governance considering this digital age. “
He noted that elections in the region continue to attract a lot of discussions.
“It is true that the Community is yet to attain the stature of most advanced democracies, where citizens express their rights through free and fair elections, thereby making their voices heard and their choices respected”.
He continued: “Our systems are still in the infancy stage and one major way to embrace rejuvenation is by ensuring that we roll out electoral reforms that can withstand the test of time.
The successes we have garnered in recent years must be consolidated through effective counting and monitoring systems, which have been provided for by technology.
To this end, beyond reforms, there must also be a system of accountability and redress that is void of violence and criminality”.
On the issue of the internet, Mr. Tunis noted that as the internet and other digital technologies expand the frontiers of businesses and exchange, cyberspace related crimes also increase.
“There is, therefore, a lot of danger if we do not have a harmonized system that ensures that cybercrimes of all sorts are not allowed to take place and in case they do, we should have the mechanisms in place to thwart calamities”.
The Speaker of the Community Parliament observed that whilst the region crave and yearn for more advancement in digital transformation, it must equip IT professionals and stakeholders with necessary policies to improve the functioning and efficiency of administrations, public policies and economies, as well as the well-being of our population.
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Tunisian President, Moroccan Foreign Minister meet amidst unrest
Tunisian President Kais Saied received the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs who carried an oral message from King Mohammed VI.
This visit comes at a time when opponents of Tunisia’s President Kais Saied, who sparked a crisis by ousting the premier and suspending parliament, challenged him Tuesday to hold new elections instead of building an “autocratic regime”.
The moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which was the strongest group in the coalition government has labelled Sunday’s power grab a “coup d’etat” while the US, EU and other powers have also voiced strong concern.
Ennahdha on Tuesday challenged the president to call new legislative and presidential elections, warning against any delay that would be “a pretext to maintain an autocratic regime”.
Noureddine Bhiri, a leader of the Ennada parliamentary block, says; “no one, experts in constitutional law, deputies, political parties, civil society, no one doubts that these decisions are a coup against the constitution and a clear violation of Article 80 of the constitution.”
“The republican regime is based on the rule of separation of powers and the decision of the President of the Republic has placed all powers – judicial, legislative, executive – in his hands. Therefore, it is constitutionally rejected and against the principles of the Republic, which must be reversed.”
The president’s actions, ostensibly “to save Tunisia”, followed a day of street protests against the government’s poor handling of the Covid pandemic, which has claimed one of the world’s highest official per-capita death tolls in Tunisia.
The president also said he would pick a new prime minister, lifted the parliamentary immunity of lawmakers, and warned armed opposition would be met with a “rain of bullets”. He later fired the defence and justice ministers.
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IMF projects a over 2.5% economic growth for Nigeria by 2022
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has retained its 2.5 per cent projection for Nigeria’s economic growth in 2021. IMF however upgraded its projection for the country’s economic growth in 2022 to 2.6 per cent. This represents a three basis point upgrade from the 2.3 per cent earlier projected in April.
The latest projections were contained in the July edition of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook released yesterday. Though it retained its projection for the global economic growth in 2021, at 6.9 per cent, it however upgraded its projection for 2022 by five basis points to 4.9 per cent.
The IMF however retained its forecast for the sub-Saharan economic region for 2021 and 2022 at 3.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.
“The 2021 forecast for sub-Saharan Africa is unchanged relative to the April WEO, with an upgrade for South Africa following a strong positive surprise in the first quarter offset by downward revisions in other countries. The worsening pandemic developments in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to weigh on the region’s recovery,” IMF said.
While noting that economic prospects have diverged further across countries since the release of its April 2021 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast, IMF said that vaccine access has emerged as the principal fault line along which the global recovery splits into two blocs: those that can look forward to further normalization of activity later this year (almost all advanced economies) and those that will still face resurgent infections and rising COVID death tolls. The recovery, however, is not assured even in countries where infections are currently very low so long as the virus circulates elsewhere.
Consequently, IMF called for multilateral action to diminish divergences and strengthen global prospects.
“The immediate priority is to deploy vaccines equitably worldwide. A $50 billion IMF staff proposal, jointly endorsed by the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, and World Bank, provides clear targets and pragmatic actions at a feasible cost to end the pandemic. Financially constrained economies also need unimpeded access to international liquidity.
“The proposed $650 billion General Allocation of Special Drawing Rights at the IMF is set to boost reserve assets of all economies and help ease liquidity constraints. Countries also need to redouble collective efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These multilateral actions can be reinforced by national-level policies tailored to the stage of the crisis that help catalyze a sustainable, inclusive recovery.
“Concerted, well-directed policies can make the difference between a future of durable recoveries for all economies or one with widening fault lines—as many struggles with the health crisis while a handful see conditions normalize, albeit with the constant threat of renewed flare-ups,” IMF stated.
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COVID-19 Vaccines: Nigeria, South Africa to receive nearly ten million doses
The U.S. government on Wednesday will ship nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries – Nigeria and South Africa – as the continent battles the third wave of infections, White House officials said.
Four million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will go to Nigeria and 5.66 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to South Africa, the officials said.
The South Africa shipment is the single largest sent by the United States since it began sending vaccine shots overseas, one of the officials said. The latest shipments bring the total number of U.S. vaccine doses sent to Africa to 16.4 million.
The urgently needed help comes as amid growing concern about vaccination rates in Africa, which lag far behind those of advanced economies. As of last week, African countries had administered just 60 million vaccine doses to a population that numbers over 1.3 billion, in part due to restrictions on shipments from vaccine-producing countries like India.
Experts worry that the highly contagious Delta variant could pose another setback, if countries begin requiring booster shots for fully-vaccinated individuals, a move that would slow shipments of urgently needed vaccines to developing countries. The White House said equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines was essential to ending the pandemic.
“We are working to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people around the world as fast as possible,” one of the White House officials said.
With the latest shipment to Nigeria and South Africa, the United States will exceed the 80 million vaccine doses that U.S. President Joe Biden had pledged in May to donate to countries around the world, one of the officials said.
Biden in June also announced plans to buy and donate 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union, but those shipments will begin next month, the official said.
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