September 10-16, 2023
IGP faces probing committee
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare told the parliamentary committee that he was innocent of all the “baseless, false and wild” allegations levelled against him by his accusers. The committee is looking into the leaked tape which is purported to plot his removal from office. Dampare said he was never in cahoots with Bugri Naabu, the former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to record the private conversation he (Naabu) had with his accusers – COP George Alex Mensah and Superintendent George Asare. Dampare told the committee that the “mischievous allegations” made by his colleagues which had not a shred of evidence impacted not only him but also his family, the police leadership and the entire police service.
“Those wild allegations have caused a lot of pain to myself, my family across the country, especially my wife and my children. “The pain also goes to my command leaders and team and the thousands of policemen who appreciate the strides that we are making to transform the organisation to be the best institution in the country and [to be a]reference point for the rest of the world”, he said. However, the badly bruised IGP, a devout Christian, still found a place in his heart to forgive his accusers, in spite of a suggestion by the chairman of the committee, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, that it was premature to do so since he still had a pending in-camera session with the two witnesses.
Appearing before the seven-member committee to respond to various allegations levelled against him earlier by COP Mensah and Superintendent Asare, Dr Dampare was defiant in his posture throughout the proceedings as he warded off the allegations in a frantic bid to clear his name and salvage the image of the police service. He gave the testimony in the presence of COP Mensah and Superintendent Asare and their counsels. His counsel, Kwame Gyan, had objected to this development at the beginning of the sitting but was overruled by the committee.
UAE lifts visa ban on Nigerian travellers
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lift the visa ban on Nigerian travellers and the Emirates Airlines will resume its flights to Nigeria. This decision follows a meeting between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria and President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE in Abu Dhabi. President Tinubu, who was returning from the G20 summit in India, had been actively seeking a resolution to the disagreements with Emirates Airlines and the visa issues faced by Nigerian travellers. Last year, the UAE suspended visa issuance to Nigerians due to difficulties in repatriating funds from Nigeria, which led to Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airlines suspending their flights to Nigeria. The restoration of flight activities and the lifting of the visa ban came as a result of negotiations between the two leaders, and importantly, there is no immediate financial burden on the Nigerian Government.
Nigeria, as Africa’s top oil producer, has faced challenges with dollar shortages, affecting foreign airlines that sell tickets in Nigerian naira currency. Tinubu has initiated significant reforms in Nigeria, including the removal of the costly petrol subsidy and the lifting of currency restrictions, although liquidity has yet to fully return to the official market, leading to a premium on the black market exchange rate. As part of the discussions, Tinubu negotiated a new foreign exchange liquidity programme between the two governments, with further details to be announced in the coming weeks. Additionally, both leaders have established a framework for new investments worth billions of dollars in various sectors, such as defense, agriculture, and others, through UAE’s investment arms. This development marks a positive step towards strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, facilitating travel, trade, and investments between the two nations.
Mongosuthu Buthelezi dies
Mangosuthu Buuthelezi, a prominent figure in South African politics and an outspoken chief, passes away at the age of 95. During the era of the racist apartheid regime, he established the Zulu Inkatha Party, having become disenchanted with the African National Congress (ANC). This period saw the loss of thousands of lives in clashes between supporters of these two parties in the early 1990s. However, he eventually reconciled with the ANC, and served as Minister of Home Affairs during President Nelson Mandela’s administration.
Chief Buthelezi was a savvy yet controversial politician who differed with the ANC’s approach of armed resistance against White-minority rule. Instead, he pursued a moderate path while leading an ethnic-Zulu homeland. He held opposing views on international sanctions against South Africa, believing that such measures would primarily harm the country’s Black majority. Buthelezi also held the hereditary title of chief among the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group. He served as the prime minister of KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland, and in 1975, he founded the Inkatha Freedom Party, which was both a Zulu political and cultural movement. After leading the party for 44 years, he stepped down as its leader in 2019.
President Ruto keen on clean energy
The Kenyan Government says it is committed to enhancing Kenya’s climate action by adopting low-carbon and efficient transportation systems. President William Ruto said the government will adopt innovative, clean and sustainable energy technologies. He said this would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also provide cheaper transport and spur the growth of the electric vehicle industry. The President noted that two and three-wheeler vehicles comprised the largest share of the national fleet and were used mostly by those at the bottom of the wealth pyramid. “The adoption of electric mobility is a priority intervention to address the challenges of pollution”, he said.
He made the remarks on Friday during the launch of the national e-mobility programme at Mama Ngina waterfront, Mombasa. Ruto assured boda-boda operators that the transition to e-mobility would significantly boost their incomes. “Electric bikes are cheaper to run than petrol”, he said. The President said the government would phase out motorcycles powered by internal combustion engines. He added that Kenya was committed to honouring its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “We remain firmly on course to meet the pollution reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. We are also taking decisive steps in our shift to zero-emission”, he said. Cabinet secretaries Moses Kuria, Kipchumba Murkomen, Aisha Jumwa, Mombasa Governor Abdullswamad Nassir, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, MPs, MCAs, among other leaders, were present.
George Weah begins re-election campaign
President George Weah of Liberia, who is standing for re-election, launched his campaign for the 10 October presidential election in Monrovia on Thursday in front of several thousand people. He will also be taking part in parliamentary elections, an AFP journalist noted. Wearing a blue boubou and cap, President Weah, 56, was cheered in a Monrovia stadium by his supporters dressed in T-shirts bearing his image and that of his running mate Jewel Howard-Taylor, ex-wife of former president and warlord, Charles Taylor. Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in neighbouring Sierra Leone. “I am extremely pleased that you have placed your trust in me to lead this country for the past six years. I owe my ascension to the presidency to the hard work and perseverance of my supporters”, said Weah. “During our first term, we laid the foundations for peace, freedom of expression, macro-economic stability and the restoration of confidence in the national education system. I can guarantee that the years 2024 and beyond will be better for all Liberians”, he said.
The supporters were also wearing red caps, the colour of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), the party of Weah, a former international football star who has turned to politics. He was elected president in 2017 and took office in 2018 for a six-year term. In the crowd, Victoria Kpahn, 19, was preparing to vote for the first time: between two slogans shouted in praise of George Weah, she told AFP that she was sure of a “victory in the first round”.
The campaign officially opened on 5 August and is due to close at midnight on 8 October. President Weah faces 19 rivals. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s former vice-president Joseph Boakai (2006-2018), businessman and party leader Alexander Cummings and human rights lawyer Taiwan Gongloe are among his main rivals. The National Elections Commission has accredited 46 parties. More than 2.4 million voters are registered for the presidential and legislative elections to choose 73 members of parliament and 15 senators out of the country’s 30 senators. Weah’s election in 2017 raised huge hopes in a country ravaged by civil wars between 1989 and 2003 and by the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016. The country of around five million people was only just recovering when it was hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic and then by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Half of Liberians live on less than $1.90 a day, according to the World Bank. Weah came to the presidency promising to create jobs and invest in education. His critics accuse him of having failed to keep his promises.
Protest breaks out over electoral malpractices
There was a protest in Moyamba, Freetown in Sierra Leone, over election malpractices during the 2023 general elections and the killing of opposition party members. The military personnel shot at some of the protesters in a bid to curtail the uprising. “At Moyamba community, there is protest and also on Black Hall Road, Freetown, the state capital, one person has been shot”, a witness said. “The ongoing protest in Sierra Leone today is over the rise in the cost of fuel, food commodities, election malpractice during the 2023 general elections and the killing of opposition party members. The entire country is protesting today; all the deaths recently were recorded in Freetown”, another witness said. Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown was thrown into darkness after Turkish firm, Karpowership switched off the electricity supply to the West African country.
Karpowership switched off the power supply following an unpaid debt of around $40 million, the energy minister of the country, reportedly, said on Friday. Minister Kanja Sesay told Reuters that the outstanding amount “was accrued over time because the government subsidizes more than half the cost the ship charges per kilowatt hour”. He had said the government had to spend more on the subsidy because it charges consumers in the weak local Leone currency, one of worst performing against the dollar in which it pays the power provider. A government commission has been set up to review consumer electricity tariffs which could double. Karpowership, one of the world’s largest operators of floating power plants and part of the Karadeniz Energy Group, signed deals in 2018 and 2020 to provide electricity to Sierra Leone’s state power utility.
Major increase in passenger traffic at Lomé Airport
Passenger traffic at Lomé’s Gnassingbé Eyadema International Airport (AIGE) stood at 632,083 heads over the first half of 2023. According to a report published by the Directorate General of Budget and Finance (DGBF), this is 25.3 per cent more than the 472,166 people recorded between January and June 2022. The DGBF’s report attributes the surge to the opening of new routes, such as the Lomé to Sao Tomé and Principe route (via Libreville) launched in October 2022 by Asky.
Freight and aircraft movements were up by 1.2 per cent and 10.1 per cent, respectively, over the period under review, according to the report. The upward movement started in 2021, after a decline in 2020 spurred by COVID-19. That year, the number of passengers who passed through the AIGE stood at 460,000, against 916,000 in 2019 (-49%). Since then, the airport’s management aimed to reach 1.5 million passengers by 2025, in line with the government’s goal to make Togo a regional air hub.
Junta lifts radio station’s suspension
Burkina Faso’s junta-led government said one of the country’s most popular radio stations could resume broadcasting on Monday (11 September) after being suspended for airing an interview deemed “insulting” to Niger’s new military leaders. Radio Omega was ordered off the air on August 10 but has had the suspension lifted, Communications Minister and government spokesperson Rimtalba Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo announced on Sunday (10 September). The government “very carefully examined” the request made by the Burkinabe media monitoring centre known as OBM following a request by Radio Omega, he said. It had listened to the “argument that ‘the radio team has learned the lessons of this sanction’”, he added. The government remains committed to freedom of opinion and of the press, as well as to the “responsible” conduct of the journalistic profession, the minister said in Sunday’s statement. He underscored to media organizations “the requirement of a media discourse that doesn’t compromise the chances of our collective victory against the forces of evil and domination of the peoples of the Sahel”.
Radio Omega ran on August 10, an interview with Ousmane Abdoul Moumouni, the spokesman of a newly established Nigerien group campaigning to return President Mohamed Bazoum to power. Niger’s elected leader was overthrown on July 26 by members of the Presidential Guard. Moumouni made “insulting comments with regard to the new Nigerien authorities”, minister Ouedraogo said at the time of the channel’s suspension. He said the suspension was “in the higher interests of the nation”. Radio Omega is part of the Omega Media Group, owned by journalist and former foreign minister Alpha Barry. Burkina Faso underwent two military coups last year, each triggered in part – as in Mali and Niger – by discontent with failures to stem a raging Jihadist insurgency. It swiftly declared solidarity with Niger’s new leaders and joined Mali in warning that any military intervention to restore Bazoum would be considered a “declaration of war” against them. In recent months, the Burkinabe authorities have suspended the French TV outlets LCI and France24, as well as Radio France Internationale (RFI) and expelled the correspondents of the French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde.
AFCON hosts close off qualifiers with win
Hosts of next year’s TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire, concluded their last day of the tournament qualifiers with a display that saw them edge Lesotho at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro. The 20,000-seater arena will be one of the host venues for next year’s TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations. A strike by midfielder Ibrahim Sengare in the 16th minute from the edge of the area was enough to see next year’s TotalEnergies CAF AFCON hosts secure a confidence boosting win in front of their supporters. Despite having no chance of progressing further, Lesotho came into the clash a very tactical and organized side who wanted to cause an upset in the final group clash, but an equally organized Cote d’Ivoire side, coupled with the strong support, was enough to see the Elephants come out victorious.
A few good build-ups by the southern African side hardly troubled the hosts, who were quite physical against the visitors who struggled to keep up with the pace and dominance of The Elephants. In the other Group H match, Zambia finished top of the group ahead of Cote d’Ivoire after salvaging a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Comoros away from home. A Benjaloud Youssouf strike in the 45th minute saw the islanders grab hold of the fixture in a bid to finish strong, having already lost out on a place to next year’s finals. With the backing of the home supporters, the Islanders frustrated the Zambians throughout the match, packing numbers at the back and transitioning at high speeds. Chipolopolo eventually found the equalizer, thanks to their trusted forward, Patson Daka. Daka levelled matters in the 71st minute to secure a point and finish top of the group to conclude the closely contested encounter.
Ba chosen as presidential candidate
Senegalese President Macky Sall officially nominated Prime Minister Amadou Ba as the candidate representing his party in the upcoming February 2024 presidential election. This significant announcement was made jointly by the presidency and the government coalition. President Sall, who had been in office since 2012 and secured re-election in 2019, declared in July that he would not pursue a third term, thereby addressing constitutional concerns. Consequently, he was given the authority by his party to select a candidate.
Amadou Ba, 62 years old has been prime minister since September 2022 and was considered one of the frontrunners among the ten declared candidates within the presidential party who aimed to succeed President Sall. The government coalition, Benno Bokk Yakaar, highlighted their choice on social media, declaring Ba as the choice for victory in the first round. Ba’s nomination received formal approval during a meeting of coalition leaders held at the presidential palace. It was broadcast live on national television.
At least three killed in attack
At least three people were killed in an attack blamed on separatist rebels in Cameroon’s southwest on Thursday. Witnesses said armed militants stopped cars, shot at passengers and set vehicles on fire early on Thursday. Two victims died when their car was set ablaze while a third was shot. Curious residents gathered around the remains of a charred car in the village of Muea, in the South West region, on Thursday as two men pulled out a body wrapped in a blanket.
Separatists in minority English-speaking parts of Cameroon have been fighting to carve out an independent state called Ambazonia since 2017. They carry out attacks, kidnappings and killings in the north west and south west regions. The attack took place just days after schools reopened from a long holiday. Insurgents began fighting the Cameroonian military in 2017 after civilian protests calling for greater representation for the Francophone country’s English-speaking minority were violently repressed
Deal to build nuclear reactor finalized
The Rwandan Government has signed an agreement with a German-Canadian start-up to build an “experimental” civil nuclear reactor, in order to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The reactor will be ready for testing in 2026, according to the start-up that will build it, Dual Fluid Energy. These “reactors can be used to produce electricity, hydrogen, and synthetic fuels at lower costs than fossil fuels,” Dual Fluid Energy CEO Gotz Ruprecht said at a conference. press office in Kigali. The use of nuclear power will provide “a stable and reliable source of electricity, reducing dependence on hydrocarbons and helping to meet the growing demand for energy”, said Infrastructure Minister Ernest Nsabimama. Rwanda signed a deal in 2019 to build nuclear power plants in collaboration with Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency Rosatom, sparking strong opposition due to concerns over security.
The leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Frank Habineza, deemed the agreement with Dual Fluid Energy “dangerous”. There is “no big difference between what Dual Fluid Energy wants to do and what Russia and the Rwandan Government wanted to do in 2019,” he said. “No study can convince me that there is a place in this country where a reactor or a nuclear power plant can be built without endangering the population,” he said. “Our test reactor is a small device with low combustion and therefore contains little nuclear material. For this reason, it poses no threat to the environment,” assured the Rwanda Atomic Energy Office and Dual Fluid Energy in a joint press release. South Africa is the only country on the continent to have a civil nuclear programme, with two reactors in service for more than 30 years.