Freetown (AFP) Sierra Leone chooses a new president on Saturday following a delay caused by a ruling party-backed court case over alleged electoral fraud, spiking tensions following an already fractious campaign. The West African nation’s 3.1 million voters will choose between the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara and opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Bio, a former junta leader, won by just 15,000 votes in the March 7 first round, but failed to attain the 55 percent of ballots needed toRead More
Sydney (AFP) When disgraced Australian cricketer Steve Smith faced the cameras in Sydney on Thursday with a tearful apology for a ball-tampering scandal, he joined a small club of sports stars who have very publicly said sorry. Athletes have played the penitent for everything from cheating at their sport to cheating on a wife; from pre-meditated assault on a rival to simply losing. Here are five high-profile mea culpas: Gianluigi Buffon – 2017 Fans reacted with shock and disbelief last year when Italy failed to qualify for the football WorldRead More
Nairobi (AFP) A Kenyan court fined the interior minister and police chief Thursday after they defied orders to produce an opposition politician in court, who was instead deported for the second time in two months. A prominent but unelected politician with the National Super Alliance (NASA), Miguna Miguna was thrust into the spotlight after his deportation last month, and his attempted return to Kenya this week has seen the nation gripped by political theatrics. As Miguna was held at the airport for two days over the immigration spat, the highRead More
Monrovia (AFP) As UN peacekeepers leave Liberia after 14 years, headway in reforming the security forces is being undermined by lack of progress in tackling the country’s traumatic legacy of war crimes, officials say. Liberia’s 1989-2003 conflict killed around a quarter of a million people, while government forces and rebel groups murdered, maimed and raped with impunity. The UN mission, known as UNMIL, was deployed in September 2003 as the highly politicised army and police were disbanded after committing some of the worst abuses. The effort to protect Liberians afterRead More
Freetown (AFP) Veteran politician Samura Kamara, seen as a shrewd political operator, hopes to take up the mantle of outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma as his hand-picked successor. An economist by training, the 66-year-old Kamara was foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue the presidency under the flag of the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC), an announcement that came as a surprise to many. A Catholic in a majority Muslim nation, Kamara is known for his ready smile and dislike of confrontation, in sharp contrast toRead More
Serowe (Botswana) (AFP) President Ian Khama of Botswana this week wrapped up a national “farewell tour” before he stands down on Saturday in a power transfer designed to stress his statesmanship and the country’s stability. Khama has visited all of Botswana’s 57 constituencies since December, bidding a long goodbye to a population of just 2.2 million after serving the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office. He will be succeeded by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, a full 18 months before elections. Khama’s two terms in power have been defined byRead More
Sydney (AFP) One of Cricket Australia’s biggest sponsors, fund manager Magellan, on Thursday tore up its contract with the governing body over the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the game. At the same time sporting goods company ASICS announced it was ending its relationship with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, two of the players at the heart of the cheating incident, while breakfast cereal Weet-Bix dumped Steve Smith. Magellan inked a three-year partnership in August 2017 as naming rights sponsor for Australia’s domestic Tests in a deal estimated at theRead More
Nairobi (AFP) An outspoken member of the opposition alliance was Wednesday expelled from Kenya for the second time in two months, his lawyer told AFP. Miguna Miguna, a firebrand member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight to Canada last month. The High Court on February 26 ordered immigration authorities to allow him to return to the country and he arrived back on Monday. “He has been deported,” for a second time, said lawyer Cliff Ombeta by telephone. “It is a Dubai destined flightRead More
Malakal (South Sudan) (AFP) By the time her 19-year-old son was shot in front of her, Ayak had already lost her four brothers and witnessed countless deaths in South Sudan’s brutal war. Living alone in a miserable structure of plastic sheets and tin in a huge camp for displaced people, watching as relentless rains turned earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. “I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and their deaths, I decided to takeRead More
Sydney (AFP) Distraught former Australia cricket captain Steve Smith was in tears Thursday as he accepted full responsibility for a ball-tampering scandal that has shaken the sport, saying he was devastated by his “big mistake”. “I take full responsibility, I made a serious error of judgement and I understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership,” he said before breaking down at a press conference after his arrival in Sydney from Johannesburg. “I will do everything to make up for my mistake. “If any good can come for this…Read More