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Dakar (AFP) Prominent Senegalese lawmaker Barthelemy Dias has been arrested for insulting the judiciary after close ally Khalifa Sall was jailed for fraud, his lawyer said Saturday. Dias is a strong supporter of Sall, the popular Dakar mayor who was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison, a punishment that will rule him out of a presidential election due next February. The dissident Socialist Party MP was arrested after he made disparaging remarks about the judges in the Sall case. Dias remained in detention on Saturday, his lawyer ElRead More
Freetown (AFP) Voters in the West African state of Sierra Leone were called out to vote on Saturday in the final round of a presidential campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. A wafer-thin margin separated the two frontrunners after the first round on March 7, adding to tensions in a country where political loyalties are often divided along ethnic lines and traumatic memories of civil war run deep. Opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) had a narrow edgeRead More
Kinshasa (AFP) The Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition party on Saturday chose the son of its founder, a historic opposition figure, as its leader and presidential candidate in long delayed polls due at the end of the year. The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) said Felix Tshisekedi, the son of former premier Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Brussels in February last year, will “be the presidential candidate” for the December election, after a night-long meeting in the capital Kinshasa. Tshisekedi was also chosen to lead the partyRead More
Freetown (AFP) Vote counting was under way in Sierra Leone Saturday after the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election, pitting the handpicked successor of the outgoing president against a former coup leader, The election, the result of which is expected early next week, followed a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. Challenger Julius Maada Bio of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) held a narrow lead over the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, a close ally of outgoingRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) More than 1,100 people have been arrested in Ethiopia since the nation declared a state of emergency following the prime minister’s resignation last month, state media reported Saturday. Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation came after more than two years of anti-government protests and increasing divisions in the ruling party. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has for the first time picked an ethnic Oromo, Abiy Ahmed, to be its new leader. He is set to be sworn in as prime minister early next week. The state-affiliated FanaRead More
Dakar (AFP) A Senegalese court on Friday will deliver a verdict in a high-profile corruption trial that could make or break the presidential ambitions of the capital’s popular mayor, Khalifa Sall. After being held in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, Sall went before the court in January and February on charges of embezzling public funds. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison term for Sall and his financial director Mbaye Toure, and a fine worth nearly $10 million (more than eight million euros). A conviction could have far-reaching political consequencesRead More
Luanda (AFP) Tensions between Angola’s president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler’s family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco’s promised “economic miracle” that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country’s economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporationsRead More
Libreville (AFP) Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests and torture after an attempted coup last December, activists say. Several members of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party among 38 who were held at the main police station in the capital Malabo — which they dubbed “Guantanamo” — told AFP of alleged abuse during their detention from December 28 to January 3. “We were tortured for a week,” said party activist Ernesto Obama Ondo, 42. “I received 150 lashes every day,” he said in Malabo. “My buttocks wereRead More
Tunis (AFP) Long seen as a pioneer for women’s rights in the Arab world, Tunisia is pushing ahead with reforms promised after its 2011 revolution — but campaigners say much remains to be done. The country’s 2014 constitution was praised as a key achievement in the revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. But much of it has yet to be passed into law, including provisions on gender equality. Now, moves are afoot on women’s political representation, interfaith marriage and theRead More
Harare (AFP) Illegal gold miners in Zimbabwe have seized a farm belonging to former first lady Grace Mugabe, local media reported, just four months after former President Robert Mugabe was ousted from power. Hundreds of aggressive squatters have taken over portions of Grace’s Smithfield estate in Mazowe, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Harare, and refused to move when she confronted them on Thursday. “Undeterred by the presence of the miners, who were waving shovels and machetes at her, Grace told them to leave the property but they would notRead More