South Sudan condemns US sanction on oil companies

By NewsDesk,

The South Sudan Government has condemned a recent decision by U.S. which laied sanction on 15 oil companies including two crucial government agencies, the action which the government claimed was a plot to fasten regime change and collapse the country’s President, Salva Kiir, government presidency.

Through Minister of Information, Makuei Lueth, the government informed newsmen in Juba on Friday that the imposition of sanctions during midweek by the U.S. State Department on the country’s oil operators showed Washington was motivated by regime change through cutting off the oil revenue which is key lifeline for survival of the world’s youngest nation.

According to its, the action is continuation of the same policy of regime change. The American government has been clear that current

leaders of South Sudan cannot continue,” Lueth said, referring to earlier remarks by U.S. diplomat Nikki Haley that President Kiir is “unfit partner.”

The sanctions were imposed on the state-owned Nile Petroleum Company, Dar Petroleum Operating Company(DPOC), Malaysia’s Petronas, Nigerian consortium Oranto Petroleum and other listed local companies barredfrom trading and dealing with U.S. based companies.

Oranto oil made entrance into South Sudan, Africa’s third largest oil producer last year to explore blocks in thenorthern Jonglei area.

“They are steps being taken so that the government can collapse and the rebels can take over.

“If they can sanction ministries of petroleum, mining and Nilepet so that the government collapses
within a short time,” he disclosed.

South Sudan depends 98 per cent on oil to finance its annual fiscal budget which has been hugely disrupted byover four years of conflict with production in the northern oil fields declining to less than 160,000
barrels a day.

The ministry of petroleum had earlier on projected to increase oil output to over 260,000 bpd as the completion of the Tharjiath oil refinery nears in Bentiu to help shore up the hugely battered economy amid hyperinflation.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his former deputy Riek Machar leading to fighting between mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir and ethnic Nuer soldiers loyal to Machar.

The violence has killed tens of thousands, leaving two million people displaced and two million others living as refugees in neighboring countries.

The efforts by regional leaders to revive the 2015 peace agreement shattered in the wake of renewed violence in July 2016 are yet to bear fruit as they have been indefinitely suspended after the warring parties failed to make headway.

Zambabwea president fixes July for presidential, parliamentary elections

By NewsDesk,

The Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has said that presidential and parliamentary elections, since end of former strongman Robert Mugabe’s long rule, would take place in July, 2018

According to him, the polls will be the first major test of the new leader, who took power in November after a de facto military coup forced the 94-year-old Mugabe to resign.

They will also be the first without Mugabe’s name on the ballot since independence from Britain in 1980.

“As a nation, party and government, we are looking forward to very peaceful, transparent and harmonised elections in July this year,” Mnangagwa told reporters after a meeting with South Africans President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday night.

Mnangagwa, 75, said the elections would be free of the violence that gripped previous polls and which was one of the reasons for strained relations between Zimbabwe and the West.

“I have already invited all political parties in Zimbabwe to a roundtable where we all commit ourselves to non-violence,” he added.

Mnanaggwa will have to announce a date in an official notice. He has said he would invite Western observers, who had been banned under Mugabe’s rule.

The state-owned weekly Sunday Mail said a European Union pre-election team was expected in Harare on Monday.

The EU head of mission in Zimbabwe, Phillipe Van Damme, told the paper it would meet the president, political party leaders, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Mugabe, in his first comments since he stepped down, said last week that Mnangagwa’s rule was “illegitimate” and a “disgrace”.


Burundian president fixes mid May for referendum

By NewsDesk,

Burundian President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has set May 17 as date for a referendum that could extend his rule for at least a decade.

The small and impoverished Central Africa nation has been unstable since 2015, when Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office that his opponents said was unconstitutional.

The referendum will decide whether to amend the constitution to extend presidential terms to seven years from five.

The proposed changes would limit the president to two consecutive terms but would not take into account previous terms, potentially extending Nkurunziza’s rule to 2034.

“The draft constitution submitted to the referendum will be adopted if the absolute majority of votes or fifty percent plus one vote, approve it,” Nkurunziza said in a statement issued by his office announcing the date.

Several leaders around Africa have sought to void laws or use other tactics to thwart opponents and prolong their reigns beyond constitutional limits, sometimes for decades.

Those who opposed Nkurunziza’s third five-term launched an armed struggle against his government, and the resulting violence has left hundreds dead and forced at least 400,000 people into exile.

Regional efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict have dragged on without results so far.

This month, the ruling CNDD-FDD decided to give Nkurunziza the title of “CNDD-FDD Party Visionary” after appraising his ideas and teachings.

The title has no specific role attached to it and appeared to be aimed at shoring up support for the president ahead of the referendum.

Zuma may contest corruption charges reinstatement by prosecutor

By NewsDesk,

The South African former President, Jacob Zuma, has on Saturday said that he may challenge a prosecutor’s decision to reinstate corruption charges over a $2.5 billion arms deal, the development which was declared yesterday by the office after it was expected to let go off the case.

However, it was reported that Zuma, who was forced to resign by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) last month, was at the center of a 1990s deal to buy European military kit that has cast a shadow over politics in South Africa for years.

The Chief state prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, had informed newsmen during a conference on Friday that Zuma’s attempts to head off the charges hanging over him for more than a decade had failed.

He said the 75-year-old Zuma denies all the allegations against him.

Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley said the reason behind Abrahams’ decision was not clear from the “one-page and somewhat terse response” received from him “advising that the representations made on behalf of Zuma were unsuccessful,” eNCA said on its news website.

“In the circumstances, the likely course of action would be to take the decision of the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions) on review. The decision will however only be made after careful consideration and consultation with Mr Zuma,” Hulley was quoted as saying in a screengrabbed text.

Zuma will face 16 charges relating to 783 instances of alleged wrongdoing, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said on Friday.

Twelve are of fraud, one of racketeering, two of corruption and one of money laundering.

Morroco bids for 2026 World Cup, earmarks over $15bn

By NewsDesk, with Agency report

Morocco has proposed using 14 stadiums and budgeting to spend 15.8 billion dollars on infrastructure if it wins the right to host the World Cup soccer finals in 2026, the country’s bid committee announced at a news conference on Saturday.

But Morocco will not build any new stadiums for the tournament, preferring to renovate and modify existing venues and add temporary capacity to others, said candidature chairman Moulay Hafid Elalamy, who is also a government minister.

The North African country is up against a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States when world soccer governing body FIFA’s member countries decide in Moscow on June 13 who will host the tournament eight years from now.

Saturday’s news conference revealed details of Morocco’s bid book, which was presented to FIFA on Friday, with the central theme being making their football infrastructure sustainable after the tournament and keeping down construction costs.

At least five stadiums, termed legacy modular stadiums and with largely temporary capacity, will be downscaled after the finals to meet the specific needs of their local communities. Casablanca and Marrakech will both have two stadiums with other venues being the capital Rabat, Agadir, El Jadida, Fez, Meknes, Nador, Ouarzazate Oujda, Tangier and Tetouan.

“The World Cup is a national priority for our government and that is why it has guaranteed the required investment in our exciting and innovative stadium plans,” added Elalamy.

“Our beautiful and welcoming nation offers players and fans something very special with just one timezone, one currency and all host cities are within a 550km radius from Casablanca, meaning limited travel and simple logistics.

“All host cities are also all located within an hour’s drive of an airport, so players and fans need only focus on the one thing that matters most – football.”

Morocco bid unsuccessfully to stage the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. The country was second to the U.S. in ‘94, behind France in ‘98 and just lost out to South Africa for the 2010 finals, the only time the event has been held in Africa.

Corruptions charges resumption against Zuma in chief persecutor’s hands

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

The South African former President, Jacob Zuma, faith on whether he would continue facing various charge bothering on corruption, has been said would be determine by Chief States prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, who was expected to announce on Friday if he was to reinstating charges against ex-president.

Zuma, before he stepped aside as South African president recently, was facing 783 counts of corruption relating to a 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) government arms deal in the late 1990s, as filed, but then dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) shortly before he ran for the presidency.

The Spokesman, NPA,  Luvuyo Mfaku, disclosed the announcement was expected to come up by mid noon.

meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that South Africa’s main opposition, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, warned ex- President Jacob Zuma to repay the $1.3 million of public money to avoid going to jail.

Maimane claimed that the figure was confirmed by the State Attorney and  under Zuma government, presidency paid out millions of rand on legal costs relating to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to drop charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him.

The figure was revealed in a letter sent to DA on Tuesday by the State Attorney.

The State Attorney said the office was instructed by new President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide the details after having considered the court approach.

“We are instructed to inform you that since May 1, 2009 an amount of R15,300,250 was incurred by the Presidency on legal costs pertaining to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to decline to prosecute Zuma on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering.

Zuma in misappropriated $1.3M public fund trouble after office

By NewsDesk,

The South African former President, Jacob Zuma, has started facing threat over $1.3 million public fund which main opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), leader, Mmusi Maimane, warned if Zuma did not pay could lead him to jail.

Weeks after Zuma stepped aside as president of South Africa as result of pressure from his party, Maimane claimed that the figure was confirmed by the country’s State Attorney who revealed it in a letter sent to DA earlier in the week.

It has reported that under Zuma’s administration paid out millions of rand on legal costs relating to National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to drop charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against the former president.

As gathered, it was learnt that the Stat Attorney claimed that the office was instructed by new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to provide details after having considered the court approach.

“We are instructed to inform you that since May 1, 2009 an amount of R15,300,250 was incurred by the presidency on legal costs pertaining to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to decline to prosecute Zuma on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering.”

However, the opposition’s leader stated that Zuma must personally repay public funds as he went to court in his personal capacity, for crimes allegedly committed before he became president.

“He (Zuma) was not a respondent in that case in his capacity as president of the Republic of South Africa. As such, this amounts to R15.3m of irregular spending by the government to keep Jacob Zuma out of jail. Therefore, Jacob Zuma must personally pay back this money.

The DA has consulted our legal team and begun the legal process of retrieving every cent of this R15.3m from Jacob Zuma,” Maimane said.

DA has already began a legal process to ensure that “every cent” paid out so far is retrieved from Mr Zuma and he has invited President Ramaphosa to join the legal action.

Mr Zuma faces 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.

5,000 Ethiopians cross into Kenya as killing intensify

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

At least, 5,000 Ethiopians were reported to have crossed into Kenya following killing of several civilians by Ethiopian military which said a botched security operation targeting militants.

However, it was gathered that soldiers were deployed to an area near the town of Moyale in Oromiya, a region that borders Kenya, in pursuit of Oromo Liberation Front fighters who had crossed into the country from Kenya.

Media reports indicated that wrong intelligence led soldiers launch of attack that killed nine civilians and injured 12 others.

Through a statement on Tuesday, the Kenyan Red Cross Society claimed that population of refugees from Ethiopia continues has increased and that they were estimated at 5,000.

It said that  refugees from Ethiopia had begun to arrive in Kenya since March 10 and that displaced Ethiopians were mostly women and children, including pregnant ones and lactating mothers, chronically ill persons, those able differently and the elderly.

Some of those fleeing had moved with their livestock, compounding pressure on struggling relief agencies, the Red Cross said.

The Oromo Liberation Front is a secessionist group which the Ethiopian government describes as terrorist.

Outbreaks of violence have continued in Oromiya province even after Ethiopia declared a six-month, nationwide state of emergency last month following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

A state official in the Oromiya region told Reuters on condition of anonymity that tens of thousands of people have also been internally displaced.

Ethiopia has said that five soldiers who took part in the attack near Moyale have been“disarmed” and are under investigation, while a high-level military delegation has been dispatched to the area to inquire further into the incident.

The town’s mayor was not immediately available to comment.

Desalegn said his unprecedented Feb. 15 resignation was intended to smooth the way for reforms, following years of violent unrest that threatened the ruling EPRDF coalition’s hold on Africa’s second most populous nation.

His successor as premier and EPRDF chairperson is expected to be named before the end of this month.

16 kill after thunder strike in Rwanda

By NewsDesk, with Agency repory

At least no fewer than 16 people were reported to have been killed after thunder struck a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rwanda, while injuring dozens more.

It was gathered that died at the spot as lightning hit the church in the Nyaruguru district in the Southern Province on Saturday.

The Local Mayor, Habitegeko Francois, confirmed to newsmen that two others died later from their injuries and  that 140 people involved in the incident, had been rushed to hospital and district health centres, but that many had already been discharged.

“Doctors say that only three of them are in critical condition but they are getting better,” he said.

According to the mayor, a similar accident took place on Friday when lightning struck a group of 18 students, killing one of them.



28 kill after multiple explosions rock Burkina Faso

By NewsDesk, with agency report,

Multiple explosions was reported to have rocked Burkina Faso army headquarters and French Embassy and other suburbs in capital of Ouagadougou, the attacked of which was attributed it to terrorism.

Sources at the scene told newsmen that masked gunmen with backpacks attacked the army headquarters after the explosion.

They narrated five armed men got out of a car and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the embassy, in the center of the city.

It was reported that were  heavy exchanges of gunfire after which police and army units were deployed to the area.

However, sources disclosed that apart from attack on the army office and embassy, there were other smaller explosions came from the headquarters after a first larger blast and that security forces were converging on the scene.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, like other countries in West Africa, has been targeted sporadically by jihadist groups operating across Africa’s Sahel region.

Suspected jihadists killed at least 18 people in August 2017 during a raid on a restaurant in Ouagadougou and militants have targeted Burkinabe security forces along its remote northern border region with Mali.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for an attack on a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in which 30 people were killed.

Five regional countries launched a new taskforce in 2017 to tackle Islamist militants in the zone, to which international donors have committed a half-billion dollars.