Category Archives: Breaking News

Nigeria election: Oby Ezekwesili to stand for president


Nigeria’s presidential election was shaping up to be a contest between two veteran male politicians, but the candidacy of Oby Ezekwesili could change that.

Women have run for the presidency before but she is the most prominent Nigerian woman to challenge for the top job, the BBC’s Nigeria reporter Chris Ewokor says.

Ms Ezekwesili is well known for leading the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to help free the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok, northern Nigeria, in 2014. She has also served as the country’s education minister and vice-president of the World Bank.

But come February’s vote it will be a tough challenge to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, or beat the main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, 72, who both have formidable party machines behind them.

Advertisements

Libyan forces capture Egyptian jihadist al-Ashmawy


Security forces in Libya have captured one of Egypt’s most wanted jihadists during an operation in the eastern port city of Darnah.

Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former army officer, is accused of being behind several deadly attacks in Egypt and an attempt against a top state official.

He had a suicide vest strapped on, said the Libyan National Army, which controls much of eastern Libya.

Libya has been unstable since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

His 40-year rule ended when he was ousted and killed by rebels during the so-called Arab Spring protests.

Zimbabwe borrows its way out of fuel crisis


Crippling petrol shortages have prompted Zimbabwe’s central bank to release over $40m (£31m) for the commodity, it says.

Petrol queues had stretched for several kilometres at some stations before fuel ran out.

Food prices have risen and essential goods are in short supply because of a foreign currency shortage. A $500m credit line will also be used to import fuel, medicines and wheat, as well as soya beans to address a shortage of cooking oil, authorities say.

Some see this as a sticking plaster. The bigger problem – Zimbabwe’s foreign currency shortage – can only be resolved when the country increases its exports.

Cameroon election: Kamto declares himself winner


In Cameroon an opposition candidate has declared himself the winner of Sunday’s presidential election despite a government warning not to announce any unofficial results.

At a press conference in the capital Yaoundé, Maurice Kamto said he had received a clear mandate from the people and he vowed to defend it.

Mr Kamto provided no evidence to back up what correspondents say is both a controversial and provocative declaration.

No official results have yet been declared and the Constitutional Court has two weeks to announce the outcome.

Ahead of Sunday’s vote, President Paul Biya was widely seen as the favourite to win – he is seeking a seventh term in office.

KICD to forge ahead with new curriculum plans


The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has said it is proceeding with the implementation of the new curriculum after getting approval from the Education ministry.

Director Julius Jwan on Sunday said that the activity is being conducted within globally acceptable standards.

“Claims that the reform agenda had stalled are misleading and meant to cause unnecessary panic,” he said, adding that findings of an audit done by the agency were not conclusive.

“We cannot only rely on an internal evaluation. We need a third eye to generate comparative findings on our state of preparedness for a full rollout. That is why even piloting was necessary to bring out gaps so that they can be fixed.”

By CR

U.S. Refusal to Be Investigated By the ICC Redeems African Leaders


America’s contemptuous dismissal of the International Criminal Court’s attempts to investigate allegations of torture against US soldiers in Afghanistan demands a relook of African leaders’ long-standing criticism of this institution.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002, in terms of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute defined four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

For a long time the ICC has been condemned for its one-sided prosecution of Third World leaders accused of such crimes. While it has investigated and jailed warlords like Charles Taylor, and even declared Omar Al-Bashir a wanted man, the court’s attempt to investigate the crimes of American soldiers in Afghanistan has led to a nasty response from the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Late last year the ICC opened a file to investigate the allegations that US military and CIA personnel committed acts of torture in the 17 years that the US has operated in Afghanistan. The investigation was opened by an ICC prosecutor from The Gambia, Fatou Bensuda.

The US is not a state party to the ICC, but Afghanistan is. The ICC therefore asserts jurisdiction over Afghanistan, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator. In response to the ICC’s move to prosecute US military men who were involved in detainee abuse in Afghanistan, John Bolton said, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by the illegitimate court.”

While attempts by African countries like Burundi and South Africa to withdraw from the ICC was heavily condemned, it is noteworthy that the ICC has often come under criticism from African leaders. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni once referred to the ICC as “a bunch of useless people”. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ICC was a “tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense”. It is also interesting to note that the cases handled by the ICC were mainly instigated by the African countries involved.

Adotei Akwei, managing director for government relations at Amnesty International, rebuked the US position, saying its rejection of the ICC’s legitimacy “is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of ground-breaking work by the international community to advance justice.”

Given America’s flagrant dismissal of the ICC, African leaders seem justified in their distrust of the court. The question that arises is this: If the court can’t deal with the powerful, how can its existence be justified?

By CR

Morocco implements ban on forced marriages


A new law criminalising sexual violence and harassment has come into force in Morocco.

The law – which includes a ban on forced marriage – follows growing concern in recent years about levels of abuse against women.

One survey found that six in 10 Moroccan women had suffered some kind of violence. Recent rape cases have received wide coverage on social media.

BBC Arabic’s Mouna Ba says the new law has been widely welcomed, but it has also been criticised because it does not provide a definition of domestic violence or a specific ban on marital rape.

By CR