Tag Archives: Africa

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.

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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.

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

Zambia ex-VP avoids jail thanks to church


Former Zambian Vice-President Nevers Mumba has avoided prison after pleading that as a pastor, his congregation would suffer if he went to jail.

The cleric and politician was convicted on two counts of abuse of the authority of office by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The charges relate to his time when he served as Zambia’s ambassador to Canada between 2009 and 2011.

He was found guilty of awarding a contract to a Canadian company to do electrical works at the official residence of the high commissioner.

He was also found guilty of not following the correct procedure in the awarding of another contract for electrical and carpeting work, as well as the construction of a desk at the same residence.

After his guilty verdict was announced, Mumba pleaded in mitigation that his church members could not do without him.

The magistrate accepted this and Mumba, who served as vice-president between 2003 and 2004, will not serve any sentence as he was granted an absolute discharge.

Mumba is still involved in politics, and is now a faction leader of the former ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

Kenya banks fined over $78m corruption scandal


Kenya’s Central Bank has fined five commercial banks linked to an alleged $78m (£59m) corruption scandal involving the National Youth Service (NYS).

The missing funds were allegedly stolen in a scheme involving senior government officials and ghost suppliers.

Standard Chartered, Equity Bank, KCB Bank, Co-operative Bank and Diamond Trust Bank were collectively fined just under $4m.

They are accused of being conduits of fraudulent payments to suppliers of the NYS.

The NYS is an initiative by the government to train young people in life and business skills. It was part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan to fix Kenya’s high youth unemployment.

BBC Africa Business’s Hudheifa Aden says Kenya’s director of public prosecution is expected to determine the criminal culpability of the accused banks.

NYS boss Richard Ndubai, who was arrested in May, is among 20 officials already facing charges over the scandal.

Nigeria’s football kit up for design award


London’s Design Museum has 87 nominees for its Beazley Designs of the Year – and included in the fashion category is Nigeria’s World Cup football kit.

The Super Eagles went out in the group stages of the tournament in Russia – but their outfits definitely won the fashion stakes.

The home and away shirts sold out on the Nike website soon after they were released – and there were long queues at the beginning of June in London with fans anxious to get their hands on the shirts