Category Archives: Africa

Burundi: ruling party celebrates victory

Burundi’s ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye has won the presidential election with 68.72% of votes cast, the electoral commission said on May 25, after multiple accusations of rigging by the leading opposition challenger.

The commission said opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa got 24.19% of votes. There was a turnout of 87.71%.

The vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza was preceded by a wave of political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

There was also controversy over holding the election during the global coronavirus crisis.

Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands fled into exile after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by standing for a third term.

Rwasa has previously said he would take his complaints to the constitutional court, though it is overwhelmed with the president’s allies. He was not immediately available for comment on the elections results announcement.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.

Al-Bashir $4bn assets confiscated

Following the investigation, Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates, the country’s anti-corruption body said.

“Our initial estimates of the value of the assets, shares in different companies and buildings we have confiscated is $3.5 billion to $4 billion,” Salah Manaa, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption and Regime Dismantling Committee, said in response to questions. The body was set up late last year.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in a coup a year ago amid mass protests against his three-decade rule, was jailed in December after being found guilty of illicitly possessing millions of dollars in foreign currencies.

The oust leader has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur.

EU welcomes Chad death penalty abolilition

On May 20, Chad adopted a new anti-terrorism law that no longer includes the death penalty for terrorism-related crimes, with life imprisonment as the maximum sentence. With this law, Chad has become the 22nd African state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in law.

It is a strong signal to other countries in the world and contributes to the gradual abolition of the death penalty in Africa. 80% of the member states of the African Union are already abolitionist by law or apply a moratorium” reads the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

“The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.

“The Chad decision is also a step towards harmonizing the G5 Sahel’s legal framework in the fight against terrorism. In their Joint Declaration of 28 April 2020, the members of the European Council and the member states of the G5 Sahel stressed the importance of ensuring respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in the conduct of their actions”.

Image: Chad army celebrating victory of military operation

Rwanda: fugitive Bizimana pronounced dead

Serge Brammertz said fugitive Augustin Bizimana, who was indicted on 13 charges including genocide, murder and rape, is believed to have died in Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo in 2000. His remains were identified by DNA testing.

Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians” in five Rwandan regions, Brammertz said in a statement.

The announcement of Bizimana’s death follows the arrest in Paris last week of Felicien Kabuga, another of a handful of prominent suspects from the Rwandan genocide who had been on the run for more than two decades.

“The key lesson from the death of Augustin Bizimana is that the world should give timely justice,” said Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of genocide survivors’ organisation Ibuka.

“The suspects should be brought to justice before their deaths, also to avoid survivors dying before hearing the cases of those who killed their loved ones.”

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda conducted 50 trials before closing its doors in 2015. Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

The statement said prosecutors had conducted DNA analysis “late last year” on remains that had earlier been recovered from a grave site in Pointe Noire.

Wildlife trafficking to China

Under the guise of legal exports, South African traders with China are illegally selling thousands of wild animals threatened with extinction and endangered, according to an investigation.

Apes have been stolen from the wild along with cheetahs, tigers, rhinos, lions and meerkats, they have been trafficked to circuses, theme parks, laboratories, zoos and “safari parks”, and simply as exotic foods, researchers revealed.

Their report says at least 5,035 live wild animals were exported to China from 2016 to last year – “an extremely conservative” estimate – including chimpanzees and “a bewildering number” of giraffe, which “are also eaten in China”.

Borrell condemns barbarism in Ituri

Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been hit for several weeks by an intensification of almost daily systematic attacks against the civilian population. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 200,000 people have fled the atrocities.

“These barbaric acts must stop. It is up to the Congolese authorities and the UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO) to put an end to the actions of the CODECO armed militia and to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. No feeling of impunity can prevail. It is also essential to give priority to dialogue and to fight against any instrumentalization of identity.

“What is happening in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo cannot become a forgotten crisis; and efforts to end insecurity in this region must be accelerated. The European Union stands ready to support the efforts of the Congolese authorities in this direction, in coordination with its partners.

“Finally, the European Union does not exclude taking adequate measures with regard to individuals, groups or organizations which contribute by their actions to undermining the preservation of peace or to serious human rights violations”.

Lesotho PM Thabane resigns

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane resigned on May 19, three months after police named him and his current wife as major suspects in the murder of his former wife in a case that has shocked the southern African nation.
Thabane had formally handed in his resignation to King Letsie III, the top traditional leader of the mountainous kingdom.

Thabane’s disgraceful resignation marks the end of one of Lesotho’s longest political careers, one marked by exile, intrigue, tensions and a political crisis that deepened when police named him as a murder of his wife suspect in February.

“The time to retire from the great theatre of action, take leave from public life and office has finally arrived,” the 80-year-old Thabane announced in a speech on Lesotho TV.

All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, opposition figures and South African mediators who had arrived to find a way out of the crisis caused by the murder of Thabane’s wife had all been pressing the Prime-minister to resign over the police investigation, which casted shadow on his reputation incompatible with holding the office.

Gunmen shot dead his previous wife, Lipolelo, on June 14, 2017, two days before he took office. Thabane had filed for divorce from Lipolelo Thabane, when she was shot dead near her Maseru home. The attack occurred just two days before Thabane was sworn in for his second stint as Prime minister.

Prime minister wife, and incumbent First Lady, Maesaiah has been formally charged with the murder. Though named as a suspect, Thabane has not been charged. They both deny any involvement. At present Maesaiah, has already been charged and is out on bail. Thabane asked the Constitutional Court to stop the courts from trying him for the crime while he remained in office. His retirement means he could now stand trial.

Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, 58, is expected to replace him. Among his immediate tasks as Prime minister will be to pass the budget and revive the economy. Despite confirming only one coronavirus case, Lesotho has taken a big economic hit due to the global slowdown brought about by the pandemic.

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