TANZANIAN PRESIDENT JOHN MAGUFULI PASSES AWAY
We begin the news in Tanzania where tributes have begun to pouring in after the death of President John Magufuli was announced late on Wednesday evening by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Magufuli had been absent for more than two-weeks from public life and this led to speculations about his health.
Tanzania has declared 14 days of mourning. Flags will also fly at half mast while burial arrangements are made.
Vice president Samia Hassan would become the first female president according to Tanzania’s Constitution and the first in East Africa.
She would assume the office of the presidency for the remainder of the five-year term that Magufuli began serving last year after winning a second term.
TANZANIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIANS CROSS INTO KENYA, CITING DEATH THREATS
Four Tanzanian opposition politicians have fled to Kenya, citing death threats and harassment by government agents for enquiring about President John Magufuli’s health.
The politicians, all members of opposition party CHADEMA and former councillors, on Wednesday painted the civil space in the country in bleak colours. They say the government easily jails dissidents. They sneaked through nearby Kenya-Tanzanian border seeking asylum and fearing for their lives.
KENYA-SOMALIA BORDER DISPUTE HEARING HOLDS AT THE ICJ
Kenya will on Thursday evening argue its case in the maritime boundary dispute with Somalia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Kenyan Lawyers are expected to further argue that the ICJ’s exercise of jurisdiction over Kenya in the border dispute is against the country’s consent.
The dispute between the two East African countries stems from a disagreement over which direction their border extends into the Indian Ocean.
KENYAN COURT PRONOUNCES LANDMARK RULING ON FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Still in east Africa ,Kenya’s high court has upheld a ban on female genital mutilation in a landmark ruling welcomed by campaigners seeking to eradicate the internationally condemned procedure.
The court ruled on a petition seeking to legalize FGM on the grounds that the ban is unconstitutional and adult women should be allowed to do what they want with their bodies.
The petition was brought in 2017 by a female doctor, Tatu Kamau, who said that women were being harassed and arrested for undergoing FGM.
Kenya criminalised FGM in 2011 with a punishment of three years imprisonment and a 2,000-dollar fine.
COURT REMANDS SA POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH MURDER IN PRISON
In South Africa, four police officers accused of murdering a 35-year-old Johannesburg man during a student fee protest will be remaining behind bars until next Wednesday when they can formally apply for bail.
They are facing a murder charge for the shooting death of Mthokozisi Ntumba on March 10 when police fired rubber bullets at a group of people – some of whom were student protesters.
Fee protests in South Africa have entered their second week in the country with students demanding a scrapping of historical debt.
HRW LABEL SINAI PENINSULA DEMOLITIONS WAR CRIME
Human Rights Watch says the demolition of buildings by the Egyptian military in the Sinai Peninsula in the last eight years could amount to war crimes.
The rights group in a report says the army destroyed at least 12,350 buildings, mostly homes, in the al-Arish area between late 2013 and 2020.
The demolitions happened without a formal designation of affected areas, without specific reasons, and without a fair compensation process.
UN CHIEF CONDEMNS GAO ATTACK ON INTERNATIONAL FORCES IN MALI
The head of the UN mission in Mali, Mahamat Annadif, has expressed his “deep condolences” to the families of the victims of the Gao attack and the Government of Mali.
UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric says the attack was carried out by “unknown combatants” and the peacekeeping mission will continue to work with authorities to provide additional support.
NIGERIAN ARMY RAMP UP ANTI-DRUG TRAFFICKING FIGHT
The General Officer Commanding of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Lawrence Fejokwu, has assured the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, of adequate support to defeat drug Abuse within its area of responsibility.
The GOC gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by the Chairman NDLEA at Headquarters 81 Division Conference Room.
CDC REPORTS EBOLA DEATHS AND INFECTIONS IN GUINEA AND D.R. CONGO
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reports 30 Ebola virus cases and 15 related deaths in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) so far.
DRC has 12 cases and six deaths while Guinea had 18 cases and nine deaths.
Seven healthcare workers are amongst the confirmed cases, two in DRC and five in Guinea.
Meanwhile, the agency has called on all African countries to enhance their cross-border surveillance efforts by mapping population movements to identify all potential crossing points where there is a risk of the spread of the disease.
TEENAGE PREGNANCY RATES ON THE RISE IN GHANA
The number of early pregnancies in Ghana, which was already high before the pandemic, has further increased with the arrival of Covid-19.
One of the reasons for this was the 10-month closure of schools, one of the longest in Africa.
A 2020 Ghanaian health survey showed that only 18.6 percent of sexually active adolescents were using contraception.
UN APPROVES JANSSEN COVID-19 VACCINE
The United Nations health agency advisory board, SAGE, has publicly approved the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for international use.
In a virtual press conference from Geneva, the SAGE experts hailed the one-dose Janssen shot – produced by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. They described it as a safe and life-saving addition to the three other vaccines already approved for use.
The board recommends the use of the vaccine for people above the age of 18 without an upper age limit.
BEYOND THE CONTINENT
PM RUTTE WINS FOURTH DUTCH ELECTIONS
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in parliamentary elections.
This gives Rutte a mandate to form a new coalition government led by his centre-right VVD party. It will be his fourth term as Prime Minister.
His last government resigned in January over a child welfare fraud scandal.
The Netherlands is governed by a proportional representation system and 37 parties contested.
BOOSTING REFINING CAPACITY
Nigeria plans to bring back its refineries to become operational again. In line with this decision, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of $1.5 billion for the immediate rehabilitation of the largest refining firm in the country, the Port Harcourt refinery.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva says the rehabilitation of the refinery has been awarded to an Italian company, Tecnimont SPA, and will be done in 3 phases of 18, 24 and 44 months.
NIGERIANS REACT TO INCREASED USSD TARRIF
Actions continue to trail the new tariff on USSD services for financial transactions.
This comes after the Central Bank of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that Mobile Network Operators and Deposit Money Banks have agreed to charge customers a flat fee of N6.98 for each USSD transaction.
CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Enyimba International Football Club of Aba lost 2-1 on Wednesday to South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in their CAF Confederation Cup Group A clash at the Orlando Stadium.
Deon Hotto gave Orlando Pirates the lead in the 27th minute after he was set up by Linda Mntambo.
Austine Oladapo equalised for Enyimba via penalty kick late in the first half after Siyabonga Mpontshane fouled Anayo Iwuala inside the penalty box.
But substitute Tshegofatso Mabasa restored the lead of the Buccaneers after they were awarded a penalty kick of their own in the 76th minute followng a foul on Gabadinho Mhango.
Enyimba’s next game will be at home to Algeria’s ES Setif on April 1.
KANO PILLAARS LOSE TECHNICAL ADVISER
The Technical Adviser of Kano Pillars Football Club, Lionel Emmanuel has resigned.
In a statement, media office for the club, Rilwanu Malikawa, said Emmanuel’s resignation letter was turned-in two hours before the club’s home match against Kwara United.
Malikawa noted the French tactician absconded from duty as Technical Adviser since the Match Day 15 away game to Abia Warriors which the Kano club lost by 4-goals-to-one.
The chief coach Ibrahim Musa would serve as interim technical adviser.
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