The African Union’s Peace and Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the political crises in Chad and Somalia.
The meeting is in line with the Council’s mandate as the standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and crisis situations on the continent.
This comes a day after opposition politicians in Chad rejected the country’s military appointment of President Idriss Déby’s son to take over government.
Déby, after three decades in Power died aged 68 after being shot as he battled rebels on the frontline.
SOMALIA POLL CRISIS
In East Africa, the UN Security Council has urged Somalia’s leaders to return to the negotiating table, following the controversial extension of the president’s term by parliament.
The members have also welcomed the plan by the African Union (AU) to mediate the talks.
Somali leaders were urged to implement an agreement reached last September under which clan elders are to select delegates to electoral colleges that in turn choose federal lawmakers who then pick a president.
But disagreements between the Federal Government and two regional states scuttled the plans.
The Somali Parliament extended the president’s term by two years, a move that was rejected by two regional states and the opposition.
Staying in East Africa, at least four people were killed and four others wounded when a mortar attack targeted Somalia’s presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu.
Local media say the victims are members of the same family living near the palace.
The presidential compound in Mogadishu houses the president, the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament.
The police has confirmed the attack without elaborating on casualties.
Al-Qaida allied terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the latest attack, saying their fighters targeted the Somali presidential palace.
However, no mortar shells landed on the heavily fortified facility in the latest attack which is the second mortar attack in less than two months in the restive capital.
GRAND ETHIOPIAN RENAISSANCE DAM
Ethiopia has accused Egypt and Sudan of working to undermine the African Union (AU) led process of trilateral negotiations on the rules and guidelines for the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Dina Mufti said Sudan and Egypt have been on the move to take the negotiations out of the hands of the Pan-African body.
On Tuesday, Sudan raised the issue at the UN Security Council (UNSC) of the GERD’s second-year filling that Ethiopia planned to execute in July-August, the country’s rainy season.
Sudan has told the UN Security Council that the planned filling poses a security threat.
Dina says Sudan has no plausible issue left, but only furthering a third-party agenda without calling names.
The U.S. State Department says it hasn’t seen any evidence to show that Eritrean troops are withdrawing from Ethiopia.
Spokesman Ned Price said this is despite the commitments that both countries have made that the troops would pull out.
He called for their immediate full withdrawal, as it is critical to restoring peace and security and critical to the issue of humanitarian access.
The Eritrean soldiers have been in Ethiopia backing the Government as it fought a group that challenged the Central Government’s rule.
According to human rights groups, troops from both countries have been accused of committing atrocities, with thousands dying from the conflict.
Sudan and Libya are keen to enhance bilateral ties, develop cooperation and work together to support stability in the two countries and the region.
Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Wednesday spoke with the Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed al-Menfi.
The two leaders reviewed the progress of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concerns.
They also highlighted the importance of continuing communication and coordination between the two officials of the two countries as well as mutual visits at the presidential level.
IDRISS DEBY (1952-2021)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the killing of Chad’s President Idriss Deby while calling for an end to the violence in the Central African country.
Ramaphosa says an immediate cessation of violence is necessary to bring peace and stability to Chad as part of ending conflict on the continent.
In the meantime, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed his condolences after the passing of President Déby.
Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric says the situation in Chad is characterized by growing humanitarian needs linked to the conflict in the Lake Chad basin as well as the effects of climate change.
Lawyers for former South African President Jacob Zuma have filed a notice of withdrawal from representing him.
The lawyers have not given reasons for doing so.
The notice follows last week’s ruling in which the former president lost an appeal against the state’s bid to recover money that it had spent on his legal fees.
It also comes before a corruption trial due to begin on May 17.
Zuma faces 16 charges over a $2 billion state arms deal, including fraud, racketeering and money laundering – all of which he denies.
NOW TO OUR CONTINUED COVERAGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC ACROSS AFRICA…
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has clarified the management of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines received through a donation to the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the body responsible for leading the continent’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy.
The CDC stated that in mid-March, AVATT shipped 925,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to 13 AU Member States and countries were informed of the limited expiration date of 13 April 2021.
According to the centre, the Serum Institute of India, from which the vaccines were procured has advised and sent a formal letter indicating an approved ‘shelf-life extension’ for an additional three months, through 13 July 2021.
In East Africa, the Kenyan government is seeking to acquire two million doses of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines to boost its vaccination campaign.
Kenya’s Health Minister, Mutahi Kagwe says the additional doses will be used to supplement the vaccines supplied through the UN-led Covax scheme.
So far, Kenya has vaccinated over 700,000 people with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The East African nation received just over a million doses through the global Covax scheme in March.
But pharmaceutical manufacturing giant, India recently decided to halt vaccine exports in order to prioritize its citizens – throwing Covax supply chains in doubt.
Many African governments have been forced to look elsewhere for future next batches.
In North Africa, Egyptian pharmaceutical firm, Minapharm, has agreed to produce more than 40 million doses a year of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
This was disclosed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
The two parties agreed to begin technology transfer immediately, it said in a joint statement with Minapharm, and the rollout is expected in the third quarter of this year.
The statement revealed that RDIF and Minapharm will initially supply over 40 million doses per year. Production will take place in Minapharm’s biotech facility in Cairo for global distribution.
COVID-19 INDIA AND THE OXYGEN CRISIS
The highest court in India’s capital Delhi, has criticized the central government for its handling of the oxygen crisis in the city.
Crowds are gathering outside hospitals in major cities which are filled to capacity.
Health services are struggling to cope.
Indian social media has also been filled with appeals for oxygen.
The South Asian country reported more than 300,000 coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, the highest daily total of new cases since the start of the pandemic.
Deaths rose by 2,104 in the same time period, the worst daily toll.
The court was hearing a petition by the owner of six private hospitals.
It ordered the government to ensure safe passage of oxygen supplies from factories to hospitals across India.
PAKISTAN HOTEL ATTACK
A bomb explosion at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta has killed at least four people and wounded 12.
The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan is suspected to have been the target of the attack in the car park of the Serena Hotel.
Believed to be in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province near the Afghan border, he was not present at the scene at the time.
The Pakistani Taliban have claimed the attack, without giving details.
Footage of the blast was shared on social media in the aftermath, showing the fire raging in the car park.
The Serena Hotel is the best known in Quetta, and provides accommodation for government officials and visiting dignitaries.
Coach Gavin Hunt feels his Kaizer Chiefs side deserved at least a draw in their 2-1 DSTv Premiership home loss to Cape Town City on Wednesday.
Kearyn Baccus netted for the AmaKhosi to bring them back into the game after Tashreeq Morris and Surprise Ralani scored for City.
But Hunt’s side succumbed to a seventh league loss of the season to dent their top eight hopes.
Next up for Chiefs is a massive clash away at league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday, which will be a chance for redemption.
But Hunt says the fixture will be no more important than any other.
Chiefs are currently in 11th, two points behind eighth-placed Baroka FC with a game in hand.
TODAY’S MIDDAY RECAP IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MOJISOLA ADEBOLA, SHERIF LAWAL AND ISREAL EFEROBOR.
YOU CAN CATCH UP WITH OUR NEWS AND PROGRAMS BY DOWNLOADING THE NEWS CENTRAL TV MOBILE APP ON PLAYSTORE AND IOS. YOU CAN ALSO WATCH US LIVE ON STARTIMES CHANNEL 274.