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Botswana Approaches World Bank For Budgetary Support

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Botswana’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Thapelo Matsheka, says the Southern African country has approached the World Bank for budgetary support after the coronavirus crisis hurt revenue.

Botswana has registered relatively few cases, but lockdown restrictions have disrupted economic activities and caused loss of income in key sectors such as diamond mining and sales.

“We have set up a team and the World Bank has also set up a team to assist us,” Matsheka said.

“No quantum is in place yet but ideally if we can get about 50% of the expected 13.6 billion pula ($1.19 billion) deficit for the remainder of the development plan which ends in 2023, that should give us a smoother landing into the next development plan.”

The World Bank’s Botswana representative Guido Rurangwa said talks on the request for budgetary support were ongoing.

“The government and the World Bank are currently discussing details of the support, including the amount,” Rurangwa said in an emailed response.

Botswana’s parliament in September approved a 14.5 billion pula economic recovery plan, which Matsheka said will be funded through a combination of local borrowing and external sources.

Parliament had also approved a government request to double its domestic borrowing programme to 30 billion pula to fund its budget deficit and economic stimulus.

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East Africa Politics News

Somalia Denies Its Soldiers Participated, Died in Ethiopia’s Conflict

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Osman Abukar Dubbe, Somalia’s Minister for Information Culture and Tourism, has denied reports that Somali soldiers trained in Eritrea took part in the fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and the TPLF in Ethiopia’s Tigray province.

Dubbe also dismissed as untrue reports that hundreds of Somali soldiers were killed in the conflict.

The minister said, “There are no Somali soldiers who have been enlisted by Ethiopia or taken part in the Tigray region fighting.

“It is unfortunate that people are trying to find political gains from our national army.

“We are confirming that the fake news, which is meant for politics and business, that claimed Somali troops training in Eritrea took part in fighting in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia, is not true.”

The minister said the Ethiopian government did not request Somali soldiers to fight in Tigray.

Dubbe said similar “propaganda was spread in the past claiming Somali soldiers took part in fighting in Libya and Azerbaijan, which was confirmed to be fake”.

The minister’s statement comes after a former deputy chief of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Abdisalan Yusuf Guled, claimed some 400 Somali soldiers were killed in Tigray in November last year.

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North Africa Politics

President Kais Saied Urges Restraint, 4 Days into Protests in Tunisia

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty

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The Tunisian President has showed up at a rally where demonstrators were protesting and pleaded with them to put an end to the protests which are already in their fourth consecutive day against the worsening social and economic crisis in the country.

Blocking streets and setting barricades on fire on Monday, demonstrators clashed with police who responded by firing tear gas. The Protests have led to the looting of shops and protesters have thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings and businesses in some areas.

The Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty.

“Through you, I want to speak to all the Tunisian people, I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty.  Don’t let anyone exploit your misery, don’t attack private or public property. We live today because of moral values and not because of theft or looting,” Saied said to the crowd.

Angry about the high unemployment rate and the financial crisis in the North African nation, Tunisians have protested since Friday in Kasserine, Tunis and several other cities.

On Monday, demonstrators shouted: “Dissolve the parliament, dissolve the parliament.”

In some regions, the defence ministry deployed the army to protect private and public property. It said troops will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where police and protesters clashed.

Authorities made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone, the interior ministry reported.

Amnesty International has called for restraint, citing footage showing officers beating and manhandling people they had detained. They have also demanded the immediate release of Hamza Nassri Jeridi, a rights activist arrested on Monday.

“Security forces must immediately refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse protesters in the capital and several governorates against marginalisation, police violence, poverty and lack of job opportunities,” it said.

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East Africa Politics News

Ugandan Security Forces Stop U.S. Ambassador from Gaining Access to Bobi Wine’s House

Shortly after casting his ballot on Thursday in the country’s presidential elections, Opposition leader Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest.

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The U.S. ambassador in Uganda was stopped by security personnel from visiting opposition leader Bobi Wine at his residence, prompting the mission to call his house arrest a “worrying” sign.

Shortly after casting his ballot on Thursday in the country’s presidential elections, Opposition leader Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest.

The incumbent president Yoweri Museveni, 76, who has been ruling the country since 1986 when Bobi Wine was only four years old, was declared winner of the election with 59% of the vote against Bobi Wine’s 35%.

The U.S. embassy said in a statement on Monday, that the U.S. ambassador Natalie E. Brown was stopped from visiting Kyagulanyi at his residence in a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital Kampala.

The mission said the U.S. ambassador wanted to check on Wine’s “health and safety.”

The embassy noted that the just concluded election was tainted by harassment of opposition candidates, suppression of media and rights advocates as well as nationwide internet shutdown.

“These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy,” it said.

No observers were deployed for the polls from both the United States and the European Union due to denial of accreditations and failure by Ugandan authorities to implement recommendations by past missions.

During the campaigning security forces routinely broke up Wine’s rallies with teargas, bullets, beatings and detentions, citing violations of laws meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus for those actions.

After Wine was detained for alleged violation of the anti-coronavirus measures in November, 54 people were killed as security forces quelled a protest that erupted.

Opposition leader Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform (NUP) have rejected the results of the election, saying they were planning a court challenge.

Ugandan security forces on Monday cordoned off offices of opposition party’s in the capital Kampala. The party said the move is complicating their efforts to gather evidence of irregularities committed during the election.

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