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DRC President nominates opposition figure for African Development Bank job1 min read

Lamuka’s remaining leaders now are Martin Fayulu who claims victory in the December election won by Tshisekedi

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DRC President nominates opposition figure for African Development Bank job
Democratic Republic of Congo's opposition politician Freddy Matungulu. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

DR Congo President, Felix Tshisekedi has nominated a top opposition figure for a post in the African Development Bank, thereby obliging him to drop his political activities.

Freddy Matungulu of the Lamuka coalition, which had consistently staged protests against the long and iron-fisted rule of Tshisekedi’s predecessor Joseph Kabila, confirmed on Friday that he had been offered the prestigious job.

“It pleased the head of state to designate me to assume the mandate of the DRC,” said the former economist, who has also worked at the World Bank.

The Bank will have to formally approve his candidacy.

“I responded favourably to his call,” Matungulu said, expressing his “gratitude” for this “act of friendliness.”

The retired World Bank official said he was now “keeping a distance from my activism, including in Lamuka.”

Social media was awash with speculation from Congolese whether this was a way of dismantling Lamuka.

The coalition views Tshisekedi as a puppet of Kabila. It now only has four of the original six co-leaders, all of whom are political heavyweights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lamuka’s remaining leaders now are Martin Fayulu who claims victory in the December election won by Tshisekedi; Moise Katumbi — the powerful former governor of the mineral-rich Katanga region; Jean-Pierre Bemba, an ex vice-president and erstwhile warlord and former PM Adolphe Muzito.

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Former Kenya Attorney General challenges graft-related travel sanctions

Amos Wako, has challenged a United States directive which imposes a travel ban on him and his family

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Kenya’s immediate former Attorney General and current senator of Busia County, Amos Wako, has challenged a United States directive issued on Monday by U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo which imposes a travel ban on him and his family.

The senator, his wife Flora Ngaira and his son Julius Wako have been barred from entry into the United States over his alleged involvement in “significant corruption”.

“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States,” the statement from Pompeo read.

WATCH: Former Kenya Attorney General, Amos Wako Challenges US Travel Ban

In a press conference at the Parliament grounds on Wednesday, Wako denied any wrongdoing and challenged the U.S. Government to make public their allegations.

“I am against corruption and I believe that I as an individual and the people of Kenya as a whole are entitled to full disclosure on the general allegations of corruption against me.

These nebulous accusations and aspersions do not help in the fight against corruption and can, in fact, be defamatory in nature,” the embattled senator asserted.

He also decried the blanket imposition of sanctions on his wife and adult sons, claiming that they were not involved in the dispensation of his duties as Attorney General and ‘should not be punished for his sins’.

Wako served as Kenya’s Attorney General from 1991 to 2011; he later sought elective office as the senator of Busia County in Western Kenya, a position he has held for two consecutive terms since 2019.

He was regularly and strongly criticised by Washington during his tenure in the state office for his inertia as regards the prosecution of corruption cases.

The U.S. had previously imposed a travel ban on Wako in October 2009 for similar reasons. It is unclear why a second one has been issued when the first appears to never have been formally lifted.

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Nigeria’s social media bill passes second reading

The controversial bill seeks to regulate social media usage in the country with the aim of reducing the spread of false news

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Nigeria's social media bill passes second reading
Members of House of Senate attend the inauguration of the Nigeria's 9th National Assembly in Abuja. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

During a plenary sitting today, Nigeria’s legislative house passed the controversial “Social Media Bill” to second reading.

Despite the protests and controversy generated by the introduction of “The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation’ Bill”, otherwise known as the “Social Media Bill”, the bill has passed its second reading on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The motion for a debate on the bill was moved on Wednesday at plenary by the sponsor of the bill, Senator Sani Musa.

Amongst other things, the controversial bill seeks to regulate social media usage in the country with the aim of reducing the spread of false news. 

The bill which has been described by many as repressive was met with heavy criticisms from all quarters immediately it was introduced.

However, only one senator, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani opposed the bill during its debate on Wednesday. In his argument, Senator Nnamani said that there was already a law in the country which addresses internet falsehood, which is the Cyber Crimes Act.

Read: Social media restriction in Chad lifted after one year

The Senate directed its Committee on Judiciary to work on the bill and return in four weeks.

The bill was introduced on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District who argued that the bill will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria and ultimately curb fake news on the internet.

This is not the first time such an anti-social media bill would be introduced in the hallowed chambers.

The old bill by the 8th Senate was titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”. 

The bill sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit or face six months imprisonment upon conviction. It was introduced by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

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Polio epidemic resurfaces in Angola after years without cases

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Polio epidemic resurface in Angola after years without cases
A health worker administers Polio drops to a child in Angola camp, southern Khartoum (Photo by Isam Al-Haj / AFP)

Angola recorded an outbreak of polio this week after almost a decade without cases of the paralysing viral disease, the government said.

The highly infectious condition mainly affects children under the age of five. It attacks the nervous system and can lead to total paralysis, or in some cases death.

“After seven years without polio we are unfortunately confronted with a difficult situation,” Angola’s health minister Sante Silvia Lutucuta said on Monday, at the launch of a new vaccination campaign in the capital Luanda.

“We have recorded 44 new cases in ten of the country’s 18 provinces,” she added.

The vaccination campaign is expected to reach 2.5 million children aged five and under.

Read: Ebola death toll crosses 2,000 mark in DR Congo

“All children must be protected by three doses of the oral anti-poliomyelitis vaccine,” said Lutucuta, adding that the campaign would span over two weeks to “control the epidemic”.

Two out of three strains of the wild poliovirus have been eradicated so far, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).        

While only 33 wild polio cases were reported globally last year, vaccine-derived polio still breaks out sporadically in some parts of Africa and Asia. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all travellers to Angola be fully vaccinated against the virus. 

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