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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopia Bans Flight Over Controversial Dam1 minute read



The director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, says the horn of Africa country has banned all flights over its giant new hydropower dam for security reasons.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is on the Blue Nile. The structure is about 15 km (9 miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile – a tributary of the Nile river.

The country is in a running dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the $4bn dam, with the Egyptian government stressing it would threaten its main supply of water.

About 90 per cent of Egypt’s 100 million people depend on the Nile for their fresh water

Last week, air force chief Major General Yilma Merdasa told local media that Ethiopia was fully prepared to defend the dam from any attack.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

The dam is at the centre of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s minister of irrigation, Yasser Abas, had last month said the dam would protect the country from future floods.

He added that the current flooding was the most severe in the last century, calling on the international community to help Sudan.

East Africa Politics News

Tanzanian Election: Voting Closes Amidst Allegations Of Irregularities



Voting to decide the next president of Tanzania has officially closed across the over 85,000 polling centres in the East African country. The opposition has, however, alleged that the election was fraught with irregularities and fraud.

The election lasted 15 hours.

Fifteen candidates are running for the presidency including the incumbent President John Magufuli.

Tanzania authorities say the process was largely peaceful, despite social media restrictions and claims of irregularities. But the two main opposition parties – Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo – said there was widespread ballot tampering.

In a tweet, Tundu Lissu, Chadema’s presidential candidate said they had received reports indicating widespread irregularities. He said there was evidence of shameless election fraud in one area in the main city, Dar es Salaam.

He added that agents of his Chadema party had been prevented from reaching some polling stations.

The National Electoral Commission chairperson Semistocles Kaijage denied the claims, saying they are unfounded.

In the island of Zanzibar, polling passed off peacefully a day after violent clashes, in which ACT-Wazalendo claimed 10 people were killed.

Police, however, denied the claims but added that 40 people had been arrested in the region.

President Magufuli, who’s standing for a second term, called for calm when he cast his ballot in Dodoma.

Voting on the Tanzanian mainland appears to have been largely peaceful.

President Magufuli’s party, the CCM, has been in charge of Tanzania for nearly 60 years.

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East Africa Politics News

Rolls-Royce, Stolen By Uganda’s Ex-President Idi Amin, Returned After 54 Years



A Rolls-Royce Phantom, which was stolen by a former Uganda dictator – Idi Amin Dada Oumee, has finally been returned to its rightful owners: the Buganda royal family.

The luxury vehicle was stolen from the kingdom of Buganda in 1966 by Idi Amin, also popularly known as the last ‘king of Scotland’, on the orders of the state of Uganda.

Charles Peter Mayiga, the current Katikkiro or prime minister of the kingdom of Buganda, said he was just three years old when the theft happened.

He said that the return of the vehicle was significant.

“Idi Amin was the commander of the army and he dispatched a unit that attacked the palace. They ransacked it and the cars and many other valuables were stolen; it created very bitter feelings for the people of Buganda,” he said.

Five vehicles were stolen, and one of them destroyed, and two have never been located.

“There was also a Bentley which belonged to the current King’s mother…it’s in South Africa, that one we’ve been able to locate,” he said.

Mr Mayiga said the attack on the palace was humiliating for the king but the act of returning the vehicle was “a good gesture”.

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East Africa Politics News

Tanzanians Vote To Decide New President



Voting in Tanzania’s presidential election began on Wednesday, with an opposition leader who survived being shot 16 times facing off against an incumbent who claims prayer can prevent COVID-19.

The run-up to the East African country’s polls had been marred with violence.

Rights groups and the opposition have reported intimidation.

On Tuesday, as early voting began in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, the archipelago’s main opposition candidate was arrested and his party claimed police shot five people dead, Police deny this.

President John Magufuli, in power since 2015, is widely expected to win, despite the recent return to the country of opposition challenger Tundu Lissu, in exile since the attempt on his life three years ago.

He survived an assassination attempt when his car was sprayed with more than 30 bullets outside his home in Dodoma.

He suffered 16 bullet wounds and had to be airlifted to Nairobi and later Belgium, where he underwent several operations to save his life. No one has been arrested in connection with the attack.

In October, Lissu’s campaign convoy was tear-gassed in northern Tanzania, after a disagreement with the police on which route it was supposed to take.

Lissu was also suspended from campaigning for one week by the national electoral body, which he called “yet another indication of a discredited and compromised electoral system.’’

Press freedom has been severely curtailed in the lead-up to the vote, with new rules introduced in August requiring foreign journalists to be chaperoned on assignments by a government official.

Down through the years, Magufuli has received lots of international media attention due to his government’s crackdown on gay people, banning the sale of lubricant and subjecting arrested gay men to forced anal exams – a recognized human rights violation.

Most recently he caused derision after saying prayer and herbal steam baths could help prevent infection with coronavirus and later declaring the country free of the virus.

His handling of the pandemic has come under heavy criticism, with critics saying he did too little, too late, to stem the spread of the virus.

The United Nations and the African Union Commission urged Tanzania to ensure polls are peaceful and fair with results are expected in a few days.

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