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Liberia’s Midterm Elections and Constitutional Referendum



Liberians on Tuesday began voting in key midterm elections in which half of the Senate’s 30 seats will be contested as well as constitutional referendum.

The referendum proposes a key constitutional change that will shorten presidential terms from six to five years and allow citizens to have dual nationality.

However, some President George Weah’s critics are concerned that he could use the constitutional change to extend the number of terms that he serves.

Liberian presidents are limited to two terms, but constitutional changes in neighbouring Guinea and Ivory Coast meant that the heads of state there could run for third terms despite the term limit still being in place.

Observers say the midterm senatorial elections will serve as an important gauge of the current level of support for President Weah and his party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), as he approaches the end of his third year in office.

In today’s election, the most high-stake seat is Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, and contains about a third of Liberia’s registered voters.

The seat was taken away from the CDC in a by-election in July 2019 by the CPP’s Abraham Darius Dillon, who has become one of the most vocal critics of the Weah administration.

On Sunday, thousands of citizens, many of them carrying torches and lamps, took to the streets of Monrovia in a show of support for Dillon.

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Nigeria’s President Signs New COVID-19 Law



Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has signed a law designed to check the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said the bill, titled “COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021”, is an exercise of the powers conferred on the President by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act.

Mustapha said this on Wednesday when he handed over five ambulances donated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federal Ministry of Health on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mustapha said the regulations enforce physical distancing of at least two metres and a regulation of the number of people to be admitted in an enclosed environment

“In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf; and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereby make the following Regulations.”

“The first part of the new regulations imposes restrictions of gatherings and enforces a physical distancing of not less than two meters between persons at all times.

“The part also provides that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.

“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part two of these Regulations.

“The provisions of these regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the PTF on COVID-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” the law reads.

“The second part of the law addresses operations of public places like open markets, malls, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks and fitness centres.

“The law provides for wearing of face masks, hands washing, and the use of hand sanitisers, amongst other regulations.

“It stipulates a penalty of a fine or a prison of six months for offenders.

“The President said that the law takes immediate effect,” he explained.

Speaking on the donation, the PTF chairman said that the NNPC donated the ambulances to the PTF as part of its support to Government-led efforts in curbing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The ambulances donated will support the country’s response to the pandemic and the Emergency Operations Centres to expand the current capacity for transportation of cases.

The SGF acknowledged the support of the NNPC in its fight against the virus, saying “We are grateful to the NNPC for the donation of ambulances to the PTF. We also thank all individuals and corporate organisations that have continued to donate to the government’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Mustapha said that If Nigerians were exposed to COVID-19, they should please quarantine and if there are still ill, they should isolate.

“Please don’t go out – to work, socialize or elsewhere – if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms.

“Travel is risky – best to avoid it if you can but if you must, take precautions including quarantine and testing.

“Remember COVID-19 can spread from people that look and feel well. Don’t let your guard down around friends or relatives just because they look healthy – they may not know they are infected but can unintentionally spread COVID-19,” he advised.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, thank the NNPC for the ambulances and noted that emergency medical situations require a prompt response and any delay could have serious consequences.

Mamora said that the ambulances would strengthen the efforts of the ministry to respond to the health needs of Nigerians, as patients would be able to receive first aid support while on route to the nearest health facility.

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West Africa Politics

Former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings, Buried



The remains of former Ghanaian President, Jerry John Rawlings, has been buried at the military cemetery on Wednesday 0following a burial service at Ghana’s Independence Square.

In his tribute, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo described the late president as charismatic, energetic and fearless.

“It is for good reason that his well-known and often-cited ideals of probity and accountability, in which he invested a great deal of his political life, are enshrined in the fourth Republican constitution,” said Akufo-Addo.

He said these ideals, together with the “Freedom and Justice,” which form the motto of Ghana, constitute the foundational principles of social order on which Ghana shall develop.

He added that the monumental developments the country chalked “under the governance of Rawlings would linger in the hearts of many generations to come.”

“History, on balance, will be kind to him and will render a positive verdict on his contribution to the evolution of our nation and the entrenchment of its democratic institutions and culture,” the president said.

Akufo-Addo reiterated his desire to name the University of Development Studies after the late Rawlings for his role in its establishment.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the political party the late former president founded, eulogised his sterling leadership, “which culminated the long period of political stability in Ghana.”

“He hated the exploitation of ordinary people by people who are powerful and rich.

“His passion was for inclusiveness and the creation of structures to enable all persons to participate in governance.

“This led to the establishment of structures that allowed ordinary Ghanaians to participate in the administration of the country,” said the NDC.

Rawlings died in the Ghanaian capital on Nov. 12, aged 73, after a short illness.

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Zimbabwe Buries 3 Government Officials Who Died of COVID-19



Zimbabwe on Wednesday laid to rest three cabinet ministers who succumbed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the last two weeks.

Among the deceased is Foreign Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, who announced the ousting of Robert Mugabe on national television during the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d’état.

The others are Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza and prisons chief Paradzai Willings Zimondi.

The trio were buried at the Heroes Acre in the capital, Harare.

The country has recorded a surge in Covid-19 cases since the festive season.

The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting has tweeted photos of the ceremony with a brief profile of the deceased.

Joel Matiza

Dr Joel Biggie Matiza was the ZANU PF Mash East Provincial Chairman & Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Born in 1960 in Murewa, he joined the liberation struggle in 1975 and was deployed to various ZIPRA training camps. He was known as “Cde Destroyer Ndlovu”. After suffering injuries during a raid on Freedom Camp in Zambia, Cde Matiza was hospitalised for a long time before being identified as one of the intellects in the ranks qualifying for educational courses offered by friendly nations. He was sent to Nigeria to pursue his education.

Post-Independence, Cde Matiza worked as an architect before being employed by the Urban Development Corporation. He went on to hold several portfolios in ZANU PF and Government.

He will be remembered for championing infrastructure projects in the country with passion. 

Paradzai Zimondi

Commissioner-General (Rtd) Paradzayi Willings Zimondi whose nom de guerre was Cde Tonderai Nyika, was born in 1947 in Uzumba, Mash East. He underwent military training at Mgagao Training Camp in Tanzania in 1974. After training, he was posted to Chimoio, Mozambique as Instructor.

Cde Zimondi was later deployed to Gaza and Manica Province where he was appointed Field Operations Commander from 1977. He successfully commanded ZANLA combatants in many battles. He was appointed member of ZANLA High Command. His record in combat was described as “legendary”.

At Independence, Cde Zimondi was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army.

In 1997, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of then Zimbabwe Prison Service.

In 2013, he was appointed first Commissioner General of the ZPCS, a position he held till retirement in 2020.

Sibusiso Moyo

The late Lt Gen (Rtd) Dr SB Moyo, whose nom de guerre was Cde Delumuzi, was born in 1961 in Mberengwa. He abandoned his studies in 1977 and crossed to Botswana to join the liberation struggle. He received his initial Military training at CGT base in Zambia before going to USSR.

After training in USSR he returned to Zambia and became an instructor at various ZIPRA training camps. During ceasefire period, he went to Romeo Assembly Point in Makonde where he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army. He held several appointments in the army till 2017.

Dr SB Moyo was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2017. In this position, he never rested in his pursuit to improving Zimbabwe’s international relations.

He will be remembered as a diplomat par excellence and a committed, gallant patriot. 

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