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Malawi Electoral Commission boss resigns ahead of rerun1 minute read

Ansah has since been the target of nationwide protests calling for her to go over her handling of disputed election.

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A protester holds a banner against the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah during a demonstration by Malawi opposition supporters against the re-election of the president, which protestors say was due to fraud, on July 4, 2019, in Lilongwe, Malawi. (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

Embattled chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Jane Ansah has resigned, a month before the country holds a court-ordered presidential election re-run.

Ansah said this on Thursday evening in an exclusive television interview with public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

Malawi must hold fresh polls after the Constitutional Court overturned the results of last year’s controversial election, which handed President Peter Mutharika a second term.

Ansah has since been the target of nationwide protests calling for  her to go over her handling of disputed election.

“I have written the appointing authority – the president, that I have decided to step down,” she told the state broadcaster.

Leading human rights activists had been planning a fresh wave of protests next week to force Ansah to step down, but Ansah denied she was giving in to pressure.

“I have fought a good fight and I go happy,” she said.

“I have worked with clean hands and I have no skeletons in my cupboard”.

Ansah’s resignation comes exactly one year after the 2019 elections which were annulled by the top court due to widespread irregularities and use of correction fluid on ballot papers.

The court ordered that a fresh election be held within 150 days of its February 3 ruling.

The electoral commission had initially set July 2, which was day 149 since the ruling but has since brought the date forward to June 23.

Human rights defender Gift Trapence welcomed Ansah’s resignation.

“This is what Malawians have been wanting all along,” Trapence said. “But we also want all the commissioners to go so that a new MEC can be constituted to allow the country to hold free and credible elections,” he said.

Mutharika’s spokesman said he needed more time to verify that  Ansah’s resignation letter had reached the president.

East Africa News

Somalia Parliament Approves New Prime Minister

Mohamed Hussein occupies an office that was left vacant since the removal of former premier Hassan Ali Khaire

Bernard Akede

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Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a Prime Minister only hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons the one-person, one-vote model which was earlier promised.

Late on Thursday, the office of the president announced the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Sweden-trained civil engineer who is new on the political scene. He has been urged to take duties and tasks ahead of him with diligence.

Mohamed Hussein occupies an office that has been left vacant since the removal of former premier Hassan Ali Khaire by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.

There had been ongoing negotiations between the government in Mogadishu and Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with the parliamentary and presidential elections.

The process has however been held-up by disagreements between the president and the country’s regional leaders.

The country had decided to hold its first fully democratic, one-man one-vote election since 1969, The past was a system where special delegates picked lawmakers who then vote for the president.

But the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu had reached an agreement conceding that such a vote will not be possible between now and November which is the time left before Somalia’s parliament needs to be changed, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.

The negotiators said in an official communique, that delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans will elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which will in turn choose the president.

While the process shares a resemblance with the last election held in 2017, it goes a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with a total of 27,775 delegates voting, nearly twice the total number from last time.

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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopia To Hold Postponed Elections Before September 2021

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Ethiopia will hold its postponed general elections within the next one year following the East African country’s parliament approval.

The House of Peoples’ Representatives approved a resolution which recommends conducting the sixth national elections, re-opening of schools, undertaking of sport games as well as celebrating public holidays.

The general elections were postponed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But after the Ethiopian Parliament’s resolution on Tuesday, the elections is expected to be held before September 2021.

Ethiopia’s year began on 11 September.

Parliament passed the resolution during an extraordinary session on Tuesday. One MP voted against the resolution and eight abstained.

Ethiopia has extended the date for its parliamentary elections twice already, first due to threats of violence and instability and then because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The northern region of Tigray went ahead to hold elections that were deemed “null and void” by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal government.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) won over 98% of the vote in the regional elections.

Its leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, termed the election as “historic” and a determination of the fate of the region.

He said Tigray was enjoying some calm for standing its ground and holding the election.

Meanwhile, the parliament on Tuesday also approved the appointment of several key ministers and judicial officers.

The House of Peoples’ Representatives, the lower chamber of Ethiopia’s parliament, endorsed the appointments of Kenea Yadeta as defense minister, Gedion Timothewos as attorney general, Takele Umma as minister of mines and petroleum, and Samuel Hurkato as minister of science and higher education minister.

Lawmakers approved the candidates, nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last month, with a majority vote during an emergency session.

They also greenlit the appointment of 40 judges to the Federal High Court and 50 judges to the Federal First Instance Court, according to local broadcaster Fana.

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KDF Digs Trenches on Ethiopian Border to sealed off Illegal Routes

In May, the military had said sealing off the illegal entry points will help in keeping off smugglers who conduct illicit trade along the Kenya – Ethiopia border.

Bernard Akede

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In an effort to tame smuggling, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have dug a trench and filled it with a razor wire at the main border with Ethiopia in Moyale.


Officials say the areas being dug by the army are the ones smugglers use to bring in foreigners, contraband goods and drugs.
Trenches stretching more than ten kilometres have been dug in Sessi, Kore, Foundation, and Biashara in the area.


In May, the military had said sealing off the illegal entry points will help in keeping off smugglers who conduct illicit trade along the Kenya – Ethiopia border.


Speaking at an event to officially handover the security project to the Marsabit County Security Team on Monday, Secretary Internal Security (SIS) Mr Wilson Njega, said “the project was a step in the right direction towards securing our borders.


The long-term goal is to safeguard our borders. To achieve this, we have to continue identifying and sealing off all illegal channels so that we can enable legitimate cross-border trade,” he said.
He added that there are considerations to extend the trenches for a further 50 kilometres on either side of the Point of Entry (PoE) to curb the emergence of other routes and replicate the security project in other PoEs that have been experiencing similar challenges.


“We promise that this is not the end. The National Government plans to continuously engage the County security team and the border management committee here in Moyale to find solutions to problems, immediately they arise,” Njega said.


The sealed routes had been a constant bane for security organs and border personnel at the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) as they had been serving as conduits for human and drug trafficking, illegitimate trade and terrorism activities.


The illegal channels had also been enabling the proliferation of small arms and light weapons into Kenya and endangered wildlife through trade in game meat and trophies.


Kenya shares an 800-kilometre border with Ethiopia to the north. The Moyale OSBP – constructed in 2017 – is the only gazetted PoE along this border. So far, Kenya has 35 PoEs which include land, air and sea borders.

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