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Mali appoints new government after protests2 minutes read

The new government includes ten women, more than a quarter of the total but fewer than the previous team, which boasted about a third.

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Mali appoints new government after protests
Newly appointed Malian Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse. (File photo)

Mali’s president has named a new government after its predecessor resigned last month amid widespread protests over an upsurge of deadly inter-communal violence, a presidency statement said.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Sunday announced the new executive of 37 members under Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse, who was appointed on April 22 to oversee the formation of a “broad-based” government.

Last week, Cisse signed a pact with both opposition and majority party representatives in the capital, Bamako, declaring their willingness to set up a “politically-inclusive” new government.

Cisse’s predecessor, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his entire cabinet resigned on April 18 following the massacre of some 160 members of the Fulani herding community on March 23 in the village of Ogossagou near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.

This came after tens of thousands of people took to the streets on April 5 to protest against an upsurge of violence that has claimed some 600 lives in all, and which demonstrators said the government had failed to stop.

The new government includes as foreign minister Tiebile Drame, who led the election campaign of opposition member Soumaila Cisse against Keita in 2018.

Cisse’s URD party said it would continue to play a “constructive” opposition role.

The key portfolio of defence went to General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele, former army chief of staff under the junta that emerged from a 2012 coup.

The role of justice minister went to Malick Coulibaly, president of Mali’s National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH), who has held the post before.

The new government includes ten women, more than a quarter of the total but fewer than the previous team, which boasted about a third.

Since the appearance of a jihadist group under preacher, Amadou Koufa in central Mali in 2015, recruiting mainly among the Dogon -a hunting and farming community -clashes between the Dogon and the nomadic Fulani have intensified.

Last week, the UN’s MINUSMA mission said the Ogossagou massacre had been “planned, organised and coordinated” and could constitute a “crime against humanity.”

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‘54 Silhouettes’ play gets into United Solo Festival

It showed at the British Council of Nigeria’s Lagos Theatre Festival earlier this year

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Photo Credit: Twitter - @Pensage (Africa Ukoh)

Playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director Africa Ukoh’s award-winning play ‘54 Silhouettes’ has made its way to New York City as part of the United Solo Festival, the annual international festival highlighting solo theatre performances through a “variety of one-person shows.” It makes history as the First Nigerian Play to show at this Festival.

54 Silhouettes—which was adapted into a one-man play after originally featuring five actors—has been on the circuit since 2011 and has racked up several accolades since it first premiered. It showed at the British Council of Nigeria’s Lagos Theatre Festival earlier this year and in Rio de Janeiro at the International Theatre Institute’s Network of Emerging Artists and Professionals Festival in 2018.

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Tunisian MP accused of indecency sworn in despite protests

“Stalkers shouldn’t make laws,” they chanted outside the inaugural session of the new parliament

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Tunisian MP accused of indecency sworn in despite protests

Tunisian women protested outside parliament Wednesday against the swearing-in of a newly elected lawmaker who was caught in a video that purported to show him masturbating outside a school.

The protesters fear that Zouheir Makhlouf, who walked free after being investigated for alleged sexual harassment and public indecency, will enjoy immunity from prosecution over any future allegations levelled against him by women.

“Stalkers shouldn’t make laws,” they chanted outside the inaugural session of the new parliament.

A video showing the moustachioed politician sitting in a car with his trousers dropped to his knees was shot last month by a pupil who shared it online alongside accusations of harassment.\

Read also: Triggered by MP’s disgrace, Tunisia’s #MeToo breaks taboos

Makhlouf, who was elected for the Qalb Tounes party of controversial media magnate Nabil Karoui, denies inappropriate conduct and has said he was urinating due to a medical condition.

But the video went viral sparking Tunisia’s own #MeToo movement, with sex abuse victims breaking taboos under the hashtag #EnaZeda.

It was inspired by the huge global movement that bloomed in 2017 in the wake of sexual assault allegations by multiple women against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“Immunity is for your parliamentary duties, not your sexual desires,” read one placard waved by the demonstrators.

Article 68 of the Tunisian constitution provides that no sitting MP can be “arrested or tried for their opinions… or for actions taken in connection with their parliamentary duties,” a formulation that in theory excludes allegations of sexual impropriety.

But “the interpretation of the law in Tunisia means that a lawmaker acquires an immunity that covers all of his or her actions, including those committed before they took office,” said jurist Nour Jihene, who joined the protest outside parliament.

The protesters called for stricter implementation of a July 2017 law that outlaws sexual harassment in public places with a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a 3,000 dinar fine.

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Lifestyle News

Two UN personnel killed in Benghazi by car bomb

Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb.

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Two UN personnel killed in Benghazi by car bomb
Libyan firefighters extinguish a fire at the site of a car bomb attack in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on August 10, 2019. - "Two members of the UN mission, one them a foreigner, were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb" in a shopping area of the Al-Hawari district, the official said. (Photo by - / AFP)

A car bombing in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi killed two United Nations staff on Saturday, a security official said.

“Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb” in a shopping area of the Al-Hawari district, the official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened as a UN convoy was passing through the area.

Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the cradle of the 2011 uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was hit by years of violence targeting diplomatic offices and security forces after his fall.

An attack on the US consulate on September 11, 2012, killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

In 2017, military strongman Khalifa Haftar drove hardline Islamists and jihadists out of Benghazi after a three-year battle.

Haftar, who backs an eastern-based administration that opposes the Tripoli-based unity government, went on to seize Derna, the last city in eastern Libya outside his control.

But bombings and kidnappings have continued.

A May 2018 attack left seven people dead and last month, a car bombing at the funeral of an ex-army commander killed at least four people and wounded more than 30 others.

A Libyan lawmaker is also feared to have been abducted by an armed group in the eastern city, the UN and lawmakers said in July.

Haftar controls most of eastern Libya, and early this year he ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army to purge the south of what he called “terrorist groups and criminals”. 

On the heels of that campaign, his LNA launched in April an offensive to take the Libyan capital from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord. 

The LNA on Saturday announced a truce around Tripoli for the three-day Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, after the unity government conditionally accepted a ceasefire called for by the UN.

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