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Muhammadu Buhari launches his second term with a defence of poll outcome in Nigeria3 minutes read

Buhari, 76, in a long speech, declared that “all parties have agreed that the elections were free, fair and peaceful.”

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari delivers a speech during celebrations to mark Democracy Day in Abuja, on June 12, 2019

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari starts his second term on Wednesday formally with a defence of the contested outcome of elections that returned him to power. Buhari, 76, in a long speech, declared that “all parties have agreed that the elections were free, fair and peaceful.”

Buhari starts second term: Bola Tinubu, one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, arrives to attend Nigeria's national Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja,
Bola Tinubu, one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, arrives to attend Nigeria’s national Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, on June 12, 2019. – Nigeria celebrates the Day of Democracy on June 12, commemorating the country’s first free elections, on June 12, 1993, after a decade of military rule. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Related: Africa’s monarch-banker, Sanusi, loses influence in Kano emirate

He vowed to “consolidate the achievements” of his first four-year term, pushing ahead with a diversification of the country’s oil-dependent economy. The official launch of his second presidential term was also the occasion for the annual celebration of Democracy Day, which this year was celebrated for the first time on Wednesday.

The date marks the country’s first free elections, on June 12, 1993, after a long period of military rule. However, the spell of democracy was short-lived, for the results were annulled by the country’s military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, and the ensuing crisis led to another coup within months.

Buhari second term: Members of the National cultural troupe of Nigeria perform during the Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja,
Members of the National cultural troupe of Nigeria perform during the Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, on June 12, 2019. – Nigeria celebrates the Day of Democracy on June 12, commemorating the country’s first free elections, on June 12, 1993, after a decade of military rule. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Buhari, a former general, was sworn in last month after gaining 56 per cent of the vote in Africa’s most populous nation after a delayed poll in February that angered voters. His rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second with 41 per cent of the vote, has along with other opposition leaders launched an ongoing legal challenge to the victory.

They allege irregularities in the vote and have called it a “sham” result. Dressed in simple white robes and traditional embroidered cap, a smiling Buhari was seated next to his wife and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

People wearing traditional costumes display gift bags with the pictures of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Democracy Day
People wearing traditional costumes display gift bags with the pictures of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, on June 12, 2019. – Nigeria celebrates the Day of Democracy on June 12, commemorating the country’s first free elections, on June 12, 1993, after a decade of military rule. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Related: In Nigeria, pidgin opera is bridging cultures and breaking grounds

The presidents of Rwanda, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Namibia attended the ceremony to mark as Buhari starts his second term, held in a major square in the capital Abuja, while Venezuela and North Korea also sent senior officials.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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