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President Buhari announces former UN Undersecretary as Chief of Staff2 minutes read

Several prominent Nigerians had been speculated as possible successors of the powerful and former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who died last month of Covid-19 infection. He was regarded as a defacto president by many Nigerians.

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UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari talks to journalists during a press conference in Phnom Penh, 30 November 2007. UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari criticised the Myanmar junta's continued arrest of dissidents following a crackdown on anti-government protests, saying further repression undermined national reconciliation. AFP PHOTO/ TANG CHHIN SOTHY (Photo by TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday formally appointed Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as his new Chief of Staff.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, announced the appointment on Wednesday at the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Wednesday. Mustapha is the cabinet secretary of the Nigerian government.

A presidential aide on new media, Bashir Ahmad confirmed this on his verified twitter handle.

“President @MBuhari has appointed Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as his Chief of Staff, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, announced the appointment today at the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting”, Ahmad wrote.

Gambari is a former UN Under-Secretary General and the leaks by some Nigerian dailies had informally announced Jim without confirmation by presidency officials, making the issue controversial and misty in the turbulent politics of the West African country.

Several prominent people had been speculated as possible successors of the former Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, who died nearly three weeks ago, of COVID-19 infection, Daily Trust wrote earlier.

Among names mentioned are the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Amb. Babagana Kingibe; the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar.

Born in Ilorin, Kwara State, on November 24, 1944, Prof. Gambari attended Kings College, Lagos, as well as the London School of Economics where he obtained a B.Sc. (Economics) degree in Political Science with a specialty in International Relations.

Gambari received M.A. and Ph.D. in 1970 and 1974 respectively both in Political Science/International Relations from New York’s Columbia University.

He had a brief stint lecturing at the City University of New York and the State University of New York (Albany) in 1969-74 and returned to Nigeria where he taught at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and rose to the rank of Professor in 1983.

He was appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in October 1983, a position he held until his appointment as the youngest ever Minister of External Affairs during Buhari/Idiagbon regime.

Gambari holds the record of being the longest-serving Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (January 1990 to October 1999). He holds the Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic.

Until his death last month, the late Chief of Staff, Kyari had been deemed too powerful by Nigerians who saw him more as the defacto president of Nigeria often regarding President Buhari as an absentee ruler.

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Politics

Court orders rearrest of Lesotho ex-first lady in murder trial

Maesaiah Thabane is suspected of orchestrating the shooting of Lipolelo Thabane, who was gunned down outside her home in the capital Maseru.

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Former Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane (L) and his wife Maesaiah Thabane sit at the Magistrate Court in Maseru, Lesotho, on February 24, 2020. AFP

Lesotho’s Court of Appeal has ordered the rearrest of former first lady Maesaiah Thabane after revoking her bail on murder charges over the killing of her husband’s estranged wife in 2017.

The 42-year-old was charged in February after police quizzed her on the brutal murder of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s wife two days before his inauguration.

She spent one night in jail, after which Lesotho’s High Court freed her on a 1,000 maloti ($57) bail, according to AFP.

“The decision… is set aside and the bail petition is remitted back to the High Court to be determined by a different judge,” Court of Appeal president Kananelo Mosito ruled on Friday.

Police said Maesaiah Thabane would be arrested and handed over to correctional service officials later on Friday.

“As soon as we get the written judgement… we will arrest her,” deputy police commissioner Paseka Mokete told AFP.

Maesaiah Thabane is suspected of orchestrating the shooting of Lipolelo Thabane, who was gunned down outside her home in the capital Maseru.

Police have also charged her for the attempted murder of Lipolelo Thabane’s friend Thato Sibolla, who was wounded at the scene.

Lipolelo and Thomas Thabane, now 81, had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings when the 48-year-old was killed.

The former prime minister agreed to step down in January after police linked his mobile number to communication records from the crime scene.

He officially resigned this month, bowing to pressure from his rivals who accused him of hampering investigations into Lipolelo’s death.

Thabane has denied any involvement in the murder.

His wife initially went into hiding after police first called her in to testify in January.

She has not yet been allowed to respond to the charges.

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Politics

Niger passes new wire-tapping law to fight terrorism despite opposition

The opposition decried “the will of those in power to deprive Nigeriens… of all privacy in their communications.”

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Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou

Niger’s parliament has adopted a new legislation authorising wiretapping as a means of curbing “terrorism and transnational criminality”, brushing off an opposition protest walkout.

The new law permits “research of information” which notably may “threaten state security” or “prevent the fight against terrorism and organised transnational crime” in a country large swathes of which are in thrall to jihadist conflict, an AFP report said Friday.

Opposition parties are concerned that the country’s constitution holds that “secrecy of correspondence and of communications is inviolable”.

Under the new law, “obtained proofs can be used in investigations and criminal prosecutions initiated by judicial authorities, “with communications intercepted by “competent technical services” who will target “any person against whom there are serious reasons” to proceed.

Barkai Issouf, minister overseeing relations with institutions, insisted that “this law is not a threat to liberty. It is indispensable and emanates form the government’s wish to secure our people”.

Justice Minister Marou Amadou played down the move, saying: “You feared being listened in on? Well, you were before and you still are — only now it will be organised.”

In a statement, the opposition decried “the will of those in power to deprive Nigeriens… of all privacy in their communications.”

It added “this law will allow surveillance of all Nigeriens, as well as all those who live in Niger under the false pretexts” of maintaining security and fighting terrorism.

Niger has endured repeated unrest in its west near its borders with Mali and Burkina Faso from rival jihadi groups as well as in its southeast from Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa, a breakaway group from Boko Haram.

There have been several recent incursions including a massacre in which 20 people were massacred earlier this month.

In the same immense and unstable region of Tillaberi, which covers 100,000 square kilometres (40,000 square miles) and runs into the three-border area of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, three attacks on the army since December left 174 soldiers dead, according to an official report.

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East Africa Politics News

Court sets Tanzanian opposition leader free despite being guilty for sedition

In a written order setting out conditions for Kabwe’s discharge, Magistrate Huruma Shaidi said Kabwe should commit no seditious offence for a period of one year, and if he did, he would be liable to be sentenced for the offence.

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Zitto Kabwe, local lawmaker and head of ACT Wazalendo party.

A Tanzanian opposition leader found guilty of sedition and incitement on accusations that he falsely said some 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in his home region in 2018 was on Friday set free by a Dar es Salaam court.

Zitto Kabwe, a local lawmaker and head of ACT Wazalendo party was set free on condition that he refrain from saying or writing anything that would be considered sedition to the government.

Kabwe, who is member of parliament for Kigoma urban constituency, in western Tanzania, was charged in November 2018 with three counts related to incitement after saying that 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in the region, a Reuters report said.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the time, the head of police in Kigoma said just two herdsmen and two officers had died during an operation to stop pastoralists keeping livestock illegally on a government-owned ranch.

Huruma Shaidi, principal magistrate of Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam, said he found Kabwe guilty on all three counts.

In a written order setting out conditions for Kabwe’s discharge, Shaidi said Kabwe should commit no seditious offence for a period of one year, and if he did, he would be liable to be sentenced for the offence.

Kabwe’s defence lawyers said they were going to appeal the verdict.

“Zitto Kabwe is a politician and we are in the elections period, we are going to appeal this ruling to clear him,” Jebra Kambole, Kabwe’s lead counsel, told reporters outside the court.

Kabwe split away from the main opposition CHADEMA movement in 2015 and is now his party’s only lawmaker.

The East African country has been one of the continent’s most stable, but opposition leaders and rights groups have accused the government of cracking down on dissent – an accusation it dismisses.

Tanzania is expected to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in October.

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