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Premier tightens control of parliament in Mauritius1 minute read

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Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth’s coalition has strengthened its grip on parliament after Mauritius’ electoral commission finalised the outcome of the election in the Indian Ocean nation.

Jugnauth’s centre-right Morisian Alliance won four more seats in the final allocation to hold 42 of 70 seats following Thursday’s vote, the commission said late Saturday.

Mauritius is predominantly Hindu and is divided into ethnic groups under the 1968 independence constitution to also reflect the sizeable Muslim minority, the Chinese and the “general population”, those of creole backgrounds or European origin. 

While voters choose 62 MPs, the commission appoints eight others from those who have attained the highest scores but were not elected directly.

Under this system, set up to rebalance the distribution of seats between parties and communities, the Morisian Alliance added four seats, the centre-left National Alliance three and the Mauritian Militant Movement one.

That gave the National Alliance, led by two-time prime minister Navin Ramgoolam, a total of 17 seats. The MMM took nine seats. Jugnauth’s victory has reinforced the legitimacy of a leader who took over from his father in 2017 without going through a vote.

The prime minister had urged the country, seen as a stable democracy in a sometimes volatile neighbourhood, to judge him on his short time in office, talking up economic reforms.

The commission said roughly three-quarters of the prosperous archipelago’s one million eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots on Thursday, just above the numbers for the last poll in 2014.

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East Africa Politics News

Malawians escape isolation center after repatriation from South Africa

The 441 Malawians were bussed home on Monday from South Africa, where they were left stranded after the country closed its borders in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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Deserted isolation centre in Blantyre, Malawi. Twiter/@zodiakonline

More than 400 people have escaped from a coronavirus quarantine centre in Malawi’s second largest city, Blantyre, after complaining about its poor state.

The 441 Malawians were bussed home on Monday from South Africa, where they were left stranded after the country closed its borders in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

More than a dozen were staying in an isolation centre after testing positive for the virus at the border.

The rest had been quarantined at a soccer stadium, where they were awaiting further test results.

“They have all gone home on their own,” district health officer Gift Kawaladzira told AFP.

“By then, 16 were positive already. Others were waiting for lab results,” he said. “If most of them have COVID-19, then we are facing very difficult times ahead.”

Kawaladzira said his team had mobilised other district offices to track down the escapees.

“The danger is that they will be hiding from authorities and hence cannot follow the set procedures for COVID-19 prevention,” he warned.

Doreen Lemani, who worked as a domestic cleaner in South Africa, said she returned home to Malawi fleeing tough economic conditions under the lockdown, only to be met by chaos in Blantyre.

“They did not provide us with food, and the toilets and showers here are in a horrible state. How did they expect us to stay here?” asked the woman, who was among those who left the stadium.

“We had wilfully offered ourselves to be tested, but this is chaos… Now they are telling us that they can’t find our test results,” the woman told a local TV station.

Malawi has recorded just 101 coronavirus cases so far, including four deaths.

South Africa by contrast has the highest number of infections of the continent, with more than 24,000 cases and 524 fatalities to date.

“I can guarantee you that the repatriation itself caused a lot of the people themselves to get sick,” warned Gama Bandawe, a virologist at the Malawi University of Science and Technology.

“Think about all the security personnel looking after these people, the escapees and the families of people. It’s a very big danger.”

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“I have not killed any Tutsis”, Rwandan genocide suspect Kabuga tells court

“Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” a French justice ministry statement said.

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A wanted poster with a photograph of Felicien Kabuga is displayed at the French Gendarmerie's Central Office for Combating Crimes Against Humanity, Genocides and War Crimes (OCLCH) in Paris on May 19, 2020. © Benoît Tessier, REUTERS

Arrested Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga has told a French court that the international charges against him are lies, affirming his innocence at the resumed hearing on Wednesday.

Asked if he understood the charges made against him by a United Nations tribunal, Kabuga dismissed the chargesheet as full of “lies”.

“All of this is lies. I have not killed any Tutsis. I was working with them”, Kabuga told the court through an interpreter.

Kabuga, who was arrested near Paris earlier this month after more than two decades on the run, is accused of financing and arming the ethnic Hutu militia that slaughtered over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

France has not disclosed when and how Kabuga who had a $5m US reward on his head, entered France.

“Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, accused of being a financier of Rwandan genocide, had stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” a French justice ministry statement said.

His ability to hide to evade an international manhunt for more than 20 years has raised questions over whether he had accomplices in foreign countries.

“It is difficult to imagine he could have escaped into French territory without the help of accomplices in such places,” Patrick Baudoin of the International Federation for Human Rights said.

The International Federation for Human Rights has supported survivors in the prosecution of other Rwandan genocide suspects living in France.

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Tanzania summons top US diplomat over coronavirus warning

The US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Inmi Patterson, met with Wilbert Ibuge, permanent secretary at the Tanzanian foreign ministry, who reminded Patterson about the two countries’ “historical cooperation”.

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Tanzania plans October 1 date for repatriation of Burundian refugees
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has repeatedly played down the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tanzanian government said Tuesday it had summoned a top diplomat at the US Embassy in the country to object to an advisory that warned of “exponential growth” of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The United states embassy’s “health advisory” published earlier this month contained inaccurate information, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The advisory reported, for instance, that “many hospitals” in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital, “have been overwhelmed in recent weeks”.

This claim “is not true and could cause panic among Tanzanians and foreigners”, the foreign ministry’s statement said as quoted by AFP.

The US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Inmi Patterson, met with Wilbert Ibuge, permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, who reminded Patterson about the two countries’ “historical cooperation”, the foreign ministry said.
It did not specify when the meeting took place.

The US embassy in Tanzania has been without an ambassador since 2016.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has repeatedly played down the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, and it has been nearly a month since the country released official data on case numbers, which stood at 480 with 16 deaths on April 29.

Last week the government announced that universities and sports events would resume in June and also lifted restrictions on flights, even as critics say cases are soaring.

Opposition politicians have criticised the lack of data, which the government stopped giving after Magufuli cast doubt on the credibility of laboratory equipment and technicians.

Laboratory officials were suspended earlier this month after Magufuli said he had secret tests performed in which a papaya and a goat tested positive.
Tanzania’s approach contrasts with that of neighbours such as Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, which imposed full lockdowns or curfews and movement restrictions and which have been giving detailed daily updates.

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