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Senegal President Sall tells PM to scrap his own post2 min read

The aim is to bring the administration closer to the administrated and to speed up reforms so they have more impact

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Senegalese President Macky Sall sits during his swearing-in ceremony in Diamniadio, a new city around 30 kilometers from the capital Dakar on April 2, 2019 for a second term in office. - Senegal's press on March 1, 2019, hailed the re-election of President Macky Sall as "no surprise" after provisional results were released, and urged him to revive a battered democracy. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

Senegal’s prime minister on Saturday announced that President Macky Sall had instructed him to launch reforms that will include the scrapping of his own job. 

The reforms would include “the suppression of the intermediary level of prime minister”, said Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, who Sall had just reappointed to the post.

The aim is to bring the administration closer to the administrated and to speed up reforms so they had more impact, said Dionne, speaking from the presidential palace.

Dionne was also named as secretary general of the Republic, according to a presidential decree read out on national television.

Once the prime minister’s post has disappeared, he will continue in this second role, Dionne said.

The outgoing secretary general, Maxime Jean Simon Ndiaye, explained the changes live on television.

President Sall, he said, had “judged it appropriate to reconsider the intermediary level” of the function of prime minister. He wanted, as president, to be in direct contact with the administrative levels of government applying the law, said Ndiaye.

Sall, 57, took office this week for his second term as president after comfortably winning re-election.

He garnered 58 percent of the vote, well clear of former prime minister Idrissa Seck on 20 percent with the rest of the pack left trailing, to win easily in a single round of voting on February 24.

But that was after the authorities prevented several opposition candidates for misuse of public funds, including Karim Wade, the son of presidential predecessor Abdoulaye Wade (2000-12), as well as popular Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall.

The opposition, outraged by these disqualifications, has so far shown no sign of wanting to grasp any olive branch Sall might extend.

For his second term in office, Sall has said he wants to help young people find training and jobs and to promote “the entrepreneurial spirit and new technologies”.

He has also promised to commit to “public policies favouring women and girls”, ensure “decent housing” for all and “safeguard the environment”.

A self-proclaimed social liberal – despite a flirtation with Maoism in his youth – Sall has describes, in his autobiography published last November, a slow, steady rise from a modest background all the way to the top, despite a stint in the political wilderness.

But critics argue that such single-mindedness has made Sall willing to bend the rules to get what he wants.

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East Africa Politics News

Former Kenya Attorney General challenges graft-related travel sanctions

Amos Wako, has challenged a United States directive which imposes a travel ban on him and his family

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Kenya’s immediate former Attorney General and current senator of Busia County, Amos Wako, has challenged a United States directive issued on Monday by U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo which imposes a travel ban on him and his family.

The senator, his wife Flora Ngaira and his son Julius Wako have been barred from entry into the United States over his alleged involvement in “significant corruption”.

“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States,” the statement from Pompeo read.

WATCH: Former Kenya Attorney General, Amos Wako Challenges US Travel Ban

In a press conference at the Parliament grounds on Wednesday, Wako denied any wrongdoing and challenged the U.S. Government to make public their allegations.

“I am against corruption and I believe that I as an individual and the people of Kenya as a whole are entitled to full disclosure on the general allegations of corruption against me.

These nebulous accusations and aspersions do not help in the fight against corruption and can, in fact, be defamatory in nature,” the embattled senator asserted.

He also decried the blanket imposition of sanctions on his wife and adult sons, claiming that they were not involved in the dispensation of his duties as Attorney General and ‘should not be punished for his sins’.

Wako served as Kenya’s Attorney General from 1991 to 2011; he later sought elective office as the senator of Busia County in Western Kenya, a position he has held for two consecutive terms since 2019.

He was regularly and strongly criticised by Washington during his tenure in the state office for his inertia as regards the prosecution of corruption cases.

The U.S. had previously imposed a travel ban on Wako in October 2009 for similar reasons. It is unclear why a second one has been issued when the first appears to never have been formally lifted.

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Nigeria’s social media bill passes second reading

The controversial bill seeks to regulate social media usage in the country with the aim of reducing the spread of false news

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Nigeria's social media bill passes second reading
Members of House of Senate attend the inauguration of the Nigeria's 9th National Assembly in Abuja. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

During a plenary sitting today, Nigeria’s legislative house passed the controversial “Social Media Bill” to second reading.

Despite the protests and controversy generated by the introduction of “The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation’ Bill”, otherwise known as the “Social Media Bill”, the bill has passed its second reading on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The motion for a debate on the bill was moved on Wednesday at plenary by the sponsor of the bill, Senator Sani Musa.

Amongst other things, the controversial bill seeks to regulate social media usage in the country with the aim of reducing the spread of false news. 

The bill which has been described by many as repressive was met with heavy criticisms from all quarters immediately it was introduced.

However, only one senator, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani opposed the bill during its debate on Wednesday. In his argument, Senator Nnamani said that there was already a law in the country which addresses internet falsehood, which is the Cyber Crimes Act.

Read: Social media restriction in Chad lifted after one year

The Senate directed its Committee on Judiciary to work on the bill and return in four weeks.

The bill was introduced on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District who argued that the bill will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria and ultimately curb fake news on the internet.

This is not the first time such an anti-social media bill would be introduced in the hallowed chambers.

The old bill by the 8th Senate was titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”. 

The bill sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit or face six months imprisonment upon conviction. It was introduced by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

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East Africa News

Ethiopia’s Sidama ethnic group votes in referendum on statehood

At present, Ethiopia is partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regional states — with the Sidama voting for a potential tenth

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Ethiopia's Sidama ethnic group votes in referendum on statehood
Men wait in a queue to vote during the Sidama referendum in Hawassa, Ethiopia, on November 20, 2019. Polls opened on November 20, 2019, in Ethiopia's ethnic Sidama region in a referendum for a new federal state, a critical vote in a tense region that could embolden others to follow. Michael TEWELDE / AFP

Polls opened on Wednesday in Ethiopia’s ethnic Sidama region in a referendum for a new federal state, a critical vote in a tense region that could embolden others to follow.

The Sidama push for statehood already triggered days of unrest in July that left dozens dead and prompted the government to place Ethiopia’s southern region under the control of soldiers and federal police.

But the mood on Wednesday morning in the regional capital, Hawassa appeared calm.

READ: Ethiopia set to vote on breakaway state

People formed long queues at polling stations at dawn, with some 2.3 million people registered to vote.

Away from the polling stations, the streets of Hawassa were much quieter than usual, with Wednesday declared a holiday for the vote. Heavily armed police and soldiers patrolled the streets.

“The voting process is inclusive, smooth, transparent and exciting,” said 27-year-old Fantahun Hatiso, after casting his ballot.

“I voted for a decision that I believe will work towards development, peace and personal well-being.”

The referendum on autonomy springs from a federal system designed to provide widespread ethnic self-rule in a hugely diverse country, Africa’s second-most populous, with more than 100 million people.

READ: Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians decry rise in persecution ahead of major holiday

At present, Ethiopia is partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regional states — with the Sidama voting for a potential tenth.

The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity.

The Sidama — who number more than three million — have agitated for years to leave the diverse Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region.

READ: Four killed in Ethiopia during secessionist protest

The dream gained fresh momentum after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, took office last year.

“I stayed up until late in the night,” Hatiso added. “The excitement of waiting for this day, which will bring liberty and peace to my people, kept me awake.”

At least ten other groups in the south of the country have already launched plans for self-determination similar to that of the Sidama. Analysts fear it could unleash further ethnic violence.

Polls opened at 6:00 am (0300 GMT) and close at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT). Preliminary results are expected on Thursday.

READ: Political party delays creation of new state in Ethiopia

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