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Turkey Backs Sudan, Armed Groups Peace Deal1 minute read

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry has lauded the peace agreement between the transitional government of Sudan and armed groups, describing it as an important step toward the preservation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a statement on Sunday, the Turkish government said: “We welcome the signing of the agreement, which was previously initialed, between the transitional government of Sudan and the armed opposition groups in Juba yesterday (Oct. 3).

“We believe that this agreement will constitute an important step toward the preservation of Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Turkey will continue to support all efforts aimed at attaining peace and stability in the “friendly and brotherly” Sudan, it added.

The deal covers a number of issues, from land ownership, reparations and compensation to wealth and power-sharing, as well as the return of refugees and those internally displaced by the unrest.

Ending Sudan’s internal conflicts has been a top priority of the transitional government, in power since longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a pro-democracy uprising.

The agreement was signed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), which is comprised of armed groups from the war-ravaged western Darfur region, as well as the southern states of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Guarantors of the deal from Chad, Qatar, Egypt, the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations also signed the agreement.

East Africa Politics News

Over 75% Of Eligible Voters Participate In Seychelles’ General Elections

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No fewer than 75 per cent of eligible voters across Seychelles’ three main islands participated in the islandic nation’s presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday.

Counting of ballot papers has started and the results are expected in the early morning of Sunday.

The island nation’s 75,000 eligible voters chose among three candidates running for President: Wavel Ramkalawan of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), Danny Faure of United Seychelles (US) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles.

Four parties and two independent candidates are contesting for a seat in the National Assembly, the island nation’s legislative body. LDS and US have candidates in all the 26 electoral districts while One Seychelles and Lalyans have 18 and three candidates respectively

At 6 p.m. local time, 56,968 people had cast their ballots in 26 electoral districts of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, which represents 76.3 percent of the eligible voters.

The electoral officer in charge of the polling station at Beau Vallon, Andy Juliette, told SNA that he is very satisfied with the way voting went, saying almost 80 percent people had cast their votes.

There were 3,421 eligible voters in the district of Beau Vallon.

“We got a higher turnout in the morning. We were very busy and people were queuing even outside the station to vote. In general, we are very happy with the turnout and we are very satisfied that we have been able to manage our time, closing the station exactly at 7 p.m.,” said Juliette.

The chief electoral officer, Manuella Amesbury, told journalists that “now that the stations are closed, the staff will need to refresh and then counting will start with the polling agents.”

She said that the main voting day was satisfactory in general because “we saw that voting went fast and even faster than we expected.”

One of the main issues that arose was a shortage of ballot papers in some polling stations.

“We had planned to have a top up of ballots at around 5 p.m because we expected ballot papers to diminish at this time… but we saw that this happened a lot earlier than we expected,” said Amesbury.

She said that since the Commission was in contact with all stations they were able to organise for more ballot papers to be dispatched where needed.

Amesbury said that the elections did not go smoothly but this was mainly due to the new amendments made in procedures for election and the Commission had to adapt to the changes.

The last presidential election in Seychelles in December 2015 went into a second round, and the then incumbent President James Michel of Parti Lepep secured a third and final mandate winning 50.15 percent of the total votes cast.

Michel won 31,512 of the votes while his opponent the Seychelles National Party (SNP) leader Wavel Ramkalawan won 31, 319 or 49.85 percent of the votes. Only 193 votes separate the two candidates.

The Linyon Demokratik Seselwa won a majority votes in 15 of the 25 constituencies contested, in the legislative election in September 2016. The ruling Parti Lepep now United Seychelles, took the remaining 10. It was the first time since the return of multiparty democracy in Seychelles in 1993 that the ruling Parti Lepep lost its majority in parliament.

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East Africa Politics News

Tanzania Government Censoring Mobile Networks Ahead Of Presidential Election

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With only four days to go before Tanzania’s hotly contested presidential election on October 28, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has ordered telco service providers to suspend access to bulk short messaging services (SMS) and bulk voice services. We have also received reports that individual text messages with election-related keywords are being blocked, and more expansive internet blocking may follow.

This is the latest development in a series of government actions to undermine digital rights in the country.

Access Now, together with 28 human rights groups from around the world that are members of the #KeepItOn coalition, via an open letter, are urgently calling on President John Magufuli and TCRA Director James Kilaba to ensure that the internet and all other communication channels are open, secure, and accessible throughout the election period and thereafter.

“Introducing such restrictive measures aimed at limiting people’s online and offline rights undermines the possibility of a free, fair, and transparent election,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “The government of Tanzania must ensure an open and accessible digital space for all by immediately putting an end to such premeditated acts aimed at preventing people from actively engaging in the election process.”

The government of Tanzania must urgently take the following steps to facilitate transparency and enable citizens’ active participation in the upcoming election:

  • Reverse the TCRA directive ordering telcos to restrict services, and rather encourage telcos to ensure quality service to everyone throughout the election period.
  • Ensure that the internet, including social media and other digital communication platforms, remains open, accessible, and secure across Tanzania throughout the election.
  • Order internet service providers operating in Tanzania to provide everyone with high-quality, secure, and unrestricted internet access throughout the election period and thereafter.
  • Order internet service providers operating in the country to inform internet users of any disruptions and to work around the clock to fix any identified disruptions likely to impact the quality of service they receive.

Across the globe, elections are a trigger point for governments to disrupt access to the internet and other digital communications platforms, among other repressive acts aimed at limiting people’s online and offline activities.

The internet and digital communications tools play a crucial role in enabling people to exercise fundamental rights such as freedom of opinion and expression, access to information, and freedom of assembly.

The #KeepItOn coalition monitors potential disruptions, distributes circumvention resources, and urges authorities around the world to ensure access to open and secure internet and digital platforms during important national events like elections.

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Zambia Celebrates 56th Independence Anniversary

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The Emir of Qatar, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has congratulated Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on the anniversary of the East African country’s Independence Day.

Zambia on Saturday observed a lowkey 56th independence anniversary from the British colonisation in Lusaka, the country’s capital.

The lowkey event started with the laying of wreaths at the Freedom Statue in which President Edgar Lungu led senior government officials and diplomats whose attendance was restricted.

The event later shifted to State House for an investiture ceremony where various people were honoured for their distinguished service to the country, with only 100 people allowed to attend due to restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The events were broadcast live on the state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

This year’s celebration is being held under the theme, “One Land, One Nation, Building Our Future, Proud and Free.”

In his message on the eve of the anniversary, the Zambian leader said the government was determined to make the country a prosperous nation through improving different sectors of the economy.

Investments in various sectors such as roads and information technology were one way of growing the country’s economy.

He further emphasized the need for unity, adding that it was the dream of the country’s founding fathers to have a unitary and prosperous country where every citizen was equal before the law.

“Zambia shall forever be one country, one nation, indivisible and belonging to all of us as its citizens. It does not matter where one comes from, what language one speaks, what faith or political persuasion one holds. We all have a stake in our country,” he said.

The Zambian leader called on the current generation to emulate the spirit of the founding fathers who waged the struggle for independence, adding that they sacrificed everything in order to liberate the country from the shackles of colonialists.

“They came together, regardless of their differences, because they wanted this country to be free. Free from colonial rule and free from exploitation,” he added.

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