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East Africa Politics News

US, Allies Weigh Sanctions Over Tanzania Election Abuses

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The U.S. and its allies are considering actions such as visa restrictions to respond to alleged rights abuses and irregularities in Tanzania’s recent elections, an official said.

Principal Deputy spokesperson Cale Brown said this in a statement issued on Monday in Washington.

“The U.S., in coordination with our partners will consider actions including visa restrictions as appropriate to hold accountable those found to be responsible for human rights abuses and interference in the election process.

“We remain deeply concerned by credible reports of significant and widespread voting irregularities, internet interruption, arrests, and violence by security forces both in mainland Tanzania and on Zanzibar,’’ Brown said.

Wednesday’s election saw incumbent President John Magufuli claim a victory with 84.4 per cent of the vote and ruling party candidates winning seats in most regions of the country.

“While the Tanzania Election Commission declared President Magufuli on Oct. 30 as the winner of the Presidential contest, we remain deeply troubled by the impact of these irregularities and violence on the results,” the senior U.S. diplomat said.

The U.S. called on all parties to show restraint and peacefully resolve any disputes over the vote, Brown said.

Washington also urged the Tanzanian government to probe allegations of irregularities and violence on the part of security forces as well as uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Brown also revealed that Washington was coordinating with its partners and would consider actions including visa restrictions to hold to account any perpetrators of human rights violations or interference in the election process.

The U.S. and UK have expressed concern over reports of interference in the election and “heavy-handed policing in the elections.’’

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights meanwhile expressed concern over reports of violence against candidates in the run-up to the election.

East Africa Politics News

Uganda Jails Former Presidential Aspirant Three Years For Abusing Judges

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Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka, a former presidential aspirant in Uganda, has been jailed three years by the country’s Supreme Court for using abusive language against the judges, including calling them a “council of fools”.

The 36-year-old was jailed for contempt of court and will spend the next three years in Uganda Government Prison Kitalya.

Ssebadduka had in September filed a petition at the Supreme Court, seeking to stop a requirement for presidential aspirants to collect nomination signatures.

He also wanted the court to suspend the coronavirus safety restrictions issued by the health ministry on the conduct of campaign rallies.

He used the offensive remarks while defending the petition before the judges.

Chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo was quoted as saying that criticism against judges should be accurate and fair, and should not infringe on the the rights of others.

On November 11, local media reported that Ssebadduka, a week after he was summoned by the Supreme Court to explain why he shouldn’t be found guilty for contempt of court after using abusive language against Judges, followed up with more insults. He described the Justices as incompetent, saying the accusations of contempt of court are baseless because the justices can’t challenge him legally.

“We didn’t offend you or you’re so-called Supreme Court because it is not a court in the first place. It is a Council of fools…” Ssebadduka’s response to the summons read in part.

He added, “It is very unfortunate that we entrust you with the judiciary because you don’t deserve to be judges. A judge must have judgment but it is very unfortunate that you don’t have common sense, which is common”, reads his response in part.

After the ruling, Ssebadduka was immediately handcuffed by security and driven to his next home of three years.

The Supreme court decision in Uganda is final as it is the last appellate court in the country, and unless the justices choose, for some reason, to review their decision or Ssebadduka gets a presidential pardon, he will be expected to serve his entire jail term.

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Ethiopian Military to Begin Final Assault in Tigray – PM Abiy Ahmed

The statement was released via his Twitter page where he said that the 72-hour period granted to the criminal Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) clique to surrender peacefully was over and that the law enforcement campaign had reached its final stage.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced that the military will begin the ‘final phase’ of an offensive in the rebellious northern Tigray region, hours after an ultimatum for Tigray forces to surrender expired.

The PM’s statement was released via his Twitter page, where he said the 72-hour period granted to the criminal Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) clique to surrender peacefully was over, and that the law enforcement campaign had reached its final stage.

Mr. Ahmed was quoted as saying “When the federal government issued the 72-hour surrender time, it had two objectives… it was to demonstrate that the intention of our operations is to enforce the rule of law per the laws of the land. If the TPLF clique chose to peacefully surrender, the campaign would have been finalized with the least amount of damage.”

Ahmed added that the second objective of the 72-hour surrender time was to provide protection for those who understand the criminality of the TPLF clique and to dissociate themselves from the group.

Read also: Tigray Crisis: Ethiopian PM Warns Against International Interference

He noted that within that time, thousands of Tigray Special Forces and militia members had surrendered to the National Defence Force and many young people had refrained from engaging in TPLF’s destructive ambitions.

In his statement, the Prime Minister said that, while the Ethiopian National Defence Forces have been directed to conclude the third and final phase of the operations, great care will be taken to protect innocent civilians from harm.

However, he has warned civilians to stay away from combat zones, saying “we call on the people of Mekelle and its environs to disarm, stay at home, stay away from military targets, and to take all necessary precautions.”

He has also asked the people of Mekelle to play their part towards minimising damages to be sustained, because of a handful of criminal TPLF elements, by exposing and handing over the criminal clique to law enforcement agents.

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World Bank Project On Climate Resilience Bearing Fruits – Zambia’s President Lungu

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Zambia to face tougher austerity as economic woes worsen

Zambian President, Edgar Lungu on Monday expressed satisfaction that a World Bank supported project on climate resilience has started bearing fruits.

The Zambian leader said the innovation brought by the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project will go a long way in improving food security, livelihoods and enable the country to attain its climate change mitigation objectives in line with international climate change commitments.

The Zambian leader was speaking when he inspected a cashew nut farm in eastern Zambia’s Petauke district, one of the initiatives of the project, according to a release from the Ministry of National Development Planning.

The farm is practicing climate-smart agriculture techniques taught by the project.

He said the innovation will improve food security and livelihoods in rural communities while achieving climate change mitigation objectives.

The Zambian leader hoped that more farmers would adopt climate-smart agriculture techniques in order to promote the production of high value crops.

National Project Coordinator, Tasila Banda commended the Zambian government for its commitment to combat climate change through interventions being implemented by the project.

“As an integrated project, the only way to keep these interventions sustainable is to engage the private sector who are helping communities to generate bankable project proposals for enterprises around agriculture value chain, non-timber forest value and eco-tourism,’’ she said.

The Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project is an initiative of the government through a loan facility from the World Bank at a total cost of 32.8 million U.S. dollars.

It is meant to support rural communities in the eastern part of the country to allow them to better manage the resources of their landscape to reduce deforestation, improved landscape management, increase environmental and economic benefits.

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