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Doubts trail Kabila’s ‘ready to step down’ declaration

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President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Joseph Kabila has agreed to step down when elections are held later this year. This is according to the information minister Lambert Mende in an interview with the Voice of America channel.

According to the minister, Kabila will, however, name a successor in July this year. He is barred from contesting for another term under the constitution.

His final term expired in late 2016 but an earlier court ruling said he could stay in charge till when elections are next held. The Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) says the inability to organize polls was based on the lack of an updated register and insecurity in parts of the country.

People on social media have reacted to Kabila’s promise to step down. There are those that doubt if the 47-year-old will leave especially given that he did not directly commit to go.

Others are concerned more about why he has taken it upon himself to openly elect a successor. For others, Kabila is only buying time till he pulls his next stunt.

A former United States Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State, Herman J. Cohen said he trusted Kabila to keep his word.

“In view of DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende’s statement in Washington January 31, I am now persuaded that there will be an election in December 2018, and that Kabila will not be candidate. Now vital that opposition unite around single candidate,” Cohen said in a tweet.

Joseph Kabila came to power in 2001 after the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila. He has since won the last two elections organised in the resource – rich country, first in 2006 before his reelection for a final term in 2011. He was expected to step down in 2016 but failed to do so with the reason that the prevailing conditions were not suitable for an election.

The international community has pressed for elections to be held and for Kabila to step down.

A series of opposition protests have been clamped down by the police. The most recent being a peaceful march by the Catholic Church. Police fired tear gas as protesters holding green leaves and arrested a number of priests and portesters.

Congo is Africa’s largest copper producer but ranks very low on the U.N. Human Development Index. Congo has not experienced a peaceful transition of power since independence in 1960. Dozens were killed last month in demonstrations in the capital, Kinshasa.

Kabila’s two main opponents are Felix Tshisekedi who leads the main opposition party – taking over the reigns from his late father Etienne Tshisekedi who died whiles seeking medical attention in Belgium in 2017.

The other opponent is a former ally and governor of the country’s Katanga Province Moise Katumbi. The owner of TP Mazembe football club is also in self-imposed exiled after a number of corruption charges were thrown at him. He promised to return in December 2017 but failed to do so.

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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