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Chad suspends 10 parties for ‘disturbing public order’

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The government of Chad on Wednesday suspended 10 opposition parties for “disturbing public order” and “inciting violence” after they backed trade union calls for a mass protest over austerity measures.

The parties’ activities “have been suspended for a duration of two months,” Security Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said in a statement.

Citing security reasons, the authorities also announced on the radio that a march scheduled for Thursday by civil groups, trade unions and opposition politicians had been banned.

Chad is imposing cuts in public spending that the finance ministry says are vital to stave off bankruptcy.

The government is under pressure to cut costs to meet performance targets under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid programme.

The IMF opened up a $312 million (254 million euro) credit line last June. To gain a second tranche of credit, Chad has to improve its state finances and conclude negotiations with commodities trader Glencore over a debt of $1.45 billion, according to an informed source.

The government is lowering the wages of civil servants and increasing income tax, citing 800 billion CFA francs (1.2 billion euros/$1.5 billion) of debt to commercial banks and a sevenfold increase in the number of public servants over the past decade.

Civil service salaries in 2017 totalled 376 billion CFA francs, roughly the equivalent of the combined revenue from income tax and customs duties, according to official figures given to AFP.

Chad has endured two years of severe recession worsened by a slump in oil prices. That, along with the spending cuts have increased social tension and anger at President Idriss Deby, who has been in power since 1990.

Almost half the population of 14 million lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Trade unions initiated an indefinite general strike in the state sector on January 29, and followed this with strikes in the private sector on Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday’s planned rallies were preceded by a similar “Day of Anger” on January 25, which was also banned.

The 10 suspended parties include the Democratic Party of the Chadian People (PDPT), led by lawmaker Djimet Clement Bagao, which took part in a march on Tuesday called by unions.

The demonstration was dispersed by police, causing injuries, according to the opposition.

Motherland News

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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