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.
Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe
Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.
The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).
The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.
According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.
It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.
“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.
“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”
The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.
Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival
Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.
Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.
But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.
“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.
Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.
The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.
That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.
Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.
“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.
He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.
“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”
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