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Election candidate fees hiked in Benin raises dust.

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Benin’s former leader on Tuesday accused President Patrice Talon of “declaring war” on the nation through the adoption of a new law demanding exorbitant fees from anyone running for election.

Adopted by parliament earlier this month, the legislation demands an eye-watering fee of 250 million CFA francs – around $450 000 – for candidates hoping to contest the 2020 presidential election.



The figure constitutes a whopping 1 500% increase from the 15 million CFA francs in the 2016 election in a move denounced by the opposition as favouring the rich and well-connected.

There is an even bigger hike for fielding a candidate list in the legislative elections, with the fee rising from 8.3 million CFA francs to 249 million.

“By brutally and clumsily excluding anyone who is young, poor or disadvantaged, the government and its allies in parliament have this time gone too far,” said Nicephore Soglo, who served as president between 1991-1996.

“It is nothing less than a declaration of war,” the 83-year-old told reporters at a press conference at his home in Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital.

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“We are playing with fire,” said Soglo, who was Benin’s first democratically-elected president after nearly two decades of a Marxist-Leninist regime led by Mathieu Kerekou, a revolutionary who seized power during a military coup.

As honorary president of the opposition party Renaissance Benin, Soglo has never minced his words about Talon’s leadership, denouncing it over its authoritarian drift.

Since his election in March 2016, Talon has adopted a series of increasingly controversial reforms, triggering strikes and protests in this tiny West African country.

Earlier this month, protesters hit the streets after parliament adopted a law limiting the right to go on strike to a maximum of 10 days per year, for both public and private sector workers.

And last week, the authorities banned a gathering in Cotonou to protest against a new law imposing a sharp hike in internet costs, which has driven up the price of using social networks from 2 CFA francs to 10 CFA francs per megabyte.

A former French colony with 10.8 million people, Benin is classed as a low-income country by the World Bank, with poor social and economic indicators in areas such as health and education.

With scarce natural resources, it relies on its port business to survive, with Cotonou acting as a key West African distribution hub for imported cars, fabrics, and food from all over the world.

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Motherland News

Nigerian President Buhari Warns Ballot box snatchers to value their lives

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections to desist or pay with his or her life if caught.



President Buhari who stated this at the opening session of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Caucus meeting in Abuja, on Monday, said that such act would be the last unlawful act the person will be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the governors of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

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Buhari who said he is confident that he has garnered enough supporters having gone round the country to campaign, urged party members to reassure their constituents to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates.

While urging party agents to watch out for the party interests at the polling units the president said that he has directed security agencies to identify hot spots and be ready to move should they suspect any attempts to cause problems by thugs across the country irrespective of party affiliations.

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– Vanguard

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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