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Zambians denounce government corruption in rare demonstration

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Around 100 demonstrators protested Friday in front of the Zambian Parliament in Lusaka against corruption in the government, as the Minister of Finance presented her 2019 draft budget to MPs.

The protest was organised by a consortium of non-governmental organizations and had the rare approval of Zambia’s authorities.

“We are protesting because of the way the public money is being spent in Zambia and endless corruption, scandals that we hear, the unsustainable debt that the country now owes and importantly because all this means that our poor and our vulnerable are having to live much much worse life than they could,” said Laura Miti, the protest organizer.



As demonstrators marched, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe presented a budget of €6 billion in the wake of international aid cuts.

The United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Ireland have suspended their assistance to Zambia after over $4m meant for a social assistance programme for the country’s poor was stolen.

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Since his re-election in 2016, president Edgar Lungu and his government have been regularly accused of corruption and authoritarian drift by their political opponents.

In June 2018, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Zambia’s anti-corruption watchdog released a report that found some cabinet members and presidential aides had siphoned billions of Zambian kwacha from government coffers through money laundering.

In September of 2017, several activists were arrested and charged with ‘disobeying lawful orders’ after they staged a protest outside Zambia’s parliament to highlight the abuse of public funds, particularly the procurement of 42 fire trucks by the state for an alleged cost of $42m.

In August of 2017, Zambia dropped treason charges against opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and five others had been arrested in April and charged with treason after his convoy failed to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

Human rights campaigners had slammed the charges as political persecution.

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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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