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Trade Union order protests against austerity, constitutional tweak in Gabon.

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Gabon’s largest trade union called on its members to lay down their tools in a double-edged protest against recent actions by government.

The union asked members to strike in protest against austerity measures initiated by Libreville in June 2018. The second reason being a mid-November constitutional amendment.

Even though over 100,000 workers were expected to abandon their posts for the three-day strike, reports said not as many people heeded the call.



A union leader, Louis Patrick Mombo, is quoted as saying: “We call all Gabonese workers to strike to demand the cancellation of the austerity measures, the respect of the Gabonese constitution which was violated on November 14th by the Constitutional Court and to demand the resignation of the court.”

The country’s top court in November inserted a clause that allowed a delegated official to lead the cabinet meeting which was by law solely the job of the president.

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The move followed the ill health and subsequent hospitalization of President Ali Bongo Ondimba in a Saudi hospital. The court ruled that the vice-president could chair the meeting which had not been held for weeks.

Before being amended by the Court, the Gabonese Constitution stipulated that only the president could authorize his vice-president to organize a meeting of Council of Ministers.

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The union, however, held that the amendment was a manipulation of the Constitution for which the President of the Constitutional Court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo should be removed from office.

The union also dismissed talk that it was taking on a political colour and announced that in the event, that their concerns remained unattended, they were going to organize a major march on December 18th.

On Saturday, for the first time since his hospitalization in Saudi Arabia on October 24, Vice President Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou acknowledged that President Bongo had a stroke. Until then, no official source had revealed the evil suffered by the Gabonese president.

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Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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