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Benin President Orders Economic Decolonization From France

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For the first time a Head of State from Africa’s CFA currency region has openly spoken about a very politically and economically sensitive subject that could ruin relationship with colonial master, France.

President Patrice Talon has ordered that his country’s foreign currency reserves  colonially deposited in French Central Bank be immediately withdrawn. Such a decision has been a taboo and no other french colony has ever done this.

All CFA zone countries are former colonies of France and have historically deposited their foreign exchange reserves to Banque de France. This has been an unchangeable rule for decades but the Benin leader seems to have a different route he wants to take his country.

These reserves are an insurance that guarantees the stability of the CFA and therefore the control of inflation.

In early October, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Paris was open to an “ambitious reform” of the CFA franc and that it was up to the countries that share the currency to decide what they want.

Countries in the western Africa Economic bloc ECOWAS are introducing a new currency known as eco and will replace other currencies in this part of the continent which unavoidably will affect the colonial era CFA currency.

What will change is that the banks in the West African CFA zone will have to manage all their foreign exchange reserves. A kind of monetary independence that demands a part of the opinion in the region.

However, international law experts argue that the decision by President Talon may encounter some legal hurdles before his decision is effected.

Martial Ze Belinga an expert says there is a legal framework that sets obligations to raise at least 50% of reserves to the French Treasury. Now, there is a political decision.

“It will be necessary to negotiate, to enter into discussion to get the African reserves out of the Treasury. So it may take a while, but the process is ongoing,” he said while appearing on a French TV.

French politicians say President Talon’s move to withdraw from Banque du France may also trigger a political blockade.

“For a long time, 100% of the reserves in the CFA area were kept in the French Treasury. And even when we went to 65% in the 1970s, African central banks continued to pay almost 100% to the French Treasury. So, anyway, it is an annuity and it is part of the colonial rents undoubtedly.”

“We must build win-win games now. And old models will not work. They will no longer work between Africans and Europe, between Africans and the rest of the world, but they will not work anymore.”

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Politics

North Kivu Military Governor Sets Up Base In Beni

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In North Kivu, the Military Governor has established his base in Beni in the heart of the operational sector, according to meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Friday July 30 by videoconference.

With his headquarters installed in the region of Beni, Lt. Gen. Ndima Constant will easily coordinate and closely monitors the progress of military operations against armed groups active in Beni including the ADF rebels.

Lt. Gen. Ndima said that calm had returned to territories of Lubero, Masisi, Nyiragongo, Walikale as well as in the town of Butembo.”

According to the Military Governor, more rebels have reportedly surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Addressing the question on the closure carried out by the security forces in the city of Goma on July 18, 2021 in the Bujovu district to reduce the circulation of arms and promote the return of peace, the head of the National Defense indicated that these these operations resulted in the arrest of 139 people, including ten soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and 9 foreign nationals made available to the migration service.

“66 of these 139 people were released and 73 others transferred to Munzenze prison. Weapons and ammunition were seized from some houses of the criminals, ” said Lt. Gen. Ndima.

In his speech, the Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs also signaled the completion in Goma of the construction site of 1,000 houses for the victims of Nyiragongo Volcanic eruption.

“They will soon be delivered to the beneficiaries,” he clarified.

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Politics

Burundi Government Withdraws Guards From Opposition CNL Deputies

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Members of Parliament aligned to the opposition National Congress for Liberty party in Burundi have expressed fear for their safety after government withdrew their bodyguards.

In the past days, local media has been leaking information that CNL deputies would soon lose their guards. For their safety, they will have to resort to guards offered by the police stations of their electoral districts.

“It’s in their constituencies that they are supposed to live,” said Désiré Nduwimana the Police Spokesman.

“The measure would concern all deputies. “We were told this at the start of our legislature,” one member of parliament was quoted by local media Iwacu on condition of anonymity.

A measure that worries deputies from the CNL party.

“This is not the measure that worries us. But rather its implementation in this period, ”a CNL Member of the National Assembly said.

Indeed, the measure comes at a time when members of the CNL party evoke “arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances of its supporters. ”

One of the fears of CNL deputies is to end up with “security agents who could be the source of their insecurity,” said this source.

“At the moment we have API agents to keep us safe, like ministers and other state officials. ”

Another CNL member said when we are from the CNL, “the worry is twofold, we do not know if we are going to choose our own security guards or if they are going to impose them on us.”

CNL party spokesman Thérence Manirambona says the safety of a people’s elected representative should be provided by someone he trusts.

“This should not be the privilege of members of the office of the National Assembly and a few members of the government,” he said.

Of the 126 members of the National Assembly, only 32 deputies come from the main opposition party, the CNL.

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Tanzania’s Main Opposition Party Chadema Leader Arrested

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Freeman Mbowe and 10 members of Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema have been rounded up and locked behind bars pending serious charges.

According to details from Chadema social media accounts, the opposition leader and his cadres were rounded up in the dead of night in the northwestern port city of Mwanza.

Chadema was preparing to hold a planned conference to demand constitutional reforms on Wednesday.

“We condemn the repression of the rights of Tanzanians with the strongest force. These are signs that the dictatorship that existed during the rule of President John Magufuli continues,” the party charged.

“Freeman Mbowe was accosted by an army of police officers in his hotel when he arrived at 02:30 am and was arrested together with other leaders,” it said.

While the other Chadema members were taken to Mwanza police station, there was no information about Mbowe’s whereabouts.

“We want the police to come out and say where the chairman is and why he was arrested,” Chadema said.

The arrests come four months after President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March following the sudden death of her predecessor Magufuli.

There have been high hopes that Hassan would usher in a change from the autocratic rule of her predecessor, who was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his uncompromising leadership style.

The arrests took place after Mbowe vowed to go ahead with a meeting on constitutional reforms despite Mwanza provincial authorities banning public gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“We cannot continue with the old order,” Mbowe said in a video published on Twitter on Monday, dressed in a red shirt and beret.

“We have the right to meet but are arrested, beaten, accused and taken to court for two to three years and then freed.

“If they want to arrest all members of the Chadema party, let them first expand the jails because we are all ready to be arrested and will not request bail.”

In April, Hassan had reached out to the opposition and vowed to defend democracy and basic freedoms in the East African country, which had seen a slide into autocratic rule under her predecessor.

In November 2020, several top opposition leaders including Mbowe were briefly detained after calling for mass protests against what they charged was a rigged election that returned then president Magufuli to power for a second term.

The deeply Covid-sceptic Magufuli died in March of what the authorities said was a heart condition but his political opponents insisted he had coronavirus.

Tanzania was long seen as a haven of stability and democracy in an otherwise volatile neighbourhood, but alarm grew over Magufuli’s increasingly authoritarian rule.

Nationmedia

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