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‘I Have Never Imprisoned Any Politician’- President Nkurunziza

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President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi has challenged anyone to provide a list of politicians that he has ever arrested under his rule – he said on Wednesday while appearing on state broadcaster.

“No politician is in Prison in Burundi. Where are they imprisoned? Tell me who they are,” President Nkurunziza challenged whoever can produce evidence.

The statements of President Pierre Nkurunziza have intrigued many yet what is happening on ground is completely the opposite.

For example Cathy Kezimana, a Parliamentary candidate vying for Bujumbura city constituency under the National Congress for Freedom polticial party was snatched away from a campaign rally and dumped in prison on Wednesday.

According to her supporters, Kezimana also campaigned last week in Mugongo-manga/Bujumbura and called on people to vote based on their conscience, “if you are given money by the ruling party to take it because it’s yours.”

Meanwhile, the arrest if Kezimana has triggered wide protests across Bujumbura where the ruling party has very minimum support and its supporters regularly clash with supporters of other opposition parties.

Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security have denounced the arbitrary arrest and detention of Parliamentary candidate Kezimana.

They have demanded for her unconditional release- a hastag #FreeCathyKezimana has also been launched to pressure Nkurunziza government to backdown.

Burundi has been rocked by insecurity since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office that his opponents said was unconstitutional.

Aloys Baricako the head of RANAC, a coalition of three political parties has been languishing in detention after he was arrested in 2018 by Intelligence services in the central town of Gitega where he had traveled to attend a funeral.

Early in January, nkurunziza issued order to arrest and charge four journalists for ‘undermining state security’.

The journalists were arrested in October in Musigati district in western Bubanza Province while covering an incursion of rebels from the province of South Kivu in the neighbouring DRC.

Last year, 2019, three schoolgirls in Burundi were arrested and are facing five years in prison for drawing on the President’s face in their school books- a charge described as ‘insulting the head of state.’

Similarly in 2016, agents of the National Intelligence Service of Burundi arrested eight secondary school students for allegedly insulting Nkurunziza by writing phrases like “Get out” or “No to the 3rd term” on a picture of the President in a textbook.  However, they were released after pressure from the international community.

In 2015, the Nkurunziza government through the Supreme Court, ordered for the seizure of assets belonging to opposition activists in exile.

Prosecutor General informed the registrar of land titles that buildings belonging to people on the list must be seized.

The U.N. and international rights groups are on record saying there are credible reports of violations in Burundi and that political freedoms have shrunk dramatically since 2015.

An armed member of the Imbonerakure Militia openly manning the campaign rally donning a Tshirt of ruling party candidate. The militia has for the past years taken charge of security across the country and are behind the untold suffering opposition politicians are going through

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Politics

Shoot Anyone Carrying AK-47 in Bush -President Buhari

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Nigeria’s President Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has directed security agencies to shoot anyone seen with AK-47.

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu disclosed this directive during an interview with the BBC, saying the president directed a clampdown on bandits who have refused to surrender.

On the efforts being made to rid Zamfara and other northern states of bandits, Shehu said the government is resorting to lethal force.

“The president has ordered security forces to go into the bushes and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47,” he said in the interview monitored by TheCable.

“He ordered that whoever is seen with terrible weapons at all should be shot immediately.” ‘Jets being used to transport arms to Zamfara’ Shehu also said the Federal government declared Zamfara a no-fly zone following intelligence that arms are being transported to the bandits with private jets.

He said the jets are also used to cart away gold from the state to Dubai, which, according to him, prompted the ban on mining activities also announced on Tuesday.

“These jets are being used to pick up gold that is being mined in some parts of Zamfara and exported. This is strong because at the moment,” he said.

“There is a Nigerian gold market in Dubai. The government is losing, the people of this country are losing, that’s why it is said that gold mining is banned for those who are not made by the government.”

The ban on mining activities in Zamfara was first announced in April 2017 amid reports that actors going after the state’s gold reserves are fuelling its security crisis.

Commitment to end insecurity lacking — North-East govs Meanwhile, North East Governors, yesterday, called on Federal Government to be more proactive and committed to the fight against insurgency and terrorism in the country, saying the current situation suggests that the commitment was not there.

The governors’ position came on a day Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, asked the Federal Government to also extend to Benue, Taraba and Borno the ‘’no fly zone’’ order placed on Zamfara State by President Muhammadu Buhari, arguing that choppers also drop arms in these states for bandits and insurgents.

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Politics

Bahati Lukwebo Elected President of DRC Senate

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The Senate of Democratic Republic of Congo has a newly elected President, Senator Modeste Bahati Lukwebo.

Senator Modeste Bahati Lukwebo won the vote on Tuesday March 02 with an overwhelming majority.

Of the 99 voting Senators, 89 voted for the AFDC-A Political Grouping.

Acoording to political analysts inside DRC, this vote result does not come as a suprise since majority of Senators have joined the Sacred Union advocated by President Felix Tshisekedi.

Modeste Bahati Lukwebo succeeds Alexis Thambwe Mwamba who was recently forced to resign with part of his office.

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East-Africa

President Uhuru Takes Over EAC Chairmanship

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President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya has taken over the Chairmanship of East African Community (EAC)  bloc.

“Thank you for showing confidence, faith and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” Uhuru said on Saturday.

The Kenyan President assured that he will spare no effort towards the realization of the shared aspirations that gave rebirth to the community 20 years ago.

Uhuru spoke when he addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to Covid-19 after taking over the chairmanship from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

He hailed the late former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and the late former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, acknowledging the role they played together with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in the rebirth of EAC 20 years ago.

President Uhuru outlined his vision for the bloc, saying he will focus on strengthening of partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensuring sustainable implementation of projects and programs in productive sectors.

He emphasized the need for partner states to harmonize their commitment on free movement of people, workers and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.

President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s decision to remove visa requirement for South Sudanese nationals visiting the country as an act of reciprocity.

President Kagame congratulated President Kenyatta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC Secretary General.

The East African Community bloc is composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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