Africa at a glance

Thursday May 23 2019

Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP)

Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera (C), his running mate Sidiki Mia (L) and party’s campaign director Moses Kunkuyu, at a press conference at his residence in Blantyre, on May 22, 2019. He warned against attempts to rig the country's election saying the party was conducting its own count. PHOTO | AMOS GUMULIRA | AFP 

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  • Malawi main opposition warns of rigging in close vote

Malawi opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday warned against attempts to rig the country's election, claiming he was leading as votes were slowly tallied.

Early official results showed President Peter Mutharika and Chakwera were equal on about 37 percent of the vote with about one-third of polling centres counted after Tuesday's election.

Chakwera said his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was conducting its own count, even though local observers earlier declared the election largely free and fair.

The country has around 6.8 million potential voters but turn-out has not been published.

  • G. Bissau protesters call for election winner to form government

Thousands of supporters of Guinea Bissau's ruling PAIGC party protested in the capital on Wednesday calling on President Jose Mario Vaz to nominate party leader Domingos Simoes Pereira as prime minister after an election victory back in March.

It had been hoped that the March 10 vote would draw a line under a crisis that erupted in August 2015 when Vaz -- also a PAIGC member -- sacked Pereira, his then prime minister.

But despite coming top in the election, winning 47 of parliament's 102 seats and 46 percent of the popular vote, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) has not yet been given the chance to form a coalition government.

Wednesday's protest coincided with a new three-day strike of public and utilities sector workers over unpaid wages and working conditions.

  • Tanzania opposition demands reform of electoral body

An alliance of Tanzanian opposition parties on Wednesday called for the creation of an "independent" electoral commission, with local elections due in October and a presidential poll next year.

"We demand and we are going to fight for the creation of an independent electoral commission," said Hashim Rungwe, a spokesman for a coalition of eight parties including main opposition group Chadema, at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.

The commissioners, including the head of the national election commission are named by the president of the Republic who has since independence tended to be the head of the dominant Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

Mr Rungwe said this negated multi-party democracy as CCM was "player and referee".

  • UN backs UK return of Chagos Islands to Mauritius

The UN has passed a resolution demanding the UK return control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

In the non-binding vote in the General Assembly in New York, 116 states were in favour, 56 including France and Germany abstained and six were against in a diplomatic blow to the UK.

Mauritius says it was forced to give up the Indian Ocean group - now a British overseas territory - in 1965 in exchange for independence.

The UK insists it will give up control of the islands once they were no longer needed for defence purposes.

  • Amnesty International blames UN on war atrocities in South Sudan

Amnesty International has accused UN peacekeepers of standing by as war atrocities escalate in South Sudan.

It said the UN force had failed on multiple occasions, to protect civilians facing conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence meted by the warring sides.

It said witnesses reported indiscriminate shooting of civilians, death by hanging on trees, torching of houses and people being run over by armoured cars in the April -July 2018 offensive by President Salva Kiir's government

  • Botswana lifts ban on elephant hunting

Botswana on Wednesday lifted its ban on elephant hunting, saying the population had increased and farmers' livelihoods were being impacted, in a move set to trigger outrage from conservationists.

A prohibition on elephant hunting was introduced in the southern African country in 2014 by then-president Ian Khama, a keen environmentalist.

A review of the ban started soon after he was succeeded by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Landlocked Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, with more than 135,000 roaming freely in its unfenced parks and wide open spaces.

  • Somalia and Kenya tensions rise in 'visa row'

Somalia has raised "great concern" with the Kenyan government, accusing it of detaining and confiscating the passports of Somali ministers trying to enter the country.

The Somali foreign affairs ministry contacted Kenyan authorities on Tuesday complaining about the treatment of MPs and cabinet ministers who were forced "to return to Mogadishu".

Monica Juma, Kenya's cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, on Tuesday declined to comment on the specific case but said visitors with valid visas would not be denied entry.

Relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi deteriorated earlier this year after Somalia decided to auction off oil and gas blocks in a disputed maritime area.

  • US rails at South Africa over Mozambique extradition

The US Wednesday said it was greatly disappointed that South Africa had sent home a disgraced former Mozambican finance minister who it wanted to face corruption charges in America.

The US embassy in Pretoria expressed "great disappointment" at the decision, saying former minister Manuel Chang was accused of carrying out a $2 billion fraud and money laundering scheme that defrauded US investors.

Earlier Wednesday, Mozambique which accuses Chang of receiving $17 million in a scam which creamed off hundreds of millions of dollars had welcomed South Africa's move.

  • Senegal payments service Wari now on WhatsApp

Users of the messaging platform WhatsApp will now have access to the services of Wari, the Senegalese payments firm said Wednesday.

It consumers would now easily initiate financial transactions no matter where they are located in the world.

Wari, which means money in west Africa's Bambara language, is available in French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portugese.

It boasts 500,000 points of service in 60 countries and plans to soon offer services in Russian and Arabic.

  • Libyan strongman Haftar tells Macron no ceasefire for now

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a military offensive against the UN-recognised government in Tripoli, rejected a ceasefire requested by French President Emmanuel Macron during talks in Paris, an Elysee official said Wednesday.

Hafter said the conditions for halting hostilities "were not met," while acknowledging that a "political dialogue" is needed to end the standoff with his rival, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

The official speaking on anonimity said Haftar had justified the offensive by saying he was fighting against "private militias and extremist groups" who are gaining influence in the capital.

Sarraj said while in Tunisia on Wednesday ceasefire would only be considered after "the withdrawal of the forces of the aggressor."

  • FIFA drops plans for 48-team 2022 World Cup

World soccer governing body FIFA has shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams, dealing a blow to the world football body's president Gianni Infantino.

The 2022 tournament in the Gulf state will now be played with 32 nations taking part after the decision on Wednesday.

"Under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now," FIFA said in a statement.

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) was backing the expansion which would have seen Africa take 10 teams, instead of five currently, to the fiesta.

Infantino's proposal was considered unworkable with Qatar under a blockade by its neighbours despite the attraction of $360 million in additional income from ticket sales, television and marketing rights.