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Côte d’Ivoire’s Ouattara seeks third term, forcing collapse of unity talks

President Alasanne Outtara’s decision to seek a third term in office may have forced a collapse of merger talks with the country’s other leading political party, PDCI, led by ex-President Henri Konan Bédié’

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President Alasanne Outtara’s decision to seek a third term in office may have forced a collapse of merger talks with the country’s other leading political party, PDCI, led by ex-President Henri Konan Bédié’.

PDCI now says it will field a candidate in the 2020 presidential election.

The long-standing alliance between two of Côte d’Ivoire’s largest political parties, the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, PDCI, of former President Henri Konan Bédié and the Rally of Democrats, RDR of current Head of State Alasanne Dramane Ouattara, now hangs in the balance.

This followed a June 16, 2018 meeting by over 600 PDCI executive members who resolved to postpone merger talks with RDR until after the 2020 presidential election, Radio France International, RFI reported on June 18, 2018.

The political bureau members said it was PDCI’s turn to field a candidate in the next presidential poll after supporting RDR’s Alassane Ouattara in 2010 and 2015. After six hours of discussions, PDCI executive members approved the deal to merge PDCI with RDR and other smaller parties, but did not fix any party congress this year to seal the agreement before elections in 2020.

“The political bureau decides to postpone the 13th PDCI/RDA congress until after the 2020 presidential election. The political bureau reassures party members and supporters of the party’s determination to reconquer power in 2020,” N’Dri Kouadio Narcisse, PDCI spokesman told the press.

“The question of party merger will be discussed after PDCI takes over power in 2020 and we are so happy with the decision,” commented a young party supporter.

Observers say the PDCI’s sudden change of mind is a response to a statement earlier this month by President Alassane Ouattara. In an interview with French language weekly, Jeune Afrique on June 3, 2018, Ouattara said he was free to stand for a third term in 2020 under the new constitution. “I will only make a definite decision then, based on the situation in Ivory Coast. Stability and peace come before all else, including my principles,” he said.

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Weeks after justices protest, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad resigns

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Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned.

Sources confirmed that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Hint of potential crises in Nigeria’s judiciary played out last week when fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous state of affairs in the court.

The petition is the first-of-its-kind in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court.

Arrangements are said to be ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 suspended Justice Tanko’s predecessor Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against the most senior judge in the country. It was the first time that Nigeria’s head of state had sacked a chief justice since 1975, when the country was under military rule.

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18 years after suspension, Zimbabwe lobbys for readmission into Commonwealth

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Southern African Zimbabwe has continued with lobbying for readmission 18 years after it was thrown out of the body over allegations of human rights abuses.

The country made its latest move to be readmitted at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali as an observer alongside other top government officials, told newsmen that the country’s participation at the summit was a “positive development.”

“Zimbabwe is excited to be participating in Commonwealth forums as this presents opportunities to network with the international community taking into account the government of Zimbabwe’s policy of engagement and reengagement,” Ms Manyeruke said.

“The Commonwealth meeting in Kigali has provided opportunities for our Zimbabwean diaspora across the globe, who are participating as panellists, facilitators and as delegates in the forums.

Zimbabwe was first suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth for one year, after international observers condemned disputed presidential election as unfairly tilted toward Robert Mugabe in 2022.

One year after the suspension, Mr Mugabe revealed that he did not accept a Commonwealth decision to prolong Zimbabwe’s suspension from the group until the country mended its ways.

“Accordingly, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its membership from the Commonwealth with immediate effect,” said a government statement.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said he had held meetings with influential people to discuss the country’s potential readmission.

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