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Buhari’s hold on power slackens in Nigeria; How the ‘coup’ happened

True to prediction, the breakaway faction of Nigeria’s ruling party, the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) has formally dumped the mother party to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

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True to prediction, the breakaway faction of Nigeria’s ruling party, the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) has formally dumped the mother party to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a dramatic move Tuesday, 52 lawmakers defected from APC to PDP. They were made up of 15 Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives. The notes conveying the decision of the decampees were read by the respective heads of both houses of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki of the Senate, and Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives.

The 52 lawmakers, in their collective letters, alleged irreconcilable differences within the APC as reason for pitching their tents with the opposition PDP.

SlamReportesAfrica had reported how, in the build up to the breakup, the ruling party had approached its aggrieved members with juicy offers to give up on their intentions to leave the party.

In no unmistaken terms, the aggrieved faction had said that the promise of juicy carrots to its members by the leadership of the APC was already too late to stop the R-APC from its planned defection.

The bombshell was dropped on Sunday in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kassim Afegbua.

The statement came on the heels of high powered meetings between the Presidency and perceived arrow head of the rebel group, Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Read Also: Unfolding story: What we know about siege on home of Nigeria’s Senate President

In one instance, the meeting with Saraki was led by President Muhammadu Buhari himself while Chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, was caught in nocturnal consultations with Buba Galadima who has been the known figure behind R-APC.

Early attempts to abort a gathering of lawmakers occurred Tuesday as security operatives, allegedly from the Presidency, made futile efforts to prevent the Senate President and his deputy from accessing the National Assembly, venue of the defection exercise.

The development has radically altered the power configuration in the country’s legislative arm with the opposition PDP having majority of seats while shrinking APC’s control of the lower house.

Reacting to the political tremor, President Muhammadu Buhari said he wished the departing members best of luck in their future endeavours. The ruling party, however, would not concede that it had lost control at the National Assembly.

Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesman of the party, said in his reaction to the defection of 52 federal lawmakers that the party respects the right of people to move to another party.

“APC notes the development in the National Assembly with the defection of some of our members from the party,” Abdullahi said in a statement.

“APC remains in firm control of 25 states of the 36 states of the federation and maintains a clear majority in the Federal House of Representatives and state assemblies.

However, the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, branded the defecting lawmakers ‘mercenaries.’

Analysts argue that the developments would have far reaching implications for the polity as the realignment of forces is expected to trickle down to the States of the federation where at least three governors and their supporters are likely to join the PDP bandwagon and ultimately alter the support base of President Buhari ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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This is Uganda, not Kenya, Museveni warns planned protesters against ‘playing with fire’

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Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has warned demonstrators that they will be “playing with fire” if they march to parliament on Tuesday to protest corruption.

In a televised address, Mr Museveni warned the Ugandan organisers that their planned protest would not be tolerated.

“We are busy producing wealth… and you here want to disturb us. You are playing with fire because we cannot allow you to disturb us,” he said.

Kenya’s anti-tax bill has sparked a wave of anti-government protests across Africa, with reports of planned nationwide protests also growing in Nigeria.

Mr Museveni is accused by his critics of ruling Uganda with an iron hand since taking power in 1986, but his supporters praise him for maintaining stability in the East African state.

The president also accused some of the protest organisers of “always working with foreigners” to cause chaos in Uganda. He did not elaborate.

Police had earlier announced that they had refused to permit the march to take place. Meanwhile, One of the main protest leaders told journalists that they would go ahead with it.

“We don’t need police permission to carry out a peaceful demonstration. It is our constitutional right,” Louez Aloikin Opolose was quoted as saying.The United Kingdom and the United States sanctioned Uganda’s parliamentary speaker, Anita Annet Among, for corruption earlier this year. Although she has denied any wrongdoing.

The sanctions prevent her from visiting the UK and the US. The UK also threatened to freeze her assets.

The United Kingdom has also sanctioned two government ministers fired by Mr Museveni for corruption.

The theft of thousands of metal roofing sheets for needy communities in north-eastern Karamoja has led to charges against Mary Goretti Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu. They deny the charges.

Political behaviours are observed to often have contagious effects in African politics, and the protest wave might spread further. For instance, in the post-independence era of the 1960s – 1990s military interregnums swept through the continent, and have recently returned notably amongst French-speaking African countries.

Museveni declared himself president of Uganda on January 26, 1986, after leading the National Resistance Movement (NRM) armed group in guerrilla war against Milton Obote’s regime. He has remained the leader of the East African country since then in an almost four-decade-long reign that put him in the league of longest-serving leaders in the continent with his peers being Paul Biya (Cameroon), Obiang Teodoro (Equatorial Guinea), Denis Sassou Nguese (Congo DR), Isaias Afwerki (Eriteria) Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti) amongst others.

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Look beyond Lungu, Hichilema, former minister Siamunene urges Zambians

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Former Defense Minister, Richwell Siamunene, suggests Zambians should see beyond President Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Lungu if recent reconciliation efforts failed.

Siamunene made the position known while guesting on Saturday’s Prime Television Governance and Leadership Talk. “They needed to reconcile like yesterday. But if they fail to reconcile, Zambians should forget about them and choose other leaders among the 20 million citizens. Life shouldn’t be about the two,” he said.

Siamunene said the appeal for Presidents Lungu and Hichilema to reconcile was long overdue and that Zambians should turn elsewhere if they don’t while also urging the public to refrain from ‘joking when voting’ to enhance governance

“I think Zambian voters joke a lot when voting. We need to be as serious as Zambians; that is why the country is in this situation,” Siamunene said.

He stressed that ethnically motivated leadership was harmful.

Siamunene believed that leaders should be chosen based on their ability to advance development, not their wealth or education.

“Once you become a leader of the country, you cease to be family property and become part of the Zambian family. No friends or family considerations should influence decisions,” he said.

He underlined the necessity for exceptional leadership to fight corruption, saying that waiting for the President to authorize probes makes it academic.

Hichilema at his sixth attempt at winning the presidency in 2021 defeated the incumbent, President Edgar Lungu, by a landslide – more than a million votes. Hichilema capitalized on the failings of Mr. Lungu’s six-year tenure which was criticized for human rights abuses, corruption, a faltering economy, and high unemployment. The two politicians have remained political enemies despite recent talks of reconciliation.

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