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Obama in S’Africa denounces ‘strongman politics.’ Trump caught in the mix

Former US President Barack Obama on Tuesday mounted a passionate defense of democracy and warned against the rise of “strongman politics,” in a speech in South Africa a day after his successor, Donald Trump, was heavily criticized for a humiliating news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki

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Former US President Barack Obama on Tuesday mounted a passionate defense of democracy and warned against the rise of “strongman politics,” in a speech in South Africa a day after his successor, Donald Trump, was heavily criticized for a humiliating news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

In an address in honor of the late Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Obama criticized populist movements toward authoritarianism around the world and ridiculed the “utter loss of shame among political leaders” who lie.

CNN reports that Obama has made an art of criticizing the current President’s values without explicitly naming Trump, peppering his speech Tuesday with warnings against some of Trump’s key policies, including protectionism, climate change denial and closed borders.

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“The politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear. And that kind of politics is now on the move. It’s on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago,” he told the crowd of around 15,000 people in Johannesburg.

“I am not being alarmist, I’m simply stating the facts. Look around — strongman politics are ascendant, suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, where those in powers seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

“You have to believe in facts. Without facts there’s no basis for cooperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it’s going to be hard for us to cooperate,” he said.

“I can’t find common ground if somebody says that climate change just isn’t happening, when almost all the world’s scientists tell us it is. I don’t know where to start talking to you about this. If you say it’s an elaborate hoax, where do we start?” he added.

Politics

Exiled Ivory Coast politician, Charles Blé Goudé, returns home to cheering crowd. Old wounds opened?

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Exiled Ivorian politician, Charles Blé Goudé who was the right-hand man of former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, is back home.

The Street General as he is fondly called is said to be allegedly involved in the violence that followed the 2011 presidential elections, returned home on Saturday after more than eight years abroad.

Thousands of supporters turned up to receive him at the airport after his arrival on a flight from Ghana’s capital, Accra, that was preceded by a heavy police presence.

Charles Blé Goudé while addressing the crowd said “in reality when I was told to come, it was frank, it was sincere. That is why I thank you here in Yopougon, the Ivorian authorities for having facilitated (my return, ed.) among you. If I see you today it is thanks to them.”

He thanked the Ivorian authorities for facilitating his return and said his “duty” was to “support the peace process”.

“I have arrived, I will gather all the information. In this same place, we will hold a political rally where I will discuss all the issues. And as the press is here, I ask them to come in a few weeks to a big press conference where we will discuss all the issues, I mean all the issues”, promised Blé Goudé.

The politician was arrested in Ghana in 2013 following the post-electoral crisis that engulfed the west African country in 2010. But the homecoming seems to be approved by the incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, who in July pardoned his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé’s principal in the push for national reconciliation.

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Politics

Congo DR electoral body, CENI, announces date of presidential election

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The electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) have announced dates for the next presidential election.

CENI on Saturday said the election will take place on December 20th next year.

The commission outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of miles, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The incumbent president, Felix Tshisekedi, who already expressed his intention to run again. He might be running against Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election and was denied victory.

Terrorist activities, largely by a rebel group, M23 have drawn reactions from stakeholders in the East Africa region and global observers. The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

According to the electoral authorities, insecurity remains the main challenge for the next elections.

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