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Uganda plans amoured escort vehicles for 456 lawmakers. Just how smart?

President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly approved sharpshooters and amoured escort vehicles for the country’s 456 lawmakers. This was soon after a ruling party lawmaker and his bodyguard were shot dead on June 8

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President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly approved sharpshooters and amoured escort vehicles for the country’s 456 lawmakers. This was soon after a ruling party lawmaker and his bodyguard were shot dead on June 8.

Critics have termed the planned spending as wasteful and failed to address security concerns of normal citizens who fear rampant crime in a country marked by unsolved murders, waves of kidnappings for ransom, burglaries and robberies.

In a letter to the finance minister seen by Reuters on Thursday, Museveni said the decision to boost security was taken after a meeting with members of parliament in which incidents of “criminality and terrorism” were discussed.

Read Also: ‘Africa, learn to fend for yourselves’

“Members of parliament … have been singled out for intimidation and possibly attack. I have, therefore, decided to protect the members of parliament … since they are being singled out,” he said.

If things go as planned, lawmakers would now be accompanied by military sharp-shooters as Museveni has ordered the finance ministry to purchase armoured pick-up trucks to use as escort vehicles.

Uganda’s civil societies have accused the government of wasteful spending and failing to reign in corruption.

“Ordinary Ugandans are being taxed heavily to meet wasteful expenditure of politicians,” said Cissy Kagaba, executive director of Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU).

“Security should be guaranteed for every Ugandan not for a few selected people … it’s pathetic and annoying,” she said.

Parliament spokesman Chris Obore denied the spending was wasteful, describing it as a “short term measure” to meet credible threats.

Politics

ECOWAS folds, lifts economic, travel sanctions on junta-led Niger, others

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Economic sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso were lifted with immediate effect by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday.

This came after the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held an unprecedented meeting at the State House in Abuja, where they deliberated for hours on the political, peace, and security situation in the region.

Mali and its bordering junta-run nations, Niger and Burkina Faso, abruptly announced last month that they were abandoning ECOWAS, the largest political and economic union in West Africa, reversing decades of regional integration.

The ECOWAS Commission President, Dr. Omar Touray, announced the Authority’s resolutions and stated that it has halted the closing of the air and land border with Niger, creating a no-fly zone for any commercial aircraft.

Additionally, it has halted the unfreezing of all of Niger’s assets at EBID and the freezing of any financial transactions involving the central bank of the ECOWAS states and Niger.

Additionally, it removed the restriction on military junta members’ and their families’ travel. “Based on humanitarian considerations due to lent and the approaching month of Ramadan,” according to Touray, the decision was made.

Sanctions against Mali citizens being elected to ECOWAS positions were also lifted by the authority. Along with the lifting of sanctions against Guinea, all four nations were extended an invitation to future ECOWAS technical consultative meetings.

Additionally, ECOWAS requested that the member states that were withdrawing reevaluate their choice in light of the advantages their citizens had received.

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Senegalese opposition condemns President Sall’s ‘slow’ election date announcement

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The opposition presidential contenders in Senegal have claimed that the government is taking too long to announce a new date for the poll, following a court ruling that declared a 10-month postponement to be illegal.

This occurs just a few days after President Macky Sall pledged to comply with the Constitutional Council’s position that the election be held as soon as feasible following the parliament’s resolution to reschedule the election—which was initially set for February 25—was overruled by the court.

The situation in one of the more stable democracies in coup-hit West Africa led to violent public protests and threats of authoritarian overreach, and Sall came under intense pressure both domestically and internationally to accept the council’s decision.

However, no new date has been announced, which has angered opposition candidates who want the election to happen before Sall’s term expires on April 2.

In a joint statement released late on Tuesday, sixteen out of the nineteen presidential candidates bemoaned the “inexplicable slowness” with which the council’s decision was implemented.

It was their contention that Sall’s tardy return to electoral duty demonstrated his reluctance to initiate a process that would result in a transfer of power. A request for response from the presidency was not answered.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said that there was room for discussion over the expiration of Sall’s mandate on April 2.

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