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Mali opposition leader ‘categorically rejects’ vote result. Is chaos imminent?

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The main opposition candidate in Mali’s contested elections said on Thursday he “categorically rejects” the results of the presidential run-off that handed a second term to Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Former minister Soumaila Cisse, 68, who has slammed the August 12 run-off as marred by fraud, picked up 32.84% of the vote according to the official count, compared to 67.16% for Keita.

“I categorically and unequivocally reject the results proclaimed by the Constitutional Court. Therefore, I do not recognise the president that it declared,” Cisse said at a news conference in his first public reaction to the declaration of the final results on Monday.

Though Mali has experienced a rare glimmer of stability, voter turnout was dampened by security fears.

Long heralded as an oasis of stability in the turbulent Sahel region, Mali is slipping back into chaos. A combustible mix of political, communal, criminal and extremist violence once confined to the desert northern regions is metastasizing, spreading to the country’s interior.

Keita, 73, who will begin his second five-year term on September 4, called for Cisse to accept the result.

Read Also: Zambia’s Finance Minister serving as president: Here is why

“It would be appropriate and desirable that here and now my young brother Soumaila Cisse takes the hand I extend to him and accept reality and not delusion,” Keita said in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott, his first trip since his re-election.

“IBK did not forced the hand of Malians, did not stuff ballot boxes as it is said,” he added, referring to himself by his initials, as his is universally known.

He was re-elected despite fierce criticism of failures to tackle jihadist violence and ethnic tensions that have rocked the impoverished Sahel state.

But the Constitutional Court rejected his petition against the result as being inadmissible or unsupported by evidence.

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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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