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Nigeria’s ruling party is latest victim of leakage of official documents

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Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has become the latest victim of the spate of leakage of official documents in Nigeria.

The party on Friday expressed deep resentment over the leakage of its official correspondence with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, asking the electoral body to pay more attention to sensitive mails coming to it.

The Buhari administration had only recently dealt with the case of the leakage of a letter from the office of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to that of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The investigations led to the arrest and detention of a journalist, Samuel Ogundipe. The detainee was dragged to court and only released after local and international pressure was brought on the government which was insisting that the journalist reveal the source of the document which was widely published in the Nigerian media.

Recounting its disappointment, the APC said it was not happy that the letter notifying INEC of the proposed dates for its primaries, which it sent to the commission in accordance to the Electoral Act, was leaked to the media.

The incidence forced the party on Thursday to deny that it had fixed dates for its primaries.

The proposed time table for the primaries contained in a letter wriiten by the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu was published in a national daily.

The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, while reacting on Friday, said the National Executive Committee of the party needed to approve the time table before it could become authentic.

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“Our attention has been drawn to a leaked letter the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole wrote to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu informing the Commission of the schedule of the Congresses and Primaries to elect Party candidates for the 2019 General Elections.

“These leaks of our sensitive and confidential correspondence to INEC is becoming commonplace and totally unacceptable. We strongly request that INEC looks into its internal handling of official correspondence and put a stop to these leaks.

“While the leaked formal notification to INEC has been done by the APC pursuant to the provisions of Section 85 of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), we advise the general public particularly the media to wait for an official announcement from the Party as the leaked dates are subject to changes, if necessary,” he said.

Politics

Tunisia President Saied dares opposition, defends new constitution despite criticism

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has defended his proposed new constitution despite widespread criticism and protest by opposition figures, saying the the constitution when passed, would not restore authoritarian rule.

Most political parties and civil society groups have continued to oppose the constitution saying it was drawn up unilaterally by Saied’s allies whom he handpicked to do his bidding.

The critics have also questioned the legitimacy of the constitution with a referendum set for July 25 which they say would give Tunisians less than four weeks to decide on it with no minimum rate of participation for it to pass.

The head of the committee that prepared the first draft the constitution, Sadok Belaid, also criticised the version which Saied rewrote, saying the president’s version was “dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime.”

But while hitting back at the opposition and the wave of criticism that followed the publication of the draft in the Tunisian National Gazzete, Saied on Tuesday, urged the people to support it in the referendum to adopt the constitution.

In a letter addressed to Tunisian and published by state, Saied assured that fears by those against the new constitution are misplaced as there was no danger to Tunisians’ rights and freedoms.

“Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer,” Said narrated, while accusing critics of the constitution of “slanders, far from reality”.

Saied entered the bad books of most opposition figures in the North African country when he ousted the elected parliament and set out to rule by decree which many had termed a coup.

He further angered many by dissolving the electoral commission and named a new body with himself as the head. Not done, Saied also sacked 57 judges last month, accusing them of supporting Islamists.

But his supporters say he is “standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.”

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Sudan’s junta leader, General al-Burhan, promises to withdraw army from civilian government

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Leader of Sudan’s military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has promised he will withdraw the army from further participating in political discussions aimed at ushering in a transitional civilian government.

General al-Burhan made the promise on Monday following another week of violent anti-coup protests in the capital Khartoum and other major cities which led to the killing of over 10 protesters by overzealous security forces loyal to the military government.

The protests have become an almost weekly event since Gen al-Burhan staged a coup that ousted the civilian-led transitional government that followed the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 was itself removed by a military coup in October 2021, and over 100 youths have been killed while several opposition figures have been arrested and clamped in detention.

But following last Thursday violence, which also saw at least 629 injured by security forces crackdown on the demonstrations and the worldwide condemnation that accompanied it, Gen. al-Burhan was forced to react by vowing to withdraw the army from government.

“The armed forces will not stand in the way of democratic transition or interfere in elections in which the Sudanese people choose who will govern them,” al-Burhan said in a televised address, while also affirming the military’s commitment to working towards a seamless transition to democracy.

Al-Burhan added that a new ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would be created after the formation of the government and it will only be responsible for security and defence tasks and “related responsibilities” in agreement with the government.

The army’s withdrawal from the political talks is aimed at allowing the political groups to form the technocrat government, he said.

However, pro-democracy groups and the protest leaders are sceptical about al-Burhan keeping true to his promise, as they have repeatedly said they will not negotiate with the military, and have called for them to immediately hand the reins to a civilian government.

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