DR Congo officially joins East African Community. See what that means
In a bid to boost its trade, social cohesion, and security the Democratic Republic of Congo has officially joined the East African Community on Tuesday after negotiations with the regional body.
The announcement was confirmed on the verified page of the East African Community on Twitter.
“HISTORY IS MADE! EAC Heads of State OFFICIALLY admit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into the East African Community. H.E Uhuru Kenyatta,Chair of the Summit of EAC Heads of States announces during the 19th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State” . The tweet reads.
✨ HISTORY IS MADE!
EAC Heads of State OFFICIALLY admit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into the East African Community.
H.E Uhuru Kenyatta,Chair of the Summit of EAC Heads of States announces during the 19th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State#WelcomeDRC pic.twitter.com/FA37Zds9GM
— East African Community (@jumuiya) March 29, 2022
The official ceremony was held virtually after EAC heads of state had convened an extraordinary summit to consider the admission of the DRC into the organisation. The summit also considered the EAC Council of Ministers’ report on negotiations between the DRC and EAC, which have been ongoing for some time.
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six (6) Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The body has seven organs The Summit, The Council of Ministers, The Co-ordinating Committee, Sectoral Committees, The East African Court of Justice, The East African Legislative Assembly, and The Secretariat
Several EAC countries are among the DRC’s main African trading partners. It is also expected that the new membership will afford DRC reduced tariffs for goods received at the ports of Mombassa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).
Among the advantages for the DRC are the integration of the east of the country into the common telecommunications space, which will reduce costs with neighboring countries; several administrative facilities and a reduction in charges for the commercial and economic activities of Congolese citizens, as well as facilitating their mobility in the eastern countries.
South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.
The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.
Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.
Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.
“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.
“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.
“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.
“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.
In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”
The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.
“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.
“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission, ZEC promises to publicise voters’ register
The electoral commission in Zimbabwe said it would soon publish the voters’ register for the forthcoming general elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) also assured the public of a fair election and promised to rectify anomalies that were observed during the voters’ inspection exercise.
The head of ZEC, Utloile Silaigwana made the position known when he announced the end of the mop-up voter registration exercise on Friday.
Silaigwana further revealed that the Nomination court would sit on 21 June and thereafter the voters’ roll would be accessible to candidates.
There are contentions about the neutrality of the electoral commission. In March, a member of the opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Allan Markham filed a court application challenging ZEC for access to the electronic voters’ roll but had his request rejected because “it was too risky” and in the interest of data protection.
Meanwhile, the ruling party, Zanu PF sent text messages to registered voters during the period urging them to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This move further fuelled the allegation that Zanu PF had access to the voters’ roll which is why it was able to send the messages.
President Mnangagwa is running for re-election to a second term after coming to power following a military coup that dislodged Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president in 2017.
The country is struggling with deep poverty, recurring power outages, and crippling unemployment, all of which have fuelled widespread resentment.
The President of Zimbabwe is elected using a two-round system. The Zimbabwean legislature is made up of 270 members of the National Assembly, 210 members elected in single-member constituencies, and 60 women elected by proportional representation in ten six-seat constituencies based on the country’s provinces.
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