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DR Congo officially joins East African Community. See what that means

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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.

 

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.

 

Politics

Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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