In Congo, Nguesso sits tight after 38 years, as opposition demands ‘real dialogue’
The Congolese opposition has again announced plans to boycott a dialogue organized by the government ahead of local and legislative elections in the oil rich central African country.
Opposition leader and President of the African Congress for Progress, Jean Itadi dismissed the meeting on Thursday in Owando in the country’s north while giving terms for what he called “real dialogue”
“We must not think about what Owando should be between. Rather, we need a real dialogue that brings together all the sons and daughters of the Congo,” Jean Itadi said.
Last March, President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his Congo Labour Party controversially won re-election.
The president joined the Congolese Labour Party which was designated the country’s sole ruling party in 1970. He has been in power since February 1979 when his predecessor – Yhombi-Opango was forced to resign.
In his 38 years’ reign, President Nguesso on several occasions announced plans for dialogue in attempts that looked like push to include opposition in the government set up, but the moves have not yielded much as opposition in Congo have been consistent with snubbing the government over constitutional changes amidst fears that moves are only designed to prolong President Nguesso’s stay in power and control over institutions of government.
The government has defended the dialogue as necessary to achieve consensus ahead of the legislative vote to be held in five months. The ruling party is keen to maintain an overwhelming majority.
But the opposition has demanded a structured dialogue which includes power-sharing, constitutional reforms, and the release of political prisoners, key among them General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, a former commander who challenged Sassou for the presidency in 2016.
He was charged with treason and convicted.
Algeria, Sierra Leone get non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
Algeria and Sierra Leone, have been elected as non-permanent members of the the United Nations’ Security Council for 2024-2025.
The two countries are part of the ten countries elected for two years in the Council outside the five power bloc countries— the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.
The countries replace Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates and will join Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland who were elected last year.
For Sierra Leone, it’s a return to the council after 53 years. Its Foreign Minister, David Francis said it was “a great day for this small, progressive and confident country…which has successfully transitioned from war to peace.”
Guyana and South Korea were also elected unchallenged while Slovenia handily beat Belarus for the only contested seat.
An official of rights agency, Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau remarked that “the vote in the General Assembly shows why a competition for UN elections is essential” after Slovenia edged Belarus for the seat going to Eastern Europe and obtained 153 votes, against 38 in Belarus.
“UN member states have undoubtedly decided that Belarus’ grave human rights violations at home and attempts to cover up Russian atrocities in Ukraine disqualify it from serving on the Security Council, a crucial body for ensuring human rights. humans,” he added.
Algeria got 184 votes, South Korea 180 votes, Sierra Leone 188 votes and Guyana 191 in a single candidate votes for four seat reserved for Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean.
There has been a long debate about the place of Africa in international relations. At the inception of the United Nations, only four independent African countries represented the continent when 50 representatives of different countries met in San Francisco, California, in 1945 to complete the Charter of the United Nations.
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.”
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