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South African president, Ramaphosa, appoints jurist who sentenced Zuma as Chief Judge

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced in a statement on Thursday, appointment of jurist Raymond Zondo as the country’s head of the constitutional court, the country’s highest court.

The appointment, which was made after a public selection process, will take effect from April 1.

The new chief judge has served as deputy chief justice at the Constitutional Court since 2017, and became the public face of President Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive while heading a recent national inquiry into allegations of widespread corruption under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the previous head of state.

Last year, the country’s highest Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months imprisonment after he failed to appear at the Zondo corruption inquiry despite being instructed to do so.

In January, the inquiry’s first published report pointed to systemic corruption during Zuma’s tenure, following three years of investigation and more than 300 witnesses.

The court has always maintained that Zuma must comply with the Commission’s orders including imprisonment.

Zuma’s imprisonment for refusing to testify in July 2021 triggered protests that degenerated into riots and looting that left more than 350 people dead.

Ramaphosa replaced Zuma as president in 2018 after narrowly defeating him at a governing African National Congress party elective conference a few months prior.

“The Chief Justice stands as the champion of the rights of all South Africans and bears responsibility for ensuring equal access to justice. I have every confidence that Justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

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Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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