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Days after power sharing agreement, South Sudan president integrates rival’s officers into unified army

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A few days after signing an agreement to create a unified armed forces command, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kir, has announced the integration of officers loyal to the opposition into the unified army.

The move by Kir is a key provision of the 2018 peace deal with the hope that it will ease the country’s recovery from years of war which has dogged the nation since independence in 2011.

The recent civil war which is in its fifth year, has seen the country struggle to draw a line between forces loyal to President Kiir and his main rival and former rebel leader, Vice President Riek Machar, a war that has left nearly 400,000 people dead.

Since the 2018 agreement, frequent eruption of violence have continued to raise fears of a return to full-blown conflict, as the two sides remained adamant and uncompromising over major issues, including the unification of their forces.

But in a rare show of willingness to compromise, the duo sealed a power sharing deal on April 3, agreeing to a 60-40 distribution in favour of Kiir’s side of leadership posts in the army, police and national security forces.

Kir’s announcement late on Tuesday, realed out a series of presidential decrees to replace senior officials in the military, police and security services, with members of Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, (SPLM-IO).

The decrees, according to the President, came into force on April 12, and under the terms of the agreement, the graduation of the unified forces should be completed within two months.

“The SPLA-IO welcomes the decision. It is really long-awaited. We just hope that this will pave a way forward to the completion of the unification process,” Machar’s military spokesman, Lam Paul Gabriel, said after the President’s announcement.

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18 years after suspension, Zimbabwe lobbys for readmission into Commonwealth

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Southern African Zimbabwe has continued with lobbying for readmission 18 years after it was thrown out of the body over allegations of human rights abuses.

The country made its latest move to be readmitted at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali as an observer alongside other top government officials, told newsmen that the country’s participation at the summit was a “positive development.”

“Zimbabwe is excited to be participating in Commonwealth forums as this presents opportunities to network with the international community taking into account the government of Zimbabwe’s policy of engagement and reengagement,” Ms Manyeruke said.

“The Commonwealth meeting in Kigali has provided opportunities for our Zimbabwean diaspora across the globe, who are participating as panellists, facilitators and as delegates in the forums.

Zimbabwe was first suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth for one year, after international observers condemned disputed presidential election as unfairly tilted toward Robert Mugabe in 2022.

One year after the suspension, Mr Mugabe revealed that he did not accept a Commonwealth decision to prolong Zimbabwe’s suspension from the group until the country mended its ways.

“Accordingly, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its membership from the Commonwealth with immediate effect,” said a government statement.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said he had held meetings with influential people to discuss the country’s potential readmission.

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Malian military leader signs election law that will allow him contest in 2024: Is this deja vu?

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Leader of the Malian military junta, Col. Assimi Goita, has signed a new law which will pave the way for elections in 2024 and a return of the West African country to constitutional rule.

Col. Goita who has been president of the transitional government since seizing power in a coup two years ago, signed the law on Friday which will create a single election management body to replace a disputed three-party system.

The new law would also allow Goita and other military members of the transitional government eligible to run for elective positions in the next presidential election.

The law is seen as a step in the right direction after the West Africa regional bloc, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), imposed stiff sanctions on Mali earlier this year after the military rulers refused to organise elections in February as planned.

Mali and the 15-member ECOWAS have also been at logger heads over the coup leaders’ proposed five year timeline to elections, before proposing a two-year timeline, which ECOWAS deemed was too long.

The interim military government had, onJune 6, issued a decree fixing the two-year timetable, to be counted from March 2022, while negotiations with ECOWAS were still ongoing.

The law which gives room for Col. Goita to contest in the Mali election sounds like a deja vu situation too familiar with military coup leaders on the African continent, many of whom, over the years, transformed into civilian leaders, comfortably shedding their khaki uniforms for a civilian garb depending on the country’s national and traditional wear.

Goita does not lack inspiration as several examples abound from the length and breadth of Africa where the leaders ride into power on the barrels of guns but end up transforming into civilian presidents.

Africa will not forget the likes of Muamar Gaddafi in Libya, Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Idi Amin Dada and Yoweri Museveni in
Uganda, Paul Kagame in Rwanda,
Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in Egypt, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea, Yahya Jammeh in The Gambia.

Others in the distinguished list include Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, Omar al-Bashir in Sudan, Gnassingbé Eyadéma in Togo, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, and a host of other African leaders who went from military head of states to civilian presidents.

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