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Regional bloc, EAC agrees to set up joint force to end decades of bloodshed in Congo

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It appears Congo has started reaping the fruits of joining the regional bloc, the East African Community (EAC) as the seven countries of the regional body have agreed to set up a regional military force to try to end decades of bloodshed caused by militant activity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The plan was made public through the office of Kenya’s president on Friday. Kenya under president Kenyatta plays a leading role in the EAC.

Congo has been a troubled territory with more than 120 rebel groups continuing to operate across large swathes of east Congo almost two decades after the official end of the central African country’s civil wars.

The East African country is home to one of the United Nation’s largest peacekeeping forces with billions of dollars spent. The U.N. has previously accused neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda of backing rebel groups in the mineral-rich region.

On the other hand, Tanzania contributes 835 troops to the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission, while Kenya contributes 250 even before Brazzaville joined EAC. It is then believed with the presence of Uganda and Rwanda which the UN had fingered in fuelling chaos in Congo, along with the positive support of Kenya and Tanzania in the EAC, the bloc might have a chance to end prolonged crises in Congo.

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.

Congo joined the EAC last month in a bid to strengthen relations with its east African neighbours. The EAC 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.

The EAC has called on local armed groups to join a political process to resolve their grievances or “be handled militarily”, the office of Kenya’s president said in a statement following an EAC meeting in Nairobi on Thursday.

The body also insisted that foreign armed groups, which include an Islamist insurgency with origins in Uganda and ties to Islamic State (IS), “must disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries of origin,”

 

Politics

Like Mali, Burkina Faso junta suspends France’s RFI radio over broadcast of militant speech

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West African country, Burkina Faso, has gone the way of its neighbour, Mali, as its ruling junta has suspended the broadcast of France’s RFI radio.

The suspension comes after what the junta said were false reports and giving voice to Islamist militants, a statement from the government said on Saturday.

According to a statement by the radio station, “RFI strongly deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question its professionalism,” State-owned Radio France Internationale, usually referred to as RFI.

The statement added that the decision to suspend its broadcasting was made without prior notice and without the implementation of the procedures put in place by Burkina Faso’s communications regulator.

The ruling junta which came into power in a recent coup in September accused the RFI also repeated a press report – which it denied – that Burkina Faso’s President Captain Ibrahim Traore, who seized power in a coup in September, had said there had been an attempted coup trying to unseat him.

Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali, under military reign, suspended broadcasts by French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France 24 amid accusations of reporting “false allegations”.

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Politics

Tunisian labour union, UGTT threatens political disruption as elections draws near

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As the North African country, Tunisia braces up for elections, labour union, UGTT has threatened not to disrupt proceedings under the current political arrangement.

UGTT attacked president Saied political and economic agenda on Saturday, including the elections scheduled for this month. The union said that it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.

UGTT’s leader Noureddine Taboubi said in a speech to thousands of supporters, the union will ” no longer accept the current path because of its ambiguity and individual rule, and the unpleasant surprises it hides for the fate of the country and democracy.”

“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms whatever the cost,” he added, in his strongest criticism yet of the president.

“We will not abide by secret agreements the government has with the International Monetary Fund and the workers will stand up to it,” Taboubi said.

Taboubi said the December election would “have no colour and taste” as a result of Saied’s constitution and that the vote lacked national unanimity.

President Kais Saied hinted that the country will not accept foreign observers for the planned elections for later this year.

There have been protests for and against president Saied’s approach to governance of the Tunisian public.

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