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Chad postpones national peace dialogue brokered by Qatar

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The Chadian military junta has announced the postponement of a landmark national peace dialogue with opposition forces and rebel leaders which was to serve as preparatory negotiations between the two sides in Qatar.

The impoverished West African nation has been engulfed in long drawn turmoil after long-time President Idriss Deby Itno died in April last year while fighting jihadist rebels.

His son, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno who took over power had promised a quick transition to civilian rule with elections scheduled for February this year.

He had also promised to convene a national dialogue to start on May 10 which was scheduled to hold in Qatar between the government and more than 40 opposition groups who had already sent their delegations to Doha for preliminary talks.

But on Sunday, the Chadian Foreign Ministry said it had agreed “to postpone the inclusive national dialogue to a later date to be decided, after consultations with the relevant institutions and political actors”.

The shift in the dialogue came after Doha called for the postponement, saying its mediation was making “tangible” progress at “a good pace”, adding that a new delay would “give the participating parties more time to reach a peace agreement, in preparation for the convening of the comprehensive national dialogue.”

Doha had originally only wanted to host talks and was reluctant to become a full mediator but Chadian foreign ministry said Qatar was now in “full support for Chad’s efforts in this political process, in order to achieve the aspirations of its people for peace, security and stability.”

Part of the demands by opposition groups is that Deby must rule himself out of the elections, and also want safety guarantees to allow opposition leaders who are mostly in exile in neighbouring Libya and Sudan, as well as in Europe, to return to Chad.

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Exiled Ivory Coast politician, Charles Blé Goudé, returns home to cheering crowd. Old wounds opened?

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Exiled Ivorian politician, Charles Blé Goudé who was the right-hand man of former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, is back home.

The Street General as he is fondly called is said to be allegedly involved in the violence that followed the 2011 presidential elections, returned home on Saturday after more than eight years abroad.

Thousands of supporters turned up to receive him at the airport after his arrival on a flight from Ghana’s capital, Accra, that was preceded by a heavy police presence.

Charles Blé Goudé while addressing the crowd said “in reality when I was told to come, it was frank, it was sincere. That is why I thank you here in Yopougon, the Ivorian authorities for having facilitated (my return, ed.) among you. If I see you today it is thanks to them.”

He thanked the Ivorian authorities for facilitating his return and said his “duty” was to “support the peace process”.

“I have arrived, I will gather all the information. In this same place, we will hold a political rally where I will discuss all the issues. And as the press is here, I ask them to come in a few weeks to a big press conference where we will discuss all the issues, I mean all the issues”, promised Blé Goudé.

The politician was arrested in Ghana in 2013 following the post-electoral crisis that engulfed the west African country in 2010. But the homecoming seems to be approved by the incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, who in July pardoned his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé’s principal in the push for national reconciliation.

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Congo DR electoral body, CENI, announces date of presidential election

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The electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) have announced dates for the next presidential election.

CENI on Saturday said the election will take place on December 20th next year.

The commission outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of miles, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The incumbent president, Felix Tshisekedi, who already expressed his intention to run again. He might be running against Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election and was denied victory.

Terrorist activities, largely by a rebel group, M23 have drawn reactions from stakeholders in the East Africa region and global observers. The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

According to the electoral authorities, insecurity remains the main challenge for the next elections.

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