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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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Weeks after justices protest, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad resigns

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Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned.

Sources confirmed that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Hint of potential crises in Nigeria’s judiciary played out last week when fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous state of affairs in the court.

The petition is the first-of-its-kind in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court.

Arrangements are said to be ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 suspended Justice Tanko’s predecessor Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against the most senior judge in the country. It was the first time that Nigeria’s head of state had sacked a chief justice since 1975, when the country was under military rule.

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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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