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Sierra Leone launches bid for UN Security Council seat

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West African country Sierra Leone has launched a bid for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), President Julius Maada Bio announced on following weeks of speculations.

Before the public announcement, there had been rumours that the government had been mobilising support from friendly countries through diplomatic engagements, particularly on the continent, to get the bid off the ground.

According to President Bio who officially launched the campaign at a ceremony at State House in Freetown,
said the Sierra Leonean government is hoping to use its past war experience as the selling point to canvass for its membership with Bio announcing that the world has a lot to learn from his country’s resilience.

The Council is one of six organs of the UN with the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security and Sierra Leone had once served in the influential Council from 1970 to 1971, since it joined the UN in 1961.

While launching the bid before an audience that included foreign western diplomats, President Bio said:

“Fifty plus years after our 1970-1971 tenure on the Security Council, we are once again presenting Sierra Leone’s candidature for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2024-2025.”

He added that the two “unforgettable” years served as “bold footprints” that continued to define the West African country’s commitment to its “international obligations and its unflinching support for a multilateral rules-based world order to advance and sustain global peace and security.”

The UNSC presently comprises 15 member countries, five of whom are permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States, collectively known as P5, and any of the five countries can veto a resolution.

The remaining 10 members are elected to serve on rotating two-year, non-consecutive terms, without veto power.

Current African countries in the 10 non-permanent member Kenya, Ghana and Gabon with voting for the next cohort of members of the non-permanent slot slated for June during the UN General Assembly in New York.

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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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