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Somalia reelects former President Hassan Mohamud for the second time after defeating incumbent

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Former Somalian President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has been reelected as the country’s new president by legislators on Sunday in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

The election which had suffered several postponement since February 2021, saw Mohamud who served as Somalia’s president between 2012 and 2017, defeat outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who was his closest rival in the contest in the capital, Mogadishu, amid a security lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent rebel attacks.

In the marathon poll which involved 36 candidates and was broadcast live on state TV, Mohamud defeated Mohamed by165, more than the number required to be declared winner.

The 66-year-old Mohamud is the leader of the Union for Peace and Development (UPD) which commands a majority of seats in both legislative chambers.

A member of the Hawiye clan, one of Somalia’s largest, Mohamud is regarded by some as a statesman with a conciliatory approach and well-known for his work as a civic leader and education promoter, including his role as one of the founders of Mogadishu’s SIMAD University.

In his campaign, he had promised that his government would be inclusive, acknowledging the mistakes of his previous government which faced multiple corruption allegations and was seen as aloof to the concerns of rival groups.

The new President will now be saddled with several challenges inherited from his predecessor which include an increasing number of attacks from the al-Qaeda-backed al-Shabab group and a devastating drought that threatens to drive millions into famine.

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Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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