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Sudan frees 125 political prisoners after lifting state of emergency

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A day after announcing the suspension of a state of emergency, the Sudanese military authority headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has announced the release of 125 political prisoners who have been in detention since the military take over in October last year.

The released activists, all members and leaders of the Resistance Committees, a group opposed to the military coup, were released on Monday from various detention facilities in the capital Khartoum, Port Sudan and Rabak in the southeast.

The Sudanese Transitional Sovereign Council had announced the lifting of the state of emergency on Sunday after the Security and Defense Council, Sudan’s highest body that decides on security matters, met and decided that the emergency law be scrapped.

While the council had also recommended that people detained under the emergency law should be freed, the Sudanese defense minister had insisted in a statement that the recommendations were only meant to facilitate dialogue between the military and the pro-democracy movement.

Since the October 2021 military take-over that ended a military-civilian power sharing arrangement, there have been regular and relentless demonstrations across the country with hundreds of people marching in the capital demanding the return of constitutional order.

The protesters have been demanding the removal of the military from power prompting the ruling junta to make a promise of only handing over power to an elected administration, with elections scheduled to take place in July 2023, as part of plans contained in a constitutional document governing the transition period.

The demonstrations have also seen at least 100 protesters killed by security forces loyal to the military administration.

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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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Malian military leader signs election law that will allow him contest in 2024: Is this deja vu?

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Leader of the Malian military junta, Col. Assimi Goita, has signed a new law which will pave the way for elections in 2024 and a return of the West African country to constitutional rule.

Col. Goita who has been president of the transitional government since seizing power in a coup two years ago, signed the law on Friday which will create a single election management body to replace a disputed three-party system.

The new law would also allow Goita and other military members of the transitional government eligible to run for elective positions in the next presidential election.

The law is seen as a step in the right direction after the West Africa regional bloc, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), imposed stiff sanctions on Mali earlier this year after the military rulers refused to organise elections in February as planned.

Mali and the 15-member ECOWAS have also been at logger heads over the coup leaders’ proposed five year timeline to elections, before proposing a two-year timeline, which ECOWAS deemed was too long.

The interim military government had, onJune 6, issued a decree fixing the two-year timetable, to be counted from March 2022, while negotiations with ECOWAS were still ongoing.

The law which gives room for Col. Goita to contest in the Mali election sounds like a deja vu situation too familiar with military coup leaders on the African continent, many of whom, over the years, transformed into civilian leaders, comfortably shedding their khaki uniforms for a civilian garb depending on the country’s national and traditional wear.

Goita does not lack inspiration as several examples abound from the length and breadth of Africa where the leaders ride into power on the barrels of guns but end up transforming into civilian presidents.

Africa will not forget the likes of Muamar Gaddafi in Libya, Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Idi Amin Dada and Yoweri Museveni in
Uganda, Paul Kagame in Rwanda,
Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in Egypt, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea, Yahya Jammeh in The Gambia.

Others in the distinguished list include Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, Omar al-Bashir in Sudan, Gnassingbé Eyadéma in Togo, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, and a host of other African leaders who went from military head of states to civilian presidents.

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