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Kenyan ministers condemn moves to ban Facebook over ethnic hate speech

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Two Kenyan ministers have condemned plans by the country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to ban social media giant, Facebook, over ethnic hate speech being spread on the platform as the nation gets into gear for general elections on August 9.

The NCIC had given Facebook one week to comply with regulations against ethnic hate speech or risk being suspended following a report by a UK-based rights group, Global Witness (GW), which said the platform approved hate speech advertisements that promoted ethnic violence ahead of the election.

The GW report noted that more than 20 adverts in English and Swahili containing hate speech submitted to Facebook as a test were approved for publication.

It added that after Facebook was notified of the findings, the social media platform issued a statement outlining steps “to help ensure a safe and secure general election.”

“Researchers then submitted two more ads to see if there had indeed been any improvement in Facebook’s detection of hate speech ads, and both were approved,” GW said in the report.

But in separate interviews with the Voice of America on Monday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and Minister of Information and Technology, Joe Mucheru, said while the issues raised by GW were valid, they did not warrant blocking Facebook in the country.

While Matiangi accused the NCIC of making “a careless decision” on the matter, Mucheru said banning Facebook was not was not the “within legal mandate of the NCIC, and we have been working with Facebook and many other platforms.”

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Tunisia: Government, labour union, UGTT, agree on IMF intervention

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In Tunisia, the government of president Saide has finally reach agreement with the country’s main labour and commerce unions for economic reforms.

The pressure groups agreed with the government on Friday to start talks on Monday over economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a rescue programme.

According to the state news agency ,TAP, quoting a government statement, Prime Minister Najla Bouden, UGTT labour union chief Noureddine Taboubi and UTICA commerce union chief Samir Majoul had agreed a “social contract” to tackle national challenges.

The UGTT which represents a vast syndicate of workers, has been a major critic of IMF economic reforms proposed by the government, including subsidy cuts, a public sector wage freeze and the restructuring of state-owned companies. It previously said, such reforms would increase the suffering of Tunisians and lead to an imminent social implosion.

In May, Tunisia reached an agreement with the European Union to secure a €300 million loan facility to cushion the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The North Africa country is seeking $4 billion in IMF support amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, though diplomat sources told Reuters any IMF programme approved would be unlikely to reach that level.

Efforts to secure the IMF bailout have been complicated by Tunisia’s political upheavals since President Kais Saied seized most powers a year ago, shutting down parliament and moving to rule by decree.

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Mali’s Prime Minister, Choguel Maiga, on “forced rest” by doctors

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The Prime Minister’s office in troubled West African country, Mali has revealed that doctors have put the PM, Choguel Maiga on compulsory rest.

The doctors’ order comes after months of intense exertion, his office said on Saturday. The office however denied media reports that he had been hospitalised after suffering a stroke.

An exert from his Facebook account reads “After 14 months of working without a break, the prime minister, head of government, Choguel Kokalla Maiga was placed on forced rest by his doctor”

“He will resume his activities next week, God-willing.”

Maiga, who is a former opposition leader, was named prime minister by the ruling junta of Colonel Goita June last year.

Maiga has been one of the government’s most outspoken voices in repeated public rows with West African neighbours and international partners who have criticised its military cooperation with Russian mercenaries and repeated election delays.

Mali has been in the eye of terror storm since war started in January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa with several insurgent groups, Jihadist and separatist fighters with affiliations with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Despite, insecurity being one of excused reasons for Colonel Goita’s military take government, much does not seemed to have been achieved as the country is still prone to continues terrorists attacks.

 

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