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South African trade unions lead protest as inflation, cost of living bites harder



The wave of protest that has hit African countries lately has stretched into South Africa, as workers in the country, on Wednesday, demonstrated against the country’s rising cost of living.

Local reports say around 1,000 workers marched to the Union Buildings, the seat of government in the capital Pretoria, calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government to contain rising prices.

The demonstrators hit the over the record-high fuel prices and increased costs for basic foods.

The General Secretary of South African Federation Trade Unions (SAFTU) Zwelinzima Vavi, while addressing thousands of workers emphasized the cost of living in the country has become a crisis.

“We cannot breath comrades. We cannot breath when today it costs more than 4700 rands ($277) to buy food for a family of just four people. No!”

Earlier in August, the government announced intention to slash the pump price of fuel from Wednesday, 3 August 2022 but it appears that that didn’t count for much as South Africans still cry under the weight of high inflation.

Inflation rate in South Africa jumped to 6.5% in May of 2022, from 5.9% in April and March, exceeding the central bank’s stated target.

In June, inflation hit a 13-year high of 7.4%, and the central bank expects the 2022 figure to run at around 6.5%, above the ceiling of its target band of between 3% and 6%.

South Africa faces a number challenges lately with an increasingly disturbing power situation that has led to consistent power-cut by the state power firm, Eskom.

South Africa’s economy has been in recession before the Covid19 pandemic which had devastating effects on the country’s economy.

Like in South Africa’s case, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has put lots of strain on many African countries as the two European neighbours contribute significantly to the supply of food to the world.

There are have been protests over similar causes in other African countries like Sierra Leone which turned bloody and Guinea lately.

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Zambian govt snubs transparency calls, says no law compels President Hichilema to declare assets annually



The Chief spokesman for the Zambian government, Cornelius Mweetwa, has countered calls for President Hakainde Hichilema to declare his assets every year, saying there is no law in the country that compels the president to do so.

The calls had come from the US Ambassador to Zambia, Michael Gonzales, who urged Hichilema and Vice President Mutale Nalumango to consider declaring their assets annually until their term in office expired so ass to set an example for all other public servants to emulate.

However, Mweetwa, at a press conference in Lusaka on Tuesday, said Zambia had no law compelling a sitting Head of State to declare his or her assets annually.

Mweetwa said the only law which required a declaration of assets was the Electoral Commission of Zambia during the filing of nominations, though there was no requirement for publication of same.

While addressing the gathering, the government spokesman alleged that the previous government of the Patriotic Front (PF) had removed the clause from the Constitution following a debate on the accumulation of wealth by former President Edgar Lungu university within a year of his presidency.

“You will all recall that the previous government eliminated Article 30 which provided previously that such declaration should be made public,” Mweetwa stated.

Mweetwa also alleged that the PF left the country with a “Constitution full of either lacunas or provisions that are plugging and negating good governance.”

“Talks to amend the Constitution were orchestrated by our colleagues in the opposition and they wanted to u-turn over the same,” he said, but however, expressing shock over the alleged u-turn by the opposition.

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Nigeria set to begin passport automation 



Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced that the automation of the country’s passport application is in its final stages.

In an interview, the minister stated that the automated application was 99% complete and would go live in a week, adding that Nigerians would only need to visit immigration centres to complete their fingerprint biometrics for passports after that point.

Ojo went on to say that Nigerians can upload their passport photos and other supporting documents using the new system from the comfort of their homes.

The minister said: “We gave a date — December 2023. We are 99 per cent done. In fact, we have done the testing and we should be going live in the next week or thereabouts.

“This will ensure that what Nigerians need to do at an immigration centre is just fingerprint biometrics.

“Everything regarding pre-biometrics will be done in the comfort of your homes, including uploading passport photographs and supporting documents.

“They went live about two weeks ago but I saw some errors when they came to do the presentation and I said no. We were talking about balancing national security and convenience.”

Nigeria’s passport system has been characterised by racketeering, logistics failure, and poor due diligence which have frustrated many, home and abroad, in their quest to own their entitlement as Nigerian citizens.

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