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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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Lesotho to hold parliamentary election as political instability rages

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Southern African nation, Lesotho will hold its parliamentary elections on Friday despite political instability rocking the country following the inability of politicians to pass constitutional reforms meant to end years of conflicts.

The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) which has been in power in the country since 2017, has continued to battle with internal divisions within the party which led to the appointment of two prime ministers in five years.

One of the prime ministers, Thomas Thabane, stepped down in 2020 after he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife.

His successor, Moeketsi Majoro, declared a state of emergency in August this year after legislators failed to pass two bills meant to end political volatility in parliament.

But in September, Lesotho’s highest court ruled the declaration unconstitutional.

The proposed constitutional reforms would have amended everything from the role of political parties, to rules over floor-crossing in parliament, the appointment of senior officials and the role of the prime minister.

The aim of the proposed reforms, according to the Prime Minister, was to make Lesotho less prone to political logjams when disagreements occur but the lawmakers had failed to agree on them.

The general elections scheduled to be held in on October 7, will see the election of120 members of the National Assembly and the Lower House of Assembly.

According to the guidelines for the elections, the 120 members of the National Assembly will be elected using the mixed-member proportional representation system, with voters casting two votes.

Eighty members are elected from single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, with the remaining 40 elected from a single nationwide constituency as leveling seats, which are allocated to make seat totals reflect the national vote share.

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President Tshisekedi of Congo DR appoints new military chiefs amidst growing unrest

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The presidency in the Democratic Republic of Congo has replaced the head of the armed forces as part of broader military reforms aimed at boosting efficiency.

President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Christian Tshiwewe Songhesha, former commander of the Republican Guard, an elite unit in charge of protecting the head of state.

Songhesha replaces Célestin Mbala Musense as the army chief of staff, the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The president’s deputy director of communications, Giscard Kusema, told journalists that the wave of appointments is part of a broader framework of military reform.

He further revealed that “almost the entire staff has been replaced by young officers. Several are from the Republican Guard, but not all, and that’s because they have proven themselves.”

“For years, all the experts have been asking for a military programming law that gives more financial autonomy to the army and flexibility in procedures,” Kusema added.

Congo is one of the troubled zones of East Africa. between 1998 and 2003, government forces supported by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe fought rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda in what is known as the Second Congo War.

Unfortunately, the wave of unrest does not seem to be over as the country remains a territory for terror acts with multiple attacks lately.

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