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African leaders plead for end to Zimbabwe sanctions at UNGA

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All the African leaders who spoke at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), used the opportunity to plead and to push for an end to stiff western embargo against Zimbabwe, which has been in place for over two decades, arguing that the sanctions are hurting ordinary people in the country and in the region.

First to make the plea was African Union (AU) chairperson and President Macky Sall of Senegal who led the charge when he delivered his address at the UNGA 77th session on Tuesday.

Sall described the sanctions as stifling and detrimental to the well being of the citizens and called that it should be removed immediately to enable Zimbabwe to realise its full potential.

“The AU once again calls for the lifting of foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“These harsh measures continue to inflict a sense of injustice against an entire people and aggravate their suffering in these times of deep crisis,” President Sall said.

The AU Chairperson’s impassioned plea was echoed by other African in their addresses to the UNGA, each calling on the west to lift the sanctions on Zimbabwe in the interest of the people.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is the current Chairman of the Southern African Development Community, in his address on Wednesday, said the sanctions on Zimbabwe was “a crime against an innocent people” who are the ones bearing the brunt and not the ruling class and the elites.

Kenyan President William Ruto who made his maiden UNGA address on Thursday, said the sanctions were only hurting the “vulnerable and ordinary people” in the country.

“Unilateral coercive actions, such as those imposed on Zimbabwe and Cuba, apart from undermining the sovereign equality of nations, also indiscriminately punish the general citizenry, reserving their bitterest sting for innocent hustlers and the vulnerable.”

South Africa also condemned the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and called on the international community to relax them.

South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, who represented President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Summit, said:

“South Africa calls for an end to unilateral coercive measures against Zimbabwe, which have compounded the problems experienced by the people of Zimbabwe.”

Different targeted sanctions and embargoes, including economic, were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 by several western countries including the US, European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, against the regime of the late Robert Mugabe following a disputed presidential election.

Mugabe was accused of human rights violations and electoral fraud, but till he died, had always insisted the country was being punished for a land reform programme that saw over 2000 white Zimbabweans losing their commercial farms without compensation.

But the US, EU and the UK have maintained that the sanctions do not affect ordinary people as they are targeted at government officials that are linked to human rights abuses.

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Recalcitrant Mali to snub ECOWAS sanctions on Guinea in defence of ‘fraternity’

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Mali has continued its recalcitrant posture in the international space as its interim prime minister has revealed that the country will not apply sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Guinea.

Mali’s government spokesman and interim prime minister, Abdoulaye Maiga, in a statement said the country would not respect the sanctions out of loyalty and diplomatic it has with Guinea.

“Taking into account the solidarity and fraternity between Mali and Guinea, the transitional government has decided to break away from all illegal, inhumane, and illegitimate sanctions imposed on (Guinea) and will take no action on them,” Maiga, said.

The regional bloc, ECOWAS in July lifted sanctions imposed on Mali and Burkina Faso after both announced time table for democratic transition but the sanction on Guinea remained after the body had rejected the three years calendar proposed by the ruling junta led by Colonel Mamady Dumbouya .

The bloc, last week imposed sanctions on Guinea’s ruling junta for taking too long to organize elections and restore democracy after seizing power last year.

Some of the sanction measures include freezing junta members’ financial assets and barring them from travelling to other countries in the region.

Mali, one in Guinea and one in Burkina Faso since August 2020. The lifting of the sanctions is some sort of relief for the countries who cannot afford more economic restrains than the troubling cases of insurgency already caused them.

Mali under the current military junta of Colonel Goita has severed diplomatic relations with some allies, notably France which has been helpful with military support in the fight against terrorism.

The country has also had diplomatic loggerheads with other entities like Ivory Coast, the United Nations, Germany, and Egypt amongst others.

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Nigeria Decides: Ruling party candidate, Bola Tinubu, missing as political parties sign peace pact

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As the 2023 presidential elections draw closer in Nigeria, leading candidates have signed an accord toward a peaceful electioneering process.

The symbolic pact is organized by the National Peace Committee (NPC), chaired by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former military Head of State.

In attendance were candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, flagbearer of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP); and Omoyele Sowore, standard bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC), were present at the event.

However, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not present but was represented on Thursday by his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

The pact is symbolic as most elections in Africa are often characterized by violence. The timeliness of the pact is rife as the 2023 electoral season officially began on Wednesday, 27 of September which marks the commencement of political campaigns.

In April 2022, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a report said more than 1,149  persons, including INEC employees and security officers, were killed in the three elections held in 2011, 2015, and 2019.

According to INEC, ballot papers, cubicles, and other materials were similarly destroyed.

As Nigerians hope to turn their lot at the next elections, they would also hope to be alive to witness the change, the outcomes depend on them, the public.

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