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South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public

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South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.

The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.

Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.

Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.

“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.

“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.

“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.

“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.

In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”

The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.

“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.

“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”

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‘Big Brother’ Uganda to mediate between Somalia and Somaliland

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Uganda has revealed plans to play mediating role between its neighbour, Somalia and the breakaway region of Somaliland following the over three decade split between the countries.

According to a statement from the Ugandan government, President Yoweri Museveni decided to accept the position during a visit by Jama Musse Jama, a special representative from Somaliland, on Friday.

“President Museveni agreed to be the unification facilitator between Somaliland and Somalia,” it said.

Somalia and Somaliland are both inhabited basically by Somalis— with small Oromo minorities in both, and a large Swahili minority in the latter, as well as shared dominant religion and social values.

“We don’t support secession because strategically, it is wrong,” Museveni was quoted in the statement as telling the envoy.

Although Somaliland split apart from Somalia in 1991, its independence has not been widely acknowledged internationally. While Somalia has been embroiled in civil war, it has largely been quiet.

Reunification could improve the Horn of Africa nation’s ability to confront problems, such as an uprising by Islamist group, Al Shabaab.

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Kenya’s Ruto wants global support for Haiti

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Kenya’s President William Ruto wants the United Nations Security Council to officially support the mission to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti.

Kenya, an East African powerhouse, is active in Haiti, and recently announced it was ready to be part of a multinational force. It committed to deploy 1,000 police officers to the country and  “accepted to positively consider leading a Multi-National Force to Haiti.”

Ruto, during his address, insisted that the Caribbean country “deserves better from the world.” “Kenya is ready to play its part in full, and join with a coalition of other nations of goodwill – and there are many— as a great friend and true sibling of Haiti,” Ruto said while addressing world leaders.

Haiti begged for assistance last year to fight off vicious gangs that had largely taken over the city of Port-au-Prince.

According to diplomats, the council might vote on a U.S.-drafted resolution endorsing the deployment of international police as early as next week.

U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 after a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Peacekeeping troops left in 2017 and were replaced by U.N. police, which left in 2019.

Haiti has been without any elected representatives since January and countries across the world have been cautious about supporting the unelected administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry who has argued that fair elections cannot be held with the current insecurity.

Violent crimes, including kidnappings for ransom, armed robberies, and carjacking are prevalent in the country.

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