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Liberia’s opposition candidate, Boakai begins campaign ahead of presidential election

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Ahead of next month’s presidential election, Liberia’s opposition leader, Joseph Boakai has launched his campaign to succeed incumbent President George Weah.

The supporters of the 78-year-old leader of the Liberia National Union braved the rain at a stadium to dance, wave flags, and call for change. He finished second behind Weah in the 2017 elections and has been called “Sleepy Joe” by critics for reportedly dozing off during public events.

Several erstwhile Weah supporters who have lost faith in him amid growing cost of living, were also present.

“We thought he (Weah) was going to bring the change he promised, but nothing,” said businesswoman Martha Gould. “I need change for the better.”

While the 73 members of the Liberian House of Representatives are chosen by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies, the Liberian President is chosen using a two-round method.

Nathaniel Barnes, a former Liberian ambassador to the United States, Clarence Moniba, a former vice president of Liberia, and Alexander B. Cummings Jr., who came in fifth place in the 2017 presidential election, are some of the candidates vying for the top position in the country.

It will be interesting to watch if Boakai and his Unity Party can change the course of events as President Weah remains considerably popular.

According to the electoral commission, the elections will be observed by local and international groups totalling 45 bodies with 1,388 personnel. Some of the observers include the African Union, the United States Embassy, OSIWA, PACCET, ECOWAS, among others.

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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South Sudan’s president dismisses 6th finance minister since 2020

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Four months into the position, South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has fired the finance minister, the sixth person to hold the position since 2020, according to state-run television.

The report stated late on Wednesday that Kiir did not explain the dismissal of Awow Daniel Chuong, who was appointed in mid-March of this year. Economist Marial Deng has been selected to take over as finance minister in Kiir’s place.

Due to intercommunal violence, South Sudan’s economy has been under strain recently. Since the civil war that lasted from 2013 to 2018, revenue from crude oil exports has decreased, and more recently, export disruptions have occurred because of the conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

The governor of the central bank, James Alic Garang, declared in May that the foreign exchange reserves of South Sudan had reached all-time lows.

This year, the International Monetary Fund predicts that consumer price inflation will soar to 54.8%.

After South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, Kiir was elected as the country’s first president.

In December, the nation is scheduled to elect a president, members of the legislature, and regional delegates.

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