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Namibian President Hage Geingob dies

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Namibia’s President, Hage Geingob, has been confirmed dead by acting president Nangolo Mbumba in a statement posted on Geingob’s official Facebook page early on Sunday morning.

Geingob died at the age of 82, less than a month after it was announced he would undergo treatment for cancer at Lady Pohamba Hospital in the capital Windhoek, with his wife and his children at his side.

“The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, the chief architect of our constitution and the pillar of the Namibian house,” Mbumba said

“At this moment of deepest sorrow, I appeal to the nation to remain calm and collected while the Government attends to all necessary state arrangements, preparations and other protocols. Further announcements in this regard will be made.”

Prior to his election as Namibia’s third president in 2014, Geingob had a medical history. Last month, his office declared that the African leader had started treatment after routine colonoscopies and gastroscope revealed “cancerous cells.”

A few days later, his office announced that he would be returning to Namibia in February after receiving medical treatment in the United States.

He had an aortic surgery in neighbouring South Africa last year, and he disclosed in 2014 that he had overcome prostate cancer.

Namibia, a former German colony that seceded from South Africa in 1990, is meant to hold its next elections in November. It is yet to be seen if Geingob’s death will warrant a constitutional intervention that might alter the electoral calendar.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Ghannouchi begins hunger strike

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has begun a hunger strike in support of other opposition activists who are fasting in protest and calling for their immediate release.

Ghannouchi had threatened to go on a hunger strike in September, and a group of opposition lawyers representing him confirmed the strike had finally begun on Monday.

The 82-year  the leader of the main opposition group Ennahda and a ferocious opponent of President Kais Saied, was imprisoned last year on allegations of inciting violence against law enforcement and scheming to undermine national security.

In a different case earlier this month, a judge found him guilty of taking outside funding and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The lawyers said in a statement that “While he is fighting the ’empty stomach’ battle, Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to adhere to a democratic Tunisia that includes everyone on the basis of freedom … and the independence of the judiciary.”

An indefinite hunger strike was launched this week by six opposition leaders who were detained during a crackdown last year in protest of their detention without charge or trial and in demand of their prompt release. The jailed leaders, Jawher Ben Mbarak, Rida Belhaj, Abdelhamid Jalasi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, and Khayam Turki, were taken into custody on charges of allegedly arranging an attack on state security.

President Saied has been adamant about suppressing dissenting opinions in the nation ever since taking office. In 2023, over 20 political figures were detained, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

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