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Court jails Malian prof for criticizing military junta in new book

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A court sitting in Bamako, Mali, has sentenced a Professor of Economics, Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, to two years in prison, with one year suspended, for criticizing the military junta in a newly published book.

Sissoko’s lawyer, Ibrahim Marhouf Sacko, who announced the verdict of the court in a statement, however, said the legal team plans to appeal the conviction of the renowned economist.

“We are not surprised, even if we said we had faith in the justice system,” Sacko said in a video released on social media

Sissoko, a professor at the University of Bamako, was arraigned on charges of “harming the state’s reputation, defamation, propaganda, agitation and harassment, and spreading misinformation for his 2023 book on government communication during Mali’s transition.”

The “transition” refers to the period the army leaders said they needed to stabilize the country before returning power to civilian rule. They have already missed their first March 2024 deadline and no new date has been set.

Local media reports that the book details the government’s “aggressive” use of “propaganda, agitation, manipulation and even lies” to win over public opinion.

An online review of the book notes that it critically examines the military government’s use of what it terms propaganda, manipulation and even lies to influence public opinion, particularly during the promised transition period leading back to civilian rule.

“But the junta missed their initial deadline of March 2024 for a return to democracy, with no new date set,” the online review said, with Sissoko arguing that his work contained factual evidence and expert analysis.

This is not however, not Sissoko’s first run-in with the authorities. In 2022, the Professor, formerly an advisor to the ousted president, spent months in jail for criticizing the government’s stance on Christmas celebrations and questioning the validity of his academic credentials.

But Sissoko’s lawyer suggests the real trigger for his recent imprisonment was his public commentary on the economic impact of sanctions imposed on Mali by neighbouring West African nations.

Culture

Davido sues baby mama for child custody

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Nigeria’s Afrobeats sensation, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has dragged one of his baby-mamas, Sophia Momodu, the mother of his first child, Imade, to court, seeking custody of their daughter.

In the suit marked LD/1587PMC/2024, filed at the Lagos State High Court on his behalf by his lawyers, Dr Olaniyi Arije and Okey Barrah, the multiple award winner is seeking, among other prayers for an order granting joint custody of the child.

In the alternative, the singer prayed to the court for “an order granting to the applicant unfettered and unrestricted access to Miss Imade.”

The originating motion was supported by a 44-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Davido himself.

Davido narrated that though he had a relationship with Momodu that led to the birth of their child on May 14, 2015, the relationship had ended some years ago “while we resolved to take care of our child as biological father and mother.”

“That it is on record that I have been responsible for the payment of all the school fees of my daughter to provide her with the best education possible and to meet all her educational needs without a hitch,” the “Unavoidable” singer said.

Continuing, the summons said:

“That I have also been providing money for the rent of the apartment where the respondent resides with our daughter.”

He added that as a result of the love he had for Imade, he purchased and offered the mother a N200m worth apartment in a condominium gated community with a swimming pool and 24-hour power and water supply at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos. An offer he claimed was turned down.

“The respondent rejected the offer to stay and live at the above-described secured Oniru apartment, which had been purchased already, but demanded that I continue to pay N5,000,000 annually for a rented facility as my own contribution towards my daughter’s accommodation.

“I bought a Range Rover Sport Utility Vehicle for the use of the child and the respondent to meet the transport needs, including transportation of the child to and from school, etc.”

He however, stated that sometime last year, he received a call from her daughter’s school that Imade had been absent for two weeks, and upon his inquiry from Momodu, “She began to make excuses and complained that the Range Rover SUV was not in a good condition, however, she refused to inform me about that.”

“That sequel to the information about the said condition of the vehicle, I provided another vehicle, Highlander SUV, and in addition, the sum of N5.8m as requested by her for the repair of the Range Rover SUV, making it two vehicles in the custody and use of the respondent and our daughter.”

“I also made commitments to pay for living expenses, the fees of the nanny to our child, provide medical and health care, insurance, periodic international travel expenses and tickets.

“That notwithstanding my efforts in the overall interest of my daughter, the respondent has continued to make outlandish and Utopian demands to frustrate me.”

Davido also listed other demands allegedly made by Momodu.

“The respondent, among others, is demanding that I should pay the nanny she hired the sum of $800 per month, and that the total sum of $19,600 per annum be paid as a lump sum.”

He further claimed that despite his contribution towards ensuring a better life for their daughter, “the respondent has continued to show me unwarranted cruelty, inflicting so much pain on me.”

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Ghanaian designer Dede Ayite becomes first black woman to win Tony Award for Best Costume Design

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Ghanaian costume designer, Dede Ayite, has become the first black woman to win an award for Best Costume Design of a play at the 2024 Tony Awards which held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York.

Ayite picked the prestigious award for her work on the now-closed “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.”

The show which opened in October 2023 and closed the following month is set in a bustling Harlem salon where West African immigrant hair braiders create masterpiece hairstyles for local women amid uncertain circumstances that ultimately face the community to confront being an outsider in a place they call home.

While speaking during her acceptance speech, Ayite, who was also nominated in the same category for her work on “Appropriate” and in the best costume design of a musical category for “Hell’s Kitchen”, said it was a huge honour to be the first black woman to win the award.

“People like me that are just starting out and aren’t sure and are fearful and just don’t know what it’s going to take, and you don’t know how to find that step to take you forward, so I’m just hopeful that this moment says, ‘Just keep at it.’

“You know, tell the stories that matter to you, tell the story that you find value in, and the moment will meet you. That’s what’s happening for me right now,” she said.

“It’s not just about me, but we did it: the community that supports me, the community of people that love me each day and cheer me on. For me, I just feel like it’s not just about me right now. It’s the community. It’s that we have done it together.”

The 77th Tony Awards was held on June 16, 2024, to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2023–24 season.

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