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Zambia – Professor Fackson Banda has offered some shoulder for the Hildah Chibomba headed bench to lean on.

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With the Constitutional Court Judges taking someone flak from even the most undeserving of quarters in society in the aftermath of their throwing the presidential petition a media luminary Professor Fackson Banda has offered some shoulder for the Hildah Chibomba headed bench to lean on.

Banda, a former head of Panos Southern Africa Institute reckons the Constitutional Court Judges have been unfairly treated by political forces seeking to arm-twist them in their favour.

Below is Professor Banda’s take:

 

IN DEFENSE OF ALL THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGES
Everybody seems to be sharpening their daggers, menacingly aimed at the throats of the current judges of the Constitutional Court. I say to you: this very situation would have arisen even if we had different individuals in that position.

While the judges may be faulted in the way they initially handled the presidential petition (but which human being does not err?), they eventually retreated into the rational quiet of their chamber to argue among themselves, as was expected of them.

The fact that ALL affected politicians cried foul is, in itself, a good sign. At this stage, what we have seems to be largely a political problem, and not necessarily one of the breakdown in law and order. And when you have a political problem of this magnitude, the scapegoat can so easily turn out to be an institution of State that may not easily defend itself.

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To me, the majority and dissenting decisions of the judges were evidence of a healthy constitutional-interpretive struggle, but it is one among the judges themselves, as it must be.

The politicians, using their legislative prerogative in Parliament, did their job. And, as it turned out, they did not do that job handsomely.
Introduce politicians into this otherwise routine adjudicatory equation, and you have accusations of political bribery.

This is expected of politicians the world over — it is not unique to Zambia. And that is why we must invest a lot more energy in strengthening the judiciary, ensuring its independence and securing the tenure of the judges so that they can disagree among themselves and, by that process of adjudicatory disagreement, give us fairer and more just rulings.

There is no magic bullet. Above all, as citizens, we must learn to believe in the institutions that we set up to order our governance beyond the political space of partisan politics. At this rate, any one of us who ends up on the Constitutional Court could be so easily described as politically aligned. That is why we must begin to defend these institutions against both the ruling and opposition political elites. These institutions remain to order our lives on a daily basis, while parties — and individuals within those parties — wither away.

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Friends, if we look to one of the oldest constitutional democracies
— the USA — it was not by mistake that James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, persuasively argued that “constitutional interpretation must be left to the reasoned judgment of independent judges, rather than to the tumult and conflict of the political process.”

If , according to him, “every constitutional question were to be decided by public political bargaining, the Constitution would be reduced to a battleground of competing factions, political passion and partisan spirit.

And the American constitutional set-up is still not a perfect place for resolving some of the heady political problems that country is facing, with opposing politicians pulling it in every direction, while the Supreme Court judges themselves fight to keep their interpretive independence.

But even among them, there are differing constitutional-interpretive approaches. The late Justice Scalia, for example, with his focus on a textualist interpretation of the constitution, was favoured by the Republicans, and that explains why they want him replaced by another Conservative-leaning judge.

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Justice Sotomayer, with her approach to the constitution as a living document, has come through for the Democrats in support of their liberal-progressive agenda. And yet, in between, we do find a voice that balances out these extremes.

Should the Americans call for the resignation of these judges, each time there is a ruling against them? That would be irrational in the face of the fact that Americans have decided that, having the Supreme Court as a judicial arbiter, they are investing in it some of their individual freedoms and liberties for the greater good of the Republic.

So must we all. The ConCourt judges differed in their interpretation of — I must stress — the very, very new constitution that we gave unto ourselves. At the very first taste of this constitutional cocktail, must we spit out the taste that is our equally very, very new judges?

Verily, I say unto you: this is not right for our country. Let not the politicians natural partisanship result in our disavowing an institution that we are testing for the greater good of our multiparty democracy.
If I am a lonely voice in defence of the Constitutional Court at this hour of its adversity, so be it!

 

 

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Mauritius

Mauritius – 3 Minors Flee Phoenix Probation Home

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Minors Flee Phoenix Probation Home Again

Three minors, aged 13, 14, and 15, who had escaped from the Phoenix Probation Home on January 17, fled again at around 7:45 am on Sunday. A staff member assigned to the facility noted their disappearance and reported their escape before filing a complaint at the Phoenix police station.

In her deposition, the staff member explained that she saw the entrance door of the probation home open, as well as the exterior gate. She recounts that the three minors fled again on Sunday.

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Police Search for Fugitives

The police’s dog section and the Phoenix Central Investigation Division were notified to find the fugitives. The Family Protection Brigade was also notified of their disappearance. These minors have recently been admitted to this center. One of them arrived a month ago, another three months ago, and the oldest six months ago. They were found earlier last week before fleeing again.

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Call for More Specialized Care

The Ombudsperson for Children, Rita Venkatasawmy, was consulted and explained that she visited the site. “I think a more specialized framework is needed. Unfortunately, I have not personally spoken to the girls to understand where the problem comes from. One thing is certain, the house is in good condition and the food is up to par.”

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Madagascar

Tropical Storm Cheneso Devastates Madagascar, 30 Killed

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Madagascar has been struck by Tropical Storm Cheneso, the first of the year for the Indian Ocean island nation. The storm, which made landfall on January 19th, has resulted in the death of 30 people with 20 still missing. Additionally, nearly 37,000 people have been displaced due to the flooding and landslides caused by the storm.

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Catastrophic Consequences

According to the government’s Office for Risk and Disaster Management, the toll from Cheneso is higher than originally reported, with the death toll rising from 16 last week to 30 currently. This follows a disastrous year in 2020, when four major storms hit Madagascar resulting in 138 deaths and leaving 130,000 without homes.

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Displaced and Distressed

The displacement of nearly 37,000 people is a major cause of concern for the Madagascan government. With thousands of citizens forced to leave their homes, the need for emergency relief and support is at an all-time high. The government is working to provide aid to those affected by the storm, but the task at hand is a difficult one.

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Tropical Storm Cheneso has had a devastating impact on Madagascar, resulting in the loss of lives and displacement of thousands. The Madagascan government is working to provide aid and support to those affected, but the consequences of the storm will be felt for some time to come.

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Seychelles

Seychelles Ranks as Least Corrupt in Africa

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Seychelle President and Map

Seychelles has once again ranked as the least corrupt country in the sub-Saharan African region, maintaining its position for the fifth consecutive year, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released on Tuesday. The island nation attained a global ranking of 23rd, with a score of 70 points, the same as the previous year.

Denmark Tops the Index

Denmark outperformed Finland and took first place in the CPI with 90 points, while Finland and New Zealand tied for second and third place with 87 points each. The CPI report rates the perception of corruption in the public sector on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being clean.

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Seychelles Outperforms Major Western Democracies

Seychelles remained in 23rd place globally and outperformed major Western democracies such as the United States, which improved on its previous year’s ranking and climbed to 24th place with a score of 69 points.

Anti-Corruption Commission Celebrates Success

The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS), May De Silva, celebrated the news in a press statement, expressing her delight that the island nation’s tireless efforts to root out corruption have been recognized. De Silva stated that the ACCS had made more arrests, charged more suspects, and submitted more cases to the AG’s office for consideration of charges than ever before. Despite this increase in anti-corruption activity, Seychelles was still perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

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ACCS Vows to Continue Fight Against Corruption

De Silva also added that the ACCS will never be complacent in its fight against corruption in Seychelles and is focused on continuing to work towards eradicating this crime and creating a fairer society for all citizens. The ACCS will be hosting the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Heads annual meeting in May this year.

Two Major Cases Before the Supreme Court

The ACCS currently has two significant cases before the Supreme Court of Seychelles, including the ‘missing $50 million’ case, involving the removal of foreign aid from a government account in 2002, and the mismanagement of loans at the Seychelles Business Finance Agency (SBFA).

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In conclusion, Seychelles’ commitment to fighting corruption has been recognized with its fifth consecutive year as the least corrupt country in the sub-Saharan African region and its global ranking of 23rd. The ACCS is dedicated to continuing its efforts to eradicate corruption and create a fairer society for all citizens.

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Mozambique

Leprosy on the Rise in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

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Leprosy hands

The northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has seen an increase in leprosy cases in the past year, according to health authorities. The governor of the province, Valige Tuabo, announced that 568 cases of leprosy were reported in 2022, a rise of 73 from the 495 cases registered in 2021. The rise in cases was reportedly seen in certain districts, including Montepuez, Chiure, Namuno, Nangade, Meluco, and Mecufi, where the disease was considered uncontrolled.

Cabo Delgado was declared a leprosy-free zone by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008, however, new episodes of the disease have been reported since 2015. The diagnosis of more cases is a result of the intensification of active searches in communities and the screening of contacts of patients undergoing treatment in endemic districts.

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“The fight against this disease requires selfless work for the early diagnosis and treatment of leprosy to prevent physical deformities,” said the governor. He also called on citizens to fight against the stigma and discrimination against those suffering from the disease.

Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment

The prevalence of leprosy has increased from 1.5 to 2.1 cases per 10,000 inhabitants in Cabo Delgado. The governor emphasized the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in preventing physical deformities caused by the disease. The intensification of active searches and screening efforts will hopefully lead to the early detection and treatment of cases, reducing the spread of the disease.

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Combating Stigma and Discrimination

Leprosy continues to be a misunderstood and stigmatized disease, leading to discrimination against those who suffer from it. The governor’s call for citizens to fight against stigma and discrimination highlights the need for education and awareness about the disease, its causes, and the importance of treating all those affected with compassion and dignity.

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The rise in leprosy cases in Cabo Delgado highlights the need for continued efforts in the fight against the disease. Early detection and treatment, as well as education and awareness efforts, are crucial in reducing the spread of leprosy and improving the lives of those affected.

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Economy

ANC To Declare National State of Disaster, South Africans Kicks

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Cyril Ramaphosa

The recent proposal by the African National Congress (ANC) to declare a national state of disaster has been met with suspicion and skepticism by the South African public. The country is currently experiencing its worst bout of load shedding on record, and President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the government is considering the declaration of a national state of disaster in response to the energy crisis.

However, many South Africans believe that the ANC’s motives for wanting to declare a national state of disaster are not rooted in a desire to improve the country’s well-being, but rather to have unrestricted access to tax money through unregulated procurement processes. The ANC has been criticized for prioritizing their own interests over those of the people, and there is a growing concern that the declaration of a national state of disaster will be used as an excuse to loot the country’s resources.

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The last time that President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster was during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the ANC has been accused of stealing R500 billion during this time. This has led many South Africans to believe that the ANC is merely looking for an excuse to milk the country dry and increase the country’s debt.

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Lawson Naidoo, an expert on South African politics, has weighed in on the issue, stating that the ANC’s proposal to declare a national state of disaster is deeply concerning and that the public needs to be vigilant in ensuring that the country’s resources are not misused.

The energy crisis in South Africa is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but the public needs to be assured that any measures taken to resolve the crisis are rooted in a genuine desire to improve the well-being of the country and its people, and not just to line the pockets of the ANC. The South African public is calling for transparency and accountability, and for the government to prioritize the needs of the people over their own interests.

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South Africa

South Africa – Three injured, eight dead in birthday party shooting

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On Sunday night, the city of Gqeberha, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, was rocked by a horrific mass shooting that took place at a birthday party in the Kwazakhele Township. According to the police, two unidentified gunmen entered the house where the party was being held and began “randomly shooting at guests” who were dancing and mingling. The result of this violent attack was the death of eight people, with three others being injured.

Vusumzi Sishuba, who was celebrating his 51st birthday, was among those who lost their lives in this tragic incident. The families of the victims, including Mr. Sishuba’s, are said to be in a state of shock and disbelief as they try to come to terms with this horrific event. Five men and three women, aged between 20 and 64, have been identified as victims of this senseless act of violence.

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Eastern Cape Police Commissioner Nomthetheleli Lillian Mene has stated that the police will not rest until they find out what happened and who was responsible for this “callous and cold-blooded attack on these unsuspecting victims.” No arrests have been made at this time, and police have urged the public to come forward with any information that may help the investigation.

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Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the scene of the shooting on Monday and asked for patience as the investigation continues. He acknowledged that everyone is angry and wants a quick response, but he also emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough investigation. “We request a little bit of space so that we do the work thoroughly,” he told reporters in Gqeberha, which was formerly known as Port Elizabeth.

South Africa has one of the highest gun crime rates in the world, but random mass shootings are relatively uncommon. In 2020, there were a series of shootings in separate bars across the country that left more than 20 people dead. These incidents are still under investigation.

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The motive behind the Gqeberha shooting remains unknown, and it is unclear what led to such a senseless act of violence. It is important that the investigation is conducted thoroughly, so that the victims and their families can find closure and the perpetrators are brought to justice. Our thoughts and condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy, and we hope that peace and justice will soon be restored in Gqeberha.

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South Africa

Body washed up on Camps Bay beach

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Camps Bay Beach

Cape Town, South Africa – A body of an unknown woman was discovered washed up on Camps Bay beach in the early hours of Saturday morning. The woman has not yet been identified and police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying her.

According to police, the body had been in the water for approximately 12 hours before it was discovered. The cause of death is currently under investigation, however, police suspect that the woman may have drowned at another beach and washed up on Camps Bay beach due to the current.

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This is the third body to be discovered on Camps Bay beach since the beginning of the year. Camps Bay police have requested anyone who can assist in identifying the victim to contact their nearest police station.

Camps Bay police spokesperson, Keith Chandler, stated, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts and condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends. We are currently working to determine the cause of death and identify the victim. We urge anyone who may have information about this incident to come forward and speak with the police.”

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The body was declared deceased on the scene by medical personnel. Police are currently working to gather evidence and investigate the incident. The victim’s next of kin have not yet been notified.

This tragic event has raised concerns among the community and local authorities are working to increase safety measures on the beach and surrounding areas. The public is urged to be cautious when swimming and to always be aware of their surroundings.

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Camps Bay police have also urged anyone who may have information about the incident to come forward and speak with the police. The police are asking for anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or have any information about the incident to contact the nearest police station.

This is a developing story and more information will be provided as it becomes available. The police are asking for the public’s cooperation in this matter and to contact them if they have any information about the incident.

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Health

Schools Resume Following Cholera Outbreak in Malawi

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Schools in Malawi’s two largest cities, Lilongwe and Blantyre, have reopened after a two-week suspension caused by a cholera outbreak. The bacterial illness has killed close to 800 people, more than 100 of them children, and affected more than 25,000.

Malawi’s government announced measures to prevent cholera from spreading in schools, including fixing broken boreholes and water taps in the schools and banning the sale of cooked food around school premises. Additionally, the U.N.’s children’s agency, UNICEF, has started distributing anti-cholera supplies in schools in areas most affected by the outbreak.

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However, despite these measures, the government has warned that they may close the schools again if the outbreak spreads among students at an unmanageable level. This news has caused visible excitement among students when schools reopened Tuesday in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Many students were worried about the closure’s impact on their ability to pass national examinations this year. Ronnie Lutepo, a student at Michiru View secondary school in Blantyre, said returning to the school was the best thing he hoped for. “Yes, as I was at home my mum was telling me to study, but being in an examination class affected me badly,” he said. “We are all supposed to be here and ready for the exams and if we are not ready, we are not going to get good grades.”

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The reopening of the schools is an important step in preventing the further spread of cholera. However, it is crucial for the government and schools to continue to take necessary precautions to protect the students and staff from this deadly disease.

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Mozambique

SADC Condemns Mozambique Troops Burning Dead Terrorists

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The Namibian head of state, Hage Geingob, who is also the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security regarding the SADC Mission in Mozambique, has condemned the acts of violence shown in a video circulated on social media. The footage, apparently filmed on November 29, 2022, shows soldiers, wearing as-yet unidentified defence force uniforms, burning the bodies of dead individuals in Nkonga village, located in the Nangade district of Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.

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Geingob has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the video, saying that he does not condone such acts of extremist violence. He has also stated that the results of the investigation will be shared with the public once completed. The South African National Defence Force has also launched an investigation into the matter.

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The incident appears to have taken place near Nkonga village, where a regional force called SAMIM and Rwandan troops have been fighting insurgents affiliated with the Islamic State since July 2021. The conflict in Mozambique began in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado in 2017, with militant attacks that have forced close to a million people to become internally displaced. This province is rich in natural gas reserves and is host to an estimated $60 billion worth of international investment in gas projects.

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South Africa

South African politicians and business leaders demand government action to end power cuts

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Illustrative image: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images). Electrical transmission pylons silhouetted at sunrise in Saulsville township, Pretoria. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A group of South African politicians and business people have instructed a legal team made up of seven law firms to demand that the government put an end to the country’s power cuts, or provide an explanation as to why it cannot be done. The group is also calling for fair compensation for the damage caused by the rolling blackouts and for the government to be transparent about South Africa’s energy crisis.

The legal letter has been sent to Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, and the South African government and Eskom have until the end of the week to respond. Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha stated that he would check to see if the legal department had received the letter, but also mentioned that Eskom had cancelled a media briefing scheduled for Monday afternoon due to a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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The electricity crisis in South Africa has reached a critical point, with Stage 6 load shedding being implemented on January 11th, and Eskom announcing that they would reduce it to stages 4 and 5 from January 14th. However, this has not been enough to alleviate the problem, and the situation remains dire for the country.

The power cuts have had a devastating impact on the country’s economy and its citizens, with businesses shutting down, jobs being lost and daily life being disrupted. The legal team representing the politicians and business people argue that the government has a responsibility to ensure that the country’s power supply is reliable and that citizens are not being subjected to such hardship.

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President Ramaphosa has cancelled his plans to attend the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, and has remained in the country to deal with the electricity crisis. It remains to be seen what actions will be taken by the government and Eskom in response to the legal letter and the demands made by the group.

Meanwhile, some Africans have reacted to the situation on twitter;

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