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Unveiling of Sudan’s sovereign council delayed



Sudan was expected to form its sovereign council Sunday, the first step after the landmark adoption of a transitional constitution, but the day closed with no annoucement.

More celebrations were held on the streets of Khartoum Sunday, a day after rare scenes of jubilation filled the streets of the capital to hail the signing by generals and opposition leaders of the documents that will govern Sudan’s three-year transition to civilian rule.

The ceremony in a hall by the Nile river was attended by several high-ranking foreign officials, the biggest such event in years to be held in the once-pariah state.

Worldwide congratulations poured in after the signing, which revellers and officials alike hailed as the beginning of a “new Sudan” after 30 years of rule by the now-detained Islamist general Omar al-Bashir.

“I welcome this historic moment for Sudan. This agreement responds to the demands of the Sudanese people who have tirelessly called for change and a better future,” said Britain’s Minister for Africa Andrew Stephenson.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed his country would support the establishment of “a government that protects the rights of all Sudanese citizens and leads to free and fair elections”.

According to the green book of documents signed on Saturday, several key steps will be taken before embarking on the long and obstacle littered road to 2022 polls.

New institutions

Sudanese children take part in celebrations after protest leaders and generals signed a landmark agreement that will govern Sudan's three-year transition to civilian rule.  By Ebrahim HAMID (AFP) Sudanese children take part in celebrations after protest leaders and generals signed a landmark agreement that will govern Sudan’s three-year transition to civilian rule. By Ebrahim HAMID (AFP)

The ruling sovereign council is to be comprised of six civilians and five military nominees.

Opposition sources told AFP that five names had so far been chosen, including only one woman, but the six other names had still not been revealed by the close of day.

It was unclear what was holding up the annoucement of the council’s full line-up, which was now expected on Monday.

The body, which will replace the Transitional Military Council, will be headed by a general for the first 21 months, and a civilian for the last 18 months of the transitional period.

Abdalla Hamdok, a former UN economist who was on Thursday picked by the protest camp to be prime minister, is due to be formally appointed on Tuesday.

A cabinet is then to be formed before Sudan’s new institutions can tackle the main challenges that lie ahead, first among them measures to rescue a moribund economy.

Making the most of a new freedom acquired during eight months of protests — and clashes with men in uniform that left at least 250 dead — Sudanese families took to the streets for wild celebrations Saturday night.

Youths spilling out of honking cars drag-raced down the main Nile-side road deep into the night, while groups sang and danced — the same two words echoing across the entire city: “Madaniya, Madaniya”.

It loosely translates as “civilian rule” and one would be hard-pressed to find somebody on the streets of Khartoum publicly opposing that goal.

The omnipresence in the transition of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the deputy head of the ruling military council whose forces are blamed for a deadly repression of protests, is a cause of unease for many.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP/File) The omnipresence in the transition of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the deputy head of the ruling military council whose forces are blamed for a deadly repression of protests, is a cause of unease for many. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP/File)

Some members of the opposition alliance that organised the protests however fear that the euphoria could be short-lived.

Deep distrust remains between the incoming sovereign council’s main players.

Short-lived euphoria?

While the power-sharing compromise reached earlier this month was widely hailed as the best Sudan could hope for, some members of the protest camp feel it short-changed their revolution.

The omnipresence in the transition of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo — a paramilitary commander who was one of the signatories of the documents on Saturday — is one of the main causes of unease.

His forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests and many suspect the man best known by his nickname ‘Hemeti’ is simply biding his time to pounce on power and nip democracy in the bud.

Sudanese analyst Abdel Latif al-Buni stressed however that one of the most immediate perils facing the transition was a desire for vengeance.

“A spirit of revenge against the former regime is dangerous,” he said. “It will lead to a clash between the former regime and the new rulers.”

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges for crimes committed in the Darfur region, faces trial on corruption charges but his fate remains unclear.


Boris Johnson in Paris for Brexit, Iran talks with Macron



France’s President Emmanuel Macron will host his British counterpart Boris Johnson for a working lunch to discuss Brexit and Iran ahead of the G7 meeting in France this weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Paris a day after Berlin offered a glimmer of hope that an agreement could be reached to avoid a chaotic “no deal” Brexit.

On the second leg of his first foreign visit since taking office, Johnson will meet president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace to press home his message that elements of the UK’s impending divorce from the European Union must be renegotiated.

But Johnson is likely to face a tougher audience in Paris than in Berlin.

Macron on Wednesday dismissed Johnson’s demands that the EU reopen negotiations on the Irish border, saying that the bloc had always been clear it would not agree.

“Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by (EU) President Tusk,” Macron told reporters in Paris.

At the weekend, all three European leaders will meet US President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of both Brexit and Johnson, and the leaders of Canada, Italy and Japan at a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.

The talks come after Merkel on Wednesday told Johnson in Berlin that an agreement could even be possible within “30 days” for Britain to leave the EU, if a solution could be found to the thorny issue of the Irish border.

The British prime minister has been adamant that he will not accept the “backstop” border plan agreed under his predecessor Theresa May and warned that the UK will exit the EU on 31 October, even at the cost of economic turmoil.

What the backstop?
The backstop is a mechanism to avoid border checks between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the UK, with checkpoints there removed as part of a 1998 peace deal on the divided island.

But critics have derided the plan because it would temporarily keep Britain in the EU customs union.

In Berlin, Johnson again stressed his view that the backstop “has grave, grave defects for a sovereign, democratic country like the UK” and added that the provision “plainly has to go”.

Merkel said that the mechanism was always meant as a “fallback position” to protect the “integrity of the single market” for the period in which the other 27 EU members and London define their future relationship.

In the search for a solution, she said, “we have said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days, why not? Then we are one step further in the right direction”.

Johnson told Merkel that he welcomed the “very blistering timetable of 30 days,” adding that “I’m more than happy with that”.

He added: “I just want to be absolutely clear with all our German friends and the German government that we in the UK want a deal, we seek a deal, and I believe we can do that.”

“Wir schaffen das,” he quipped, borrowing Merkel’s signature German phrase on managing the 2015 refugee influx that translates to “we can do it”.

Johnson, in a “do-or-die” gamble, has insisted Britain will leave the EU on 31 October , no matter whether it has ironed out remaining differences with the bloc or not.

Ahead of his Berlin visit, Johnson reaffirmed in a tweet that “we’re going to leave the EU on 31 October and make this country the best in the world to live in”. The message was adorned with a Union flag.

(with AFP)

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UN Economic Commission For Africa – Statement On Rwanda



UN Economic Commission For Africa – Statement On Rwanda

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, through its African Centre for Statistics works with its member States to improve the production, dissemination and use of quality statistics for evidence-based planning and policy-making in support of Africa’s structural transformation, the sustainable development agenda and the AU Agenda 2063, the Africa we want.

Over the years we have witnessed Rwanda’s consistent efforts in developing and strengthening its statistical system and improving the quality of official statistics. Using international principles and recommendations, the country has formulated the National Strategy for Development of Statistics for the period of 2014/15-2018/19 in its determination to improve data and statistics. In economic statistics, the country has made tremendous progress in the production and dissemination of statistics, such as the Supply-Use Tables, to help validate GDP estimates. It has also worked with development partners, including our African Centre for Statistics, to continuously build the technical capacity of its staff members.

With the increasing demand for statistics, especially in this era of SDGs, more will be demanded of national statistical offices to continuously review the methodologies including identifying new data sources for areas where critical data may be lacking.

GDP measurement and compilation is a complex undertaking, entailing the use of different sources of data, including data from household expenditure surveys to measure household consumption and poverty estimates. Household survey data are complemented and/adjusted with additional source data, to get the complete Final Household Consumption as an input to GDP. Rwanda uses (standard) international methodology as prescribed in the 2008 SNA for this purpose.

ECA is committed to continue its support to member States to improve and adhere to internationally accepted statistical norms and standards, including reviewing the robustness of the statistical system in order to continue producing reliable, quality and timely statistics which comply to UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, Strategy for Harmonizing Statistics in Africa and the African Charter on Statistics.

We welcome objective discussions which further support the strengthening of the statistical system of Rwanda.

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Mahama Is A ‘Terror’ To Free SHS — Wontumi



The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako popularly, known as “Wontum” has described Former President John Dramani Mahama as an enemy to NPP flagship policy Free Senior High School.

According to him, Mr. Mahama who has been against education appears confused and lacks the knowledge to review the free Senior High School policy if he comes back to power.

“John Dramani Mahama and his NDC have nothing better to offer Ghanaians, they are coming only to steal, kill and destroy. Go and read Kwasi Botchwey report and you will see the kind of person John Dramani Mahama is, he is confused” Chairman Wontumi stated in an interview monitored by on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

The response of Chairman Wontumi follows the comments made by the former President that a future National Democratic Congress (NDC) under his watch would review the Free SHS policy to make it better.

The former President who was speaking at the official opening of the 27th Annual Presidential Delegates Congress of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students on Wednesday in Kumasi said “I am determined to make the free SHS a beneficial learning experience more than the current miserable condition our children are facing under Nana Akufo-Addo.”

But Wontumi said “former president comments have exposed his hypocrisy and lack of knowledge on matters concerning education. You have been in office for 8years if you can review the Free SHS policy and make it better why couldn’t you do it”.

Adding that, he (Mahama) can only turn good things into bad and eventually collapse it.

“Mahama can only turn good things into bad. He won’t add anything to the free SHS. He would only create problems for the policy and strangle it for it to die. When Former President Kuffour implemented National Health Insurance Scheme the same Mahama and his NDC told us that they would bring one time premium but the NPP administration inherited a 1.2 billion Cedis debt left behind by the NDC,” he emphasised.

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St Johns Hospital And Fertility Center Donate’s Ambulance To Ghana Prisons Service



The St. Johns Hospital and Fertility Center founded by the Member of Parliament for Effiduase-Asokore Constituency Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, as part of the social responsibility donated an ambulance to the Ghana Prisons service by the acting CEO, Madam Maame Yaa Antwi on behalf of the workaholic legislator and hospital.

During the presentation ceremony the acting CEO said, “St John’s hospital and fertility center is committed in seeing to a healthy Ghanaian populace and will continue to do everything possible to see to it that, health care delivery gets to all facets of the country.”

The Director-General in charge of Prisons, Mr Patrick Darko Missa thanked the acting CEO and St Johns Hospital’s management for their kind gesture towards the service and charged other institutions and health facilities to emulate St Johns Hospital and fertility Centers.

Again, Mr Patrick Darko Missa the Director-General of Prisons Service added that the donation is timely as most of their health facilities have been upgraded without an ambulance service.

Checks by this portal indicate this is the second of its kind within the year. The hospital some months ago also donated an ambulance to the Ghana Immigration Service to help in the health care delivery of the service.



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People’s Democratic League Call To Peaceful By-Election In Constituency 110



People’s Democratic League Call To Peaceful By-Election In Constituency 110

In a genuine democratic culture, elections are periodically held to serve two purposes. First, to promote the constitutional human right and freedom of voters to elected their leaders of their choice in order to manage their affairs and secondly, to create an enabling environment for candidates to canvass eligible voters to vote them in a peaceful, free, fair and honest electoral process. However, elections in Sierra Leone far from achieving these purposes, they are contentious and by extend, divide the electorates along ethnic and regional politics.

The yet to be conducted by election for constituency 110 in the Western Area of Sierra Leone is just a piece out of the ice berg. The election for the constituency has been slated for August 24, but the unprecedented campaign in the last few weeks was marred by dramatic twists and turns, including violence, hate speeches and acrimony leading to the date announced for the holding of the by election for constituency 110.

To the People’s Democratic League (PDL), malicious and well-funded hate campaign is referred to any speech, gesture, conduct, writing or display which can incite people to political violence or prejudicial action. Hate speech campaigns are the tools being employed in constituency 110 as political weapon to ridicule, slander, vilify and abused the social media to mislead public opinion or insult the conscience of the Sierra Leonean nation. This has left the people in constituency 110 and other parts of the country more divided today. If this continues, the consequences would be harmful to the country’s current peace and democracy, as well as to any meaningful development programme.

It is worthy of note that the absence of clearly articulated laws against hate campaign during electioneering period has further make mockery of our democracy. More worrisome is the fact that, the weakness of the extant institutional and administrative mechanisms (like Parliament, Judiciary, NEC, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy, the PPRC, among others) for the enforcement of existing laws. This is so because our parliamentarians whose conducts are meant to be regulated by these laws are the ones who design the electoral regimes; and at times their actions are at variance with the welfare of the Sierra Leonean people. Lack of institutional, administrative, and financial autonomy has reduced the country’s cherished institutions into a tool for the advancement of the political interests of big political gurus.

The recent chaos and political violence that characterized the political parties’ campaign in constituency 110 is highly unfortunate and regrettable. These must not be allowed to be repeated anywhere in the country. The existence of different parties is necessary in a democratic society, where diverse political views are shared in a peaceful and healthy environment. The existence of an opposition in a democratic country should not be a license to create to violence. The PDL is not aligned to any political party but speaks in relation to its patriotic zeal to see that Sierra Leone moves forward. We believe politics everywhere affect the day to-day lives of the people, and therefore the PDL has a role in consolidating peace and promoting democratic good governance in Sierra Leone.

We urge our political leaders to stay away from hate speeches that could trigger violence during and after the by-election on August 24. We urge Sierra Leoneans to continue to uphold a peaceful environment where non violent actions give expression. We appeal to our youth never be allowed to be used as political purveyors of violence against each other or as agents of hate and vilification through social media. We therefore urge our youth to use the social media wisely and morally to disseminate the message of peace and patriotism.

Through this statement, the People’s Democratic League (PDL) commends the constitutional and democratically-elected government of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone police and other stakeholders in the steps that they have taken so far on the road to violent-free by election in constituency 110. It is indeed commendable that NEC and the government have taken further steps to ensure security of the public during and after voting in constituency 110 by election on August, 24.

As a peaceful and freedom-loving political party, we appeal to stakeholders with a direct link to electoral processes such as law enforcement agents to carry out their duties without fear or favour; for political parties to shun violence and hate speeches and to respect the constitutional human rights and democratic freedom of the people of Sierra Leone; to the media to stay non-partisan in the national political divide. We call upon traditional leaders as custodians of our culture to be non-partisan. We call all Sierra Leoneans to pray for continued peace and development of our nation.

Alimam Bakarr Sankoh
Leader and National Chairman
People’s Democratic League (PDL)

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