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African Body Urges Congo to Prosecute Anvil Over Mine Deaths

The African Union's human rights body urged the Democratic Republic of Congo's government to prosecute officials of an Australian mining company over their alleged role in a military crackdown in 2004 that left more than 70 people dead. The African Commission on Human and People's Rights also asked the state to compensate victims of the assault, in which 28 people were allegedly summarily executed, according to a decision adopted by the Banjul, Gambia-based organization last year and approved in January by the African Union's executive council.

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Sierra Leone: Thousands Left Homeless, Hundreds Dead After Mudslide

RESOURCE: Witness Describes 'Disaster' in Sierra Leone's FreetownBy Kieran Guilbert

Dakar — Thousands of people in Sierra Leone left homeless by a mudslide which killed at least 400 people urgently need food, shelter and healthcare, aid agencies said on Tuesday, as they raced to prevent outbreaks of fatal diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

A mountainside collapsed on Monday morning in Regent, on the outskirts of the capital Freetown, burying dozens of homes as people slept, in one of Africa's deadliest mudslides in decades.

Rescue workers have uncovered nearly 400 bodies, Freetown's chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya said on Tuesday. He said he expected that number to surpass 500 as the search continues.

"We estimate that at least 3,000 people are homeless ... they need shelter, medical assistance and food," Sierra Red Cross Society spokesman Abu Bakarr Tarawallie said by phone.

Another 600 people are estimated to be missing, according to the Red Cross.

"We are also fearful of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid," Tarawallie told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We can only hope that this does not happen."
People inspect the damage after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone August 14, 2017. REUTERS/ Ernest Henry

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Contaminated water and water-logging often unleash potentially deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhoea after floods and mudslides.

Torrential flooding has also destroyed buildings and covered homes in low-lying areas of Freetown, agencies said.

"Houses have been totally submerged and washed away," said Ramatu Jalloh, advocacy director at Save the Children. "Families are trying to gather their lives together but they have lost their homes, all of their possessions, their whole livelihoods."

President Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday evening told residents of Regent and other flooded areas to evacuate immediately so that military personnel and rescue workers could continue to search for survivors that might be buried underneath debris.

The United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) is providing trauma counselling and therapy to families and children in the dozen-odd communities struck by the mudslide.

"You can see people openly grieving ... there is a lot of hurt to address," said UNICEF spokesman John James.

Britain's aid department said it is sending assistance, having invested in disaster preparedness and emergency response since the Ebola outbreak which ravaged the former British colony from 2014 to 2016, infecting 14,000 people and killing 4,000.

"From stopping the Ebola outbreak in its tracks to helping the country rebuild ‎after this deadly event - the UK continues to stand by the people of Sierra Leone," said Priti Patel, the minister of the Department for International Development.

Several aid agencies told the Thomson Reuters Foundation they were bracing for more heavy rainfall in the coming days.

(Editing by Katy Migiro)

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Death Toll Rises in Flood-Stricken Freetown

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Dalai Lama cancels Botswana visit ‘due to exhaustion’

The Dalai Lama had been expected to address a human rights conference in the capital Gaborone on August 17-19 and meet Botswana's president during the trip. Photo - PTI The Dalai Lama had been expected to address a human rights conference in the capital Gaborone on August 17-19 and meet Botswana's president during the trip.

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Nigeria’s Buhari feels ‘ready to go home’ after treatment in UK

Nigeria's Buhari feels 'ready to go home' after treatment in UK

Image copyright Presidency Nigeria / Bayo Omoboriowo Image caption A photograph tweeted by the @NGRPresident Twitter account shows President Buhari with officials, smiling over a large get well card

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said he feels ready to return home after medical treatment in the UK, and is awaiting his doctor's permission.

The African leader has recently faced questions at home over whether he is well enough to run the country.

Since the start of 2017 he has spent more time in the UK than in Nigeria.

His current period of sick leave is the second this year, after a stint from January to March. The nature of his illness has not been disclosed.

"I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge," Mr Buhari said in a statement. "I've now learnt to obey orders, rather than be obeyed."

He added that there had been a "tremendous improvement" in his health.

Some protesters in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, have demanded the president's resignation this week. Others called for more transparency about his condition.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Some Nigerians have urged their president to return - or resign

When Mr Buhari first went to London for treatment in June 2016, his office said it was for a persistent ear infection.

His main opponents in Nigeria's 2015 election had claimed he had prostate cancer - which he denied.

Africa's 'medical tourist' presidents Nigeria's first lady warns off 'hyenas' Should Nigerians be worried about their president's health?

Photos released by the presidency show the 74-year-old standing outdoors in sunglasses and smiling as he holds a "Get well soon" card.

Mr Buhari has appointed his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, to carry out his duties in his absence.

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Media captionA Nigerian state governor said Mr Buhari was "very, very ok" after meeting him

The leader's medical challenges have sparked speculation in Nigeria about whether he will be fit to seek a second term in 2019.

If he does not stand for re-election, observers say, it could prompt tensions between factions in the largely Muslim north and mostly Christian south.

The health of Nigeria's leaders has been a sensitive topic since 2010, when President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua died in office after months of treatment overseas.

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US airstrikes in Somalia; high-level al-Shabab leader killed

The US military has announced two new airstrikes against al-Shabab extremists in Somalia, and Somalia's president says the joint operation killed a high- level leader of the group. Somalia's president in a separate statement says the al- Shabab leader had been part of a network responsible for planning and carrying out several bombings and assassinations in the capital, Mogadishu.

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Rwandan Soldiers Arrive in South Sudan Ahead of thousands More Extra UN Troops

About 120 Rwandan peacekeepers have arrived in South Sudan, United Nations said on Tuesday, the first detachment of 4,000 extra troops approved by the U.N. last year to help protect the capital of Africa's newest country. The U.N. approved the deployment in August after days of heavy fighting in Juba between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar.

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Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta Declared Winner of Kenya’s Presidential Poll

Photo: Ruth Mbula/Daily Nation

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing supporters in July.

By Beatrice Kangai, John Ngirachu, Ibrahim Oruko and Harry Misiko

President Uhuru Kenyatta has won a second term in office, garnering 54.2 per cent of votes, according to final results declared by the electoral commission on Friday night.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Mr Kenyatta the winner of the presidential race at exactly 10.17pm EAT.


"He attained 25 percent of votes cast in 35 counties " Mr Chebukati, the returning officer of the presidential election, said at Bomas of Kenya-- the national tallying centre, in the capital Nairobi

The announcement was met with celebrations in the strongholds of Mr Kenyatta's party, Jubilee, and protests amongst some Nasa supporters.

President Kenyatta won with 8.2 million votes compared to 6.8 million votes for his closest rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (Nasa).

Mr Kenyatta, riding on a well-oiled campaign machinery, prevailed despite persistent dissatisfaction with the economy and a hard-fought challenge by Mr Odinga.

Mr Odinga was at Bomas prior to the announcement where he held a meeting with Mr Chebukati's team and spelled out his demands before the poll results are made public.

He demanded access to the electoral commission's servers as a condition to accepting the outcome of the election, which he claimed was rigged in Mr Kenyatta's favour.

Two hours to the announcement, Mr Odinga's Chief Agent Musalia Mudavadi and deputy James Orengo told a press conference that IEBC had not addressed their concerns, and that Nasa would boycott the results declaration.

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"They have told us that we will get a response after the announcement... clearly they are not willing to address them, " Mr Mudavadi said.

They made good their threat moments later and, accompanied by Mr Odinga, stormed out of Bomas and left the venue.

Mr Orengo said lodging a petition at the Supreme Court, the top court in the land, would not be an option for Nasa should IEBC announce the results against their wishes.

Direct negotiations with IEBC and peaceful protests, he said, were the only ways to resolve the standoff that persisted for the better part of Friday, delaying the much-awaited announcement to the chagrin of expectant Kenyans.

"Court is not an alternative... we have been there before," he said.


The announcement started off with the national anthem and a minute of silence in honour of slain IEBC ICT Manager Chris Msando and a poll official in Nyanza.

Mr Msando was murdered days to August 8 General Election, casting a long shadow on the the East African nation's second General Election under the Constitution promulgated in 2010.

There was an awkward moment at Bomas after Mr Chebukati almost announced the results before they could be signed, a grave illegality.

It took more than 10 minutes for all presidential agents to ink the documents before he resumed his speech.


He read the results from for all counties-- starting with County 001, Mombasa, to County 048, Diaspora-- outlining the performance of all the the eight candidates who ran for State House.

The other candidates in Kenya's high-stakes poll were Joseph Nyagah, Mohamed Dida, Ekuru Aukot, Japheth Kavinga, Shakhalaga Khwa Jirongo and Michael Wainaina.

Mr Nyaga and Mr Dida came a distant third and fourth with less than 0.3 per cent of valid votes.

The rest of the candidates managed less than 0.2 per cent.


Mr Kenyatta's supporters were enthusiastic before, during and after the announcement after provisional results put him in the lead.

They occasionally clapped as Mr Chebukati made his remarks at Bomas as other sang and danced at Kenyatta International Convention Centre where Mr Kenyatta made his victory speech moments after being declared winner.

Voting went off smoothly on Tuesday, despite widespread fears of violence.


Many commentators, however, have returned a verdict that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission conducted a largely credible election.

The opposition has raised several challenges on the result - including claims that the IEBC tally system was hacked and that in some places election materials were mishandled leading to suspicions on the veracity of the results.

Mr Chebukati responded to the Nasa claims with a rebuttal that they had investigated the reports and remain confident that the results they have released reflect the true wish of Kenyans as expressed in ballots across the country.

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UN: 20 million face war-linked famine

More than 20 million people are at risk from famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and the northeast of Nigeria, the United Nations warned on Wednesday. The Security Council officially declared for the first time that the threat was directly linked to the armed conflicts raging in the afflicted areas.

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South Africa’s no-confidence motion on president fails

South African President Jacob Zuma again survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Tuesday in the most serious attempt yet to unseat him after months of growing anger over alleged corruption and a sinking economy. Zuma had survived six previous attempts to dislodge him in parliament, but this was the first to be held by secret ballot after parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete on Monday made the surprise decision to allow it.

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South Africa: A Pyrrhic Victory for Zuma?

Photo: Ashleigh Furlong/GroundUp

Opposition parties hold hands before a vote of #NoConfidence against President Jacob Zuma.

analysisBy Richard Calland, University of Cape Town

Jacob Zuma is a natural born political survivor. Yesterday South Africa's president overcame an eighth no confidence vote, despite the mountain of evidence of corrupt conduct that has emerged in recent months.

But it may prove to be a Pyrrhic victory - for him and most certainly for his party, the African National Congress (ANC). "Hollow" was the word that one opposition leader, Bantu Holomisa, used afterwards, while the Economic Freedom Fighter's leader Julius Malema employed a well-known Africa proverb: "When you want to eat an elephant you do it bit by bit".

Zuma's political death is proving to be a protracted affair. There was an air of expectation yesterday that recent allegations of "state capture" - attested to by a welter of evidence from the so-called #guptaleaks - would be enough to persuade a sufficient number of the members of the ruling ANC to support an opposition-sponsored no confidence vote.

In the event, after a fractious two-hour debate scarred by ugly banter across the floor of the National Assembly, the motion fell short of the 201 votes required to remove Zuma and his cabinet. But yesterday was remarkably different. On the previous seven occasions that the opposition have tabled no confidence votes since Zuma's power began in 2009, the ANC has remained steadfast in its support for its beleaguered president. Yesterday's vote was a watershed for the liberation movement that brought an end to apartheid in 1994: around 30 of the 223 ANC MPs who voted yesterday sided with the opposition.

As the ANC's chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, ruefully observed afterwards, this is true pause for reflection for the ruling party. Never before has such a significant number of the parliamentary caucus rebelled and defied the party whip.

Zuma's streetwise political skills are well-known. So too is his adeptness at using executive patronage to secure the loyalty of party members as has been made clear in the revelations arising from his links to the Gupta family.

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The secret ballot saga

But the back story to the unprecedented rebellion within his own party was the method of voting as much as Zuma's political skullduggery. For the first time, parliament was compelled to allow MPs to vote in secret. This followed a legal challenge to the rules by Holomisa's United Democratic Movement.

In its 22 June judgment, the Constitutional Court - an institutional beacon of excellence and integrity in the context of the "capture" of other state bodies - had held that the speaker of the National Assembly had the discretion to order a secret ballot in exceptional circumstances.

Since the ruling, a number of ANC MPs have gone public with testimony of intimidation and even death threats in the case of Makhosi Khoza. In turn, the ANC shot itself in the foot when one region of Zuma's home province, KwaZulu-Natal, demanded that disciplinary proceedings be brought against Khoza after she had called for Zuma to go. The intervention served to underline the need to depart from the generally established principle of open voting.

Accordingly, speaker Baleka Mbete had little legal choice but to opt for a secret ballot, even though it would encourage dissenting voices among the ranks of the ANC caucus. Politically, she had probably done the political mathematics and, as the national chairperson of the ANC, was confident that regardless of the shield that she said was necessary to protect ANC MPs so that they could vote with their conscience, the numbers would still work out in Zuma's favour.

And so it proved: 177 MPs voted for the motion, and 198 against (with 9 abstentions). Since the opposition has 151 MPs, at least three of whom were absent through illness, it means that that at least 29 and possibly as many as 35 ANC MPs jumped ship.

Win-win for the opposition

But it was a win-win situation for the opposition. Afterwards, in the unseasonably balmy winter's evening outside the parliament in Cape Town, one after another of the leaders of the opposition spoke cheerfully about the political future and of the health of South Africa's democracy.

They may have lost the battle, but they feel confident that they will win the war. After all, it is clear that Zuma is now their greatest electoral asset, with several polls (including the respected Afrobarometer), showing that across race and class, trust in Zuma has collapsed since he was returned to power for a second term in 2014.

Last year, the ANC suffered its first major electoral setbacks since the advent of democracy in 1994 when it lost control of three major city governments in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Now, its political management skills appear to be in disarray as factionalism and deep, painful divisions dominate internal party politics. This is all unfolding in the run-up to what is likely to be a bloody five-yearly national elective conference in December, at which the ANC will elect a new President of the party to succeed Zuma.

That may or may not mark the start of a new era of renewal for the ANC. But Zuma's term as President of the country is only due to end in 2019. A lot more damage could be done to the country's economy and its prospects for growth.

The consequence of that, however, is that the ANC will face the prospect of losing its majority at the national polls for the first time since Nelson Mandela's historic victory in 1994.

Yesterday may have been a victory for Zuma. But in the longer term it is likely to come to be seen as a major defeat for the ANC.

Disclosure statement

Richard Calland is a founding partner of the political consultancy, The Paternoster Group, serves as a member of the executive committee and advisory council of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, and is a member of the Board of the Open Democracy Advice Centre.

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Southern Africa: Lesotho Will Stop Being ‘Bad Boys’ – PM

Photo: GCIS

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane (file photo).

Cape Town — Newly-elected Prime Minister Tom Thabane has vowed that Lesotho will stop being the "bad boys" of southern Africa.

He was speaking during a visit to Maseru of a delegation from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which has been facilitating an end to political upheaval in the kingdom.

According to remarks released by the South African Presidency, Thabane assured the delegation "that we will do everything to stop being the bad boy of SADC. Enough is enough."

The head of the delegation, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, said Thabane had reported that his government was determined to press ahead with a dialogue among all stakeholders in Lesotho aimed at bringing about reforms in the country's security services, media and public sector, as well as to the constitution.

"We are very pleased to have heard that it will be as inclusive as possible," said Ramaphosa, "and in fact that the process is already underway and... will be led by Basotho themselves. It will be a homegrown process; it will be organic with SADC playing a supportive role."

He added that the SADC facilitation team would report to a summit of regional leaders later this month "that Lesotho is now firmly on the road to embracing stability..."

Lesotho has been roiled by political strife over the past three years, which has its roots in bitter and long-standing differences exacerbated by factionalism within the police and military.

Last year a SADC commission of inquiry appointed after the assassination of a former army chief made wide-ranging recommendations for reform. But Pakalitha Mosisili, the prime minister dislodged by a Thabane-led coalition two months ago, resisted their implementation.

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Kenya: Woman Gives Birth at Polling Station

Photo: Daily Monitor

(file photo).

By Oscar Kakai

A woman gave birth at a polling station in West Pokot County while another had a miscarriage.

The middle-aged woman gave birth while queuing for more than three hours at Konyau Mixed Secondary School polling station in North Pokot Sub County.


According to Kapchok MCA Peter Lokor, the woman experienced labour pains on the queue and declined to be rushed to Konyau dispensary to be attended to.

Instead, she insisted on voting first.

"Let me vote before rushing me to the hospital. This is my democratic right," she said.


But she gave birth before she was able to cast her ballot.

Mr Lokor said the delivery was safe and the child was named Hellen Chepkura, which means elections.


But the same cannot be said of another woman who had a miscarriage

The 33-year-old was queuing at Kuwit polling centre when she started having labour pains under the blistering heat.

But her complains, Mr Lokor said, were brushed off.


Nonetheless, she was able to vote but later when she went to a health facility, the MCA added, she was told she had a miscarriage, also known as late foetal loss.

Ms Selina Chepuray, a resident, said that most mothers in the region experience premature deliveries due to lack of food.

"This area faces so many challenges; women are forced to walk long distances searching for food and water. This has resulted to expectant mothers to miscarry," she said.


At the same time, a spot check by the Nation indicatedthat most of the pastoralists who had migrated in search of pasture in other regions had retuned and most took part in the exercise.

"I had migrated to Uganda in search of pasture for my animals but I decided to come back and vote since it's my democratic right. I want to elect my own leaders," a herder said.


Presidential Results of Kenya Election Trickle in

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South Africa Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionPresident Jacob Zuma addresses the crowds in Cape Town

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has survived his latest vote of no confidence - despite the ballot being held in secret.

Opposition parties had hoped the secret ballot would mean some MPs from the governing ANC party might side with them against the president.

But the motion, called amid repeated allegations of corruption, was defeated by 198 votes to 177.

This news was greeted with cheers and singing by ANC MPs.

Africa Live: Debate in parliament Will 'the Zuptas' fall? Jacob Zuma: A profile 'The great survivor'

Speaking afterwards, Mr Zuma said he had come to thank his supporters and "those in parliament who had voted correctly".

"They believe they could use technicalities in parliament to take over the the majority from the ANC," he told the assembled crowd.

"It is impossible: they cannot. We represent the majority."

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Media captionSouth African MPs sing and dance in parliament

Mr Zuma has found himself embroiled in a number of scandals since taking office in 2009, including using taxpayer money for upgrades on his private home, and becoming too close to the wealthy Gupta family, who are accused of trying to influence politician decisions.

Both Mr Zuma and the Gupta family deny wrongdoing.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Pro-Zuma supporters celebrate in Cape Town

Criticism increased following the sacking of the widely-respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, in March.

But the ANC parliamentary party did not address these criticisms in a statement following the vote, which it called a "soft coup".

The statement also accused the opposition of attempting "to collapse government, deter service delivery and sow seeds of chaos in society to ultimately grab power".

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Media captionThe Zuma presidency: Scandals and successes

However, the vote was not a rousing success for the governing party. The result means at least 26 ANC MPs rebelled, while another nine MPs abstained from voting.

In order for the no-confidence motion to pass, at least 50 out of the ANC's 249 MPs would have had to vote against the president.

Analysis: How many more lives does Zuma have left?

by Milton Nkosi, BBC News, South Africa

President Jacob Zuma is celebrating following his narrow success of surviving his eighth no-confidence vote. He is certainly on his ninth life now.

But judging by the number of ANC MPs who voted with the opposition it seems like it's going to be a short lived relief. The internal squabbles of the governing ANC have reached the back benches of parliament.

This essentially means that it's going to a long road towards the elective conference in December when the ANC will be electing a new leader to replace the beleaguered Mr Zuma. The question is whether he will survive the last two years of his presidency.

Some here tell me that he will not complete his second term. But we have heard these threats before and we have written his political obituary before only for the 75-year-old president to re-emerge like a rising phoenix from the ashes.

The ANC's chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the party was planning to look into disciplining those who had voted against the president, South Africa's TimesLive website reported.

But the rebels were praised by opposition leaders, who have repeatedly called for votes against the president.

The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane - who earlier said the vote was one between "right and wrong; between good and evil" - told reporters: "I applaud the courageous ANC people who moved across and said we will vote with our conscience and we will vote for change."

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, said the vote had proved South Africa's democracy works - and warned Mr Zuma it proved they could unseat him.

Mr Zuma is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, ahead of the 2019 general election.

He has endorsed his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his successor.

Also vying for the leadership is Cyril Ramaphosa, a former trade unionist and one of South Africa's wealthiest politicians.

Cyril Ramaphosa - the man who wants to make South Africa great Zuma's ex-wife bids to succeed him

Zuma's legal woes:

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Jacob Zuma is due to step down in December - but could now be ousted sooner 2005: Charged with corruption over multi-billion dollar 1999 arms deal - charges dropped shortly before he becomes president in 2009 2016: Court orders he should be charged with 786 counts of corruption over the deal - he has appealed 2005: Charged with raping family friend - acquitted in 2006 2016: Court rules he breached his oath of office by using government money to upgrade private home in Nkandla - he has repaid the money 2017: Public protector said he should appoint judge-led inquiry into allegations he profiteered from relationship with wealthy Gupta family - he denies allegations, as have the Guptas No inquiry appointed yet

The Guptas and their links to Zuma

South Africa's anti-corruption crusader

How Zuma's Nkandla home has grown

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Mauritania Senate abolished in referendum

Mauritania Senate abolished in referendum

Image copyright AFP Image caption The opposition boycotted the vote and called it a "farce"

Mauritanians have voted to abolish the upper house of their parliament, the Senate, in a controversial referendum that was boycotted by the opposition.

The result is seen as a victory for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is accused by his rivals of trying to extend his mandate, which he denies.

He called the referendum after the Senate rejected his proposals to change the constitution.

Turnout was 53.73%, with 85% of voters supporting the change, officials said.

But members of the opposition denounced an "electoral farce which has given way to open-air fraud".

Mr Abdel Aziz, who described the Senate as "useless and too costly", said the move to abolish it would improve governance by introducing more local forms of lawmaking.

He is barred by the constitution from running a third term - he came to power in a coup in 2008, was elected president the following year and won a second term in 2014.

The president is a key ally of the West and neighbouring states in countering Islamist extremist groups.

Mauritania country profile Image copyright AFP Image caption The president has denied allegations that he is seeking to extend his mandate

In the same referendum, held on Saturday, voters also supported a change to the national flag.

The current green flag with yellow Islamic crescent and star will also feature red bands to honour the blood spilt by those who fought for freedom from France.

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Kenyans take no chances ahead of high-stakes election

A fellowship of pastors from 20 churches in Langas, a neighbourhood in Eldoret, Kenya, march and pray for peaceful elections, ahead of the August 8 vote. AFP Photo In recent days, the queues of early morning travellers at Nairobi's long-distance bus stations have been thick with people seeking to leave the city.

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South Africa MPs to vote in secret on Zuma no-confidence motion

Image copyright Reuters Image caption President Jacob Zuma has been under pressure after sacking widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in March

South African MPs will vote in secret on a motion of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, the parliament's speaker has announced.

Baleka Mbete made the ruling after opposition parties took the case to the Constitutional Court.

They believe that in a secret ballot, MPs from the governing African National Congress (ANC) would be more likely to vote against the president.

Mr Zuma has survived several previous votes of no-confidence.

Africa Live: Updates on this and other African news stories

Jacob Zuma: The great survivor

The ANC has governed South Africa since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, and has a huge majority in parliament.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Protesters gathered near parliament before the speaker announced her decision

Ms Mbete's decision took many by surprise and injects a new element of uncertainty into the proceedings against the president, reports the BBC's Nomsa Maseko in Cape Town.

The question now is whether enough ANC MPs are prepared to make a stand against the president, she adds.

Toxic debate

Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Cape Town

The decision taken by speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete means that South Africa could have a new president by Tuesday afternoon, albeit on a temporary basis.

According to the constitution, she would take over for 30 days if President Jacob Zuma is voted out of power.

The whole country has gone into millions of frantic mini-huddles talking about what the future holds.

The general view is that the level of toxicity within the governing African National Congress is so bad that nobody knows for sure if President Jacob Zuma will survive this one.

He has survived seven previous motions of no-confidence.

Suddenly all of us have turned into political analysts and more importantly pseudo-mathematicians, trying to calculate the number of ANC MPs who are likely to vote against their party line, or as they say here, according to their "conscience".

If President Zuma is voted out power on Tuesday, he would no longer be national president but would remain ANC leader, retaining considerable influence over his replacement.

At least 50 out of the ANC's 249 MPs would need to vote against the president in order for the no-confidence motion to pass.

'Political ploy'

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza received death threats last month after she said she would vote against the president, and branded him "a disgrace".

Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told journalists that now with the secret ballot, the ANC MPs "have no excuse".

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Media captionMakhosi Khoza received death threats after criticising President Jacob Zuma

In a statement, it added that the ANC will vote against the motion and not back the attempt to "collapse our democratically elected government".

The ANC has described the no-confidence motion as a "political ploy" designed to remove the government "outside of general elections".

This latest attempt to unseat Mr Zuma came after he fired his widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and other ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle in March, sparking nationwide protests.

The president has also faced allegations of corruption and accusations that he has become too close to the wealthy Gupta family, who are accused of trying to influence political decisions, including the sacking of Mr Gordhan.

Mr Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Zuma is due to step down as ANC leader in December. Several candidates are vying to succeed him as party leader, with the winner standing a strong chance of becoming South Africa's next president after elections in 2019.

The current favourites are deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Mr Zuma's former wife, and favoured candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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