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S.Africa: ANC Lawmaker Arrested On Corruption Charge – Police

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Arrest Warrant Issued For Ex-South African President Jacob Zuma

Police in South Africa have on Thursday arrested a senior lawmaker for South Africa’s governing African National Congress party on a corruption charge and released on bail after a court appearance.

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Former state security minister under former president Jacob Zuma, Bongani Bongo is accused of interfering with an inquiry into corruption at state power utility Eskom.

Police spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told Reuters news agency that Bongo allegedly asked the inquiry’s evidence leader to go on sick leave in 2017 to frustrate its progress.

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Mulaudzi said, Bongo appeared in court in Cape Town and was released on bail of 5,000 rand ($338.70), adding that Bongo was due back in court on Jan. 31.

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Burundi, Sierra Leone Confirm Index Cases Of Coronavirus

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Burundi, Sierra Leone Confirm Index Cases Of Coronavirus

Burundi and Sierra Leone have confirmed Covid-19 index cases. Both countries were among a handful of African countries deemed coronavirus-free.

Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio said on Tuesday its first confirmed case involves a 37-year-old man who traveled from France mid-march and had been in isolation since his entry into the country.

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The government says it would not announce a total lockdown yet.  A year-long state of public health emergency has already been declared, commercial flights have been suspended, and schools have been closed.

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Meanwhile, Burundi`s health minister Thadée Ndikumana announced on Tuesday two nationals had tested positive for covid-19 after travelling from Rwanda and Dubai.

There had been doubts over Burundi’s claim that no-one in the country had coronavirus.

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Ethiopia Postpones Landmark August Election Due To Coronavirus

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Ethiopia Postpones Landmark August Election Due To Coronavirus

Ethiopia has postponed August parliamentary elections because of the coronavirus outbreak. The country’s electoral board said on Tuesday, the move to delay the highly anticipated general poll has been endorsed by key opposition parties as the coronavirus makes it impossible to prepare.

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The country says a new schedule would be announced once the threat of the pandemic was over.

Voter registration was to begin in April, and political parties would have commenced their campaigns late in May, but much of its planning, such as obtaining election materials on time and training staff, had been disrupted by the pandemic.

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The elections were to be the first since prime minister and Nobel Prize winner Abiy Ahmed came to office in 2018.  He has carried out wide-ranging reforms over the last two years.

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Lawmakers are expected to vote to extend the government’s mandate that will expire in a few months.

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Covid-19 Derails South Sudan’s Peacekeeping Troop Rotation

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Covid-19 Derails South Sudan's Peacekeeping Troop Rotation

The coronavirus pandemic has caused South Sudan to suspend troop rotation in its peacekeeping operation. The move is aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.  But this has raised procedural concerns and poses immediate and longer-term implications.

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Five Asian countries are affected by this suspension.  China, South Korea, India, Nepal and Cambodia contribute a third of sixteen thousand peacekeeping staff currently deployed by the united nations mission in South Sudan.

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Some experts believe this decision to suspend the troop rotation will have an immediate effect on the mission and the UN’s broader peacekeeping capacity.  It is also believed there would be implications for long-term peace and stability in South Sudan.

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Experts say a prolonged stalled troop rotation would very likely cause severe fatigue among troops overdue for replacement. Rotations usually happen every twelve months.

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