The long-awaited local and parliamentary elections in Cameroon have begun in earnest in French-speaking regions of the country but are not going swiftly in English-speaking regions, for weeks prior to the elections, separatists fighters had goaded residents against voting in the elections. Although they have attacked several election workers, many still turned up and some voters still went out to cast their ballots.
President Paul Biya had joined hundreds of other voters who had lined up at polling centers early in the morning on Sunday to vote at a government bilingual primary school in the capital, Yaounde. The president appealed to voters to go out massively and not heed those he called detractors of the country’s democracy. He was referring to some political parties that had called for election cancellation and opted instead for transition. A transition would have ended Biya’s regime.
Effects of threats and travel ban imposed by separatist fighters in the two English-speaking regions of the country, were noticeable in sluggish voting and poor voter turnout. But those who risked voting said they did so because they believe it is the greatest weapon for peace and development.
The government said suspected separatists burned down polling stations in a public building early Sunday in the English-speaking northwestern town of Bafut. No injuries were reported. Separatists were also said to have attacked a military convoy transporting election materials to two English speaking towns.
Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks
Zambia police said on Thursday, they have arrested 16 persons suspected of being behind a spate of attacks in which people were sprayed with poisonous substances that have caused some deaths.
The attacks began in December and were initially confined to the mineral-rich copperbelt. They have since spread to the capital Lusaka. Police are still trying to pinpoint the exact number of victims.
Last week, president Edgar Lungu ordered soldiers to join the police in patrolling the streets after the attacks, that have sparked public outrage.
Britain and the United States have issued travel alerts to their citizens following the attacks.
Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife’s Death
Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane, who was accused of killing his wife and was due in court for hearing on Friday, did not show up. Police said they were unsure of his whereabouts.
Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital, Maseru, two days before the minister took office.
Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah, has also been charged with ordering Lipolelo’s murder. She is currently out on bail.
The prime minister bowed to pressure and announced on Thursday he would step down in July. Both Maesaiah and Thomas Thabane, who married two months after Lipolelo’s killing, have denied any involvement in her death.
Authorities say the prime minister’s whereabouts are unknown. Some even suggest he might have fled the country.
South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government
South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.
President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.
Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.
There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.
Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.
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