Seven western diplomats have issued a statement to warn Zimbabwe against using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to restrict citizens’ rights.
The diplomats statement came as more than a dozen Zimbabweans are in hiding, afraid of reprisals for organizing an anti-government protest.
The seven countries, including the United States, have called on president Emmerson Mnangagwa to abide by his inauguration pledge in 2018 to respect human rights. The countries have also pledged continued assistance to Zimbabwe as it struggles with the humanitarian crisis created by continued droughts and the covid-19 pandemic.
The Zimbabwe government says it would not comment on the statement by the U.S., Germany, Poland, Britain, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands. But, the country’s information minister says “this is just a piece of rubbish.” He said this is meant to stifle Zimbabwe from criticizing those countries, especially for what he called the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Angola Resumes Local Flights Operation
Angola has begun local flights operation after authorities announced resumption of commercial flights this week following suspension since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authorities say domestic flights are now available. As the country opens up its airspace, international flights entry requirements are now compulsory from next Monday.
The first highly anticipated roundtrip flight between Luanda and Cabinda operated on Monday and domestic flights will continue.
This marks a huge step towards economic recovery. The country has also increased testing capacity. Nearly 3,500 cases have been confirmed with 136 deaths since the start of the global Coronavirus health crisis.
Mozambique Reports Huge Drop In Elephant Poaching
Mozambique’s Land and Environment Minister Ivete Maibasse has said the country has recorded a 70% drop in elephant poaching.
Maibasse in a statement attributed the drop to the commitment of security forces protecting conservation areas including more investment on law enforcement, technological methods and education.
The minister said “until 2014, we would register the loss of 1,200 elephants per year,” she said, adding that the numbers reduced to 360 elephants per year between 2015 and 2019.
According to her, the Niassa Reserve which is the largest protected area in the country, had not lost an elephant to poaching in the last two years.
Elephants population in the area was said to have reduced from an estimated 15,400 to an estimated 6,100.
Elephant tusks are prized in Asia, where they are carved into ivory statuettes and jewellery.
Across Africa, up to 30,000 elephants are estimated to be killed illegally each year to fuel the ivory trade.
Mali Junta To Appoint Interim President After Embargo Threat
Mali’s ruling junta said on Wednesday it is making moves to appoint interim president after its leaders met with ECOWAS leaders in Ghana. The regional bloc had given one week for a civilian interim president and prime minister to be in place.
West African leaders imposed economic sanctions after the coup, but they appear to have had a limited effect so far.
The ruling junta announced a transition plan over the weekend that would allow a military leader to oversee an 18-month transitional period but was rejected by the opposition groups.
The ruling junta has now said on Wednesday, it has started the process of naming an interim president after west African presidents threatened a total embargo on the landlocked country.
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