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Africa Crosses 2.5 Million COVID-19 Cases

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The total number of coronavirus cases in Africa have surpassed two and a half million, as a second wave of infections hits the continent. Figures show Africa has reported more than 454,000 new cases in the past 32 days.

South Africa remains the worst-affected African country on the continent with nearly 922,000 cases and 24,691 deaths. The country has seen a sharp spike in infections since the start of December. The South African government said on Friday it had identified a new variant of the coronavirus that is driving a second wave of infections.

Countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mauritania, Ghana and Ivory Coast are seeing a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Governments across the region have begun imposing lockdowns, curfews and restricting gatherings ahead of Christmas celebrations.

On Friday, Nigeria ordered schools to shut indefinitely, banned concerts, carnivals, street parties and ordered some civil servants to work from home in Lagos. The Democratic Republic of Congo announced a curfew and other measures, including the mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces. Infections have spiked, as people relax their guards and ditch social distancing measures.

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EU Demands Probe Of Bobi Wine’s Alleged Abuses

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The European Union (EU) says it is concerned about the continued harassment of politicians and civil society activists in Uganda after last week’s general election. Opposition presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, a pop star-turned-politician known as Bobi wine, has alleged being under house arrest in the capital, Kampala, since Friday, with soldiers laying siege on his home after he began disputing the results of the presidential election.

Incumbent, 76-year-old president Yoweri Museveni, was declared winner of the election. He has been in power since 1986, and the poll was his sixth elective term. Media report, the vote was marred by harassment of opposition candidates, suppression of media and a nationwide internet shutdown.

In a statement, the EU council of ministers called on the Kampala government to restrain its security agencies, investigate allegations of abuses and bring to account all those responsible for violations.

EU ministers have said the internet shutdown disrupted the work of journalists, observers and polling agents expected to monitor the election.

On Wednesday, human rights organizations in Kenya asked international and regional bodies, to set up a mediation team, to address alleged election malpractices in neighbouring Uganda. The activists, under the banner of Africa Elections Watch, say unresolved injustices during and after elections may cause riots and widespread human rights violations across Uganda.

The activists say if no action is taken now, African leaders, seeking fresh presidential terms, may be emboldened to rig elections.

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Ghana Opposition Condemns Election Tribunal Timeline

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Ghana opposition leader John Mahama’s lawyers say the court’s timeline is unfair for the case addressing their concerns over December’s election.

Ghana’s supreme court had set the date on Wednesday, for the hearing next Tuesday of an election petition filed by the opposition seeking to annul the results over irregularities.

The court ruled that all parties must file their witness statements by Thursday afternoon and the supreme court will begin the main hearing on Tuesday. The supreme court says the strict timeline was to enable the hearing of the petition within 42 days of the election as prescribed by law.

Mahama’s lawyers say justice should not be sacrificed for speed.

They had applied for a review of the court’s decision to dismiss their request for the electoral commission to answer questions about the process of declaring results.

They had also applied for original copies of the statement of polls which contains constituency results.

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43 Africans Drown Off Libya In First Mediterranean Shipwreck Of 2021- UN

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The first migrant ship wreck in the Mediterranean this year has seen at least 43 African migrants drowned off the coast of Libya on Tuesday while trying to reach Europe. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said in a joint statement ten survivors were rescued and brought to shore by coastal security in Zuwahra after their boat capsized in rough seas.

Libya is the major route for migrants seeking to reach Europe from Africa. The U.N. Agencies called for reactivating state-led search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and for a halt to returning migrants to “unsafe ports.”

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