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FAO Warns Of New Locust Invasion Threat In East Africa

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The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of new swarms of locusts in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya spreading further in the eastern Africa region.

Locust invasion poses a big threat to food security in eastern Africa as the UN agency warns a few swarms could spread further in Kenya and reach Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda this month.

FAO in its latest update posted on Monday, said the immature swarms have been migrating from the previous locust breeding grounds in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia and spreading into Ethiopia’s SNNP region and into Kenya’s northern and coastal counties.

The UN’s humanitarian agency says “so far, swarms are present in four (Kenyan) counties (Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit and, most recently, Isiolo). Breeding continues, and hopper bands are present in the southeast near Taita Taveta and along the coast.”

Last year, the region saw billions of the insects destroying crops across the region and now the agency says, there are reports of some immature swarms reaching Mwanga district in northeast Tanzania on 8 January.

The UN agency has urged countries affected to take the necessary efforts to survey, control reduce migration and breeding of the insects.

The FAO says is a moderate risk the swarms “could reach central Kenya and perhaps the southwest as well as northeast Tanzania, eastern Uganda, and southeast South Sudan during January”.

FAO says “once swarms arrive in favourable areas, they will mature and lay eggs that will hatch and cause hopper bands to form during February and March.”

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Rwanda’s Capital On Second Day Lockdown

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The Rwandan Capital-Kigali was plunged into a fresh fifteen days lockdown on Tuesday to curb the coronavirus spread. While the city of Kigali and other regions are in the process of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, some residents are urging their colleagues to fear the pandemic, and implement the existing regulations.

This comes as some continue to make unnecessary movements contrary to the existing regulations.

Across the neighborhoods, in the small and big streets, there is still the flow of people. There are those heading to the markets, hospitals, and others sitting or walking around. Those who witness this kind of behavior are criticizing it.

A sector administration in Nyarugenge district said, local authorities have a responsibility to sensitize the public to comply with the directives issued by national authorities.

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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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