Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has on Wednesday announced he would drop an attempt to extend his term by two years, bowing to domestic and international pressure after clashes in the capital Mogadishu split security forces along clan lines.
Earlier, the prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble in a statement issued called for a new presidential election to be held without further delay having denounced the proposed term extension and called for preparations.
The country’s lower house of parliament earlier this month voted to extend Mohamed’s four-year term by another two years. The Senate rejected the move, provoking a political crisis.
The president’s term expired in February, but the country failed to hold elections as planned.
Commanders in both the police and military had defected to the opposition, and rival factions of the security forces had fortified positions in central Mogadishu, raising fears of clashes in the heart of the city, and a security vacuum in the surrounding areas that could be exploited by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents.
In a televised statement in the early hours of Wednesday, the president said he commended the efforts of the prime minister and other political leaders and welcomed the statements they issued calling for elections to be held without further delay.
He also called for urgent discussions with the signatories to an agreement signed last September on the conduct of the elections.
The opposition, who had called on the president to resign, did not immediately respond. The president did not discuss the opposition in his speech, but denounced unnamed “individuals and foreign entities who have no aim other than to destabilize the country.”
According to Reuters news agency, the heads of two regional states who had been staunch allies of the president had also rejected on Tuesday the proposed two-year extension of Mohamed’s term. Those leaders said in statements immediately after the president’s speech that they welcomed his announcement.
Mohamed’s attempt to extend his term had also angered foreign donors who backed his government, hoping it would help bring stability and quash the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency. But the proposed extension pitted factions in the security forces against each other.
White People And Dogs ‘Rescued First’ In Mozambique – Amnesty
Amnesty International has alleged that rescuers in Mozambique gave priority to white people in an evacuation during an attack by jihadists in March.
The human rights body citing survivors’ accounts said two dogs were also airlifted to safety, leaving people behind in a hotel where they had sought refuge.
Amnesty International’s regional director Deprose Muchena said “these are alarming allegations that the rescue plan was racially segregated, with white contractors obviously receiving preferential treatment.”
One survivor told the rights group “we were about 220 people trapped there in the hotel – we [local black people] were the majority, and the whites were supposed to be about 20. After the rescue and escape, we were about 170 people still alive. Most of the whites were rescued by helicopters, before we left the hotel by car.”
According to BBC report, Amnesty said it spoke to 11 survivors out of the 220 who had been in the hotel, including five who survived an attack as they attempted to flee.
Muchena said “abandoning people during an armed assault simply because of the colour of their skin is racism, and violates the obligation to protect civilians. This cannot go unanswered.”
Meanwhile, the private company which was involved in the rescue operation, Dyck Advisory Group told the AFP news agency that it would issue a statement later but emphasized that the allegations were “not at all accurate.”
Zambia Dissolves Parliament Ahead Of Elections
As Zambians prepare to head to the polls on August 21, the country’s parliament has been dissolved exactly 90 days before the upcoming general election as required by the constitution.
On Wednesday, the house held its last sitting and the clerk announced that it would formally dissolve on Friday.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu is seeking re-election and has in the past assured international partners of a free and fair election.
Ahead of the elections, the United Kingdom has contributed £500,000 ($703,000) to a democracy programme managed by the United Nations Development Programme.
It will support a democratic election while ensuring legitimacy and fairness during the electoral process.
Kenyan Court Slams Brakes On President’s Constitutional Changes
A Kenya high court has annulled a plan to amend the nation`s constitution and ruled that president Uhuru Kenyatta had violated the constitution by initiating a process which ought to be driven by the ordinary citizen.
The government-sponsored constitution amendment bill, popularly referred to as the building bridges initiative, would have expanded the executive and parliament.
The court declared the bill was irregular, illegal and unconstitutional.
The five-judge bench unanimously declared that the president had failed the leadership and integrity test and that the constitution amendment process was illegal.
The proposed changes under the bill reintroduced the office of the prime minister, the creation of 70 new constituencies, and an affirmative action clause that could have created at least 300 new unelected MPs.
President Kenyatta and Odinga, who have been pushing for the reforms, say the proposed constitutional changes will end the winner-take-all structure of current Kenyan politics, which is often followed by deadly violence.
Critics have said the bbi is a selfish initiative to reward political dynasties, and that it will lead to a bloated parliament and executive which Kenya – a country already burdened by debt – cannot afford.
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