Daily Archives: January 10, 2019

Protests, Anger Predicted After Congo Names Surprise Election Winner

JOHANNESBURG Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked surprise and outrage by naming opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the nation’s presidential election, after counting delays and a poll marred by irregularities, rampant suspicions and chaos.

Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission, or CENI, said early Thursday that Tshisekedi had won with more than 7 million votes, or 38.5 percent of the total vote.

But the man predicted to win by pre-election surveys — political newcomer and opposition coalition candidate Martin Fayulu — immediately cried foul. Fayulu has previously accused the electoral commission, which is known to be loyal to longtime President Joseph Kabila, of playing favorites.

This attitude from the electoral commission raises various legitimate suspicions that fuel political tension throughout the country, Fayulu said.

The influential Catholic Church, which sent more than 40,000 observers to the polls, also disputed the official result, saying, the results of the presidential election as published by the CENI do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from the polling and counting stations.”

Late entry, surprise winner

Tshisekedi’s victory comes as something of a surprise. The son of the former opposition leader was a late entrant to the poll. He was part of an opposition coalition that chose Fayulu as the opposition candidate, only to reverse course weeks later and enter the race.

However, analysts say they see a logic in this announcement because of the clear failure of the ruling party candidate to endear himself to the population. Kabila, who had agreed to step down after this poll, pushed Shadary, his handpicked successor. However, Shadary was so clearly unpopular, analysts say, that the electoral commission could not have plausibly anointed him as the winner.

The electoral victory of opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi is highly surprising, but the decision makes sense in the context of DRC’s political dynamics, EXX Africa Business Risk Intelligence wrote in a report shortly after results were released.

Outgoing President Joseph Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila’s control of the electoral commission. At least initially, Tshisekedi will be dependent on the political favor of Kabila, who seeks immunity from prosecution and protection for his family’s substantial business interests.

Few analysts believe the poll was free, fair or transparent. On election day, electoral materials arrived late, voters couldn’t find their names on the rolls, and polling machines failed or were too complicated for voters. Provisional results were delayed, raising rumors and suspicions.

Kabila did not want to risk announcing Shadary as the winner, which would have triggered violent protests and international condemnation, the report continued. Instead, he chose to split the opposition by creating a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi.

‘Captured for a very long time’

A spokesman for Tshisekedi confirmed that his camp had been negotiating with Kabila long ahead of the handover, further sparking suspicions that this result was manipulated by the electoral commission.

Analyst Claude Kabemba, who leads the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Resource Watch, says the real power is, and always has been, behind the scenes.

Oh, Joseph Kabila, we said, directly or indirectly, is going to stay in power, he said. And I think we might have a prisoner in the presidency. And for me, that is scary, unless I am wrong, but judging from what has been happening behind the scenes — and if Tshisekedi cannot rise to the occasion, we will be captured for a very long time.

Analyst Richard Moncrieff of the International Crisis Group predicts Fayulu’s supporters will not take the official result lying down.

There will be a lot of anger. That anger will spill over into the streets, I’m quite sure. A lot of people — a lot of his supporters — will agree that he won, and will see a result for Tshisekedi as a stolen result, so that’s very dangerous.

Source: Voice of America

Protests, Anger Predicted After Congo Names Surprise Election Winner

JOHANNESBURG Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked surprise and outrage by naming opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the nation’s presidential election, after counting delays and a poll marred by irregularities, rampant suspicions and chaos.

Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission, or CENI, said early Thursday that Tshisekedi had won with more than 7 million votes, or 38.5 percent of the total vote.

But the man predicted to win by pre-election surveys — political newcomer and opposition coalition candidate Martin Fayulu — immediately cried foul. Fayulu has previously accused the electoral commission, which is known to be loyal to longtime President Joseph Kabila, of playing favorites.

This attitude from the electoral commission raises various legitimate suspicions that fuel political tension throughout the country, Fayulu said.

The influential Catholic Church, which sent more than 40,000 observers to the polls, also disputed the official result, saying, the results of the presidential election as published by the CENI do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from the polling and counting stations.”

Late entry, surprise winner

Tshisekedi’s victory comes as something of a surprise. The son of the former opposition leader was a late entrant to the poll. He was part of an opposition coalition that chose Fayulu as the opposition candidate, only to reverse course weeks later and enter the race.

However, analysts say they see a logic in this announcement because of the clear failure of the ruling party candidate to endear himself to the population. Kabila, who had agreed to step down after this poll, pushed Shadary, his handpicked successor. However, Shadary was so clearly unpopular, analysts say, that the electoral commission could not have plausibly anointed him as the winner.

The electoral victory of opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi is highly surprising, but the decision makes sense in the context of DRC’s political dynamics, EXX Africa Business Risk Intelligence wrote in a report shortly after results were released.

Outgoing President Joseph Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila’s control of the electoral commission. At least initially, Tshisekedi will be dependent on the political favor of Kabila, who seeks immunity from prosecution and protection for his family’s substantial business interests.

Few analysts believe the poll was free, fair or transparent. On election day, electoral materials arrived late, voters couldn’t find their names on the rolls, and polling machines failed or were too complicated for voters. Provisional results were delayed, raising rumors and suspicions.

Kabila did not want to risk announcing Shadary as the winner, which would have triggered violent protests and international condemnation, the report continued. Instead, he chose to split the opposition by creating a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi.

‘Captured for a very long time’

A spokesman for Tshisekedi confirmed that his camp had been negotiating with Kabila long ahead of the handover, further sparking suspicions that this result was manipulated by the electoral commission.

Analyst Claude Kabemba, who leads the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Resource Watch, says the real power is, and always has been, behind the scenes.

Oh, Joseph Kabila, we said, directly or indirectly, is going to stay in power, he said. And I think we might have a prisoner in the presidency. And for me, that is scary, unless I am wrong, but judging from what has been happening behind the scenes — and if Tshisekedi cannot rise to the occasion, we will be captured for a very long time.

Analyst Richard Moncrieff of the International Crisis Group predicts Fayulu’s supporters will not take the official result lying down.

There will be a lot of anger. That anger will spill over into the streets, I’m quite sure. A lot of people — a lot of his supporters — will agree that he won, and will see a result for Tshisekedi as a stolen result, so that’s very dangerous.

Source: Voice of America

Seychelles’ Supreme Court reopens under the theme “Without Fear or Favour”

Without Fear or Favor’ is the theme that the Seychelles’ Supreme Court re-opened under for 2019 on Thursday, a theme that will focus on decisions made by the constitution.

For 2019 we are shifting our focus from the institutional and physical into how we make decisions. We are focusing this year on the fundamental tenet of constitutionalism – the requirement of a functioning democracy that Judges and Magistrates make decisions ‘Without Fear or Favor, said the chief justice Mathilda Twomey.

Twomey added that the theme applies not only to the judges and lawyers, but also to other judiciary staff. The chief justice asked all staff to challenge themselves, ensuring that all litigants and lawyers get the same level treatment and job is done with all diligence and to the best of abilities.

As it is customary, the re-opening of the court started with the traditional religious service which was held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. It was Bishop Denis Wiehe who lead the interfaith service, which was followed by a procession through the island nation’s capital led by the chief justice.

As it is customary, the re-opening of the court started with the traditional religious service which was held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception followed by a procession through the island nation’s capital led by the chief justice. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY

The procession ended with a motorcade to the Palais de Justice at Ile du Port, a man-made island on the outskirts of Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Reflecting on the past year, Twomey said that in the courtroom, there has been a reduction in the number of filed cases which allowed her and her team to further reduce the backlogged cases, in line with their strategic plan.

Of the 3,705 cases which were completed across our courts in 2018, an amount that does not include the Family and Employment Tribunals, 258 were backlogged cases, said Twomey.

A case is considered backlogged if it was filed during a year three or more years prior to the current year. In other words, cases filed in 2016 or earlier constitute our ‘backlog’ in 2019.

As of January 2019, we only have 282 backlogged cases on the cause list, which is significantly down from 409 backlogged cases pending in January 2018, added Twomey.

The Chief Justice added that for a court to be deemed healthy, the goal is to reach a plateau where our backlog is a nominal percentage of the total cases, and our number of completed cases is largely on par with the number of cases filed.

We are excelling in both of the fields, performing better with each year. This is largely due to the hard work being put in by each of our judges and magistrates, said Twomey.

For 2019 the Seychelles’ Supreme Court will be shifting their focus from the institutional and physical into how they make decisions (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY

It was outlined that in 2018 there was significantly less movement of judges and magistrates than in the previous years. During the same year, the first stone for the new magistrates’ court was laid, the construction of which is expected to be completed by next year. Staff have also benefitted with numerous trainings, both locally and internationally.

The new year gives the high court a new start after controversies seen in 2018. In October last year a tribunal set up to investigate complaints of misbehaviour by the Chief Justice concluded that the evidence does not support the allegations.

The Tribunal had four charges to look in to, including that the Chief Justice abused the authority of her office, destruction of evidence in a case heard by Justice Durai Karunakaran, publication of a report recommending the removal of the Supreme Court judge to the President, and the Chief Justice communications with the Constitutional Appointments Authority, (CAA) in connection with Karunakaran’s fitness for office.

Justice Karunakaran had also filed a case against the former CAA, saying that he did not get a chance to be heard after he was suspended on October 10, 2016. The case was dismissed in June by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the CAA had no legal obligations to allow Karunakaran to be heard.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

NAMIBIA SUSPENDS MEAT IMPORTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA OVER FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

WINDHOEK, Namibia has suspended meat imports from South Africa due to the outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease, state broadcaster, NBC, said.

The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in cattle and sheep, was detected in a northern district of Limpopo province, South Africa’s agriculture department announced this week.

Quoting acting Chief Veterinary Officer Albertina Shilongo, NBC said the suspension would take immediate effect.

Foot and mouth disease does not affect people but poses a threat to cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.

Source: Nam News Network

NAMIBIA SUSPENDS MEAT IMPORTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA OVER FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

WINDHOEK, Namibia has suspended meat imports from South Africa due to the outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease, state broadcaster, NBC, said.

The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in cattle and sheep, was detected in a northern district of Limpopo province, South Africa’s agriculture department announced this week.

Quoting acting Chief Veterinary Officer Albertina Shilongo, NBC said the suspension would take immediate effect.

Foot and mouth disease does not affect people but poses a threat to cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.

Source: Nam News Network