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Ex-Warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba’s Presidential Candidacy ‘Inadmissible’

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Jean-Pierre Bemba

Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba’s candidacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s upcoming presidential elections was deemed “inadmissible” by the country’s election commission on Friday, as opposition groups cried foul.

The commission rejected the candidacy of Bemba, a rival to DRC President Joseph Kabila, on the basis that he had been “convicted by the International Criminal Court” in March 2018 and handed a year in prison and a $348 975 fine for bribing witnesses.

Bemba’s war crimes convictions were overturned by the court in The Hague and he returned to Kinshasa in August after being acquitted.

Just ahead of the election commission’s announcement, the political opposition to president Kabila issued a fresh rallying cry, accusing the “powers that be” of seeking to “exclude” multiple opposition candidates.

Opposition groups called on Kabila to free up the electoral process and “stop giving injunctions to the election commission,” according to a statement signed by Bemba, and exiled opposition politicians Moise Katumbi and Felix Tshisekedi.

Overall, the election commission has excluded six out of the 25 candidates who had registered to run in the presidential elections, set for December 23.

A country of some 80 million people, the DRC has never known a peaceful transition of power since it gained independence in 1960.

Kabila – in power since 2001 – took over from his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, who was assassinated by a bodyguard.

His tenure over the vast mineral-rich country has been marked by a reputation for corruption, inequality and unrest. The watchdog Transparency International ranked it 156 out of 176 countries in its 2016 corruption index.

Bemba lost presidential elections to Kabila in 2006 and was later accused of treason when his bodyguards clashed with the army in Kinshasa.

In 2007, he fled to Belgium, where he had spent part of his youth.

He was then arrested in Europe on a warrant by the ICC for war crimes committed by his private army in the neighbouring Central African Republic from 2002-3, when its then-president Ange-Felix Patasse sought his help to repel a coup attempt.

He was sentenced in The Hague in 2016 to 18 years before the conviction was overturned in June on appeal.

The ICC declared Bemba could not be held responsible for crimes committed by his troops.

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African News

Al-Shabaab Executes 3 Men In Somalia

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Al-Shabaab Executes 3 Men In Somalia

Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has killed three men execution-style, accusing two of them of working for the army. The third man it killed was an elderly clan leader who helped choose candidates for the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Media linked to al-Shabaab reported the killings took place in front of a crowd in Mubarak village in southern Somalia.

The militants, who are affiliated to al-Qaeda, control much territory in rural areas of Somalia and are fighting to overthrow the un-backed government.

The militants are known for killing suspected informants, including those accused of spying for the U.S. And other foreign intelligence agencies.

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African News

Kenya Drops Plans To Introduce Controversial New School Syllabus

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Kenya Drops Plans To Introduce Controversial New School Syllabus

Kenya’s education minister Amina Mohamed says the government has dropped plans to introduce a controversial new school syllabus at the start of the academic year in January because it is not ready to roll it out.

The syllabus has caused huge debate in Kenya as it makes radical changes, moving away from an exam-focused to a competency-focused system, which the government says will improve the chances of building successful careers.

The minister added the government still needed to train teachers, and the earliest it would be able to roll out the syllabus would be in 2023.

She said it would be a bad idea to roll out something with which the government is not at all comfortable.  The minister said the government also takes parents into consideration.

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Tanzania’s President Signs Agreement For The Construction Of Controversial Hydro-Electric Power Project

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Tanzania's President Signs Agreement For The Construction Of Controversial Hydro-Electric Power Project

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has signed an agreement for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric power project in one of East Africa’s best-known game reserves.

The power plant on the Rufiji River in the Selous game reserve is to be built by two Egyptian firms at a cost of more than three billion dollars.

The project has been strongly opposed by conservationists who warn it would cause irreversible damage to the wildlife habitat, and impact the lives of about 200,000 people who depend on the environment.

The Selous game reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site and is home to a vast array of wildlife.

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