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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

NYSC Introduces Biometric Clearance System To Curb Corruption – DG

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NYSC DG Sulaiman Kazaure

Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Major Gen Suleiman Kazaure, has disclosed that the corps has introduced a biometric clearance system to eliminate corruption and compromise by officials and corps members.

The DG stated this on Monday during a leadership and anti-corruption sensitisation workshop in Abuja, designed to raise a crop of officials that would imbibe good leadership qualities and enthrone a culture of transparency and accountability.

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He also revealed that the scheme had ensured strict compliance with government policies on the treasury single account, integrated personnel and payroll system, and government integrated financial management information system.

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The D.G says the introduction of biometric clearance system for corps members has virtually eliminated all chances of compromise by officials, as well as absenteeism and abscondence by corps members.

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The biometrics system now ensures only deserving corps members are paid the monthly and other statutory allowances.

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African News

Zimbabwe: Party Accused Of Partisan Distribution Of Aid To Victims Of Cyclone

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Zimbabwe: Party Accused Of Partisan Distribution Of Aid To Victims Of Cyclone

Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF lawmaker for Chimanimani East, Nokuthula Matsikenyere, has been sucked into the eye of a storm over the partisan distribution of aid to victims of cyclone idai.

Chimanimani and Chipinge in the south east of Manicaland were the worst affected areas by the storm that left a trail of destruction and more than a hundred forty persons dead.

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Affected villagers have accused ruling ZANU-PF officials, including Matsikenyere, of politicizing the disaster relief donated by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).  They said the aid was given to only ZANU-PF supporters.

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In a heated meeting on Saturday in a village where the relief aid was distributed, Matsikenyere was quoted as openly saying to the disgruntled villagers they deserved to be deprived of the disaster relief because they did not vote for her during last year’s elections.

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The lawmaker later confirmed to a news crew that she directed the aid distribution, but that she was not involved in compiling names of recipients.  She did not admit to saying what the villagers attributed to her.

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African News

Study Shows Millions In Africa Live In Fear Of Losing Their Homes

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Study Shows Millions In Africa Live In Fear Of Losing Their Homes

A new study Prindex shows tens of millions of urban dwellers in Sub-Saharan Africa live in fear of losing their homes against their will.

The study shows that in eighteen countries surveyed, nearly thirty-two million adults in urban areas are “insecure in their rights to their home and land.”

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The study says this means that more than sixty million adults living in urban areas are tenure insecure.  If the trend continues, the study says insecurity could afflict more than two hundred million by 2050.

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Measuring security of tenure is one of the indicators used to assess progress in attaining the first of the sustainable development goals, which is the eradication of poverty.

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Prindex is an initiative launched by two think tanks—the global land alliance, and the London-based overseas development institute.

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