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Chaos As 200,000 Congolese Expelled From Angola

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Chaos As 200,000 Congolese Expelled From Angola

Life fell apart last week for mother of four Dorcas who was among 200 000 Congolese attacked and then forcibly thrown out of neighbouring Angola despite having lived there for a decade.

Speaking in Kamako, a frontier town in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, the woman in her forties said she and her husband had made their lives in the Angolan border town of Lupaca until the nightmare began.

“There were rumours circulating that the Angolan authorities would be expelling foreigners,” from Lunda Norte province which borders on DRC, she said.

“Suddenly on Monday (last week) we saw youths from the Tchiokwe community with Angolan policemen starting to burn the homes of those perceived to be foreigners.

“When they came to our house, they attacked my husband with a machete and we were forced to flee taking whatever little we could carry,” she said.

“All our children were born in Angola and only speak Portuguese,” she said.

Angola was a former Portuguese colony while DRC was ruled by the Belgians and is a francophone country.

‘What are we going to do in DRC?’

Oil-rich Angola attracts hordes of Congolese as it is relatively more stable and offers better employment prospects.

DRC has an abundance of mineral wealth but large swathes are rocked by unrest and violence unleashed by rebel groups and militias from within and neighbouring nations such as Uganda and Rwanda.

DRC

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola gather near the
Congolese border town of Kamako, after returning to their country following a
security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

The operations last week against migrants triggered clashes between Congolese, security forces and local Angolans.

Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths or forcible repatriations.

Lunda Norte’s governor, Ernesto Muangala, on Saturday said that that “more than 200 000 Congolese living illegally in Angola have been repatriated on a voluntary basis”.

Trucks were seen plying incessantly over the weekend taking Congolese nationals to the border from Dundo, the capital of Lunda Norte.

Several Congolese patiently waited outside the Angolan consulate in Kamako, brandishing their Angolan residence permits. The doors of the mission were closed.

“What are we going to do in DRC? We have all lived in Lucapa for 10 or 20 years,” said Daniel Mukenge, a man in his forties.

‘We are condemned to death here’

“Our papers are all in order. We have invested and built homes,” he said.

“Now the authorities are refusing to recognise the documents that they themselves delivered. We are now asking our authorities to intervene so that the Angolan authorities buy our houses otherwise we are condemned to death here,” he said.

DRC

A Congolese migrant who was living in Angola poses with a child
in the Congolese border town of Kamako after returning to her country following
a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

An Angolan official at the consulate meanwhile told the group: “The solution does not lie here.”

And an Angolan immigration official at the Kamako border outpost feigned incredulity.

“How can these people refuse to go back to their country? It makes me laugh,” he said.

The Congolese authorities say they are struggling to cope with the returnees, with up to 1 000 arrivals every hour.

“At this rate we cannot register them,” said Mahieu Boma, a local official from the national commission of refugees.

‘We are here without money’

In Kamako, the new arrivals take shelter wherever they can – under mango trees, in schools and churches.

Sunday mass in many churches began late as a result of the influx.

DRC

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola carry
belongings in the Congolese border town of Kamako, after returning to their
country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

“For the present, there are 750 families of between three and four people each who are sheltering in our facilities,” said Father Crispin Mfamba from the local Saint Gabriel parish.

Dorcas meanwhile has lost track of one of her four children during the move.

“We are here in Kamako without money,” she said. “We are selling what little we have so that we can eat.

“My four-year-old child has disappeared and I sold my dress for $1.20 to pay for a radio announcement to help find my child,” she said.

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African News

New Law To Criminalize Activities Of Opposition Political Parties in Tanzania

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New Law To Criminalize Activities Of Opposition Political Parties in Tanzania

At least ten opposition parties in Tanzania have said proposed amendments to a law governing political parties in the country would criminalise their activities.

Critics have accused President John Magufuli, of increasingly cracking down on dissent with restrictions on the political opposition, the media, bloggers and non-governmental organisations. His government denies the accusations.

Chairman of one of the 10 parties Hashim Rungwe, said at a news conference in the capital Dar es salaam, the proposed amendments would curtail constitutional freedoms.

He says the proposed bill is against the constitution and political parties were not involved from initial stages and their views were not considered.

Rungwe, says, the bill is full of criminal punishments for minor infringements which make political activities crimes.”

Among its provisions, the new law would ban parties from functioning as “activist” groups. It would give sweeping powers to a government official to suspend or fire a party member for a range of reasons, and also gives the official influence over internal party elections.

The government says the law, is needed to force parties to adhere to the country’s constitution.

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African News

Kenya Unveils New Currency Coins

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Kenya Unveils New Currency Coins

In Kenya, new currency coins that replace the images of presidents with animals has been unveiled.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said while presiding over the roll out in the capital Nairobi, the features on the new 1, 5,10 and 20 shillings coins embrace Kenya’s historical and cultural heritage.

Central Bank officials, say the new-look coins, featuring a lion, elephant, hippo and giraffe, will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture, and promoting Kenya’s global uniqueness. Authorities also say the coins have features that are more appealing to visually impaired people.

Kenyan constitution, that came into effect eight years ago, prohibits the use of a person’s portrait on the country’s currencies.

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African News

Somali Lawmakers Drop Impeachment Motion Against President Mohamed

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Somali Lawmakers Drop Impeachment Motion Against President Mohamed

Somali legislators have dropped an impeachment motion against President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Close to a hundred members of parliament had submitted on Sunday a vote of no confidence on the president. They said he secretly signed agreements that touched on the use of Somali ports and economic and security cooperation with other countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He was also accused of violating Somalia’s federalism law, and the rules and regulations of parliament. The impeachment process could not be initiated because of a lack of support and required number of signatures.

A parliamentary clerk issued a statement saying 14 legislators had withdrawn their names from the 92 who supported the move. They said their names were wrongly used, and they did not support the motion.

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