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Ethiopia Gets First Female Defence Minister

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Ethiopia Gets First Female Defence Minister

Ethiopia’s new Cabinet is now a record 50% female, including the country’s first woman defence minister, after lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously approved the nominations put forward by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can’t lead,” Abiy said while presenting his choices. “This decision is the first in the history of Ethiopia and probably in Africa.”

Ethiopia has faced sweeping political and economic reforms since the 42-year-old prime minister took office in April after months of anti-government protests and made pledges that include free and fair elections.

The Horn of Africa power joins a handful of countries, mostly European, where women make up 50% or more of ministerial positions, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women. French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in recent years unveiled “gender-balanced” Cabinets.

Aisha Mohammed Musa will lead Ethiopia’s defence ministry. Another woman, former House speaker Muferiat Kamil, will lead the new Ministry of Peace at a time when Africa’s second most populous country faces sometimes violent ethnic tensions as the wider political freedoms are explored.

The Ministry of Peace will oversee the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service, the Information Network Security Agency, the Federal Police Commission and the Finance Security and Information Centre, Abiy’s office confirmed on Tuesday.

This 20-member Cabinet, trimmed from 28 posts, is the second named since Abiy took office in April. The first was criticized for the low number of female ministers.

Ethiopia has long been considered a patriarchal society and it “suffers from some of lowest gender equality performance indicators in sub-Saharan Africa,” UN Women has said. “Women and girls in Ethiopia are strongly disadvantaged compared to boys and men in several areas, including literacy, health, livelihoods and basic human rights.”

Recent efforts have been made to show women in more prominent posts. Ethiopian Airlines, which calls itself Africa’s largest carrier, has publicised all-female flight crews.

Several African nations have had female defence ministers including South Africa, Central African Republic, Kenya and Guinea-Bissau. And Rwanda has received international recognition for female representation in government, with women making up 43% of its Cabinet and 61% of parliament members.

African News

Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

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Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says the government is committed to improving the country’s civil aviation infrastructure.  He credited the industry with enhancing the country’s economy and national development.

He said at the eleventh forum of the international civil aviation organization air services negotiation meeting in Nairobi that the aviation industry contributes four tenths of a percent to the country’s gdp.  He also said the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi provides seventeen thousand direct and more than half a million indirect jobs.

Kenyatta said about eight in ten tourists visiting Kenya use air transport.

He said these are some of the reasons his government is committed to investing in aviation infrastructure to help the industry play its critical role in the economy.

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

At least two persons were reported killed in Togo over the weekend after security forces moved against protesters. Opposition has accused the government of using what it called “regime soldiers” it says opened fire on the demonstrators.

At least two persons were killed in clashes between Togo’s security forces and protesters.

Authorities reported finding a dead protester in Lome with an open wound in his left eye that indicated a bullet entry. Another dead body was also reported, this time with no bullet wounds.

The protests intensified after the government called for parliamentary elections to be held in late December.  Opposition is against the polls.  It has demanded reforms of the national electoral commission, and a two-term limit for presidents.

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African News

Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

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Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

Two Cameroonian Law graduates, who are now musicians, have been traveling through the country’s English-speaking regions singing messages of peace they believe will touch the rebels and help end the separatist conflict there.

The singers started their group in October when they both lost family members and friend in the secessionist struggle in the English-speaking regions.

The duo sing in both English and French reminding people about the grave repercussions of war, and urging all sides to embrace peace.

The conflict has claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Thousands have been internally displaced, and thousands more have fled, many to neighboring Nigeria.

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