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CAR MP Fires Into Air In Parliament

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Shooting In Nigerian House Of Assembly

A lawmaker fired into the air in the Central African Republic’s parliament on Monday after an altercation with a colleague as MPs were preparing to vote for a new speaker, an AFP journalist saw.

Alfred Yekatom, who represents the southern M’baiki district and is a former militia leader, drew his weapon during the dispute, then fired the gun as he ran away.

Yekatom’s motive for shooting the gun, which sent MPs rushing to the exit, was not clear.

He is a former soldier as well as the former head of a faction of the so-called anti-Balaka militia, which emerged in largely Christian communities in 2013 to fight a mainly Muslim rebel alliance, the Seleka.

Police arrested Yekatom while he was still in the parliament building.

Moments later, more gunfire broke out as a car rammed the police barrier outside parliament.

In 2015, a UN Security Council committee slapped a travel ban and assets freeze on Yekatom for “engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the CAR”.

Parliament was to elect a new speaker on Monday, three days after a censure motion removed Karim Meckassoua, who represents a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Bangui.

After years of confrontation between Muslim and Christian groups in the majority Christian country, Meckassoua’s election in 2016 was seen as a symbol of reconciliation.

On Sunday Meckassoua said he would challenge his sacking in the courts, calling for his ouster not to be turned into a sectarian debate – while noting that 38 of the 41 deputies who voted against him were Christian.

The former French colony’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, is a Christian, and observers have said that relations between him and Meckassoua have never been good.

Sporadic gunfire was heard late on Friday in the PK5 district, Bangui’s economic hub and often scene of violence. There was also shooting in rebel strongholds Bria and Bambari, but it was not clear whether it was linked to Meckassoua’s fate.

Since 2013, the Central African government has been in control of only a small part of its territory, with vast parts living under the control of armed groups.

The country of 4.5 million, rich in diamonds and uranium, counts among the world’s poorest.

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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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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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