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Muhammadu Buhari: Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Crusader

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Muhammadu Buhari: Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Crusader

Muhammadu Buhari swept to power on a wave of optimism in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate in Nigerian history to defeat a sitting president.

The candidate who promised change now wants a second term of office and has vowed to double down on his anti-corruption crusade, improve security and diversify the economy.

But as his first four years come to an end, his approval rating has plummeted to 41% in May from a peak of 80 percent in October 2015, according to NOI Polls.

There have also been concerns about his fragile health, his economic policies, the extent of his claims about better security, as well as the targets of his campaign against graft.

Before winning in 2015, the 75-year-old former army general and self-styled “converted democrat” had tried three times to become president since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.

Born in Daura, in the northern state of Katsina, Buhari was Nigeria’s military ruler from December 1983 to August 1985 after he ousted elected president Shehu Shagari.

Back then, critics of his regime were thrown in jail, among them the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti for an alleged currency violation that critics said was politically motivated.

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Autocratic legacy?

Last year, Buhari spent six months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness as Nigeria stumbled out of a recession and violence spiked across the country.

Dubbed “Baba Go Slow” for taking six months to appoint cabinet ministers, Buhari – presented by his office as a virtual ascetic uninterested in personal wealth – has been attacked for his unorthodox economic policies.

His government’s decision to peg the naira currency at an artificially high rate worsened a foreign exchange shortage that continues to drain external reserves.

Foreign investors – already rattled by the lack of forex and the effects of the recession — are also wary after South African telecoms giant MTN was slapped with a $10 billion bill in back-taxes.

Working to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from oil, Buhari prioritised the agricultural sector as a way to boost growth.

But the hard work has been hampered by escalating clashes between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers across the country’s agricultural heartland.

In early October, the World Bank cut its growth rate forecast for Nigeria this year by 0.2 percentage points to 1.9%.

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On anti-corruption, Buhari’s zeal for recovering stolen public funds and bringing those responsible to justice has been widely praised.

But political opponents have labelled it a witch-hunt.

For some critics, Buhari’s leadership style has too closely mirrored his time as the no-nonsense head of a military government whose methods incurred the wrath of rights groups.

Then, he ordered whip-wielding soldiers to enforce neat queues at chaotic bus stops and tardy public servants to do humiliating frog jumps.

Unfinished business

In the early months of his presidency, Buhari detained three high-profile opponents without charge, justifying in his first – and only – media chat that they had committed “atrocities” against the government.

The opposition has accused him of turning the presidency into a regional dynasty, with an impenetrable “cabal” of close advisors in control of affairs at the expense of national unity.

Buhari has had better success at taming rampaging Boko Haram insurgents, which during the previous administration controlled swathes of territory in the country’s northeast.

Under Buhari, the jihadists were pushed out of their strongholds in the three northeastern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa.

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Similarly, he has brought home 107 of the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped from in Chibok that brought world attention on the conflict and contributed to his predecessor’s downfall.

But nine years into their war against the Nigerian government, the Islamists still pose a threat to the region and launch regular bloody attacks on troops and civilians.

Since taking office, Buhari has been seen to be a man of few words, preferring his more outgoing Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to be the public face of the government.

But in one of his few public speeches, on Nigeria’s independence day on October 1 this year, Buhari warned against “quick fixes or short cuts” to the nation’s problems.

“We know we are on the right path,” he said. “Our journey is not finished but we have come a long way.”

It will be up to Nigerians in February next to decide if they want to give him more time.

 

 

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Ramaphosa Deploys SANDF To Mozambique As Cyclone Affects SA Power Supply

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Ramaphosa Deploys SANDF To Mozambique As Cyclone Affects SA Power Supply

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has deployed the South African National Defense Force, SANDF, to Mozambique to assist in recovery efforts after cyclone Idal caused severe damage, knocking down pylons and affecting power supply to Eskom.

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The storm is said to have damaged a Mozambican transmission line to South Africa, cutting supplies by 900 mega watts, and worsening already strained electricity supply in South Africa.

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The president has apologized to South Africans for the crisis that has led to an increase in load shedding.  Ramaphosa said the problem should be cleared within two to three days.

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Kenya: Former Destitute Man, Patrick Hinga Passes On

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Kenya: Former Destitute Man, Patrick Hinga Passes On

Former destitute street adult in Kenya, Patrick Hinga, has died.  His rescue and transformation by a former schoolmate became an internet sensation.  Hinga’s rehabilitation from the abyss of drug abuse was captured and shared step by step on social media by Wanja Nwaura, a childhood friend, who also broke the sad news on Sunday.

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Nwaura had a chance meeting with Hinga in 2017 when he shouted her name as she was getting to a market.  A journey back from drug addiction began for Nwaura’s childhood friend who had spent many years living in the streets.

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Nwaura took Hinga out of the streets and got him help at a local rehabilitation center.  Born in 1983, Hinga’s drug problems began when he was in standard 8. His friends introduced him to the lifestyle that later destroyed him.

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Nwaura launched an appeal for Hinga’s rehabilitation as the Chiromo medical lane center.  He completed the program in 2018, and the hospital waived a fifteen hundred dollars bill.

Nwaura did not say what caused her friend’s death.

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Black Boxes Data Shows “Clear Similarities” Between Ethiopian And Lion Air Crashes

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Black Boxes Data Shows “Clear Similarities” Between Ethiopian And Lion Air Crashes

Black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crash last week have shown what authorities call “clear similarities” with October’s lion air crash 737.

The crash has generated one of the most widely watched and high-stakes inquiries for years, with the latest version of Boeing’s profitable max series.

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Both jets in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia were max 8, and both crashed minutes after take-off when pilots reported control problems.

Concern over the plane’s safety led aviation authorities to ground the model, wiping billions off Boeing’s market value.

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Ethiopian transport ministry spokesman, Muse Yiheyis, has said the data were successfully recovered, and they show similar case with the Indonesian crash.  He said American and Ethiopian teams had validated data from the black boxes.  Us officials told Reuters News Agency in Washington they have not validate the data.

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