Cameroon president vows to end secessionist attacks in Anglophone region

Cameroon President Paul Biya has described separatists in the country’s restive Anglophone region as criminals and has vowed to halt their deadly attacks on the central African country.

His comments carried on national radio comes on the back of a new attack that killed two policemen in the region. Earlier in the week, four soldiers had been killed.

Overall, the number of security officials lost to the separatists attacks is ten. According to the president the signs are clear now as to what the separatists are intent on doing but that the country will put a stop to their activities.

“I learned with emotion of the murder of four Cameroonian soldiers and two policemen in the south-west of our country. I think that things are now clear to everyone. Cameroon is the victim of repeated attacks by a band of terrorists claiming to be part of a secessionist movement.

“Faced with these attacks of aggression, I assure the Cameroonian people that all measures are being taken to end these criminals’ ability to do harm.”

Anti-government sentiments in the two regions – northwest and southwest – started as protests decrying marginalization by the French-majority. The attacks of state security elements is a new phase of the struggle by separatists.

An attempt on October 1 to declare a symbolic independence of the regions under the Ambazonia republic name was clamped down upon by security forces.

It led to official deaths of eight persons even though Amnesty International put it at 17. Scores of people were injured whiles mass arrests were also effected. The government last month issued an international arrest warrant for a number of separatist leaders.

Bill Gates celebrates Zambian tribal chief for his role in AIDS combat

CEO of Microsoft and the world’s richest man Bill Gates has lauded two anti-AIDS activists for their efforts in combating the deadly disease. Gates described the two as heroes who are making a difference in the fight against AIDS.

The first was a Zambian tribal leader, Chief Jonathan Eshiloni Mumena XI. He leads the Koande people who live along Zambia’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The two met as far back in 2012 with Gates stating that Mumena “took a risk to challenge his tribe’s traditions in order to protect his people from AIDS.”

In telling his own story, the chief said it took his son (Prince Benjamin) to effect a wholesale communal change in the area of male circumcision – which was seen as a taboo topic in the community. He described the scourge of HIV and AIDS as a ‘heavy cloud’ on the lives of his people.

He said Benjamin convinced him that voluntary male circumcision was a key intervention capable of saving the lives of men, that it could reduce a man’s risk of getting the disease by 60%. He said he got circumcised at the age of 47.

“I think my biggest problem concerning this circumcision was that it is not a part and parcel of my culture. It was taboo to even talk about circumcision in my family,” he said about circumcision. But he managed to convince his elders that there was the need for a change.

He spoke passionately about how the entire community embraced the new order with women challenging their husbands to go for it whiles they also ensured that their sons were circumcised.

Watch the full video shared by Bill Gates

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Gates wrote about the other hero, Guided by her belief that health care is a basic human right, Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, a pharmacist from Thailand, has worked tirelessly to make medicines affordable to even the poorest in the world.

Her development of generic versions of the lifesaving HIV drugs dramatically reduced treatment costs, saving and improving countless lives. She has also dedicated her pharmaceutical skills to reduce treatment costs for malaria and other diseases.

Gates lauds frontline workers in fight against AIDS

Of course, Chief Mumena and Dr. Kraisintu are just two of the countless individuals—doctors, policymakers, researchers, activists, and political leaders—whose contributions have helped turn the tide against the disease.

Today, 19.5 million people receive lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, giving them the opportunity to live full, productive lives. Improved access to treatment has also meant that millions of babies are now born HIV-free.

Much of this progress has been made possible by the world’s enormous investments in efforts to defeat the epidemic, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the U.S. HIV/AIDS program known as PEPFAR, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Still, many challenges lie ahead in the fight against the AIDS epidemic.

2017 World AIDS Day: West and Central Africa lag behind in disease fight

Two African regions are are lagging behind in the fight against acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, the head of the United Nations outfit tasked with fighting the disease has said.

In his message on the occasion of 2017 World AIDS Day, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, said there were more hurdles to scale if the 2030 global deadline of eliminating the disease was to be met.

According to him, despite giants strides elsewhere in the fight, “Western and central Africa is still being left behind. Two out of three people are not accessing treatment. We cannot have a two-speed approach to ending AIDS.

“Nearly 21 million people living with HIV are now on treatment and new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are declining in many parts of the world. But we shouldn’t be complacent. In eastern Europe and central Asia, new HIV infections have risen by 60% since 2010 and AIDS-related deaths by 27%,” his message also said.

Every December 1 is marked as World AIDS Day, a day on which people lost to the disease are remembered and global solidarity to the fight is renewed. The 2017 edition is under the theme: “My health, my right.”

Sidibe stressed how health care more than anything was a human right that people all over the world were entitled to.

“The right to health is a fundamental human right—everybody has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“From the beginning, the AIDS response was built on the fundamental right to health and well-being. The AIDS community advocated for rights-based systems for health and to accelerate efforts for the world to understand HIV: how to prevent it and how to treat it,” he added.

“On every #WorldAIDSDay, we look back to remember our family members and friends who have died from AIDS-related illnesses and recommit our solidarity with all who are living with or affected by HIV” – MichelSidibe Full statement:— UNAIDS (UNAIDS) December 1, 2017

About the UNAIDS and its work

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

[A year ago] Ethiopia arrested Oromo leader Merera Gudina, still behind bars

On Thursday December 1, 2016; authorities in Ethiopia arrested a leading opposition figure Merera Gudina. A year on, he remains in jail facing multiple criminal charges downgraded from an earlier charge of terrorism.

Gudina was arrested at his home as he returned from a trip to Europe, during which time he addressed the European Parliament on political events back home. He is an ardent critic of the government crackdown on protesters in Amhara and Oromia regions/

READ MORE: Oromo leader Merera Gudina: Biggest victim of Ethiopia state of emergency?

At the time, he was said to have violated the country’s state of emergency by having contact with persons the government had branded ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-peace’ elements. The state of emergency of October 2016 was to quell spreading anti-government protests mainly in Oromo and Amhara regions.

Since his detention, the European parliament president, a group of United States senators, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the E.U. Foreign affairs chief and others have all called of his release and for the government to address political discontent in the East African country.

The last that was heard of Gudina’s case, he had unsuccessfully applied for bail but had asked to be granted visitation by his family and friends. He is leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).

Ethiopia’s Oromo leader requests prison visitation as trial date is set | Africanews— Jawar Mohammed (@Jawar_Mohammed) October 16, 2017

Soldier who announced Mugabe ouster is new Zimbabwe foreign minister

Major General Sibusiso Moyo, the soldier who announced the ouster of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, has been named the country’s new Foreign Affairs chief.

Moyo is one of two army top guns named in the cabinet of new president President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The other is Air Marshal Perrance Shiri who also landed the land minister portfolio.

Moyo appeared on national broadcaster ZBC after the army has seized the facility saying: “We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are bringing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”

President Mnangagwa also chose a veteran cabinet minister to head the finance ministry. Patrick Chinamasa was a long serving finance minister under Mugabe until he was moved to the ministry of cyber security in what became Mugabe’s last ministerial reshuffle.

Meanwhile, the cyber portfolio, which got lots of Zimbabweans talking, according to the new cabinet list has been folded into the information ministry headed by a former deputy minister in Mugabe’s government, Supa Mandiwanzira.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as president last Friday after 93-year-old Robert Mugabe quit under pressure from the army.

The list is said to have brought back many faces from the Robert Mugabe era, which could disapppoint Zimbabweans who had been expecting a broad-based government and a break with the past.

Mnangagwa is under pressure to deliver, especially on the economy, which is in the grip of severe foreign currency shortages that have seen banks failing to give customers cash.

He told heads of government ministries on Tuesday that he was putting together a “leaner” government, which would see the merging of some departments to enhance efficiency.

Over 1,300 undocumented Ethiopian migrants expelled by Saudi Arabia

Over 1,300 Ethiopian nationals have been expelled from Saudi Arabia after an quit notice and subsequent amnesty window expired. Saudi had earlier this year warned of a crackdown on persons illegally staying in the country.

An Ethiopian government official Demeke Atinafu told the state-affiliated FBC that the government was working with Saudi for safe return of its nationals. “The government is working with Saudi Arabia to safely return our citizens home.”

The large chunk of those deported – Ethiopians and other nationalities – are classified by the Gulf State as undocumented migrants living and illegally working in the country. The crackdown is said to have started earlier this week.

The issue of Ethiopian migrants has been at the fore of the Saudi eviction threat. Addis Ababa has entered series of agreements with Riyadh to facilitate return of nationals. The government secured exit visas for thousands but maintained that many more remained adamant to returning.

Saudi had said beside forced repatriation, it was also going to prosecute a number of the recalcitrant persons. Most Ethiopian women travel to the Gulf State to work as house helps in order to support families back home.

The Ethiopian government had gone as far as pay part of the air ticket for persons who were willing to return. It is believed that there are about 400,000 such persons out of which about 150,000 returned voluntarily.

Below is a brief timeline of events since March 2017.

March 29, 2017 – Saudi Arabia issues a 90-day notice for all undocumented workers to quit the Kingdom.

May 21, 2017 – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed worry over the refusal of nationals illegally resident in Saudi Arabia to return home despite a 90-day amnesty program. Desalegn said he feared that the Saudi government will resort to forcibly deport Ethiopians.

May 27, 2017 – The Ethiopian government said it had secured exit visas for about 40,000 undocumented citizens living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Affairs chief traveled to Saudi and held talks with officials in Riyadh.

June 24, 2017 – Information Minister reported that 35,000 nationals had returned home on the program and that 85,000 of them had been granted exit visas at the time.

He also disclosed that some returning citizens had taken other routes besides flying in. Assuring that those who left Saudi via ship and rail. Most of them are in neighbouring Djibouti and Sudan.

June 28, 2017 – The Ethiopian government requested for an extension of the amnesty of the over 400,000 nationals expected back home, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said only 45,000 had returned home by June 2017.

June 30, 2017 – The extension requested by Ethiopia was granted by Saudi authorities – a further 30-days.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK, Hailemichael Aberra confirmed the extension to the BBC on saying “Ethiopia is trying its best to welcome the people from Saudi Arabia”.

Tuesday 25 July, 2017, – Amnesty expires but extended for another 30 days upon request by Ethiopia.

28 August, 2017, Saudi news portal, Arab News, announces the arrest of 27 Ethiopians illegally resident in the country.

Togo political crisis must concern West Africa – Buhari, Ouattara

West Africa must take interest in political ongoings in Togo because it could have wider implications for countries in the region. But it was important for the government and opposition to dialogue and to achieve stability and mutual trust.

This is the view advanced by Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast. ‘‘There will be regional consequences for instability in Togo and this will surely come at a cost to development,” Buhari said during a meeting between the two.

The opposition in Togo are calling for the incumbent Faure Gnassingbe to step down immediately. They say they want an end to the family dynasty that has led the country for the past five decades.

Faure has been in power for 12 years now. His father Eyadema was president for 38 years till his death in 2015. Togo is one of the few West African countries without presidential term limits.

The opposition are pushing for a two-term limit and mass political reforms. They have organized a series of protests since August this year. It has led to deaths, injuries to scores and mass arrests.

The government has agreed to capping terms but do not want the rule to take retrospective effect, in which case Faure Gnassingbe can stand for the next two elections.

Buhari and Ouattara met on the sidelines of the just ended African Union – European Union summit on the youth. It was, however, dominated by issues of migration on the back of the Libyan slave market footage released by CNN weeks ago.

[Photos] Ouattara, Macron launch work on Abidjan metro

Ivory Coast’s capital Abidjan is set to have new metro system following the launch of work on the facility by President Alassane Ouattara.

The launch was done by Ouattara along with French President Emmanuel Macron who is in Ivory Coast for the African Union-European Union summit which ends today.

The cost of the project has yet to be disclosed as well as the time line for its completion. It will, however, boost movement within the capital to a large extent.

Macron, is on a regional visit which saw him visit Brukina Faso as his first stop. There, he launched a solar farm believed to the largest in West Africa. He is due to visit Ghana after leaving Ivory Coast.

Abidjan is reputed as one of the top cities across Africa. Its transport system includes a quality road network, the public transport system is run by the Abidjan Transport Company (SOTRA) which manages bus and water bus fleet. Private transport operators also operate in the city.

U.S. concerned for Uganda journalists hit with treason over ‘Rwanda coup’ story

The United States says it is concerned over seeming media clampdown in Uganda after five publishers and three journalists were recently charged with treason.

Heather Nauert, a Department of State spokesperson, however; added that the U.S. continued in its support for freedom of expression and of the press.

“We are concerned by recent charges of treason filed against eight Uganda journalists of a local tabloid newspaper. We continue to support freedom of expression and freedom of the press as central elements of U.S. foreign policy,” she said in a tweet posted on November 29.

Three Ugandan journalists were last week charged with treason and other offences over the publication of a story alleging that President Yoweri Museveni was planning to overthrow the government of his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.

The journalists who work for the Red Pepper newspaper were charged along with five directors of the Pepper Publications Group. The other charges leveled against them were disturbing the peace of the president and others alleged to be part of the plot.

“According to the charge and caution statement read to them, they will be charged with offensive communication, disturbing the peace of president Museveni, Salim Saleh and Security Minister Henry Tumukunde. The main charge preferred against them is treason,” one of their lawyer told local news portal, the Daily Monitor.

The affected journalists are Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Francis Tumusiime (also News Editor). Along with the directors, they are all held at a prison facility pending appearance in court.

The Monday November 20, 2017 publication titled ‘M7 (Museveni) plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda’ added that Kigali intelligence had also mentioned Uganda’s security minister, an army general and France as being part of the plot.

The charges are what detectives have proffered and is subject to a final decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions. They were arrested barely a day after the publication came out. Rwanda has not commented on the issue in any capacity as yet.

But Museveni and Kagame were pictured in Kenya recently during the swearing in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two men were engaged in what could best be cordial exchanges in Nairobi.

Under Ugandan laws, any persons who publish or cause to be published any story that threatens or compromises national security or threatens public safety, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a prison term not exceeding seven years.

Tanzania plunged into darkness after nationwide blackout

A technical fault at Tanzania’s national electricity supply company plunged the East African nation into total darkness.

Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), the supply company said on Thursday that it was working to normalize the situation which left households and businesses without power.

TANESCO confirming the incident on Thursday said in a Swahili tweet that: “there has been an error on the national grid and thus caused blackout to all the regions that were connected to its power supply. Efforts continue to re-establish the electricity (supply).”

Tanzania’s power generation mix blends hydro, natural gas and heavy fuel oil to generate electricity. Like in most African nations, there are incidents of partial blackouts which occur due to minor faults.

President John Pombe Magufuli in January 2017 fired head of Tanesco after the outfit hiked tariffs by 8.53%. The president said the hikes would stunt his plans to industrialize the east African country. He went ahead to order a reversal of the move.

The power firm had initially sought an 18.19 percent tariff increase to arrest a loss-making trend and clear debts to independent power producers and fuel suppliers. The energy regulator however approved 8.53 percent which was less than half of what the utility said it needed to stem losses.

About 40 percent of Tanzania’s population of around 50 million has access to electricity and the government is aiming to push that rate up to 75 percent by 2025.

Since coming into office in 2015, Magufuli – referred to as the bulldozer – has sacked dozens of public officials as part of an anti-corruption campaign and a new drive to root out government inefficiency.

TANESCO has been unsuccessfully seeking loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and commercial lenders to turn the company round.

Despite reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, Tanzania has been facing chronic power shortages over the past decade due its reliance on drought-prone hydro-power dams.

West Africa’s biggest solar farm launched in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is now home to West Africa’s biggest solar farm, a 33-megawatt plant located in the town of Zatubi, outside the capital Ouagadougou.

Built at a cost of $56.7 million, the 55-hectare (approximately 135-acre) farm is expected to power tens of thousands of households in the country.

It was funded through donations from the European Union and a loan from AFD – France’s development agency. French President Emmanuel Macron who is on a regional visit joined Burkinabe president Roch Marc Kabore to launch the farm.

Records indicate that only about 20% of Burkina Faso’s 17 million population have access to the national power system. The majority depend on other unsustainable power generation options.

The country is aiming to meet 30% of its power needs through solar energy by the year 2030. Most African countries that have longed depended on hydroelectric and thermal energy are now shifting to solar energy with abundance of the sun in the region.

South Africa has continent’s biggest solar farm

South Africa hosts the biggest solar farm on the continent with a 175MW facility (Solar Capital De Aar) in De Aar, located in the country’s Northern Cape region. The facility spans across 473 hectares and was officially opened in 2016.

“The inauguration of the Solar Capital De Aar 3 marks the commercial operation of the 17th Solar Photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape Province, which has become the country’s mecca for the development of renewable energy sources,” the sector minister Joemat-Pettersson said at the launch.

“The 4.8 billion rand ($315 million) development by the department in partnership with Solar Capital will be exported into the national electricity grid and be able to power approximately 75 000 houses in South Africa,” CNBC Africa reported at the time.

The facility is also reputed to be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and the Middle-East region. It took a little over two years to build and at the time was said to have employed over 369 people during its construction.

AU, EU, UN chiefs meet in Abidjan, agree on Libya migration task force

The African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) have decided to put in place a task force in Libya to check migrant abuse in the north African country.

The AU’s Moussa Faki Mahamat, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, its foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met on Wednesday morning on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa – European Union summit in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan.

A statement joint press release said the EU-AU-UN Task Force aims “to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.

“This action will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM, with EU funding, which allowed so far the voluntary return to their countries of origin of 13 000 migrants since January,” it added.

#EU AU UN set up joint task force to save migrants & refugees in #Libya. Will accelerate voluntary returns with IOM— Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) November 29, 2017

The work of the task force is to be coordinated with the ‘recognised’ Libyan authorities with the main goal of dismantling trafficking and criminal networks. It will also seek to help countries of origin and transit for migrants to tackle the root causes of migration via development opportunities and stability.

Even though the AU-EU summit is targeted at the African youth, the issue of migrant abuse has been thrust to the fore following the release of slave market footage in Libya, where white Libyans are selling black Africans for as much as $400.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 ouster of its leader at the time Muammar Gaddafi. French forces backed by NATO aided rebel groups to overthrow Gaddafi. Ever since the country has been divided by rival political groups.

The issue of migration via the country has spiked following Gaddafi’s exit. Several initiatives have been undertaken to halt the rampant migration which has led to unprecedented deaths in the Mediterranean according to aid groups working in the region.

Togo opposition vows to continue protests even during talks

Hundreds of Togolese opposition members turned up for the new round of anti-government protests in the capital Lome on Monday. Wednesday’s march was largely peaceful according to reports from local media.

The protest is expected to continue today Thursday (November 30) with the last in the series, planned for Saturday December 2 according to an itinerary published by the opposition coalition.

The coalition is going ahead with the planned protests despite embattled president Faure Gnassingbe promising to hold dialogue with them last week.

Jean – Pierre Fabre, leader if the opposition National Alliance for Change led Wednesday’s protests and stressed that they will continue the mass action even if talks begin. “Mobilisation will continue, even during talks. We are not going to give up the fight,” he told AFP news agency.

A coalition of 14 opposition parties has organised a series of weekly protests since late August, calling for and end to the Gnassingbe family dynasty which has ruled Togo for the last 50 years. They are also demanding the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents and electoral reforms.

They want the presidential terms limits to be applied retroactively to prevent Faure from standing in the next two elections in 2020 and 2025, and potentially staying in power until 2030. Indications show that the government proposal wants the law to start in the next elections due in 2020.

Talks are under way through the intervention of mediators such as Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Guinea’s Alpha Conde, to organize a political dialogue between the government and opposition that could take place “in a few weeks,” according to president Gnassingbé.

Botswana at the heart of the latest U.K. royal love affair

The southern African country of Botswana is gaining traction over the recently announced British Royal marriage.

It turns out that it was in Botswana that Prince Harry proposed to his girlfriend Meghan Markle after he invited her to spend five days in the country.

“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars … we were really by ourselves which was crucial to get to know each other,” Harry told the BBC in an interview.

The U.K. Evening Standard in a report stated that the particular facility the two stayed at is a luxurious place known as the Meno A Kwena.

One travel agency described Meno A Kwena as having “one of the world’s most extraordinary location with some of Botswana’s most colourful characters.”

According to Luxury Safari Company, the style of the place was “Quirky unique homely camp, which welcomes you immediately and offers some of the most unique experiences in Botswana.”

Persons who patronize the place have a range of natural tourists sites to relate with, from the Boteti River with the elephants walking its shores. The camp also offers walking, game drives, “meerkats, scenic flights over the salt pans, star gazing with a portable telescope, mobile camping and conservation safaris.”

The Royal announcement as Harry preps to marry Markle

The Royal Family in a statement issued on November 27 announced Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official engagement with a wedding scheduled for next year.

The pair were also keen to spread the word – appearing together for the first time since announcing their engagement.

Harry, who is fifth in line to the British throne, was introduced to the American actress and blogger through a mutual friend last year. They are expected to get married in the spring.

“You know, the fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was a sort of confirmation to me that everything, everything, all the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect.

“It was this beautiful woman that literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life. And the fact that I know she’ll be really unbelievably good at the job part of it as well, is obviously a huge relief to me because she will be able to deal with everything else that comes with it. But now you know we’re a fantastic team. We know we are,” he said.

Markle already has experience in what is bound to be a big part of her royal life – charity work. Markle has also campaigned with the United Nations on gender equality and written about girls’ education for Time magazine.

Markle also commented on the engagement: “I think in these beginning few months and now being boots on the ground in the UK, I’m excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organisations…

“… we’re working on the same causes that I’ve always been passionate about under this umbrella. And and also being able to go around to the Commonwealth I think it’s just just the beginning.”

The couple will live at Harry’s current base at Kensington Palace where his brother William – the Duke of Cambridge – also has an apartment with his wife Kate and their two children.

Egyptian journalist named ‘Individual Activist’ winner of 2017 Mandela award

An Egyptian journalist has been named winner of a category of the 2017 Civicus Nelson Mandela – Graca Machel Innovations Award announced on Monday, the Madamasr news portal reports.

Khaled al-Balshy won in the category of Individual Activist. He is the chief editor of the privately-owned Al-Bedaiah news portal and a former board member of the country’s journalists group.

The award website also described Khaled as a human rights defender who braves the odds to stand for media rights despite a repressive environment for practitioners.

“In a nation where media freedom is under constant attack, Khaled has boldly and relentlessly pursued the cause of free speech, despite facing personal judicial and online harassment.

“He established the Front to Defend Journalists and Freedoms, which has succeeded in having several journalists released from detention.

“He has also sought every available platform to shine a light on violations by the government and share these with the world, and has actively mentored younger journalists to defend their own rights and the rights of others,” the organizers added.

Balshy is no stranger to legal hurdles as he was handed a year-long suspended sentence last March, alongside with other members of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. They were sentenced over charges of “harboring fugitives.”

Other winners announced included Guyana’s Jubilante Cutting (Youth Activist winner), Mentally Aware (Civil Society Organization winner) and Europe based Guerrilla Foundation (Brave Philanthropy winner.)

The four were selected from some 300 nominations from across the globe. They will receive their awards at a ceremony on 7 December in Suva, Fiji as part of International Civil Society Week.

‘For the first time this year, the Awards were run in collaboration with The Elders – a group of independent global leaders, founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 – and, specifically, their #WalkTogether campaign,’ the award site added.

Didier Drogba playing key role at 5th A.U.-E.U. Summit in Ivory Coast

Former Ivorian International Didier Drogba is playing a key role in the ongoing African Union (A.U.) and European Union (E.U.) summit currently underway in Abidjan.

Drogba, 39, has been engaged in a series of activities preceding the main summit which starts November 29 – 30, 2017. Among others shooting adverts, engaging in advocacy and joining a musical concert by one of the country’s biggest groups, Magic System.

His main engagement is working with the 36 African and European youth leaders who are expected to present a common position on youth challenges to Heads of State at the summit.

Together for youth, with youth. didierdrogba celebrates with the #AUEUYPII fellows and MagicSystemOffi in #Abidjan. The #AUEU Summit kicks off this week.— EU External Action (@eu_eeas) November 27, 2017

Youth issues are at the heart of the summit whose theme is ‘INVESTING IN THE YOUTH FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE.’ The youth leaders’ engagement is dubbed the Youth Plug-In Initiative (#AUEYYPII)

The former Chelsea and Marseille forward has held meetings with top officials of the E.U. and A.U. and as at Wednesday morning was part of a meeting attended by E.U. foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini.

Aside youth issues, African leaders are expected to discuss migration especially in the wake of slave sale footage from Libya. The video showing Africans been sold has caused outrage across the continent and beyond. Security and terrorism is also another area to be discussed.

Former#Chelsea striker Didier Drogba listens to FedericaMog at #EUAfricasummit— Daniel Olin (DanielOlin) November 29, 2017

Footballer didierdrogba supports the Youth Plug-In Initiative which brings together 18 Europeans and 18 Africans to act as youth ambassadors for the next #AUEU Summit → #aueuypii eu_eeas— European Commission (@EU_Commission) November 26, 2017

[Photos] African leaders arrive in Ivory Coast for 5th A.U.-E.U. summit

African leaders have been arriving in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, ahead of the 5th African and European Union (A.U.-E.U. summit).

It has been a busy Tuesday for the host president Alassane Ouattara who was at the main airport to receive his counterparts.

European Union officials have also been arriving for the summit which is focused on the African youth, the issue of migration and the area of security and terrorism.

The Ivorian presidency has been sharing photos of the arrivals which among others include:

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Cameroon’s Paul Biya
Comoros’ Azali Asoumani
Joao Lourenco of Angola
Jacob Zuma of South Africa
Mahammadou Issoufou of Niger
Alpha Conde of Guinea and President of the A.U.
Béji Caïd Essebsi of Tunisia
Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

Macky Sall of Senegal

President MBuhari is received by President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D’Ivoire, on arrival in Abidjan for the 5th AU-EU Summit. Also on hand to receive the President is AfDB_Group President, akin_adesina #PMBinAbidjan— Presidency Nigeria (NGRPresident) November 28, 2017

#prci: Arrivée du Pdt Alpha Condé, Président de Guinée et Président en exercice de l’#UA qui vient prendre part au 5e #SommetUAUE— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

#prci: Arrivée du Président Jacob Zuma, Président d’Afrique du Sud, à l’Aéroport International FHB afin de participer au 5e #SommetUAUE— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

Le Pdt du Rwanda, PaulKagame, venu prendre part au 5e #SommetUAUE , a été accueilli a l’aéroport d’Abidjan par le Pdt Ouattara— Presidenceci (Presidenceci) November 29, 2017

#prci: En marge du 5e #SommetUAUE le Président OUATTARA s’est entretenu, ce 29 nov 2017, avec la Chancelière allemande, Angela MERKEL— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 29, 2017

Le Président de la République est arrivé à #Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire, où il prendra part au cinquième Sommet Union africaine-Union européenne. #SommetUAUE #kebetu #UAUE— Présidence Sénégal (@PR_Senegal) November 29, 2017

#prci: Le Président OUATTARA, a accueilli, SEM João Lourenço, Président de l’Angola,venu prendre part au 5e #SommetUAUE— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

#prci: Le Président OUATTARA a accueilli le Pdt du Conseil National de Transition de Libye, M. Serrag Faiez, à Abidjan #SommetUAUE— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

#SommetUAUE – Le Pdt OUATTARA et la Première Dame ont accueilli, ce 28 nov 2017, le Président de la République des Comores, Azali ASSOUMANI— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

Le Président de la République de Tunisie, Béji Caïd Essebsi, est arrivé à Abidjan dans le cadre du #SommetUAUE— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 28, 2017

Outside of Africa, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Abidjan. President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and Luxembourg Prime Minister are all participating.

#prci: En marge du 5e #SommetUAUE le Président OUATTARA s’est entretenu, ce 29 nov 2017, avec la Chancelière allemande, Angela MERKEL— Presidenceci (@Presidenceci) November 29, 2017

#prci: En marge du 5e #SommetUAUE, le Président Alassane OUATTARA a eu un entretien avec Antonio_Tajani, Président du Parlement Européen— Presidenceci (Presidenceci) November 29, 2017

#prci: Twitter :En marge du 5e #SommetUAUE , le Président Alassane OUATTARA, a échangé avec le Premier Ministre du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg, Xavier_Bettel— Presidenceci (Presidenceci) November 29, 2017

Four soldiers killed in Cameroon’s Anglophone region

An overnight attack in Cameroon’s Southwest region has killed four soldiers. The attack took place specifically in the town of Mamfe.

“Four soldiers were killed around 02:00 in the Mamfe area,” a government source told the AFP news agency.

It brings to eight the number of deaths resulting from the activities of secessionists on the security forces. The government confirmed the death of four soldiers in a similar series of attacks earlier in November.

Cameroon government says four security forces killed in separatist attack— africanews (@africanews) November 12, 2017

The Anglophone regions – the Southwest along with the Northwest regions are currently under curfew following the first series of attacks. People in the region have long decried marginalization by the French majority.

An attempt to declare independence under the Ambazonia republic on October 1, was met with security clampdown leading to deaths, injuries to others and mass arrests by security forces.

President Biya who has reiterated that the unity of Cameroon remain non-negotiable condemned the deadly clashes and called for dialogue, a move which was backed by the United Nations.

Lawmakers from the restive region recently disrupted the work of parliament demanding that the Anglophone crisis be tabled for debate. Meanwhile the government has issued an international arrest warrant for leaders of the separatist group.

5th E.U. – A.U. summit in Abidjan: Youth, migration, terrorism on agenda

African leaders and their European counterparts meet in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, to dilate on how to solve some mutual problems ranging from youth unemployment, security and migration.

Under the auspices of the 5th African Union (A.U.) and European Union (E.U.) summit, the leaders will meet over a two day period between Wednesday November 29 to Thursday November 30, 2017.

The summit comes at a time when migration is high on the news agenda as a result of the slavery report from Libya weeks ago.

Whiles in Ivory Coast, the leaders are expected to once again try to reinforce existing measures to curb the illegal immigration of young Africans to Europe.

Good morning, #Abidjan. Today, African and European countries discuss sustainble economic development and investments, regional security and migration issues here at the #EUAfricasummit.— Germany in the EU (@GermanyintheEU) November 29, 2017

The issue of investing in the young African by way of providing employment and skills training is at the heart of the summit. The theme of the summit is “Investing in the Youth for a Sustainable Future.”

A number of African leaders have already arrived in Ivory Coast amongst others Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Joao Lourenco of Angola.

TP Mazembe back home after CAF Confederation Cup glory

After initial challenges with getting a flight back home after the CAF Confederation Cup victory over the weekend, the TP Mazembe team finally arrived home on Tuesday.

Full name Tout Puissant Mazembe Englebert, the Democratic Republic of Congo side beat South Africa’s SuperSport United to retain the African Confederation Cup last Saturday.

A direct flight from Johannesburg to their base Lubumbashi was not possible for unexplained reasons forcing them to fly to connect via Zambia before reaching Lubumbashi.

The club owner and former governor of DRC’s Katanga province, Moise Katumbi Chapwe, thanked Zambia for their support in a tweet. “This is Africa we need. Supportive and fair!” he said.

Merci aux autorités zambiennes pour avoir tant facilité l’arrivée de TPMazembe. Voilà l’#Afrique que nous voulons. Solidaire et juste!
Thank you to the authorities of #Zambia for facilitating the arrival of TPMazembe. This is #Africa we need. Supportive and fair!— Moise Katumbi (@moise_katumbi) November 28, 2017

Katumbi is currently living in Belgium in what has been described as “self-imposed exile.” He faces multiple criminal charges back home, all of which he says are politically motivated.

A former ally of incumbent Joseph Kabila, Katumbi’s woes are believed to be linked with his presidential ambitions. DRC goes to the polls in 2018 to elect a president. Kabila is by law ineligible but there is talk of him trying to stay on with constitutional changes.

Mazembe secured a goalless draw against SuperSport United but had taken a first leg advantage a week before in Lubumbashi. They eventually won on a 2-1 overall aggregate.

It was the fifth major continental title inside a decade, and the third in successive seasons for the Congolese club who were also African Champions League winners in 2015.

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