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Hosts win cup and cash after hard fight against Zanzibar

Posted DAVID KWALIMWA and VINCENT OPIYO

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  19:21

Kenya's Harambee Stars finally came out of the shadows in dramatic fashion on Sunday to hand millions of success-starved home fans something to smile about.

The Stars won the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup, defeating surprise finalists Zanzibar in a penalty shoot-out in Machakos, about 35km east of Nairobi.

Deputy President William Ruto joined thousands of fans at the Kenyatta Stadium for the epic final of Africa’s oldest regional tournament that ended in a 2-2 in regular and extra time, prompting the dreaded lottery of penalties to break the stalemate.

Perhaps motivated by the recent resurgence under the tutelage of new coach Paul Put, thousands of Kenyans shed off their political and other differences for at least a couple of hours, and opted to rally behind the Stars who had cruised into the final without conceding a goal.

Level the scores

But they had to endure a roller-coaster of emotions as Zanzibar came from behind twice to level the scores 1-1 and then 2-2, forcing the game into penalties.

Kenya’s goalkeeper Patrick Matasi palmed away three spot kicks to earn stars a 3-2 victory in the shoot out.

They were presented with the trophy and medals by Deputy President Ruto who donned a red Harambee Stars track-suit top which bore his initials ‘WR.’

Harambee Stars earned $29,000 (Sh3m) for their troubles with more cash awards expected following pre-tournament pledges from, among others, the deputy president and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

The final match

Zanzibar took home $19,300 (Sh2m) and Uganda $9,700 (Sh1m) for coming third.

Uganda Cranes, 14-time winners, who until the final match were the defending champions finished third after a come from behind 2-1 win over Burundi in the early kickoff.

A second half brace from Kampala City Council Authority midfielder Saddam Juma invalidated Pierre Kwizera’s 23rd minute opener.

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Libya strongman says UN-backed government's mandate expired

Posted AFP

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  19:02

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar insisted Sunday that the mandate of the country's UN-backed government has run out after what he said was the expiration of a tattered 2015 political deal.

The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) for a one-year period, renewable only once.

Despite that deal, Libya has remained divided between the GNA government in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by Mr Haftar in the east.

Lose their legitimacy

In a televised speech Mr Haftar, who has never recognised the GNA's authority, said the "expiry of the Libyan political accord" marked a "historic and dangerous turning point".

"All bodies resulting from this agreement automatically lose their legitimacy, which has been contested from the first day they took office," he said.

The UN Security Council on Thursday insisted the 2015 deal remains the "only viable framework" to prepare for elections next year.

The UN in September launched a fresh push to agree a new accord aimed at bringing stability to Libya, which has been in chaos since the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Political process

One of the main stumbling blocks is the inclusion in any potential government of Mr Haftar, whose Libyan National Army dominates the country's east.

In a statement on Sunday the UN's special representative to Libya Ghassan Salame said Libyans were "fed up with violence" and hoped "for a political solution, for reconciliation and for harmony".

"I urge all parties to heed their voices and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process," the statement said.

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Call to protect children from adult woes as Pope turns 81

Posted AFP

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  18:12

Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday Sunday with a hero cake and a message urging the world — and children in particular — to join in the holiday mood and be joyful.

The Argentine pontiff thanked the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer as they sang happy birthday, and was expected to slice into his birthday cake after lunch.

It sports a picture of the Pope carrying the world on his shoulders, designed by Italian graffiti artist MauPal.

White cassock

The artist — whose real name is Mauro Pallotta — famously depicted Francis as Superman in 2014 and has since begun supporting Vatican charitable projects by selling T-shirts bearing the flying pope.

The pear and cinnamon delight shows Francis in his white cassock, holding up with one hand the world, which is divided in two but stitched back together — a symbol of the Pope's unifying force, Rome pastry maker Hedera said.

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Pope Francis's birthday this year falls on Gaudete Sunday, which the church marks as a moment of particular joy as celebrations for the birth of Jesus Christ approach.

"Be always joyful, even when things don't go as we wish they would," the pope said during the Angelus prayer.

They suffer

He had earlier stressed the importance of sheltering children from adult woes.

"When children see problems at home, parents that fight, they suffer. Don't make them sad. They must always grow up with joy," he said as he met disadvantaged youngsters looked after by a Vatican foundation.

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Kenya lift regional title after long fight

Posted CHARLES OMONDI in Nairobi

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  18:01

Kenya Sunday won the regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup after a long-drawn fight against Zanzibar.

The match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, about 35km east of Nairobi, ended in a 1-1 draw in the regulation time. It was then extended to extra time, with the two teams each scoring to tie 2-2 after the extra 30 minutes.

Penalty shots were then used to decide the winner.

...MORE TO FOLLOW....

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Nigerians praise anti-graft record as Buhari turns 75

Posted MOHAMMED MOMOH in Abuja

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  16:59

Nigerians called on President Muhammadu Buhari to continue the fight against corruption as he marked a quiet 75th birthday Sunday.

The Public Complainants Commissioner overseeing Benue State, Mr Abubakar Tsav, asked President Buhari to take the war on corruption with a hot iron.

In his congratulatory message, he advised President Buhari to “take the war on corruption with a hot iron where whoever touches it gets burnt. It should not be politicised.”

“Some of his age mates have advised him to emulate Nelson Mandela and not go in for a second tenure, while others have advised him to go in and complete his mission.

Greed and injustice

“Nigeria is ravaged by corruption, greed and injustice and only a person like President Buhari who is known for his uncompromising integrity, can salvage this country from the rot we have inherited," said Mr Tsav.

“Age does not really matter here. After all he is not going in for a boxing or wrestling bout."

A university don, Dr Aondoakaa Asambe, urged President Buhari to seek a second term to complete his fight against corruption.

Dr Asambe said President Buhari was the only Nigerian at the moment with integrity and honesty to fight corruption head on.

A statesman

He appealed to Nigerians to vote massively for the president should he seek second term come 2019.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan described his successor as a statesman who has earned a special place in history.

“I prayed that the God Almighty that has kept you alive and healthy till now, will continue to protect and strengthen you as you lend your efforts towards the realisation of our collective dreams for a greater and more prosperous nation,’’ Mr Jonathan said.

Nigerians have been congratulating President Buhari on various social media platforms since Thursday.

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The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, led other prominent personalities in presenting birthday cards to President Buhari, marking the low-key celebration.

On his 74th birthday in 2016, President Buhari inspected a special parade mounted by the Brigade of Guards; and the ceremony coincided with his daughter’s (Zahra) wedding.

Zahra got married to Ahmed Indimi, the son of a multibillionaire oil tycoon, Mohammed Indimi.

Wisdom and grace

Senate President Bukola Saraki, in a message through his Twitter handle @BukolaSaraki, using the hashtag #PMBAt75, prayed that God may grant President Buhari wisdom to continue to run the affairs of Nigeria.

He said: “Happy Birthday Mr President! I wish you the blessings of the Almighty, and continued wisdom and grace as you celebrate another year.’’

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, also wished the president a happy birthday using his Twitter handle @YakubDogara.

He wrote: “On behalf of the leadership & membership of @HouseNGR, I wish to join the good people of Nigeria and numerous well wishers across the globe in wishing H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari a happy birthday.

Went viral

“Under his leadership, Nigeria is steadily regaining its past glory, winning investors’ confidence and earning global respect and recognition. He has remained consistent in dealing with corruption, insecurity and unemployment through various reforms and interventions.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), using its official handle @APCNigeria, also wished President Buhari well and called on Nigerians to accord him a warm celebration.

A video of a baby singing a birthday song for the president went viral on the social media with more retweets.

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Ebola survivors sue Sierra Leone government

Posted KEMO CHAM in Freetown

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  14:54

Two Ebola survivors have filed a suit at the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) court against the Sierra Leonean government's handling of the 2014 epidemic.

The epidemic claimed thousands of lives.

The two survivors, backed by the Freetown-based Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), are accusing the government of violating its citizens’ right to life and health by mismanaging millions of dollars poured in by the international community to fight the epidemic, which ravaged West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

Nearly 30,000 people were infected and over 11,000 of them died in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea where the viral epidemic first emerged.

Foreign aid

In Sierra Leone, the most affected among the three in terms of number of casualties, 3,956 lives were lost to the epidemic, among 14,124 confirmed cases.

Hundreds of millions of US dollars in foreign aid were sent to the region.

In the aftermath of the epidemic, there were reports of massive corruption as officials directly in charge of the efforts to contain the epidemic could not account for missing millions.

In a 15-page application formally filed with the Ecowas Court on Friday, the plaintiffs claim the government violated its citizens’ right to life by failing to adhere to accounting and procurement controls, which led to the loss of one third of the available resources, and was responsible for a greater number of deaths from Ebola than would otherwise have occurred.

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The suit also says the government violated its citizens’ right to health by failing to dedicate maximum available resources to the Ebola response. It adds that the government’s poor stewardship of the Ebola funds diminished the human and physical resources needed to handle the outbreak.

The Sierra Leone government is also in the dock for its failure to conduct an effective investigation into the allegations of violations of the right to life and the right to health, caused by mismanagement of the Ebola funds.

Lawyers representing the survivors cite the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Constitution of Sierra Leone, all of which they say guarantee the right to life and the right to health, as basis for their suit.

Economic bloc

CARL, in a statement at a press conference, cited a February 2015 report of the country’s Auditor-General which revealed that 30 per cent of the Ebola response funds managed by the Ministry of Health within five months of the outbreak could not be fully accounted for.

“Crucially, the report noted that the lapses in the management of the funds resulted in ‘a reduction in the quality of service delivery in the healthcare sector,'” the CARL statement notes, arguing that that situation resulted in multiplication of infections and deaths of citizens.

Two renowned human rights lawyers: a Sierra Leonean Michael Imran Kanu and Gambian Gaye Sowe of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, are representing the plaintiffs in the case that is expected to be heard in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The Ecowas Court was formed as a result of a treaty by the 15-member countries that make up the economic bloc. The court has jurisdiction to hear human rights claims brought by individuals or public interest plaintiffs.

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Angolan opposition Unita hands leader Samakuva new term

Posted ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  14:15

Angolan main opposition party Unita has resolved to retain Mr Isaías Samakuva as its president for one more term.

The decision was made on Saturday at the close of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) ordinary meeting in Viana municipality in Luanda.

The third Unita Political Commission gave Mr Samakuva the new term with 169 (86 per cent) votes in favour and 24 (12 per cent) against.

Party veterans Jaka Jamba, Ernesto Mulato and Alcides Sakala oversaw the exercise.

Party's founder

Mr Samakuva's fourth term was due to expire in 2019.

Unita officials Abílio Kamalata Numa, Adalberto da Costa Junior and Rafael Massanga Savimbi, the son of the party's founder Jonas Savimbi, had expressed their desire to run for its presidency.

Mr Samakuva in October announced his intention to retire from the party leadership.

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He has led Unita since 2003 when he replaced Dr Savimbi at the party's ninth congress.

Unita was founded by Dr Savimbi in 1966.

The controversial but charismatic Dr Savimbi led Unita in a 27-year civil war with the Angolan government, before transitioning into the main opposition party.

He was killed in a battle against the government forces on February 22, 2002.

Dominance

Mr Samakuva was the Unita flagbearer in last August's election, which saw the ruling MPLA retain the presidency and dominance in parliament.

The election was Angola's fourth since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the third since the end of the war in 2002.

MPLA won with 61.07 per cent vote and 150 MPs.

Unita came second with 26.7 per cent of the votes cast and 51 MPs, while Casa-Ce was third with 9.4 per cent and 16 MPs.

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Africa today at a glance

Posted AFRICAREVIEW.COM and Agencies

on  Sunday, December 17   2017 at  13:46

ANC elective conference

South Africa's ruling ANC party begins its elective conference to pick a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

Foreign ministers meet

A tripartite meeting of the Tunisian, Algerian and Egyptian Foreign ministers takes place in in Tunis on Libya.

Samakuva at the helm

Angolan main opposition party Unita resolves to retain Mr Isaías Samakuva as its president for one more term.

Angolan rights crackdown

Angolan police in Cabinda Province arrest 29 human rights activists in a crackdown.

Dane stabbed in Gabon

Two Danish nationals stabbed in the Gabonese capital Libreville in apparent politically-motivated attack.

Ex-Ivorian minister's trial

The trial of former Cote d'Ivoire minister Hubert Oulaye opens in Abidjan. He is accused of complicity in death of soldiers and civilians in 2012.

Cecafa soccer final

Kenya and Zanzibar meet in the final ofthe regional Cecafa soccer tournament in Machakos, about 35km east of Nairobi

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Zuma admits South Africans 'not happy' with ruling ANC party

Posted AFP

on  Saturday, December 16   2017 at  20:16

South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday blamed infighting and a failure to tackle corruption for the troubles of the ANC party, which risks losing power for the first time since the end of apartheid.

Zuma, whose reign has been marred by graft scandals, spoke at a party conference that will elect his successor as head of the ANC, though he will remain as head of state ahead of 2019 elections.

The two front-runners in the divisive party leadership race are his ex-wife and former African Union head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman.

Zuma said that the African National Congress's poor local election results last year "were a stark reminder that our people are not happy with the state of the ANC".

"Petty squabbling that takes us nowhere needs to take a back seat. Our people are frustrated when we spend more time fighting among ourselves instead of solving the daily challenges they experience," he said, adding that "factionalism has become the biggest threat to our movement".

The ANC is still South Africa's biggest party by far, but the 54 per cent it won in local elections last year was its worst poll result since the 1994 elections that marked the end of white-minority rule.

Elections loom

Opposition parties the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters are both hoping to exploit the ANC's woes in the 2019 election, with one possible outcome being a coalition government.

Soaring unemployment and government corruption have fuelled frustration at the ANC among millions of poor black South Africans who face dire housing, inadequate education and continuing racial inequality.

The five-day ANC meeting outside Johannesburg to elect a new leader is widely seen as a pivotal moment in the country's post-apartheid history.

The battle between Dlamini-Zuma, backed by Zuma, and Ramaphosa could even split the party.

The conference started seven hours late after an acrimonious dispute over which delegates will be qualified to vote. The day of the vote remains uncertain.

Dlamini-Zuma, 68, headed the African Union commission until earlier this year and is a former interior, foreign affairs and health minister.

But her critics say she would pursue Zuma's failing economic and political policies, and would be his proxy to protect him from criminal prosecution over graft allegations.

The couple had four children together before divorcing in 1998.

Ramaphosa, 65, a former trade union leader, led the historic negotiations in the 1990s to end apartheid before launching a business career that made him one of the country's wealthiest men.

He is often accused of failing to confront Zuma while serving as his deputy since 2014.

Sparse applause

Zuma's speech was greeted with sparse applause after rival delegates danced and sang songs in support of their chosen candidate to succeed him.

Tefu Velaphi, a 38-year-old delegate and building manager, told AFP: "Zuma's legacy is disastrous. He only cares about himself and his friends. We want them to be arrested.

"That lady will protect Zuma," he said, referring to Dlamini-Zuma.

But Matthew Tsepang, one of her supporters, said: "We cannot judge a person by her previous life. She can be a former wife but have her independence. She is a capable leader."

Other leadership hopefuls include parliament speaker Baleka Mbete, presidency minister Jeff Radebe and Zweli Mkhize, the party treasurer.

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18 dead in DR Congo road crash

Posted AFP

on  Saturday, December 16   2017 at  12:23

Eighteen people were killed on Friday when a truck carrying goods and passengers overturned on a major highway in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government confirmed.

The crash happened at Bulambika, on the highway linking Bukavu and Kisangani, in the northeast district of Bunyakiri.

"The official toll on the basis of the report from Bunyakiri is eighteen deaths," Luke Mulimbalimba, interior minister of South Kivu province, told reporters.

He said 12 people were taken to hospital in Bukavu in a rescue operation involving two helicopters and three ambulances.

The crash happened because of the poor condition of the road, according to Jean Mwanuka, in charge of the administrative district of Bunyakiri.

Deadly road accidents are frequent in DR Congo, where excess speed, overloading and poor vehicle maintenance are also factors.