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UN calls to release abducted Swiss aid worker

October 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ms Marta Ruedas, Monday called to release a Swiss aid worker recently abducted in North Darfur.
Margaret Schenkel was kidnapped by unknown gunmen from her residence in El-Fasher on 7 October 2017. There is no demand for ransom by the abductors while the Sudanese authorities launched search operation to find here.
“I am deeply shocked by this incident. Targeting aid workers who provide neutral, (...)

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[LIVE] Vote counting underway as polls close at some centers in Liberia

Polls closed at 0800 GMT in some parts of Liberia while several voters are still in queues awaiting their turn to vote.

Vote counting is underway at some centres where all voters in the queue have cast their ballots.

2,183,683 people registered to vote in the hotly contested election that will determine the replacement of Africa’s first female democratically elected president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

There are 20 candidates vying to head Liberia’s presidency. They include former footballer Senator George Weah, Vice President Joseph Boakai, former rebel leader Prince Johnson, serial candidate Brumskine Charles and the only woman in the race, former model Macdella Cooper.

There are 986 aspirants for the 73 seats in the House of representatives. They will know their fate at the close of polls at 1800 GMT.

Follow our LIVE online coverage below as we update you on happenings in the country.

Here are Liberia’s 19 men and woman vying to replace Johnson Sirleaf
How Liberian voters will elect new president, 73 lawmakers

Elections history in Africa’s oldest democratic republic: Liberia

Click here for all the election news on our Africa Elections page

Nuba Mountains rebels demand self-determination

October 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Nuba Mountains body of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-North al-Hilu) demands self-determination for the war-torn, southern area of the country.
The SPLM-N Nuba Mountains held an extraordinary conference in the rebel-controlled area of Heiban in South Kordofan from 4 to 7 October 2017, ahead of the Extraordinary General Conference after a rift that broke it into two groups last June.
The three-day meeting was (...)

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SPLM-N Agar included in UN list of child protection: spokesperson

October 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North led by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) said it received a letter from the United Nations stating the Movement has been included in the list of organizations collaborating to protect children in conflict zones.
On 30 June 2015, the SPLM-N signed the Geneva Call's Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children (DCPC) and became the first African armed non-State actor (ANSA) to commit to child protection.
The Commitment is a (...)

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Sudan

Mugabe names new finance minister amid Zimbabwe financial crisis

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has replaced Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa with Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo in a cabinet reshuffle, the government said in a statement on Monday.

The move comes against the backdrop of a severe hard currency shortage that has dealt a fresh blow to confidence and investment in the southern African economy, which uses the U.S dollar.

The shortage of foreign exchange has forced some businesses to buy U.S. dollars on the black market, a situation blamed for a recent spike in prices and shortages of some basic goods.

But Mugabe, without giving evidence, accused some people of manipulating the currency to “trigger inflation and cause panic buying.”

Reuters

Mugabe names new finance minister amid Zimbabwe financial crisis

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has replaced Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa with Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo in a cabinet reshuffle, the government said in a statement on Monday.

The move comes against the backdrop of a severe hard currency shortage that has dealt a fresh blow to confidence and investment in the southern African economy, which uses the U.S dollar.

The shortage of foreign exchange has forced some businesses to buy U.S. dollars on the black market, a situation blamed for a recent spike in prices and shortages of some basic goods.

But Mugabe, without giving evidence, accused some people of manipulating the currency to “trigger inflation and cause panic buying.”

Reuters

ECOWAS observers led by ex-Ghana president Mahama praise Liberia’s EC

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has praised the level of preparation of Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) ahead of Tuesday’s polls.

Ghana’s former president John Dramani Mahama, who is leading a 71-member ECOWAS Election Observation Mission, praised the NEC for the timely distribution of election materials and the good relationship it has with the parties.

He said a positive outcome of the election will consolidate Africa’s democracy due to Liberia’s historical significance.

Mahama and the ECOWAS mission have been in Monrovia since last week to observe the elections which has been touted to be free and fair.

About half a dozen other observer missions are in the country including the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) who have deployed observers across the country.

The NEC Chairman Jerome George Korkoya assured the observer missions that they are prepared for the elections and any eventualities that come with it.

He added that they are prepared to deal with any dispute as 19 magistrates and 4 regional coordinators have been trained to handle cases at the county level, while extra lawyers have been hired to handle appeals.

He reminded the political parties that the electoral commission is where to channel grievances before seeking final redress at the Supreme Court.

Polls open between 0800 GMT and 1800 GMT on October 10. Over two million people are expected to vote at 5,390 voting centers and 2080 voting precincts in all the 15 counties.

The final results will be announced on October 25.

We are ready for elections, there is no room for cheating – Liberia EC

Liberia’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) says it is ready for Tuesday’s election and there will be no room for cheating because all results will be posted in each area.

The NEC Director of Communications Henry Boyd Flomo told Africanews that every one will have access to the results and by Wednesday, they will announce the provisional results.

“There will be no cheating. The process is set in a way that you can’t cheat. Even at the precinct, the walls of the precinct or the doors of the polling places we will have the results posted so that they can be able to see the results from each of the polling places within their area.

“So let’s follow it through and again, I am very sure by Wednesday before the end of day, we will announce the provisional results,” he said.

Flomo said the distribution of materials to the hard-to-reach places from Monrovia were made possible with the help of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) who helped airlift the materials.

He said the electoral commission will give updates by 1500 GMT and called on the voters to remain peaceful and not to engage in violence or confrontations.

“We call on you to go out to vote. This is a civic responsibility that you have once in six years. So we call on you to turn out the only cards that will be accepted. The 2017 voter cards,” he advised.

Polls open between 0800 GMT and 1800 GMT on October 10. Over two million people are expected to vote at 5,390 voting centers and 2080 voting precincts in all the 15 counties.

The final results will be announced on October 25.

Liberian police says it will stay clear of voting process but ensure security

The Liberian police says it has ordered the thousands of security officers dispatched across the country to stay clear of the voting process but ensure security during the entire elections.

Police spokesperson Sam Collins told Africanews that those who will interfere with the voting process will face disciplinary action.

“No security personnel is allowed to get around the voting area. We have warned our officers to stay clear off. Their only activity at the centre tomorrow is to institute some level of discipline when it appears that somebody wants to act violent in the process.

“Any of our officers who will be caught getting around the poll workers, that officer risks disciplinary action by the police department,” he warned.

Collins said the security personnel will provide security for the process and at the end of it, make sure all the ballot boxes are dispatched to their destinations and then stand down and wait for further order.

He said 5,000 personnel have been stationed in all the 15 counties, 5,390 voting centers and 2080 voting precincts.

“Anybody underestimating the strength of the election security body will have to see the other side of it. Meaning we will do all we can to bring the situation under control,” he added.

Polls open between 0800 GMT and 1800 GMT on October 10. Over two million people are expected to vote.

There are 20 candidates including a woman vying to succeed Sirleaf who is Africa’s first democratically elected female president.

Liberia’s VP and candidate says he will accept defeat if he loses the election

Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai has pledged to accept defeat if he loses the October 10 elections which he is contesting as the ruling party’s candidate.

The 72-year-old Unity Party (UP) candidate said he will win the first round of the election but is also open for disappointments.

“Disappointments are one of the possible outcomes. We will take whatever comes but we have worked hard for victory … We are going to win the first round of this election. The Liberians have decided,” he said at a press conference on Monday.

Boakai said he will continue the legacy of the Sirleaf government which he identified as having good ideas that lacked implementation.

“This government did not lack good ideas. What we lacked is implementation. How do we put these ideas out to make them work. The people said road first, then they talked about health and education. We should have followed it,” he said.

He also added that he will fight corruption and eschew favouritism if he is elected the next president.

“Corruption will be fought from the core. There will be no favouritism not even from my family. The good things that have been done will be continued … Every hand should be on board and we will do it without favour,” he said.

Joseph Boakai has had less support from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in his presidential bid. He said in a speech recently that he is like “a car parked in a garage that needed spare parts to work”.

The ruling Unity Party has criticized Sirleaf for being passive in getting her party to win the elections.

Polls open between 0800 GMT and 1800 GMT on October 10. Over two million people are expected to vote.

There are 20 candidates including a woman vying to succeed Sirleaf who is Africa’s first democratically elected female president.

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