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S. Sudan rebels welcome defection of Kapotea state MP

September 5, 2017 (JUBA) - A ruling party member of parliament hailing from South Sudan's Kapotea state has defected and joined the armed opposition faction allied to former first vice president, Riek Machar, the rebels' deputy spokesperson Col. Lam Paul Gabriel said.
Abdalla Angelo Lochono, a lawmaker from the ruling party and Marko Lojore, a military officer, reportedly announced their defection on Monday following political disputes with government.
Lochono, according to Lam, served as (...)


SPLM/A In Opposition

Arming drought-affected families in Somaliland against water borne diseases

By Marthe van de Wolf – As a public health promoter for Oxfam’s local partner Havoyoco, Hamda Mohamed spends most of her time in settlements for displaced families and host communities in the Sool region of Somaliland. Most people here in this region have a story of how they have been affected by the ongoing […]

South Sudanese army downplays rebel threats on oil fields

September 5, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese army (SPLA) official has downplayed threats from rebels, saying adequate security would be provided to oil workers operating in the oil field areas.
The assurance came barely a week after South Sudanese rebels warned workers in the oil-producing areas to vacate or risk being attacked in a planned operation to disrupt oil production.
"We have the ability to defend the oil fields and there should be no reason for the rebels to think that they will (...)


South Sudan,
Oil - Petroleum

Internet shutdown amid planned anti-govt protests by Togo opposition

Togolese opposition coalition on Tuesday wrapped up plans for an anti-government protest today after an earlier one was postponed. They are basically calling for wide ranging political reforms including the reinstatement of term limits.

Activists in the small West African nation have, however, reported an internet shutdown and a social media blockade, a move seen as a means of thwarting the protests.

“Whatsapp and Facebook are no longer going trough in Togo. Internet speed has also decreased considerably ahead of tomorrow’s protest,” one activist, Farida Nabourema said in a tweet.

She also confirmed that the government had hinted of plans to modify some laws to stifle protests but added that leaders of the movement were bent on going ahead.

READ MORE: Togo records huge turnout at Lome anti-govt protest

Tomorrow will be a big day in #Togo. Opposition leaders including Jean Pierre Fabre on the streets distributing flyers for the protest— Farida Nabourema (@Farida_N) September 5, 2017

#Afrique Bloquer Internet c'est arrêter la mer avec ses bras, signe de détresse de dictateurs dégénérés!
Limites de crétins aux abois#Togo— fatim tall (@timatall) September 5, 2017

FEGnassingbe cinalawson les réseaux sociaux ne passe pas au #Togo.J'espère que c'est juste une panne.JulieOwono Internet_SF isoc_france— HAYIBO Koffi Inoussa (princehabko) September 5, 2017

Alerte info #Coupure d'Internet au #Togo EmmanuelMacron JLMelenchon fhollande Macky_Sall cinalawson NAkufoAddo rochkaborepf afpfr— Badagbon Daniel (@dbadagbon) September 5, 2017

Coupe de la connexion internet au #Togo à la veille de la marche populaire du #togoenmarche RFIAfrique Farida_N AmbUETogo bbcafrique— Shalom Ametokpo (@shalom_ame) September 5, 2017

M. president of #Togo we want our terms limits back because we can't allow you to rule us till death do us apart. We are not married to you— Farida Nabourema (@Farida_N) September 5, 2017

The bloody protests started on August 19 and 20, police tear gassed protesters and two deaths were recorded. The second march was planned for August 30 and 31 but was postponed on Monday to September 6 and 7.

On the same day that the second march was planned, a pro-government march was held with Prime Minister Selorm Klassou leading calls for a united Togo. Fifteen opposition protesters were recently jailed in connection with the protests.

At the heart of the protests are calls for the revision of the 1992 Constitution which was modified in 2002 allowing Faure Gnassingbe to run for an unlimited term.

The opposition want the original two five-year term limit be restored, a two-ballot system, reform of the Constitutional Court and the Electoral Commission.
President Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since his father Gnassingbe Eyadema died after spending 38 years in office.

The 1992 constitution ushered in a semblance of multi-party democracy after decades of dictatorship and limited presidential terms to two, but ten years later lawmakers amended it to enable Eyadema to run for another term in office.

When he died, the military sidestepped the constitution by installing his son as interim president, instead of the head of the national assembly, as was legally required. He later resigned before winning polls in 2005 and securing re-election twice in 2010 and 2015.

The protests that followed Faure Gnassingbe’s first election victory in 2005 triggered a violent security crackdown in which around 500 people were killed.

Africa’s economic giants, Nigeria & South Africa, exit recession

Africa’s two biggest economies – Nigeria and South Africa – on Tuesday came out of recession according to statistical figures released by the respective government agencies.

The exit comes on the back of a Reuters poll late last week that predicted that at the rate of their respective economic indices both countries were heading out of recession in the second quarter, it, however, cautioned that strong growth won’t show up until business confidence is restored.

“Both countries have bounced off the bottom, but the sustainability is in question. Nigeria needs a single FX policy and South Africa needs more policy certainty,” said Aly-Khan Satchu, CEO of Rich Management in Nairobi.

The case of Nigeria – between August 2016 and today

It has taken Nigeria roughly a year to come out of recession. Africa’s most populous nation officially entered a state of economic recession for the first time in over 20 years in late August last year.

According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at the time, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter whiles the GDP shrunk by 0.36%.

A recession is a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activities are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.

The head of NBS, Dr Yemi Kale on Tuesday shared fresh figures for the second quarter of 2017. The GDP grew by 0.55% compared to -0.91 in the first quarter of this year and -1.49% in the same time last year. “Nigeria out of recession,” his tweet read in part.

NBS publishes Q2 2017 GDP. Nigeria out of recession: GDP grows 0.55% in Q2 2017 compared to -0.91% (revised)in Q1 2017 & -1.49% in Q2 2016— Dr Yemi Kale (@sgyemikale) September 5, 2017

The cause Nigeria’s slip into recession was believed largely to be as a result of the slump of oil prices on the world market. That situation was worsened by renewed insurgency in the Niger Delta region last year, the attacks on oil installations continue to disrupt production of oil in the region.

The government, however, launched an economic blueprint that was aimed at taking the country out of recession with a strong emphasis on building the non-oil sector of the big economy.

Pres MBuhari, in his New Year's Day 2017 Speech. Today nigerianstat released data showing #Nigeria is now officially out of the recession.— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 5, 2017

South Africa’s quick exit out of recession

South Africa on their part confirmed a technical recession in the first quarter of this year. Official growth data released on Tuesday indicated that the economy grew by 2.5% in the second quarter of 2017.

Statistics South Africa noted that the growth was buoyed mainly by the agriculture and mining industries. The size of the South African economy according to statistics stood at 1.145 trillion rand.

The SA #economy grew by 2,5% in Q2:2017 from Q1:2017 driven by #Agriculture & #mining industries #StatsSA #GDP— Stats SA (@StatsSA) September 5, 2017

A statement issued by Stats SA read in part: “South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was 2,5% in the second quarter of 2017.

“The largest positive contributor to growth in GDP in the second quarter was the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, which increased by 33,6% and contributed 0,7 of a percentage point to GDP growth.

“Finance, real estate and business services increased by 2,5% and contributed 0,5 of a percentage point to GDP growth. The mining and quarrying industry increased by 3,9% and contributed 0,3 of a percentage point to GDP

“In contrast general government services decreased by 0,6% and contributed -0,1 of a percentage point to GDP growth.”

The cause of the recession was blamed on weak manufacturing and trade, suggesting high unemployment and stagnant wages were dragging down South Africa’s long-resilient consumer sector, analysts said.

Political instability, high unemployment and credit ratings downgrades have dented business and consumer confidence in South Africa and the rand extended its losses against the dollar, while government bonds also weakened.

Financial watchers have also held that Nigeria and South Africa have both benefited from a recovery in commodity prices since early 2016, though not as much as their main trading partners – China, the United States and the euro zone.

Lesotho army chief and two officers gunned down, tensions rise in Maseru

Lesotho’s army chief and two other senior officers were shot dead on Tuesday leaving the country in a tense state.

The shooting according to media reports took place at an army barracks killing Khoantle Mots’omots’o and the two others.

A top military officer told Reuters that the two slain officers were the subject of a probe into the killing of another Lesotho defence commander in 2015. They will, however, not wade into talk that the two killed Mots’omots’o and were in turn shot dead by other soldiers.

The country’s only neighbour, South Africa, called for calm with President Jacob Zuma expressing his outrage at the incident. Zuma who is head of the regional bloc, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) said the body will send a mission to Lesotho on Thursday.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who fled the country in 2014 after a coup attempt and whose wife was shot dead in June, offered no details about the killings during a news conference other than saying the incident was being investigated.

Lesotho has been through bouts of political turbulence since the attempted coup in 2014 and its last three elections – most recently in June – have failed to produce winners with clear majorities.

The kingdom has been subject to several coups and periodic political violence since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.

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