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Mali : ECOWAS to convene emergency summit

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President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, has initiated a convergence of immediate Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments for a decisive action over the recent military coup in Mali.

Akufo-Addo, who is the Chair of the Authority, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 2021 First Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on May 25, the second time in nine months, Col. Assimi Goita seized power again in Mali, detaining transitional President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

Goita had accused the interim President and Prime Minister of failing in their duties.

The Chair, who also expressed worry on the development, said that ECOWAS had spent a lot of political and material resources in restoring democracy to Mali after the last junta in 2020

“My take is that we should call on the immediate Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.

“The body is responsible for ironing out the transitional arrangement to decide on the way forward for ECOWAS and Mali.

“The Community will be kept fully abreast on development on the situation,” Akufo-Addo said.

He, however, noted that as Chair of the Authority, he already sent a high-level mediation team led by former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan to look into the crises.

He said that he, was however, yet to receive reports on the situation.

“We condemn the unfortunate situation of Mali which ECOWAS has invested so much of its political and material resources.

“As current Chair of the Authority, I authorised an ECOWAS delegation comprising high level mediator in the Malian crises led by former President of the Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

“Others are Ghanaian Foreign Minister, Shirley Botchway, who is also Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Minister, Chair of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, to access the situation and report back to me,” he said.

According to him, due to the rains that have affected weather conditions for travels, the authority is yet to receive first hand report on the situation.

He gave assurance that the Community would be kept fully abreast on development on the situation.

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Tunis, said that the Parliament also strongly condemned the military takeover in Mali, stating that the recurring junta in the country was a threat to democracy in the region.

Tunis said that the Parliament like other ECOWAS Institutions had taken several steps to restore democratic rule in Mali.

“Earlier this year, I led a Parliamentary Fact-Finding Mission to that country and held discussions with all stakeholders in the transition process.

“We were assured by all parties of their commitment towards a transition to democratic rule.

“Unfortunately we have observed a few days ago, a dramatic shift in the political situation, which led to the arrest of the Transitional President, His Excellency Bah N’Daw and the Prime Minister, Mr Moctar Ouane,” he said.

According to him, the ECOWAS Parliament condemns, in the strongest terms, the military takeover in Mali and all acts in the region that threatens or stalls the process of entrenching Democracy across our States.

“We have made many efforts in securing a peaceful and stable ECOWAS and it is about time we take firm and decisive actions against forces that tend to reverse this trend.

“The ECOWAS Parliament stands ready to support all efforts aimed at putting Mali on the right trajectory of peace and democracy,” he said.

Also speaking, Brou said that ECOWAS had engaged the current authorities in Mali for the immediate release of the former Interim President and former Interim Prime Minister.

Brou said that the mediation team would brief the Chair of the Authority on its findings and the ECOWAS Community would be kept abreast of all interventions. (NAN)

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Ruto Sworn In As Kenya’s President

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William Ruto takes Oath of Office as New Kenya President
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William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth post-independence president at a pomp-filled ceremony on Tuesday, after his narrow victory in a bitterly-fought but largely peaceful election.

He was sworn in by the Chief Judge, Martha Koome, on Tuesday at a ceremony held in the packed Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.

Amid cheers from the excited crowd, Ruto swore an oath of allegiance and another oath for the execution of the functions of the office.

“I William Samoei Ruto, in full realisation of the high calling I assume as president of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the public of Kenya, that I will obey, preserve and protect this constitution of Kenya,” he said.

Ruto beat his rival Raila Odinga — who had been backed by outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta — by less than two percentage points in the August 9 poll.

The 55-year-old rags-to-riches businessman, who once sold chickens on the roadside, now faces a daunting task to steer a polarised country gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and punishing drought.

His rise to State House has been closely watched by the international community, which looks to Kenya as a reliable and stable democracy in a turbulent region.

Foreign allies and independent observers praised the conduct of the vote, which was largely peaceful and free of the violence that has marred past elections in the country of 50 million people.

Ruto won by only around 200,000 votes out of 14 million but the Supreme Court on September 5 upheld his victory, dismissing his opponents’ claims of fraud and mismanagement.

Outgoing head of state Kenyatta, who in a stunning turn of events had backed his longtime arch-rival Odinga in the election race, has promised a smooth transfer of power.

Kenyatta finally shook hands with Ruto at a meeting at the presidential residence on Monday after pointedly failing to publicly congratulate his deputy for several weeks.
Ruto has struck a conciliatory tone, extending a “hand of brotherhood” to his rivals and their supporters.

“We are not enemies. We are Kenyans,” Ruto said after the court’s decision.

But Odinga turned down an invitation to attend Tuesday’s ceremony and instead travelled outside the country, charging in a statement that the election body did not conduct a “free and fair” poll.

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Queen Elizabeth II dies at age 96

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Queen Elizabeth II
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The United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has died

The Queen died at Balmoral at the age of 96, after reigning for 70 years.

Family members gathered at Queen’s Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday.

The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.

With her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms.

A statement by the Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.

Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.

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Pakistan Flood: Death Toll Tops 1,000

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Pakistan Flood: Death Toll Tops 1,000
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The death toll from monsoon flooding in Pakistan since June has reached 1,033, according to figures released Sunday by the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

It said 119 people had died in the previous 24 hours as heavy rains continued to lash parts of the country.

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year it also brings a wave of destruction.

Officials say this year’s monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people — one in seven Pakistanis — destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

The NDMA said more than two million acres of cultivated crops have been wiped out, 3,451 kilometers (2,150 miles) of roads destroyed, and 149 bridges washed away.

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