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Political Instability: MPs task ECOWAS institutions to be more proactive




Members of the ECOWAS Parliament have called for urgent actions from the Community’s institutions to stop the distortions of democratic rule in Member States.

The Members of Parliament made the call on Wednesday, at a technical session of the ongoing High-level Parliamentary seminar in Winneba, Ghana.

The parliamentary seminar with the theme, “Two decades of democratic elections in ECOWAS Member States: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward”, seeks to proffer solutions to electoral inconsistencies in Member States.

Hon. Ladi Ayamba, a Member of Parliament from Ghana, who lamented the situation, said ECOWAS has solutions to the problems, but needs to have the political will to take affirmative actions, pointing at the situations in Mali and Guinea that could have been averted if ECOWAS was proactive.

“To me, it was a shame that ECOWAS went to Guinea for mediation, when an action could have been taken when the people opposed the change of constitution, which led to the coup d’état.

“ECOWAS had every opportunity before the situation escalated, but treated the situation as very simple, and then it became a big problem.

“It is about time ECOWAS sits up and takes actions, before situations become problems,”Ayamba said.

Similarly, Hon. Fatoumata Njai, representing Banjul South, the Gambia, lamented the recent incidences of Coup d’état in Mali and Guinea, expressing fears that it may soon become a norm in other Member States.

Njali said it was important for ECOWAS bodies to act now that the problem is “domestic” before ECOWAS begins to solicit international interventions.

“We thought Coup d’état was a thing of the past but, unfortunately, it is becoming a trend.

“First, it was the unlawful amendment of constitution in Mali, then Guinea, then Cote d’ Ivoire, and we know what is happening in my country, the Gambia.

“We beg you not to sleep and turn a blind eye to this, stop it now before it becomes too late,”Njai said.

Prof. Dakas Dakas, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Expert at the seminar, also reiterated the need for proactive actions, especially in countries where there are already threats of constitutional alterations.

Dakas said that laws must be put in place by the regional institutions to stop amendments of constitutions by Presidents, who want to remain longer in power.

“ECOWAS needs to be more proactive instead of a fire brigade approach.

“It is clear that there is room for improvements, and it is obvious that there is enough work to be done in proactive engagements.

“It is important that a diversity of mechanisms are put in place and commitments are made to advancing the cause of democracy in the sub-region,”Dakas said. (NAN)

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Ruto Sworn In As Kenya’s President



William Ruto takes Oath of Office as New Kenya President


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



Queen Elizabeth II

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



Pakistan Flood: Death Toll Tops 1,000


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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