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Politics

Politics (27)

Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza died of Covid-19, diplomatic sources in Bujumbura and Nairobi confirmed on Wednesday.

The Burundi government said Nkurunziza’s sudden death was a result of a heart attack. The 55-year old was due to stand down in August following elections on May 20.



“He had coronavirus but no one would say so because the president had played it down all along,” a western diplomat based in Bujumbura said.

 

About 11 days ago, Denise Nkurunziza, the first lady of Burundi, flew to Nairobi seeking medical treatment for a reason that was officially undisclosed.

However, it was confirmed later that she was suffering from Covid-19. She was, however, successfully treated at the Aga Khan University Hospital and rushed back to Burundi on Tuesday after the government announced her husband’s death.

According to the government statement, the Burundian strongman attended a game of volleyball on Saturday but fell ill that night and was taken to hospital.

It was reported that the president exhibited all the coronavirus signs and was struggling to breathe when he was rushed to a level 3 hospital in Karuzi in eastern Burundi.

Although he appeared to recover on Sunday and spoke to those around him, his condition suddenly deteriorated on Monday morning.

Government officials then frantically tried to get him to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania but could not make a decision quickly.



“There was a lot of confusion with two sides failing to agree on whether to transfer Nkurunziza to Nairobi where his wife was being treated or to Dar. In the process the President passed on, a senior diplomat in Nairobi said on Wednesday.


Apart from his wife, his other close family members have been infected by the disease, which has killed 414,377 people across the world.

Another 7,354,275 people have been infected and 3,628,913 people have recovered.

In Africa, 197,000 people have been infected and 5,000 people have died.

Like his close friend John Magufuli of Tanzania, Nkurunziza had refused to impose restrictions in the small and poor African country, allowing sporting events and mass political rallies to go ahead.

Burundi has reported 83 cases of Covid-19 and officials have insisted that God will protect them and have asked citizens to go about their daily lives without fear.

“Burundi … has signed a special covenant with God, whether you believe it or not," Nkurunziza said recently.

Last month, the former footballer expelled the representative of the World Health Organization amid criticism of the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It has carried out very few tests and held large rallies in the run-up to the election in May.

There was little public show of mourning on the streets as the country began a seven-day mourning period.

 



“He leaves behind a country whose economy is in very bad shape,” said a hospital employee who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.


Burundi’s economy is mired in poverty and cut off by international donors after the United Nations documented widespread rape, torture and murder of political opponents by ruling party activists and state security forces.

It remains unclear whether the powerful cabal of army generals and security chiefs who propped up Nkurunziza during his 15-year rule remain united over the succession.

Nkurunziza had been due to stand down in August, making way for retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, who won the election that the opposition said was marred by violence and rigging. The constitutional court last week rejected the rigging charges.

Pascal Nyabenda, a civilian who heads the national assembly, is now meant to take over until Ndayishimiye, his former rival, starts his seven-year term at the end of August.

Authorities have not commented on the succession or Nkurunziza’s burial date.

Nkurunziza was loved and feared — loved by those who felt he lived up to his promises when he was elected after the civil war and feared by his political opponents.

When the former rebel leader took office in 2005 at the age of 40, the country had been brutally torn apart by an ethnic conflict that had killed about 300,000 over a decade.

Young, optimistic and charismatic, he managed to live up to everyone's expectations by uniting people and rebuilding the economy. Between 2006 and 2011, the president — known for his preaching and love of football — received seven international awards for his peacebuilding efforts.

But after a decade in power, his reputation took a nosedive and the unity he had built collapsed when he organised a referendum to allow him to stand for a third term. Deadly protests erupted, there was a coup attempt and hundreds of thousands of people fled the country.

After this, he only left the country officially once — by car to neighbouring Tanzania. The UN accused him of oppressing the opposition and killing and abducting opponents, accusations vehemently denied by Burundi's government.

Despite suspicions that he planned to stay on for a fourth term, he did not stand in elections in May, which were held despite the coronavirus.

He and his wife Denise had five children and adopted several others. They regularly organised prayer gatherings. The man who was to become Burundi's "supreme guide to patriotism" put all his successes down to God, including what he said the country's success against Covid-19.

Speaker of the House of Federation (HoF) Keria Ibrahim has  resigned from her position.

Horn24news.com has learned that her resignation came before HoF delivered on the much anticipated outcome of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI) on Ethiopia's deferred election on Wednesday.

Keria Ibrahim has criticized the ruling Prosperity Party's (PP) "increasing practices of dismantling & delegitimizing the constitution", attempts to establish authoritarian regime,& the govt's handling of #Ethiopia's deferred election through Constitutional Interpretation

She also said that the House of Federation was being "pressured to destroy itself."

Keria Ibrahim was elected as Speaker of the HoF on April 30, 2018

His Excellency the President today, Wednesday, the 4th day of March, 2020 chaired a Special Session of the National Security Council (NSC); during  which the Press Release issued by the Federal Government of Somalia on the 5th February, 2020; the accusations by the Government of Somalia made by Amb. Abukar Dahir Osman in New York, on 27th February, 2020; and the subsequent unwarranted attack on Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Federal Government of Somalia on 2nd March, 2020, were considered.The National Security Council noted with concern the violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Somalia National Army on Monday the 2nd March, 2020; where the foreign soldiers in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera.This action amounts to an unwarranted attack by foreign soldiers with the intention of provoking Kenya. In keeping with our long-standing and distinguished tradition in peace keeping and peace building in the region and beyond and in particular – in Somalia; Kenya acted with total restraint.

The baseless accusations and invalid allegations made by the Federal Government of Somalia that Kenya is interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs; are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat and a tool to justify challenges in Somalia for political reasons. Kenya will not accept to be used in that manner.Indeed, we encourage the Federal Government of Somalia to stop the smear campaign and commit the energy to deliver leadership and prosperity to its people.Kenya has paid a heavy price and continues to make notable investments to peace and security in Somalia, the region and beyond. For many years, Kenya has and continues to host hundreds of thousands of Somalia refugees, many of who have sought refuge in Kenya and chosen Kenya as their home. Indeed, Kenya is proud to note that the fledging peace prevailing in Somalia today has been realized through over 30 years of our steadfast sacrifices and consistent efforts with various Somali stakeholders and other international partners towards lasting peace in Somalia.The Federal Government of Somalia in pursuit of short term political expediency is out to create artificial fissures in the relations between the Republic of Kenya and the Federal Government of Somalia. Kenya therefore joins calls by the United Nations and other regional and international partners urging the Federal Government of Somalia to urgently and exhaustively seek broad political consensus and ensure that key security benchmarks for governance and security relations between the Federal Government and Member States are achieved.

These efforts are imperative in consolidating the gains made and ensuring that Somalia is firmly on the trajectory to peace, stability and prosperity; which cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun.Further, Kenya is desirous to see that security resources in Somalia at both Federal and State level rationally used to defeat Al Shabaab terrorists and stabilize Somalia in order to enable her forces take over national security responsibilities from AMISOM. Al Shabaab terrorists remain the major existential threat to Somalia, Kenya and the Horn of Africa region. Defeating Al Shabaab and its international network should therefore remain the primary security focus of the Federal Government of Somalia as its core mandate.We therefore urge the Federal Government of Somalia, to cease and desist from the unwarranted provocations and focus on managing its internal affairs for the welfare of her people; defeating terrorism; and advancing the cause of peace, security and stability in the region.

The police must account for the whereabouts of Abdi Regassa - a senior member of the opposition political party Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – who remains missing after security officers in Addis Ababa broke into his home and arrested him alongside eight other party members on 29 February.

The other eight party members were released later the same day, but Abdi Regassa was not. He may have been subjected to enforced disappearance and is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. The police have denied they are still holding him according to his lawyer and family members.

The police deny that they have him yet he was last seen in their custody and there is no evidence that he has been released. Seif Magango, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“Abdi Regassa’s family and lawyers have spent the last couple of days frantically searching police stations and detention centres across Addis Ababa in an attempt to locate him,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The police deny that they have him yet he was last seen in their custody and there is no evidence that he has been released. This is understandably causing his family considerable anxiety and distress."


The authorities must come clean and immediately disclose his whereabouts and allow him access to his family and lawyer.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes
In the early hours of 29 February, security officers stormed a guest house in the southern part of Addis Ababa where five senior members of the OLF and four supporters were staying. All nine were arrested and taken to the local police station.

The OLF members were then split into two groups; the first group of six were moved to the Addis Ababa Police Commission and eventually released within 24 hours of arrest.

The second group of three, comprising Abdi Regassa and Mikael Gobena, both members of OLF’s Executive Committee, and Kenessa Ayana, a member of OLF’s Central Committee, were taken to an unmarked unofficial detention compound around the 6 Kilo area in Addis Ababa. While Mikael Gobena and Kenessa Ayana were released within 24 hours of arrest, the police continued to detain Abdi Regassa, the two told Amnesty International.

The Ethiopian authorities must stop arbitrarily arresting and detaining opposition figures. They must immediately disclose Abdi Regassa’s whereabouts, charge him with a recognisable crime under the law or release him without further delay.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes
The police confiscated the mobile phones, driving licenses, passports and bank ATM cards of all the OLF members before releasing them, leaving them stranded.



“The Ethiopian authorities must stop arbitrarily arresting and detaining opposition figures. They must immediately disclose Abdi Regassa’s whereabouts, charge him with a recognisable crime under the law or release him without further delay,” said Seif Magango.

(Nairobi, Sunday) 11 Kenya MPs who were on Sunday detained and grilled over alged  "Secret" Meeting With Somalia Spy Chief Fahad Yasin have been released, Interior Ministry Muruthi Kangi said.


Kangi said the Mps will not be charged. The legislators from Kenya's mainly ethnic Somali North Eastern region are lawmakers are Ahmed Kolosh (Wajir West), Ibrahim Abdi (Lafey), Rashid Kassim (Wajir East), Mohamed Hire (Lagdera), Omar Maalim (Mandera East), Bashir Abdullahi (Mandera North), Adan Haji (Mandera West), Kullow Maalim (Banisa) and Mohamed Dahir Dualle.


Horn24 News had earlier accessed a flight manifesto confirming they left for Somalia capital Mogadishu aboard a chartered Salaam Air Express flight WU-751 at 11am Saturday.


As  standard procedure the Mps were to to seek authorisation from the Speaker of the Parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


MP Mohamed Dahiye Duale (Dadaab) who was among 11 legislators who travelled to Mogadishu said they followed proper procedures before travelling including informing Kenya intel chief.


Duale denied reports that the delegation met Fahad Yasin.


According to MP Bashir Abdullahi the delegatio met Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo at the presidential palace Villa Somalia and  that their mission to Mogadishu was to de-escalate tension between Kenya and Somalia.



"All we care about is security of our region security of this country and that is the main reason we will knock doors even if we are told to go to another country to seek we will do it" Abdullahi said.


Abdullahi also said they raised concern about constant threat statements by Somalia Federal government.


"We delivered the message that he (Farmaajo) needs to de-escalate tge issue of the rhetoric letters accusing Kenya left center and right and told him in person that we plead with you please stop those things" Abdullahi said.


Among the delegation was  Mandera East MP Omar Maalim who recently criticized Kenya government of protecting fugitive Jubaland Interior Security Minister Abdirashid Janaan.


The presence of Janaan in Mandera town and perceived pro-Jubbaland stance by Kenya was raised in the meeting according to a source.


Latest row between Somalia and Kenya was triggered by the presence of Janaan and his troops at the Mandera border point one within a week after he escaped detention in Mogadishu.

Last week Somalia issued another one of its unsigned ministerial statement demanding Kenya end its "meddling" and "interference" in Somalia internal affairs.



"Somalia government responded to Kenyan meddling by dividing North Eastern on clan lines. Isolate Ogadenis, seen as pro-Madobe, groom Garre, Degodia, Ajuran" Rashid Abdi a regional affairs analyst said.


"Farmajo deployed troops to Gedo primarily to fragment Jubaland, stoke tension with Kenya, project FGS's new military might.Kenya took Farmajo's bait and seems intent on its own escalatory path.The countdown to full-scale war has began. And it will start in Gedo" Rashid Abdi added.


Somalia government deployed 700 Turkish trained SNA soldiers to Balad Hawo, Gedo displacing Jubaland forces and tension remains high in the region with Janaan's troops and government forces presence.

(Nairobi, Sunday) 11 Kenya MPs who were on Sunday detained and grilled over a "Secret" Meeting With Somalia Spy Chief Fahad Yasin have been released, Interior Ministry Muruthi Kangi said.

Kangi said the Mps will not be charged.

The legisators from North Eastern region are lawmakers are Ahmed Kolosh (Wajir West), Ibrahim Abdi (Lafey), Rashid Kassim (Wajir East), Mohamed Hire (Lagdera), Omar Maalim (Mandera East), Bashir Abdullahi (Mandera North), Adan Haji (Mandera West) and Kullow Maalim (Banisa).

Horn24 News has accessed a flight manifesto confirming they left for Somalia capital Mogadishu aboard a chartered Salaam Air Express flight WU-751 at 11am Saturday.

As a standard procedure the Mps were to to seek authorisation from the Speaker of the Parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Intel gathered by Kenya spy agency NIS shared to Horn24 News indicate that the delegation had a meeting with the Director of Somalia's National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA) Fahad Yasin.

A source privy to the agenda of the meeting told Horn24 News that the delegation was led by Mandera East MP Omar Maalim who recently criticized Kenya government of protecting fugitive Jubaland Interior Security Minister Abdirashid Janaan.

The presence of Janaan in Mandera town and perceived pro Jubbaland stance by Kenya was at the centre of the meeting between the Mps and Somalia spy Chief Fahad Yasin according to a source.

Somalia-Kenya relations deteriorated even farther with the presence of Janaan and his troops at the Mandera border point one within a week after he escaped detention in Mogadishu.



"Somalia government responded to Kenyan meddling by dividing North Eastern on clan lines. Isolate Ogadenis, seen as pro-Madobe, groom Garre, Degodia, Ajuran" Rashid Abdi a regional affairs analyst said.


"Farmajo deployed troops to Gedo primarily to fragment Jubaland, stoke tension with Kenya, project FGS's new military might.Kenya took Farmajo's bait and seems intent on its own escalatory path.The countdown to full-scale war has began. And it will start in Gedo" Rashid Abdi added.

Somalia government deployed 700 Turkish trained SNA soldiers to Balad Hawo, Gedo displacing Jubaland forces and tension remains high in the region with Janaan's troops and government forces presence.

Sufi Ahlul Sunnah Wa Jamaa spiritual leader  Moallim Mohamud and political leader  Sheikh Mohamed Shakir on Saturday morning surrendered to the government forces in Dhusamareb ending a day long fighting in the Galmudug headquarters of Dhusamareb.

The two leaders were put under custody of the Commander of the 15th Brigade General Masood Warsame awaiting to be airlifted to Mogadishu.

The death toll by Saturday morning stood at 35 including civilian deaths according to officials.

Friday night saw Sufi militia's INJI military camp surrounded by government forces with assault weapons been used.



Eyewitnesses told Horn24 News that heavy weaponry was used.

Sufi leaders reached out to Commanders of  Amisom Djibouti  and Ethiopia contingent for an intervention as it turned out that the moderate Islamist militia had been outgunned.

19 ASWJ militias surrendered overnight.  At around 4am government  commander’s and troops took full control of the situation.

Horn24 News reporter says residents who had fled the fighting are nkw returning back.

ASWJ leader Sheikh Shakir had recently declared himself Presidemt of Galmudug after falling out with the Federal government backed administration.

Observant policemen and foundation on the earphones he was wearing meant the game was up for Ibrahim M.'s attempt to illegally go to the United Kingdom. T he young Somalian man was at Esenboğa Airport in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Feb. 12, holding the travel documents and residence permit of one Khadija H. when he approached passport inspectors to board his flight to London. He had everything ready: a long skirt, a fur coat, a tight headscarf and full make-up.

The suspect indeed resembled the woman photoed on the documents, yet police grew suspicious about the copious amounts of freshly applied makeup. Police officers then checked security camera footage to discover that a woman had arrived to hand travel documents over to the suspect. Police instructed the suspect to remove her headscarf and clear her makeup while they ran a background check.

Abdirashid Janan Jubbaland's Interior Minister who escaped detention in Mogadishu last week has been  confirmed to be on the outskirts of Kenya's Mandera town with at least 250 armed soldiers.

According to a security source and a Mandera county official who spoke to Horn24 News Janan and his troops are  at the Iko Tulla Amin border point on the Kenya side.

Horn24news has accessed exclusive photos of the soldiers and Janan wearing military fatigue at the border point that is a few meters away from the Kenya paramilitary GSU camp.
In the photos Janan is seen adressing the soldiers. Several military vehicles are also photographed. A local leader identified the location as Iko Tulla Amin border point Mandera.

The soldiers had exit neighbouring Beled Hawo town in Gedo region upon a take over by Turkish-trained federal government troops earlier this week.
The take over was condemned by Jubbaland administration.

Janan is said to have sneaked into Kenya for safety and is currently under protection of Kenya Defence Forces at a Mandera hotel with access to his troops at the border point.

The presence of the soldiers and the tension on both sides of the border has led to a call by Mandera East MP Omar Sala to demand for the fugitive Minister to exit Kenya.



"For the past months we have had security issues in Mandera caused by Alshabab and their affiliates, now the situation has been worsened by the coming of Janan to Mandera who is said to have escaped from jail" Sala said in an interview with a Mandera radio station.

"The problem we are facing is that supporters and militias aligned to him are in Mandera and there is division between his own clan, some owing allegiance to the federal government and others to the regional government of Jubaland. This can worsen our security situation" Sala said.


"I therefore request Abdirashid and his militias to move out of Mandera town, whether they have the backing of the kenyan government or not is not my concern" Sala said.

Somalia this week accused Kenya of interfering with it's internal affairs in reference to reports that Nairobi was harbouring the fugitive minister.

Janan on Saturday spoke for the first time since his escape. In an interview with BBC Janan   gave details of how he escaped ending his 5 months detention in Mogadishu.



Janan said his escape was facilitated by unnamed federal government officials. He said he spent 3 days in hiding in the capital before sneaking to Liido beach and into a waiting boat which sailed him to Kismayo.

Mogadishu has issued an arrest warrant for Janan and has asked for assistance from the interpol.

Janan was arrested in September 2019  suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and other human rights violations.

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