By Patrick Obia
Liberia elections: Nine arrested for malpractice
As fingers continued to be crossed on the October 10th Liberia presidential elections, nine election commission staff have been arrested for tampering with votes.
It is a toe-to-toe affair between incumbent president George Weah and former vice president Joseph Boakai in the ongoing Liberia presidential election.
President George Weah has a slim lead of 43.8% of the vote while Mr Boakai gives him a close marking with 43.5%, provisional results show.
To emerge victorious, a candidate must garner more than 50% of the votes.
National Elections Commission Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lassanah told journalists in Monrovia that the temporary staff were arrested in Grand Cape Mount County and in Montserrado county.
But she reassured Liberians “that the attempted malpractices were corrected and they in no way affected the outcome of the elections.“
Gabon junta leader offsets presidential salary, slashes allowances
Gabon’s military leader, Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, has said he is giving up his salary as president and will only receive a wage as Commander of the republican guard.
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the announcement made by his spokesman said the gesture was because he is “aware of the social emergencies and many expectations of the Gabonese people”.
The junta leader became the interim president following the overthrow of President Ali Bongo in August.
“Each day that passes allows the (junta) to become more aware of the general state of deterioration of the country and of public finances in particular,” Col Ulrich Manfoumbi is quoted as saying by BBC News.
Deposed President Bongo’s 14-year rule was marred by allegations of corruption and other financial scandals, with the junta saying the country’s finances were “victim of a real criminal fury”.
Apart from renouncing his salary as president, General Nguema also decided to reduce public spending by slashing the allowances for lawmakers, eliminating political funds and cutting session allowances. The presidency said this would consolidate the state’s funds.
The latest move has been seen as an attempt to restore the Gabonese people’s confidence in the country’s leadership.
1,342 suspected, 42 confirmed, 1 dead in Chad dengue fever outbreak
Following the outbreak of dengue fever in Chad in August 2023, one has been confirmed dead, 1,342 suspected cases and 42 confirmed.
Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes and often causes mild flu-like symptoms with no specific treatment. Timely detection and management are vital.
These figures are up to the beginning of October – covering the period since the country declared a dengue outbreak in August, according to the World Health Organization or WHO.
Chad’s health ministry is currently responding to the outbreak amid concerns that the disease spreading further because of limited capabilities for surveillance and response.
BBC News researched that the Abéché health district, in the south-eastern Ouaddai province, is the epicentre of the current outbreak.
Cases in communities are likely to be under-reported because clinicians often confuse its symptoms with other infections, making early diagnosis challenging, especially in areas with limited testing facilities.
The WHO classes the outbreak as a high national-level risk due to favourable environmental conditions for mosquito spread and an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region involving an influx of refugees from Sudan.
The Nigerian Naira hit a record low against the dollar
Nigeria’s naira hit a new record low of 999 per dollar on the official market on Thursday, Refinitiv data showed, in line with weakness on the parallel market as dollar shortages continued to put pressure on the currency.
The Naira has been in free fall on the unofficial market, where it trades freely, which worsened after currency restrictions were lifted on the official market in June.
On Tuesday, Reuters said it slumped to 1,100 to the dollar on the parallel market and 980 per dollar on the official market, Refinitiv data showed.
The central bank has promised to intervene in the foreign exchange market occasionally to boost liquidity.
Civil societies take to streets over East African force in Congo
The coalition of civil society organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken to the streets in Goma to protest against the presence of East Africa’s forces.
The protest is due to the country’s inability to deal with the M23 rebels terrorizing the region.
The M23 has continued to hold some towns and villages in North Kivu province. Seven people were killed earlier this month in the area.
Almost a year ago, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan sent troops to DR Congo, under the banner of the East African Community Regional Force or EACRF, to try and disarm the rebel group and bring peace.
Last week, DR Congo spokesperson Patrick Muyaya confirmed to the BBC that his government would not be renewing the EACRF mandate.
Goma has also seen deadly protests against the UN mission in the country.
More than 6.2 million people have been forced from their homes in the east of the country and are living elsewhere in DR Congo, and another one million have sought asylum, mostly within Africa, according to the UN’s refugee agency.