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Malawi lawmakers force salary increase for members into national budget

Members of Parliament (MPS) in Malawi have passed a MK1.454 trillion National Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year—after dramatically forcing the government to increase their salaries and allowances and increase development funding

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Members of Parliament (MPS) in Malawi have passed a MK1.454 trillion National Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year—after dramatically forcing the government to increase their salaries and allowances and increase development funding.

With the parliamentary Order Paper showing there were only 15 votes to screen before the passing of the budget in the Chamber in Lilongwe yesterday, the
lawmakers paralysed the key Committee of Supply budgetary process, saying they could not proceed unless their needs, especially perks, were taken care of by government.

Earlier in the week, the legislators had asked for a 10 percent increase to their salaries and allowances.

They also pressed government to top up on constituency and local development funds (CDF and LDF), now that development projects have stalled and as they need to complete the projects in a few months—before the Tripartite Elections next year.

Business was duly suspended in the House, to make way for discussions over the issues raised by the MPs.

After about an hour of the discussions, the legislators seemed cheerful as Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa and Leader of the Opposition Lazarus Chakwera announced that the issues had been resolved.

The MPs then went into a fast-forward mode in approving the votes, with First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje, as chair of the Committee of Supply, proving her experience in handling the often-dicey session well.

When Mcheka-Chilenje announced the passing of the budget, many MPs erupted into hand-clapping, with others giving a standing ovation, probably in saluting themselves and their Speakers.

Both Nankhumwa and Chakwera expressed joy that the budget had been passed after substantive debates by members on both sides of the House.

“The queries the MPs had tabled were resolved, including the outcry for salary and allowance increases,” said Nankhumwa. He did not give further details.
He said the key Appropriation Bill will be tabled on Monday, adding that the House will also tackle several other issues of national interest.

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Politics

Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Deby, wants Mali to ‘reconsider’ decision to quit G-5 force

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Reactions have continued to trail Mali’s decision to quit the West African anti-jihadist force, the G5 force. The latest to comment on the development is Chad’s interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby.

President Deby urged Mali’s military junta to reconsider its decision to withdraw from a five-nation military force fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region.

After breaking defence alliance with the French, Mali’s junta has announced that i will quit a West African anti-jihadist, G-5 force after it was blocked from assuming the presidency of the regional group.

President Deby, who is the acting president of the G5 Sahel, said in a statement released on his behalf on Friday that the alliance was “an irreplaceable instrument of cooperation”.

“The acting president of the G5 Sahel exhorts the government of the Republic of Mali to reconsider its position in order to allow efforts underway … (to) provide a solution to its concerns through an imminent conference of heads of state and government,” the statement said.

The G5 Sahel or G5S is an institutional framework for the coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in West Africa. It was formed at a summit of five Sahel countries: Burkina FasoChadMaliMauritania, and Niger.

President Mohamed Bayoum of Niger, who commented on the development on Wednesday also argued that Mali’s withdrawal from the G-5 will mark the end of the alliance.

Mali under Colonel Goita has been following what seems like a pattern of isolationism. Aside from breaking defence alliance with France, the European Nations (E.U) and the United States also do not seem to be on the same page with Mali. The EU and the US both condemned Mali’s alleged use of Russian-based mercenaries the (Wagner Group) to fight terrorists and the position does not with down well with Bamako.

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Sudanese government arrests communist leader, sparking new wave of protests in Khartoum

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A fresh wave of violent protests have broken out in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Friday following the arrest of a leading Sudanese communist politician, Mohamed Mukhtar Al-Khatib.

According to local media, the arrest of Al-Khatib, the leader of the Sudanese Communist Party, following a visit to Juba where he met with leading Sudanese rebel leaders, has led to another outbreak of protests with security forces using tear gas, water cannons and rubber to contain the upsurge.

The Sudanese protests is in its seventh month following a military coup in October 2021, which ended a 2019 power-sharing deal between army generals who overthrew long term President Omar al-Bashir.

The protesters on Friday marched under the harsh sun as security forces, including the US-sanctioned Central Reserve Police, were deployed at key points along the protest route.

A statement by the Sudanese Communist Party which has been the most hardline group against the coup and any future deal, has called for the release of its leader while urging the military junta to call back the security forces to prevent any further bloodshed pursuing a unified front against the coup, it said.

As a result of long months of protests, Sudan’s economy has nosedived as the government has gone without a prime minister since January, with businesses stagnating while citizens face steep increases in the prices of food, electricity and fuel.

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In bid to mend fences, new Somalian President releases $9.6m seized from UAE plane in Mogadishu in 2018

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A few days after being sworn into office, new Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has released $9.6 million the government seized from a United Arab Emirates plane in Mogadishu in 2018, in a first step aimed at mending relations worh the UAE.

The money was seized in April 2018, when Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency seized three suitcases containing the money at Mogadishu’s International Airport from a Boeing 737/700 operated by the UAE’s Royal Jet Airline, when Mohamud was in power.

The country’s Deputy Information Minister, Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala, who confirmed the return of the money to the UAE, said the “money has been released and it is on its way to the Emirates.”

According to Al-Adala, the Somalian delegation to the UAE to return the money included Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who flew out to Dubai on Wednesday to deliver the money in person.

Several Somali security officials at the time of the incident said the money was seized because it was illegal and was intended to disrupt the country’s security, an accusation the Emirate denied.

After the incident, diplomatic relations between Somalia and the UAE plunged to their lowest point in history, prompting the UAE to immediately end a military training mission in Somalia and also closed a military facility and the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Mogadishu.

Since then, the two countries have frequently exchanged angry political rhetoric with tensions reaching breaking point during the drawn-out process of Somalia’s elections, which were marred by disputes at all levels of government and a controversy over the president’s legitimacy.

In April of this year, Prime Minister Roble offered a public apology for the seizure of the UAE money, pledging that the cash, which has been in the Central Bank of Somalia, will be returned.

“We want to accept that we were wrong and seek forgiveness from our brothers [UAE]. We are two brothers and whatever has happened, let us look forward,” Roble had said in s video addressed to the Emirati foreign ministry.

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