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Weah, Drogba to partner with Macron in football initiative

Liberia’s president, ex-football star, George Weah, joined fellow African football great Didier Drogba and emerging French youngster Kylian Mbappe in Paris to launch a platform that will support sport in Africa.

Hosted by French president, Emmanuel Macron, the three great strikers committed themselves to supporting the French initiative.

Sport can be “a strong and dynamic vector for Africa”, stressed the French Head of State at the end of a luncheon which also brought together the presidents of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët and the Fifa Gianni Infantino.

Macron announced the launch of a “platform for transformation through sport” in Africa with an initial budget of €15 million (Sh2.1 billion), which will finance “grassroots projects”.

The projects will include the construction of infrastructure, the provision of sports facilities and training programmes or business start-up aid. “I’m going to put all my energy into helping out as much as I can,“ said Mbappé, the young prodigy of PSG and France’s national team.

“Even though I am French, I have African origins. For me, helping African sport to develop is something I care about.”

“Football is very powerful because it brings people together and unites them,“ said Drogba, the former star of Olympic Marseille and Chelsea, who created a foundation for the health and education of young people in Côte d’ Ivoire and Africa.

Kabila’s unwelcome tenacity underlines DRC’s unsure fate

Even as long serving African strongmen succumb to pressure and vacate their seats, Democratic Republic of Congo’ Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, refuses to give up. Kabila struck a deal in December 2016 with the main opposition bloc to stay on after his mandate expired on the condition elections were held by the end of 2017.

Government authorities missed that deadline and the vote is now scheduled for this December. However, election officials have hinted that polls may not even be possible then because of financial and logistical constraints.

As the political crisis has dragged on, Congo has experienced a spike in violence by armed groups, particularly in the restive east, which many fear could plunge the country back into the kind of conflict in which millions died at the turn of the century.

Perilous escape attempts

Meanwhile, the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo is in turmoil. Clashes between a Ugandan rebel group and DRC’s military have pushed civilians to make the dangerous crossing into Uganda. Some are even attempting to row across Lake Albert, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, in what is essentially a 10-hour pedal-and-row.

For a long time, the south east has been plagued by violence but new armed groups are popping up and the Congolese in the area are trapped. Fighters don’t know who is on whose side so civilians are targeted. Murders, abductions and rape are now the order of the day.

In 2017 an estimated 120, 000 fled to neighbouring countries. The latest wave of violence is said to have displaced five times this number in just 2 months.

Ethiopia’s elaborate state of emergency after Desalegn exit

The command post established to oversee the new state of emergency in Ethiopia, has issued the much awaited details of how it will work.

In his press briefing today, Secretariat of the Command Post and Minister of Defence, Siraj Fegessa, announced details of prohibited actions and measures to be taken against anyone if found violating the directives.

Nevertheless, the state is determined to implement the state of emergency, which is yet to be endorsed by the national parliament that is currently in recess.

Other than banning protests and publications inciting violence, the state of emergency seeks to outlaw any action in breach of the constitution and constitutional order, or activities that erode tolerance and unity of the people as well as having link with and providing support for terrorist organisations. It also prohibits obstructing transport services, carrying out attacks on infrastructure and development institutions, hampering activities of law enforcement bodies, and staging unauthorized demonstrations and meetings.

As well, it forbids hindering teaching learning process at schools, strike at sport fields, violence inciting actions, hindering distributions of basic goods as well as obstructing cultural, public and religious festivals. It also forbids promoting political agendas. The order also prohibits possessing firearms at public areas or transferring firearms to a third party as well as providing support to activities which affect the peace and wellbeing of the people.

Further, the decree also prohibits issuing statements on security matters without the permission of the Command Post, distributing erroneous and information which contradict with the law and the directives issued by the Command Post. Also forbidden is the carrying weapons in unauthorized regions, movement of any individual around infrastructures, investment areas and other related places within the time put under curfew by the Command Post, and security officers are authorised to take measure against an individual if found in breach of the curfew.

The state of emergency declared after the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has been criticised by foreign diplomats including the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

Ethiopians in the Northern Amhara city of Gondar have also defied the directive banning protests, by organising a sit-down strike.

Another first for women in the Middle East

The 1st female led TV station in Gaza has been launched. Women will make up the heart of its content and will also be its target audience. Sara Okal, a presenter said that Taif TV will discuss women issues such as violence and inequality, economic empowerment, fashion, make up and comedy and try to find solutions to their problems as well as celebrate their successes. The new TV station is going out on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Telegram. A local production company will provide its facilities for use free of charge.

Lupita’s Wakanda charm lands her major role

Kenya’s Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o is to star in a film adaptation of internationally acclaimed South African comedian Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime.

“I could not put the book down. Excited to announce that I will be starring in and producing its feature film adaptation!” Nyong’o said on her Instagram account. Noah – who anchors one of the US’s most influential TV programmes, The Daily Show – responded on Twitter by simply saying, “I’m in heaven”. He gave a detailed response on Instagram, saying Nyong’o – fresh from her success in Black Panther – was “beyond a perfect fit” for his mother.

“My mom is a powerful woman who could easily be one of the beautiful soldiers in Wakanda. So it’s beyond a perfect fit that she would be portrayed on the big screen by the radiant and regal Lupita Nyong’o. I’m beyond excited,” he wrote ^

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