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Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari is in the United Kingdom, Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos was in Spain, Benin’s Patrice Talon just returned from Paris and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe frequents Singapore.
Ordinarily one would think these leaders fly out to participate in international engagements or for official visits but that is not the case in respect of those mentioned above. All four left home to seek medical treatment abroad.
What is it about the healthcare system back home that these leaders would rather seek treatment outside their respective countries?
Buhari’s undisclosed ailment and the London trips
74-year-old Muhammadu Buhari returned home in March 2017 after spending seven weeks on sick leave in the UK for an undisclosed ailment. He left Abuja on January 19 after informing the National Assembly.
He is, however, back in the UK since May 7, for ‘further medical checks,’ his wife visited him earlier this month and reported that he was doing well and fast recuperating. It is unclear when he will be returning but his Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, continues as Acting President till then.
The last publicized medical condition he had was an ear infection for which Buhari was in the UK for treatment sometime last year. In the case of the recent ailment, the Presidency insists that its a private affair and that he was fit to continue in his role as President.
Buhari who came to power in 2015 as leader of Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation, his recent absence has been raising fears and speculation about his ability to run the country.
A recent letter signed by 13 civil society organizations called on him to take medical leave. As it stands now, he is on leave and is expected back to continue running affairs of the country.
Dos Santos’ Spanish treatment and fake news purveyors
Oil-rich Angola for the first time in a long while officially confirmed that longtime president, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, was in Spain to seek medical treatment in May.
Despite leaving the country in early May, it was not until May 29, that the foreign minister confirmed the news after opposition parties heaped pressure on the government to disclose the location of the man who has led Angola since 1979.
Before the Minister’s clarification, fake news websites planted a story reporting the death of the 74-year-old, it took his daughter, Isabel Dos Santos, to debunk and chide the purveyors of such news on her social media handles.
Dos Santos steps down from power after 38-years in charge. He will continue to lead the ruling party but Joao Lourenco, Interior Minister will be on the ballot paper for the MPLA in presidential polls slated for later this year.
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and routine checkups in Singapore
From Angola, we move across the southern Africa region to Zimbabwe, where the continent’s oldest leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, has been flying out to Singapore to seek medical attention. He has been out twice this year alone.
The government says the 93-year-old suffers from eye cataract disputing the opposition claims that Mugabe is afflicted by a cancer. At a time when he was flying out to seek treatment, major hospitals in the country were in crisis.
Some had resorted to turning away non-emergency cases, at a point doctors had embarked on strikes, some facilities had announced the suspension of surgeries citing the unavailability of medicines.
Mugabe is, however, billed to be on the ballot paper when elections are held next year. The ruling ZANU-PF picked the nonagenarian as its candidate.
Benin’s Talon and the Paris surgeries
The latest leader who stepped out for medical reasons was Patrice Talon of Benin. The presidency has opened up about his condition disclosing that the 59-year-old underwent two successful surgical operations during his recent visit to Paris.
According to a statement released on Monday (June 19), one procedure was due to doctors finding a lesion in his prostate while the second operation was in his digestive system.
His absence for close to three weeks as is the case in most African countries, raised concerns and speculation about his whereabouts.
Talon “has completely recovered” and “is fully exercising his constitutional duties,” his office said upon his return to the country on Sunday (June 18). Talon, a successful cotton businessman was elected President of Benin in March 2016.
He took over from Thomas Yayi-Boni who had served his constitutionally mandated two terms. Talon defeated the then Prime Minister, Lionel Zinsou, in second round of voting after both men led in the first round.
Having been overwhelmed by the “high profile” corruption scandals that have hit his six month old government, President Akufo-Addo is now banking hopes on the support of Ghanaians and God to fight the canker he promised would never happen when he is elected President.
Addressing Ghanaians resident in the United Kingdom recently, President Akufo-Addo helplessly said “to the extent that God gives me health and strength; I am going to do my best to make sure that the fight against corruption is won.”
The almost-daily reported cases of corruption are contrary to President Akufo-Addo’s campaign promise that there will be no place for corruption in his government. The New Patriotic Party government has been struggling to come clean on the many allegations of corruption being reported, six months after taking over the leadership of the country.
Even as the government has been hit with accusations of corruption since January this year, President Akufo-Addo is yet to institute one investigation into any of the allegations and/or, punish any officials involved.
The President’s loud silence and perhaps, inaction in various alleged cases of corruption calls into question his commitment to rooting out the canker.
Leading members of the NPP have been fuming over corrupt practices in the barely six months-old government which they say, are known to President Akufo-Addo, but he has overlooked them and instead, keeps reechoing his promise to fight corruption.
Social media communicators of the NPP have in recent time resorted to using syndicated message to warn Ministers and appointees of the Akufo-Addo administration to desist from acts of corruption or risk being exposed.
One such message, which is on the walls of most NPP facebookers, reads “and let me make this point clear. Any appointee of the Ghanaian government who engages in any act of corruption, misappropriation or malfeasance of the poor taxpayer's money should count some of us as the lead campaigners for such person's dismissal and onward prosecution. Some of us are from very poor background and we know and understand the damage such acts has done to the majority of the people. Ghanaians changed the NDC to see a difference not a continuation. Don't be caught or else......”
Another staunch member of the NPP based in Kumasi, Daveleo Dorwobor, is also accusing the Akufo-Addo government of corruption, insisting that government’s decision to award a contract to Zoomlion Ghana limited to collect government’s proposed towing levy indicates that President Akufo-Addo’s promise to fight corruption is a facade.
On his facebook wall, Mr. Daveleo wrote “any government that happily engages Zoomlion for any contract, I am sorry, is nothing but a very corrupt government. And it seems the NPP has fallen flat into the corruption trap. I shall be back.”
Sources at the seat of government have told The aL-hAJJ that members of the NPP are overly worried that “the looting going on” in the infant Akufo-Addo government may soon get to the public and that will be detrimental to the President and the NPP, hence the warnings.
Stunned by the level of corruption in the new NPP government, Brong Ahafo regional Youth Organizer of the party, Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC has, out of anger, resigned from a presidential taskforce set up by Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, to retrieve alleged stolen state vehicles.
Reports are that some senior officials at the seat of government are selling some of the “seized” or retrieved state vehicles to themselves and their cronies at chicken feed prices. This, sources say, angered Abrony DC, leading to his resignation.
Short of confirming the scandal that has hit his taskforce, Abronye DC said, President Akufo-Addo and some senior officials at the Flag Staff House frustrated his resolve to retrieve state vehicles from past government officials.
The exercise, he said, would be a futile one because government officials who are supposed to be supporting the retrieval of the “missing” state cars are rather supporting wrongdoing by calling for the return of the said cars to those thought to be in illegal possession of them.
“Let me use your platform to tell those officials at the Flagstaff House that most of the confiscated cars are parked at the Regional Coordinating Council. They can go and pick them and return to the people we retrieved them from. I, Abronye DC, will not worry myself and drive to Sunyani to go for the cars.
“I don’t care anymore if anyone steals state cars, whether NPP or NDC, they can make away with state cars; I don’t care. I cannot be doing this donkey work anymore for some officials at the Flagstaff House to tell us that we should return the cars because the seizures are creating tensions in the country. How on earth can somebody be doing this? Henceforth, no journalist should call me to ask me about stolen cars.”
Cash for Appointment
Bigwigs of the governing party have also, openly accused other party kingpins of taking bribes and other goodies from NPP members with hopes of securing them positions in the Akufo-Addo government.
Last recently, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djabah disclosed that Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Daniel Bugri Naabu, took money, cow and other goodies from party members with hopes of convincing the President to appoint them to their preferred positions.
"I want him to stop telling lies about me and to stop collecting people’s things and promising them jobs he cannot give. When he goes and does that, after he has collected their money and their cows and goats, then he will come and put the trouble on Otiko. Otiko will not accept it. If Bugri wants trouble from me then the trouble will come,” she fumed.
Just when the Otiko and Bugri Naabu scandal was about losing steam after the duo were instructed to apologize to the party, Deputy Central Regional Organizer of NPP, Mathew Botchwey affectionately called ‘California’ also blew the lid on how his Chairman, Robert Kutin was allegedly collecting money from ‘outsiders’ in for appointments.
California revealed that one Abdallah, identified as a son of the producer of ‘Mercy Cream’, paid the sum of Hundred Thousand Cedis (GH¢100.000.00) to Robert Kutin to influence his chances of securing a DCE slot but all to no avail. Chairman Robert Kutin has since denied the charge and has threatened court action.
Allegations of bribery have also characterized appointment of MMDCEs and other appointments to state institutions and other acts of corruption including questionable sole-sourcing contracts at COCOBOD among others.
Corruption Here, Corruption there
Mr Bugri Naabu and the Northern regional branch of Contractors Association have also accused their regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, of extorting money from contractors and businessmen in exchange for government contracts.
This allegation was contained in a statement signed by Chairman of the association, Alhaji Iddal and one Alhaji Tono Man. This was said to have irked Mr Naabu who was reported knocking on the doors of the President Akufo-Addo to sack the regional Minister.
Director of Operations at the Presidency, Mr Lord Commey, has also been accused of taking GHC250, 000 a week from a kingpin of the opposition NDC at National Lottery Authority to save him from being sacked by President Akufo-Addo.
The former NPP National Organizer has however refuted the allegation in a lengthy and strongly worded rejoinder, insisting the allegation was false and unfounded.
There are reported cases of “missing” vehicles, goods and other items confiscated at the various ports since the NPP dispatched some of its members to takeover the management of the country’s ports.
Sources at the ports say importers and freight forwarders have for some time now been complaining about missing “seized” imported vehicles and goods.
Prime among the missing items since NPP took over the management of the country was the mysterious disappearance of 10 bags of cocaine worth $30 million from the Tema port.
Ken and Agyarko Scandals
Two Cabinet Ministers in the Akufo-Addo government have so far had their fair share of corruption allegations with one being cleared of the charges in a widely criticized parliamentary committee report.
Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, was accused by MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga and two others of bribing minority legislators on the Appointment Committee with GHC3000 each to facilitate his approval.
The money was said to have been channeled through Chairman of the committee, Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak. However, a committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament chaired by Joe Ghartey cleared Mr Agyarko of the allegation in a report that has been described by anti-corruption agencies and campaigners as face saving report.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta is also battling to clear his name in a conflict of interest and inside trading accusation lodged with CHRAJ over a $2.25 billion bond issued to Franklin Templeton whose board member, Trevor Trefgarne is also board chairman of the Finance Minister’s company, Enterprise Group.
Policy Think Tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), is also demanding that Mr. Ofori Atta resigns from his position pending the outcome of CHRAJ’s investigations.
Ministers blocks DVLA?
In what has been described as swift move to prevent another corruption scandal hitting the Akufo-Addo government, Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has instructed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to suspend its intended introduction of Smart Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration Cards.
A letter dated June 14, 2017 ordered that the two projects be suspended until the necessary approvals have been sought. “I wish to refer you to the discussion I had with you on the subject for which drew your attention to the need to obtain approval from the Ministry and Cabinet before implementation of such major projects.”
Corruption on the Rise
President Akufo-Addo’s claim his administration is winning the war against corruption has been rubbished by anti-graft campaigner and former NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, P C Appiah Ofori, who says corruption is on the ascendency.
“Corruption is seriously wreaking havoc to our economy because we have monies that are supposed to be used for various developmental projects diverted into personal pockets crippling the economy”, he disclosed on Kumasi-based Abusua Fm.
A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho, has said corrupt practices so far recorded in the Akufo-Addo government is a tip of the iceberg, insisting, there are more shocking revelations and rot at the presidency yet to hit the public domain.
Responding to Abronye DC, the NDC deputy General Secretary said he does not respond to utterances by Abronye however, his outburst has more hidden agenda and Ghanaians will be shocked in the coming days.
According to him, it has emerged that officials at the seat of government are selling Toyota Land Cruisers at GHS2000. “The truth will certainly come out. Ghanaians should embrace themselves for more discovery of rot at the presidency,’’ he noted.
A 36 ans, Peris Wangechi a remporté le prix de meilleur conducteur de taxi à Dubaï. Première kenyane à être distinguée, ce prix valorise l’excellence, le travail de la diaspora africaine dans ce pays.
Le gouvernement des Émirats arabes unis, a remis à Peris Wangechi, le prix de l’année dernière en reconnaissance de son record professionnel et de sécurité exceptionnel.
Le gouvernement récompense chaque année les meilleurs chauffeurs de taxi qui ont passé l’année sans infractions et aucun cas d’accident.
Dans une interview accordée à Nairobi News, Peris a déclaré qu’elle était aux Émirats arabes unis depuis plus de 10 ans et exerçait en tant que chauffeur de taxi avec la Dubai Taxi Corporation environ six ans déjà.
d’un garçon qui vit avec sa grand-mère à Nairobi au Kenya. Bien que séparé par une distance conséquente, ils se voient régulièrement.
« J’ai droit à un congé annuel de 60 jours. Pendant ses vacances scolaires, il me rend visite et je suis à Nairobi tous les mois de décembre ».Elle a exprimé sa fierté pour ce grand exploit, bien que son principal défi soit de porter le hijab au travail puisqu’elle est dans un pays islamique. Étant une fervente chrétienne, cela est particulièrement difficile, mais avec le temps elle s’est adaptée
A l’issue du second tour des législatives françaises, la République en marche d’Emmanuel Macron obtient la majorité absolue. Deux Français d’origine togolaise sont élus députés.
Patrice Anato et Laétitia Avia font partie de la nouvelle génération de députés élus sous la bannière du parti du président de la République française.
Le premier 41 ans, consultant en transactions de fonds de commerce, est élu député dans la 3è circonscription (Noisy-le-Grand, Neuilly-sur-Marne, Neuilly-Plaisance, Gournay-sur-Marne) avec 57,1%. La seconde 31 ans, avocate de métier, est sortie vainqueur de la 8e circonscription électorale de Paris avec 65% des voix.
Patrice Anato est originaire de la préfecture des Lacs (Togo), alors que Laétitia Avia vient de Danyi M'Pasem dans (Kloto), localité située au Nord-Ouest de la capitale togolaise.
Tous les deux, grâce à leurs parcours, ont séduit le jeune président Macron qui leur a fait confiance.
In a tweet, the president also seemed to accuse the US deputy attorney general of pursuing a “Witch Hunt”.
He said: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo the White House used to justify the firing of the ex-FBI chief.
Mr Rosenstein took over the investigation into whether Russia tried to tip the US election in favour of Mr Trump after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March.
The deputy attorney general later appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.
The FBI and Congress are both looking at whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot. The inquiries have yet to show evidence of collusion.
Mr Trump also tweeted on Friday morning: “After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my ‘collusion with the Russians,’ nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!”
His tweets come as Mr Trump marks two years since announcing his plan to run for president.
Why is Mr Trump being investigated?
Mr Trump was not under investigation before Mr Comey’s firing, but reportedly is now facing scrutiny for obstruction of justice over the circumstances surrounding the ex-FBI chief’s sacking, according to US media.
Special Counsel Mueller was reportedly planning to interview intelligence officials on whether Mr Trump got rid of the FBI director, James Comey, in May to hamper an inquiry into his sacked national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Mr Comey, who had been leading one of several Russia inquiries, testified to Congress last week that the president had pressured him to drop an inquiry into links between Mr Flynn and Russia.
Mr Flynn was forced out in February after he misled the vice-president about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador before Mr Trump took office.
The White House has said the president “has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn”.
Friday’s tweet marked the first time Mr Trump has publicly acknowledged he is under investigation.
Mr Comey said he was “sure” Mr Mueller was looking at whether Mr Trump had obstructed justice, but added that to his knowledge, the president had not tried to impede the Russia inquiry.
Mr Trump is unlikely to face criminal prosecution as a sitting president, but obstruction of justice could be grounds for impeachment.
‘We have to focus on our great objective. This great objective is to speed the country’s development so that we can have more production, more vehicles, including Mercedes (Benz),’‘ the words of Mozambican Premier in response to an outrage over posh cars for top members of parliament.
According to Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, instead of complaining over expenditure of MPs, nationals should work hard to better the fortunes of the economically battered southern African country.
The BBC’s reporters in the country, Jose Tembe, however, reported that PM do Rosario said there was the need to measure the implications of the expense on the country’s budget.
Mozambicans earlier this week expressed disgust after the leadership of the country’s legislature purchased 18 luxury vehicles for an estimated $3.8m. The vehicles were assigned to members of the Standing Commission – the legislature’s governing board.
The outrage which was largely on social media was against the backdrop that the country was in the midst of an economic crisis. The purchases were largely seen as insensitive on the part of the lawmakers.
Leaders of the opposition and ruling party bloc admitted that the public outrage was justified but insisted that they needed official vehicles in the discharge of their duties. The National Budget Director of the Ministry of Finance, Rogerio Nkomo, also echoed that position.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and state budget donors suspended aid to Mozambique in April 2016 after the release of government-guaranteed hidden loans between 2013 and 2014 amounting to over 1.4 billion dollars (1.2 billion euros).
The amount added to the already known costs of the Mozambican Tuna Company (Ematum), contracted under the same arrangement.
On October 25, 2016; the Mozambican government assumed financial incapacity to pay the next installments of its debts with creditors, defending a restructuring of the payments, indispensable for a new program of the IMF, whose rules prevent aid to countries in an unsustainable trajectory of existing debts
France's foreign minister said Thursday he was confident "we will get there" in convincing a reluctant United States to give United Nations backing to an anti-jihadist force drawn from five African countries.
Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which make up the so-called G5 Sahel, have agreed to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops, but want UN logistical and financial support.
"We think that it is necessary to support them in this endeavour, because the security of Africans will not come, in the end, only from Africans themselves," said Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking in the Senegalese capital of Dakar as part of a west African tour.
France has presented a draft resolution to the Security Council that would give a UN mandate to the G5 troops to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and people trafficking.
"We are trying to move this forward, and I think that we will get there," Le Drian added, evoking the support of Senegal, a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
He noted an uptick in terror attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger that had led the nations involved to propose the creation of the force.
The United States had said the mandate lacks precision and that a council statement, instead of a full-fledged resolution, would provide sufficient support.
The European Union has already agreed to give 50 million euros to the regional force, but the United States and Britain are unwilling to commit UN funds for the operation, diplomats say.
The next summit of G5 Sahel nations will be attended by French President Emmanuel Macron on July 2 in Bamako, Mali, as France reaffirms its commitment to stamping out jihadists in the region.
France carried out a military intervention in Mali in 2013 to drive out jihadist groups, some of them linked to Al-Qaeda, which had seized key cities in the country's north.
France maintains its own 4,000-strong military presence in the Sahel region, known as Barkhane, which works alongside a separate Mali-focused UN peacekeeping mission.
Although the Islamists have been largely ousted from the north, jihadist groups continue to mount attacks on domestic and foreign forces, in violence that has engulfed parts of central Mali. (AFP)