As we wrap up the week, here are the top stories from Africa. Kenya is set to make a significant move towards continental unity, planning to open its doors visa-free to all African visitors by the end of the year. In a high-profile divorce case, former Ghanaian football captain Asamoah Gyan is making headlines for awarding his ex-wife valuable assets.
On the security front, a tragic incident unfolded in Nigeria’s Yobe State as suspected Boko Haram militants claimed the lives of over 40 people. Meanwhile, President Tinubu has issued a stern warning to underperforming ministers in his cabinet, suggesting potential dismissals.
Zimbabwe has marked a milestone with its Parliament’s permanent relocation to a new building, signifying progress in the country’s infrastructure. Lastly, Zimbabwe has extended the use of the US dollar as its official currency until 2030, aiming to maintain economic stability.
Check out all the top stories below:
KENYA TO BECOME VISA-FREE TO ALL AFRICAN VISITORS BY YEAR-END
Following its move to a visa-free agreement with South Africa, Kenya is planning to end visa requirements for all African visitors by the end of the year, President William Ruto has said.
Speaking at an international conference, President Ruto said, “By the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya.”
“It is time we… realize that having visa restrictions amongst ourselves is working against us.”
This announcement was met with enthusiastic applause from conference attendees.
Kenya will be the fourth African country to allow unrestricted travel for Africans, following the Gambia, Benin, and the Seychelles.
SHOWMAX IS SHUTTING DOWN OUTSIDE AFRICA
MultiChoice’s streaming service, Showmax, will discontinue its services outside of Africa from Friday, 01 December 2023.
Per the notice on its website:
“We’ve loved entertaining you since 2015, however from 1 December we’ll be available only in African markets. Until then, keep enjoying your favourite shows”.
“We have made the strategic decision to focus specifically on the African market and on meeting the needs of our growing customer base across this dynamic continent”.
Efforts are underway to introduce Showmax 2.0, a revamped version of the service, expected to be released before the end of the group’s fiscal year in March.
COURT ORDERS FORMER GHANA CAPTAIN ASAMOAH GYAN TO AWARD EX-WIFE CARS, TWO HOUSES, AND GAS STATION IN DIVORCE CASE
A court in Ghana has ordered former Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan (37) to give ex-wife Gifty Gyan a house in the UK, a house in Accra, a petrol station, and two cars.
After a lengthy three-year legal battle, the court has confirmed that Asamoah Gyan is the biological father of the three children with Gifty Gyan, ordering him to provide a monthly stipend of 25,000 Ghana cedis for her financial support; nonetheless, this doesn’t cover certain expenses like school fees, healthcare, flights, and various childcare costs, and as part of the settlement, Gyan’s UK mansion will be transferred to Gifty Gyan.
In addition to the monthly stipend, Gifty Gyan has received a four-bedroom house in Spintex, Accra, as well as two vehicles from Asamoah Gyan, and she has also been granted ownership of his land intended for a filling station.
Gyan is a retired football star. He retired in June after an impressive career, including being Ghana’s record goalscorer in international matches and Africa’s top scorer at the World Cup, with notable contributions in seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
ESKOM’S R254-BILLION DEBT RELIEF NOW COMES WITH INTEREST
In the midst of South Africa’s persistent power crisis, the government has introduced stricter conditions for disbursing R254 billion in debt relief to the struggling power utility Eskom, making these loans now interest-bearing, as revealed in the National Treasury’s statement during a mid-term budget review on November 1, 2023.
Duncan Pieterse, the head of National Treasury, clarified this action: “What we are changing is that we are making amendments to the debt proposing amendments to the Debt Relief Act to cater for interest on the loan and to cater for the minister’s ability to change the amount going forward should conditions not be met.”
“I think there has been quite good responsiveness from Eskom’s side in terms of meeting the conditions, but the one area that we are watching closely is the issue of the sale of the Eskom finance company which has not yet been concluded,” adds Pieterse.
ZIMBABWE WILL CONTINUE USING US DOLLAR UNTIL 2030
Zimbabwe’s government announced it will continue using its multi-currency system, mainly using the U.S. dollar, until 2030.
Before then, the government had planned to stop using multiple currencies by 2025. This caused uncertainty in the banking sector, with some banks refusing to give loans past 2025.
In a government gazette, President Emmerson Mnangagwa canceled the 2019 rule that set 2025 as the deadline.
The gazette, mentions, “Settlement of any transaction or payment for goods and services in foreign currency shall … be valid until the 31st December 2030.”
ZIMBABWE MINERS FEDERATION PRESIDENT CONVICTED OF GOLD SMUGGLING
Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Beatrice Rushwaya faces possible imprisonment for her involvement in the attempted smuggling of 6kg of gold worth $330,000 back in 2020.
Claiming she had mistakenly taken the wrong bag at the airport scanner while traveling from Harare to Dubai, she was charged with an invalid export license for 6kg of gold worth $330,000.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, in a virtual hearing led by Justice Pisirayi Kwenda of the Harare High Court, following a five-day trial that took place from September 18 to 22, the judge ordered Henrietta Beatrice Rushwaya to be taken into custody, signifying the potential for a jail sentence.
Rushwaya’s sentencing will be handed down on 10th November 2023.
SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM KILLS AT LEAST 40 IN NIGERIA’S YOBE STATE: POLICE
Almost 40 people died in Yobe state, Nigeria, in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants, marking the first major assault on the northeastern state in 18 months, the police said on Wednesday..
According to the police, gunmen shot at villagers, killing 17 people, and on Tuesday, a land mine exploded, killing 20 more as they were returning from burying victims of the previous attack in Nigeria’s Borno state, an area known for insurgency.
SECTION OF EKO BRIDGE TO BE CLOSED FOR 5 WEEKS
Starting on Monday, November 6, 2023, the federal government has announced that it will close a part of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos for five weeks to carry out extensive repairs, as stated by Olukorede Kesha, the federal controller of works in Lagos State.
“The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works wish to inform the motoring public that it has perfected plans to carry out comprehensive repairs of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
“In view of the above, the motoring public is hereby notified that the repair works will begin with the ramps connecting Oworonshoki to Adekunle and Lagos-Island (Adeniji Adele) to Adekunle simultaneously.
“Consequently, the two ramps mentioned above will be closed to traffic by 7.00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, for five weeks.
“Motorists are, therefore, advised to cooperate with the traffic management officials by obeying and observing all diversions as directed. They are encouraged to use the alternative routes as attached,” she said.
TINUBU THREATENS TO FIRE UNDERPERFORMING MINISTERS
On Wednesday, October 31, President Bola Tinubu stated that his ministers must perform well and undergo regular evaluations to keep their positions, cautioning that those who don’t meet their assignments and goals will be removed from the cabinet.
At the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, during the 2023 Cabinet Retreat for Ministers, presidential aides, Permanent Secretaries, and top government functionaries, Tinubu emphasized that ministers should work diligently.
He mentioned, “If you are performing, nothing to fear. If you miss the objective, we review. If you don’t perform, you leave us… Don’t be a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress.”
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE PERMANENTLY RELOCATES TO NEW BUILDING
On Thursday,26 October 2023 China gave Zimbabwe a new $100 million parliament building, which Harare considers a sign of stronger ties between the two nations.
The Zimbabwean Parliament has permanently relocated its secretariat and other offices to this new building located on the outskirts of Harare, at Mt. Hampden.
The relocation is estimated to take around two weeks, starting on Monday, 30th October 2023.
Tang Wenhong, a top Chinese official, gave the new parliament building to Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa at a ceremony attended by government officials, diplomats, and Chinese embassy officials, among others.
This impressive building stands on the edge of Harare and covers a space of 33,000 square meters. It includes a six-story office complex and a four-story building where the National Assembly and Senate meet.
The two buildings are connected by three bridges on each floor and house the National Assembly with a capacity of 400 people and the Senate chamber accommodating 150 seats, along with conference facilities, 15 committee rooms, staff offices, and a parking area.
The new parliament building, with a combined floor area of 33,000 square meters, is a pivot point around which a new administrative capital will be built, said Mnangagwa in his address at the ceremony.
“The new parliament building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China. The attention to detail and high standards of workmanship exhibited in this project are indeed commendable,” Mnangagwa said.
Tang stated that the project shows the cooperation between Zimbabwe and China and highlights their success in various areas like infrastructure and agriculture, setting a model for South-South cooperation.
TINUBU SEEKS SENATE’S APPROVAL TO BORROW $7.8BN, €100M
President Bola Tinubu has formally requested the Senate’s approval for an external borrowing plan spanning the years 2022 to 2024, with a total of $7.8 billion and and another €100 million in funding.
The formal request, articulated in a letter addressed to Senate President Godswill Akpabio, was presented for consideration during a session held on Wednesday. Tinubu underscored that the 2022-2024 borrowing plan had already received approval at a Federal Executive Council meeting in May under the previous administration.
Tinubu’s letter reads:
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved the 2022 – 2024 borrowing plan at the Federal Executive Council which was held on the 15th day of May 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, security and employment as well as financial management reforms, among others.
“The facility of the projects and programmes under the borrowing plan is $7,864,508,559 dollars and then in Euro 100 million euros respectively.
“The Senate is invited to note that following the removal of fuel subsidy and its impact on the economy in the country, African Development Bank, AfDB, and the World Bank Group, WBG, have indicated interest to assist the country in mitigating the economic shores and recent reforms with a sum of $1 billion and $2 billion respectively, in addition to the Federal Executive Council approved 2022-2024 external borrowing plan.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $7,864,508,559 dollars and in terms of euro, 1000 million euros.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes borrowing plans were selected based on positive technical economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, skills acquisitions , supporting the emergence of more entrepreneurs, poverty reduction and food security to improve the livelihood of an average Nigerian.
“The projects and programmes will be implemented in all the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory “In view of the present economic realities facing the country, it has become imperative that the resolve to using the external borrowing to breach the financing gap which will be applied to key infrastructure projects including power, railway, health, among others.
“Given the nature of this facilities and the need to consolidate the country to normalcy, it has become exigent to request the Senate’s consideration and approval of the 2022- 2024 external borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibilities to Nigerians through expeditious disbursement and efficient projects implementation.”
4 KILLED, 335 INFECTED IN ANTHRAX OUTBREAK IN ZAMBIA
Around 335 people in various regions of Zambia have been affected by Anthrax, with health authorities confirming 4 deaths, on Wednesday, 01 November 2023.
Zambian Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo reported that anthrax, which is contracted by consuming anthrax-contaminated meat, has been recorded across the country, with 242 cases and two deaths in Sinazongwe, 17 cases in Kazungula, six cases in Livingstone, two cases in Monze, and one case each in Choma and Kalomo.
She further said 19 cases had been reported in Western Province and that nine were recorded in Sesheke, six in Mongu, three in Nalolo and one in Sioma.
“We have recorded 30 cases in Eastern Province, and Lumezi district recorded 28 cases with one death whereas Lundazi has recorded two cases.
“Lusaka Province has reported 13 cases in Lusaka District with five in Kanyama and two in Matero, one in Chelstone and one in Chilenje sub-districts,” Masebo said.
KING CHARLES III IN KENYA: WIDESPREAD CALLS FOR AN APOLOGY OVER COLONIAL PAST
King Charles III, following his expression that “wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret” for the colonial-era violence, met with the family of Kenya’s executed rebellion leader and World War II veterans, while acknowledging the absence of excuses for past colonial abuses during Britain’s rule in East Africa.
For this four-day state visit to Kenya alongside Queen Camilla, Charles expressed his desire to “deepen my own understanding of these wrongs” and to strengthen “a modern partnership of equals facing today’s challenges,” responding to the calls for a formal apology to a country that endured decades of British rule before gaining independence in 1963.
“There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans as they waged… a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty. And for that, there can be no excuse,” he said at a state banquet on Tuesday evening.
“None of this can change the past but by addressing our history with honesty and openness, we can perhaps demonstrate the strength of our friendship today, and in so doing, we can I hope continue to build an ever-closer bond for the years ahead.”
While Charles did not deliver a formal apology, which would have to be decided by government ministers, Kenya’s President William Ruto commended his courage in confronting these “uncomfortable truths” and stressed the ongoing need for comprehensive reparations regarding the effects of colonial rule.