As we wrap up the week, here are the top stories from Africa. The Ghanaian FDA continues to enforce the ban on celebrities advertising alcohol.
Meanwhile, a Nigerian woman makes headlines with a record-setting wig measuring over 350 meters. Labour unions halt a nationwide strike in Ghana, and the country makes progressive moves by eliminating VAT on sanitary pads, imported electric vehicles, and raw materials.
In sad news, Nigerian rapper Oladips passes away at the age of 28.
On an international front, the US announces the resumption of food aid deliveries in Ethiopia, South Africa makes a sizable import of 1.9 million fertilized eggs ahead of the festive season, and opposition leaders from DR Congo engage in talks held in South Africa.
Check out all the top stories below:
GHANA: FDA BANS CELEBRITIES FROM ADVERTISING FOR ALCOHOL BRANDS—MATTER IN COURT
The Supreme Court of Ghana was set to hear the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) celebrity ban suit this week, which restricts celebrities and influencers from promoting alcoholic brands in Ghana.
However, the case, initially expected to be presided over by a seven-member panel of judges, has been postponed to 17 January 2024.
In 2015, the FDA implemented a ban preventing Ghanaian celebrities from advertising alcoholic beverages, aligning with a World Health Organization policy and curbing adolescent alcoholism.
Additionally, the FDA restricted alcohol advertisements on TV and radio to the time frame of 6 am to 8 pm.
To challenge and advocate for artists, Mark Darlington Osae, the manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, took legal action in November 2022, dragging the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, to court over the imposed ban.
Osae is urging the Supreme Court to deem unconstitutional the guidelines prohibiting the use of “well-known personalities” in alcoholic beverage advertising.
During the 2015 stakeholders meeting in Ghana, Mrs. Isabella Mensa Agra, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Food Inspectorate Division at the FDA, declared, “No well-known personality or professional shall be used in alcoholic beverage advertisements. Approval will be revoked where a personality subsequently appeals to persons under the legal drinking age.”
In a recent development, Osae, along with other public figures such as Sarkodie, Bullet, and Sadik Sulley (SDK), persists in showing support for challenging this ban, scheduled for further hearing in 2024.
🚨FYA🇬🇭👨🏾⚖️: If you fall under the category of a “Ghanaian celebrity”, this is a very important piece of information you should know.
The Supreme Court of Ghana is scheduled to hear the Food and Drugs Authority(FDA) celebrity ban suit on advertising of alcoholic beverages,… pic.twitter.com/VDSjMM2e4g
— Ölele | Deep Throat Sauce👨🏾🍳🇬🇭 (@OleleSalvador) November 14, 2023
GUINNESS WORLD RECORD: NIGERIAN SETS RECORD FOR LONGEST WIG MEASURING OVER 350 METRES
In a remarkable feat, a Nigerian woman, Helen Williams, achieved a Guinness World Record by crafting the longest handmade wig, reaching an impressive length of 351.28 meters (1,152 feet 5 inches).
Using two million naira (£2,000: $2,500) and devoting 11 days, she crafted the hairpiece, using 1,000 bundles of hair, 12 cans of hair spray, 35 tubes of hair glue, and 6,250 hair clips.
Guinness World Records officially verified and acknowledged this accomplishment.
Helen’s toughest task was finding a place to measure her super-long wig, and after checking various spots, she ended up doing it next to the Lagos–Abeokuta Expressway, a really long road between Lagos and Abeokuta.
LABOUR UNIONS SUSPEND WORKERS’ NATIONWIDE STRIKE
After discussions with National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, activists linked to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) decided to end a countrywide strike on the evening of 15th November 2023.
The strike was initiated to express opposition to the alleged attack on NLC leader Joe Ajaero on November 1 in Owerri, Imo State.
The unions leveled accusations against the Imo State government and the state police, asserting that they were sponsoring thugs and affording them protection to inflict harm upon Mr. Ajaero.
Ongoing disruptions in various sectors, including transport, government services, business operations, and healthcare, are possible in the coming hours, and there may be calls for fresh strikes in the coming weeks if authorities don’t adequately address the unions’ demands.
GHANA SCRAPS VAT ON SANITARY PADS, IMPORTED ELECTRIC VEHICLES, RAW MATERIALS & MORE
The Ghanaian government declared that locally made sanitary pads will no longer be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), as stated by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in the 2024 Budget and Finance Statement on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.
Additionally, Ofori-Atta announced that the government will eliminate import duty on “raw materials for the local manufacture of sanitary pads” and maintain a zero rate of VAT on locally manufactured African prints for an additional 2 years.
Import duties on public transportation electric vehicles will be waived for 8 years, while registered EV assembly companies in Ghana will enjoy the same waiver for semi-knocked-down and completely knocked-down electric vehicles, also for 8 years. Furthermore, the zero rate of VAT on locally assembled vehicles will be extended for an additional 2 years.
A new 5 percent flat rate for VAT will replace the current 15 percent standard VAT on all commercial properties to make administration simpler.
US TO RESUME FOOD AID DELIVERIES IN ETHIOPIA
This December, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will resume delivering food aid in Ethiopia, following a five-month pause due to corruption allegations against local officials.
On Tuesday, USAID spokesperson Jessica Jennings revealed that the agency’s decision to resume operations comes after introducing reforms to enhance beneficiary registration and track donated grain.
Jennings clarified that these new measures will undergo a trial basis for one year, emphasizing that they “will fundamentally shift Ethiopia’s food aid system and help ensure aid reaches those experiencing acute food insecurity.”
ZIMBABWE: 22 DIE IN FATAL ACCIDENT ALONG BULAWAYO-BEITBRIDGE ROAD
At least 22 people lost their lives on Tuesday night, and two others were injured when a Toyota Quantum they were traveling in collided head-on with a truck along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road in Zimbabwe.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the police spokesperson, reported that the injured individuals are now under treatment at the United Bulawayo Group of Hospitals.
The incident occurred around 10 p.m. near the Thandweni Store.
All 22 people, including the driver, met a tragic end on the spot, with two occupants in the DAF truck sustaining injuries.
“The ZRP reports a fatal road traffic accident which occurred on 14/11/23 at around 2200 hours at the 27-kilometre peg along Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road near Thandweni Store in which 22 people were killed whilst two others were injured when a Toyota Quantum vehicle with 21 passengers on board was involved in a head-on collision with a DAF truck with one passenger on board,” said Nyathi in a statement.
He added “The injured victims are admitted at United Bulawayo Group of Hospitals. More details to be released in due course.”
DR CONGO OPPOSITION LEADERS HOLD TALKS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Representatives of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s major opposition parties arrived in South Africa on Monday to decide on a potential joint candidate, intending to collectively challenge President Felix Tshisekedi in the upcoming December 20 general election.
The current president, Felix Tshisekedi, is gunning for a second term in the next elections.
Representatives for five important opposition leaders gathered in Pretoria for talks, bringing together figures such as Moise Katumbi, a wealthy former governor; Martin Fayulu, a past presidential candidate; Augustin Matata Ponyo, a former prime minister; Delly Sesanga, a Member of Parliament; and Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
ZIMBABWE MINERS FEDERATION PRESIDENT FINED R90K
In the latest development surrounding the Zimbabwe Miners Federation president’s gold smuggling case, the court has ordered prominent Henrietta Rushwaya to pay a fine of $5,000 (around R91 000) for attempting to smuggle gold worth over $330,000 out of the country in her handbag.
Earlier this month, we reported that Rushwaya faces possible imprisonment for her involvement in the attempted smuggling of 6kg of gold worth $330,000 back in 2020.
In addition to the court’s decision on the $5,000 (around R91 000) fine, Rushwaya received an extra suspended 18-month sentence.
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.
NIGERIAN RAPPER OLADIPS (28) DIES
Emerging rapper Oladipupo Olabode Oladimeji—famed Oladips—has passed away on Tuesday, 14 November 2023.
He was 28 years old.
On Wednesday afternoon, his management revealed his passing on his Instagram page, and the statement suggested that the rapper had been facing an undisclosed illness for the past two years.
Per the statement:
“We are saddened to inform the general public that Oladipupo Olabode Oladimeji, aka Oladips, passed away yesterday, Nov 14th, Tuesday evening, at precisely 10:14 pm. We are still in shock as we speak!
For over two years, he has kept his battles within himself. His body is now with his family, and funeral services will be announced as soon as it is concluded! The family asked that we respect their privacy in this trying time. May God give us all the fortitude to bear this great loss(amen).”
Born on March 24, 1995, in Ogun State, Oladips initiated his rap career at 17 with a Drake & Trey song cover in 2012, gaining attention and sparking a new phase; after winning the 2015 ‘King is Here’ rap contest by D’banj, he entered the Nigerian music scene, securing a record deal with Edge Record (LRR) in 2016, owned by Reminisce.
SOUTH AFRICA IMPORTS 1.9 MILLION FERTILIZED EGGS AHEAD OF FESTIVE
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development has given an update on the ongoing struggle with the shortage of eggs and chicken meat following the outbreak of Avian bird flu.
In gearing up for the holiday season in December, the department announced that it has imported 9 million fertilized eggs, 37,802 tons of day-old chicks, 62 metric tons of egg products, and 30,986 metric tons of poultry meat.
It further emphasized that there is no need for panic buying.
“We have increased fertilised eggs from 1.9 million to 9 million in less than one month. These eggs will be chickens in less 4 months,” said Minister Minister Thoko Didiza.
South Africa has long allowed egg imports, including from Brazil, the USA, and Argentina, and is now considering new import permits from other countries, continuing the practice even before the recent avian influenza outbreak.
NIGERIA: FOUR OTHERS JAILED FOR EXTORTING FORMER SPEAKER R871K OVER NUDE VIDEO
Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel from the Federal High Court in Osogbo, Osun State, has sentenced five men for fraudulently obtaining N38 million (around R871 000) from the former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, regarding his widely circulated nude video, Vanguard reports.
The 13-second nude video of Owoeye, which went viral in 2018, captured a confrontation where individuals accused him of performing a ritual in their community.
The Osun State Police Command apprehended those featured in the video, accused of using it to illicitly extort around N38 million (around R871 000) from Owoeye before its internet release.
The convicted individuals—Kazeem Agbabiaka, Rasheed Ojonla, Babatunde Oluajo, Adebiyi Kehinde, Femi Oseni, and Oyebanji Oyeniyi—were presented before the court on October 19, 2018, charged with five counts, including conspiracy, advance-free fraud, and cyberstalking.
In a stern judgment, Justice Ayo-Emmanuel declared the convicts guilty, sentencing Agbabiaka, Oyeniyi, Ojonla, and Oluajo to five years for conspiracy and advance-free fraud; acquitted Azeez, and found Oseni guilty of cyberstalking, sentencing him to five years imprisonment, all while emphasizing their role as a web syndicate causing hardship.
NIGERIA: WOMAN STABBED TO DEATH WHILE SEPARATING CHURCH MEMBERS FIGHT
In a tragic incident, Rachel Johnson, a 47-year-old woman, was fatally stabbed while trying to break up a fight among church members in the Abaranje, Ikotun area of the state.
In the early hours of Saturday, Okerube Johnson, the deceased’s husband, arrived at Ikotun Police Station around 3 a.m. to report that his wife, Rachel, was fatally stabbed; she had attended a crusade, intervened in a scuffle among church members, and tragically lost her life.
Mr. Johnson, as relayed by the Police, informed authorities that, “while she was separating the fighters, one of them stabbed her in the neck with a sharp object. And she started bleeding. She was immediately rushed to Igando General Hospital, but all efforts to revive her proved abortive as she bled to death. Her body was deposited at Mainland General Hospital Mortuary, Yaba, for autopsy.”
CHOLERA CLAIMS 150 LIVES IN MOZAMBIQUE IN TWO MONTHS, SAYS SPOKESPERSON
In the past two months, at least 150 people have died from cholera in Mozambique, mostly in the central and northern regions, as per Mozambican authorities.
The recent cholera outbreak, concentrated in the Gile district of the central province of Zambezia, led to the majority of deaths, according to Filimao Suaze, spokesperson for the Council of Ministers in Mozambique.
During the period from September 14 to November 13, a total of 36,930 cases were reported nationwide.
“It should also be noted that there are a total of 150 deaths, therefore a fatality rate of 0.4 percent,” Suaze said.
The Council of Ministers has decided to send teams to assess diarrheal diseases, especially cholera, in the central and northern provinces associated with the onset of the rainy season.
During the last rainy season, from November 2022 to May 2023, cholera impacted over 30,000 people in Mozambique and resulted in at least 141 deaths, as per Ministry of Health data.