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Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as President in rare victory for an African opposition leader

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Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory for an African opposition leader.

Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning at a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Zambia’s second female Vice President Mutale Nalumango was also sworn in during the ceremony.

Hichilema defeated outgoing President Edgar Lungu in a landslide by almost one million votes in his sixth attempt at becoming ruler of Zambia.

It was a stunning turnaround for the politician known as HH — Hichilema spent several months in prison in 2017 for what were widely seen as politically motivated treason charges. The charges were dropped under intense international pressure.

After initially indicating he may challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation following the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.

Despite conceding defeat early, Lungu was booed by some of the crowd as he made his way to the stage at the packed Heroes stadium in the capital Lusaka to hand over power.

Hichilema called Tuesday “a new dawn in Zambia,” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony. “As I sit here in our vehicle being driven to Heroes Stadium, I see the love, the joy and the jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added.

An example for Africa

Opposition leaders from other African countries were also invited to the event.

Nelson Chamisa, opposition leader in Zimbabwe, told CNN: “This is a significant and fantastic for what is possible for the future of Africa. Zambia is an inspiration to stubborn laggards in democracy. Strong institutions are key for effective power transfer and smooth transitions,” he said in a statement when asked about the significance of today’s inauguration.

Chamisa added that Zambia is an excellent example to be emulated on the continent.

“Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular needs leaders not rulers, strong institutions – not strong men. Leaders must lead and leave, serve and go. Zimbabwe must be free and Democratic. Freedom can be delayed but never denied,” he said when asked what the message for Zimbabwe is.

It is the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1964.

There was a huge turnout of mostly young people, some who came dressed in their academic robes to protest lack of employment post graduation.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a youth representative of Hichilema’s UPND party told CNN

Young people gave us the vote. Four million young people between the ages of 18 to 24 registered to vote. It was a huge turnout and it was very personal to them. They want to ensure the mistakes of their parents were corrected. They have voted for our leader on basis he has better policies and ideas and can strengthen our state institutions.”

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Aviation

Direct Flights Between Nigeria and Seychelles Soon, as both Countries Sign BASA

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Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council of the Memorandum on signing and ratification of Air Service Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Seychelles, the two countries have formerly ratified the Agreement.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika using the platform of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) event holding in Abuja, led officials of the Ministry to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement ( BASA) while the Republic of Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, signed on behalf of his country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika signing the BASA with Seychelles

During the ceremony, the two Ministers underscored the importance of the BASA as it will promote air services and connectivity between both countries, enhance business, and promote tourism.

Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques endorsing the BASA with Nigeria

According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, the two Ministers agreed that the signing would further promote the African Union Agenda 2063 and called on citizens of both countries to latch on the opportunities of the BASA for their mutual benefits.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Aviation has either signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and initial Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Senegal, Benin Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, Cameroon, Morocco, Suriname, India, Sudan and Uganda.

The Ministry has also had discussions on how to further implement the open skies Agreement, signed 30 years ago, with the United States of America.

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International

WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russian detention in prisoner swap for convicted arms dealer

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WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to a source familiar
Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” is a former Soviet military officer serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Moscow had slammed his sentencing in 2012 as “baseless and biased” and Bout has maintained he is innocent.
Griner — who had for years played in the off-season for a Russian women’s basketball team, had been detained since February, when she was arrested on drug smuggling charges at an airport in the Moscow region. Despite her testimony that she had inadvertently packed the cannabis oil found in her luggage, she was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August and was moved to a penal colony in Mordovia in mid-November after losing her appeal.

The swap did not include another American that the State Department has declared wrongfully detailed, Paul Whelan.

He is a US, Irish, British and Canadian citizen — was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 by Russian authorities who alleged he was involved in an intelligence operation. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage charges he has vehemently denied. Whelan had been carrying out his sentence at a labor camp in Mordovia, an eight-hour drive from Moscow, where he told CNN in June 2021 he spent his days working in a clothing factory that he called a “sweatshop.”

US basketball star Brittney Griner’s freedom ultimately hinged on the release of a convicted Russian arms dealer, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” by his accusers, whose life story inspired a Hollywood film.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer, is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and provide material support to a terrorist organization. Bout has maintained he is innocent.
The Kremlin has long called for his release, slamming his sentencing in 2012 as “baseless and biased.”

The Russian businessman who speaks six languages eluded international arrest warrants and asset freezes for years. He was arrested in a sting operation in 2008 led by US drug enforcement agents in Thailand posing as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by the acronym FARC. He was eventually extradited to the US in 2010 after a protracted court proceeding.

“Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe,” said Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan when Bout was sentenced in New York in 2012.

“He was finally brought to justice in an American court for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military-grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans.”
The trial honed in on Bout’s role in supplying weapons to FARC, a guerrilla group that waged an insurgency in Colombia until 2016. The US said the weapons were intended to kill US citizens.

But Bout’s history in the arms trade extended much further afield. He has been accused of assembling a fleet of cargo planes to traffic military-grade weapons to conflict zones around the world since the 1990s, fueling bloody conflicts from Liberia to Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. Allegations of trafficking activities in Liberia prompted US authorities to freeze his American assets in 2004 and blocked any US transactions.

Bout has repeatedly maintained that he operated legitimate businesses and acted as a mere logistics provider. He is believed to be in his 50s, with his age in dispute because of different passports and documents.
Source: CNN

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International

Suspension of Visa on Arrival Not Targeted at Nigerians – Ethiopian Government

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The Ethiopian government has explained that the recent suspension of its ‘Visa on Arrival’ policy is not targeted at citizens of any particular country, including Nigerians.

A statement by Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the explanation became necessary following misgivings in some quarters that the suspension was aimed at Nigerians.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that the Federal Government of Ethiopia has suspended issuance of “visa on arrival” to non-
resident foreigners at all points of entry into the country, over security concerns and the current political situation in that country. The suspension applies to nationals of all countries bearing Standard Passports, who seek entry into Ethiopia and not specifically targeted at Nigerians, as reported in some quarters.

“The Ethiopian authorities have explained that the measure is aimed at better border control of movement of persons into Ethiopia in view of the ongoing armed conflict in the Northern part of the country. The measure is said to be temporary, pending improvement in the security situation in the country and not a replacement of Ethiopia’s open visa policy.

“Therefore, Nigerians bearing Standard Passports intending to travel to Ethiopia are
by this notification advised to obtain appropriate entry visas at the Ethiopian Embassy
or an electronic visa (e-visa) through the country’s Immigration and Citizenship
Service (ICS) portal at www.evisa.gov.et Also, those transiting through Bole
International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to other destinations or intend to briefly stop over would require valid entry visa to enable them access hotel facilities in the city or else would be obligated to remain in the airport pending their connecting flight.

“The new temporary visa restriction measure came into effect on 29th September, 2022. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will liaise with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and relevant Airlines to ensure that intending Nigerian travellers enroute Ethiopia are well sensitized.

“The general public is invited to take note of the new visa regime of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and be guided accordingly”.

In a related development, the Nigerian Government has noted the concern expressed by the Ethiopian authorities over the abuse of the country’s visa policy by some Nigerians who enter the country on tourist visas and remain even after the expiration of their visas, engaging in unwholesome activities.

“The activities of these few elements not only tarnish the image of the country, but limit opportunities for well meaning Nigerians outside the country. Such persons are enjoined to turn a new leaf and take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Ethiopian National Security Agencies to participate in the ongoing registration of undocumented migrants to avoid unpleasant situations” thestatement concluded.

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