Egypt: Student Imprisoned for 3Yrs for Online Sexual Harassment

A former Cairo student was incarcerated for three years for sexually harassing women using social media and will face sexual assault charges this month in a case that rekindled a #MeToo moment in the country.

Ahmed Bassam Zaki, former student at the American University in Cairo, will appear in court again on January 9 on charges of indecent assault and blackmail investigated after scores of women joined an Instagram campaign to accuse him of sex crimes.

The case has drawn extensive attention from media, religious figures and women’s groups in a country where rights advocates say sexual harassment or abuse goes unpunished very often.

“Thanks to all the girls who believed in us when we told them that we will go to the court and get your rights,” Ahmed Ragheb, lawyer of the girls in the case, mentioned.

“We still have another round against the defendant before the criminal court.”

Neither lawyers for Zaki – who is in his early 20s and from a wealthy background – nor his family could be reached for a comment. Last week’s verdict can be appealed to a higher court.

The case surfaced after Instagram activist Nadeen Ashraf used the account Assault Police to encourage women to go public with allegations against Zaki dating back to 2016.

Ashraf said she was happy with Tuesday’s verdict and keenly awaiting the next court date that would decide the punishment for the “heftier and more violent crimes of sexual assault”.

“I think the court hearing on January 9 can truly set a precedent for all future sexual assault crimes in Egypt,” she said.

In September, the public prosecutor referred Zaki to the criminal court on charges of “sexually assaulting three girls under 18 years and threatening them alongside a fourth girl with exposing matters related to their honor”.

Zaki could face a life sentence or death penalty if the prosecution proves rape with evidence.

Zaki’s case activated a #MeToo movement in Egypt after it surfaced last July, with hundreds of women starting to speak up on social media, exposing several men and revealing a high-profile rape case that took place at a Cairo hotel as far back as 2014.

In August, the public prosecution arrested two suspects in that case and stated that seven others had fled the country. Lebanese authorities later handed three of them over to Egypt.

Egypt also passed a law in August giving victims the automatic right to anonymity in the conservative, Muslim-majority nation. This was in a bid to embolden more women to report sexual assault so that action can be taken in a as soon as possible.

Reda Eldanbouki, a lawyer and executive director of the Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, accepted last week’s verdict and was awaiting the January verdict.

A United Nations survey in 2013 saw 99% of women had experienced harassment in Egypt, a nation where women have been accused of provoking sex crimes.

“We hope that Zaki would get a strong punishment in order to prevent similar cases in the future and reduce violence against women,” Eldanbouki stated.

Cameroon: Scores Die in Major Road Accident

An accident along the Bafoussam-Yaounde road in Cameroon has left scores of people dead.

State media reports that over 35 people died early Sunday December 27th, when a heavy-duty truck and a public transport bus collided.

A rescue operation is underway, as the death toll remains on the rise. Injured passengers have been rushed to hospital.

The country’s Ministers of Transport and the Interior are rushing to the scene, to take stock of the situation.

Another Sunday morning road accident

Meanwhile, in Buea, in Cameroon’s South West, a man has been arrested after he hit a family of three with a vehicle on Sunday morning.

He is said to have run away immediately after the incident, but was later caught by local police.

The three victims, a woman and her two children are feared dead.

The two accidents come barely two days after the celebration of Christmas.

Ethiopia: Ethnic Tensions: At Least 100 Villagers Dead

Armed men have killed over one hundred people in the western Ethiopian region of Benishangul-Gumuz.

The latest attack has no direct link to the ongoing separatist conflict in Tigray. Analysts however, suggest that the increase of security forces in the north around Tigray has created a security vacuum in other parts of the country.

At least 100 people died in the attack that took place on Wednesday morning. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published images taken by survivors from the scene of the massacre, portraying them as “worrying evidence”.

The armed group shot at residents, set fire to homes as they lay asleep, killing no less than 100 people.

Belay Wajera, a farmer in the western town of Bulen, told the Reuters news agency that he counted 82 bodies in a field near his home after the Wednesday morning attack.

He and his family awoke to the sound of gunshots, he said. The killers shot dead Wajera’s wife and five of his children; he was shot in the back. Four other children who escaped are now missing.

Another resident of the town, Hassen Yimama, said armed men stormed the area at dawn. He had counted 20 bodies in an area aside from those described by Belay Wajera. The killers shot Yimama in the stomach.

A local doctor explaijed he and colleagues had treated 38 injured people, most of them having gunshot wounds. Patients had told him of relatives killed with knives, and of gunmen who set houses on fire and shot at people trying to escape, he elaborated.

Other survivors told officials of the EHRC that the attackers had destroyed crops. Meanwhile, some of the survivors claim to have recognised the attackers.

The attack came just one day after the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and the army chief of staff, Birhanu Jula, visited the region to urge calm after a number of clashes between rival ethnic groups in recent months. The most recent incident in the area was on 14 November, when 34 passengers in a bus lost their lives.

Government briefly augmented security in the area earlier this week to prepare for the visit by the government and army leaders. However, survivors of Wednesday’s attack say no police or soldiers were on duty when the killing was on. Federal forces have been strengthened in the north of Ethiopia since fighting broke out in Tigray in November.

Prime Minister Ahmed blames instability in western Ethiopia on Sudan, asking Khartoum to intensify border security against the transit of fighters who, Abiy claims, are trained and armed on Sudanese territory.

The prime minister’s office has not released an official statement on the latest attack.

Zimbabwe: Travellers Go for Illegal Border Entry Points to Elude Covid-19 Charges

Some Zimbabweans living in South Africa are using illegal routes to enter Zimbabwe for the festive holiday. This move is in a bid to avoid paying the extravagant charges for Covid-19 tests.

Zimbabwe and South Africa demand that travellers entering or leaving the countries must have Covid-19 travel clearance certificates.

That said, one needs to cough up at least US$60 for a Covid-19 test; an amount which is out of reach for most Zimbabweans staying in South Africa,who want to go home for the festive season.

Consequently, they have opted to use illegal entry points into their country to reunite with their families during the festive period.

However, there are chances they could be exposing other travellers and relatives back home to the coronavirus since they are not tested.

Police have also intensified patrols along the Beitbridge border post and have arrested a lot of Zimbabweans illegally making way into the country.

“Police in Beitbridge arrested a group of 40 cross borders who were trying to illegally gain entry into the country from South Africa through undesignated points. Members of the public are warned against entering/exiting the country through illegal points,” the police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, activities have increased at the Beitbridge Border Post as Zimbabweans based in South Africa start flowing in for the festive holidays under very strict Covid-19 guidelines.

Travellers have to provide a Covid-19 clearance certificate with a validity of not more than two days.

Cameroon’s President Gives Aid to IDPs, Forgets Refugees in Nigeria

Ahead of the celebration of Christmas, Cameroon’s President has offered material aid to internally displaced persons who fled the armed conflict in the country’s Anglophone regions. However, nothing has been said about Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria who escaped from the same conflict.

On Monday December 21, the country’s Interior Minister Paul Atanga Nji gave goods such as rice, soap, oil, mattresses and other items to some internally displaced families in the country’s capital Yaoundé. He announced that those in other regions will receive their share in the coming days.

President Paul Biya’s offer to the IDPs costs a little over $1 million. Of this amount, nothing has been programmed to provide aid for Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria who have been living under horrendous conditions for about three years now.

The UN estimates that over half a million people are internally displaced in Cameroon, with about sixty thousand others living as refugees in neighbouring Nigeria.

They were forced to flee their areas, because of continuous fighting between state soldiers and Anglophone separatist fighters in the North West and South West regions. Since they left home, life has not been easy for most of them.

Cameroonian refugees and the spate of exclusion

This is not the first time refugees in Nigeria are left out from receiving relief packages from the state. The government launched a humanitarian assistance plan in 2018, to help those displaced and affected by the armed conflict. However, Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria did not benefit from it, even though they were supposed to.

Cameroon’s Prime Minister at the time, Philemon Yang said in part: “this action will include assistance and visits to show compassion to Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.”

Government, through the interior minister, rather paid more attention to internally displaced persons. The materials distributed under the humanitarian assistance plan were worth over $23 million.

So far, no government minister from Cameroon is known to have visited the refugees in Nigeria to assess their situation. The most recent visit by a Cameroonian official was in November this year, when the country’s Consul in Clabar, Nigeria, visited some refugees in Akwa-Ibom State.

The consul gave aid to 300 people in that state. Nigeria, however, hosts a total of about 60,000 Cameroonian refugees.

Mr. Onana Patrice “distributed humanitarian aid kits to 300 Cameroonian refugees in Akwa-Ibom State (Uyo, Eket, Oron, Ikot Ekpene, etc) as part of a special gift from the Head of State, His Excellency Paul Biya, to Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria…” according to Cameroon’s Foreign Ministry.

The festive season is very well on course. While some internally displaced persons in Cameroon will celebrate Christmas and New Year with the gifts received from the state, the circumstances under which refugees in Nigeria will celebrate remain highly uncertain.

Cameroon’s First Regional Election Could Change its Governance System

Municipal councillors and traditional rulers in Cameroon, are voting regional councillors, in the country’s first ever regional election.

Voting is underway across the Central African nation, including in the two restive Anglophone regions, where an armed conflict has been raging for four years now.

However, the election in the Anglophone regions is being conducted under tight security, because of threats from separatist fighters.

Anglophone non-state actors had disapproved of Sunday’s election, and imposed a three-day ghost town. This has been observed partially in some parts of the North West and South West regions.

This election could end Cameroon’s centralized system of governance

The regional election is meant to give the ten regions greater autonomy. It will also facilitate local administration in a country where power is highly centralized.

For decades, citizens have had to grapple with the fact that most administrative functions rest in the nation’s political capital, Yaoundé.

The country’s 1996 amended constitution clearly stipulates decentralization as the form of governance. Decentralization prescribes that government devolves powers to local authorities in the different regions. For 24 years, this has not been the case.

Many see Sunday’s vote as a leeway to the decentralization process. Municipal councillors and chiefs will elect regional concillors and traditional rulers into the regional councils and House of Chiefs respectively. Those elected are expected to facilitate local governance, and supervise the decentralization process.

People consulting the voting list in a local polling center (Picture: Municipal Updates)

The birth of a “Special Status” for the Anglophone regions

The government says this election will pave the way for the Anglophone regions to have a special status. This, according to government, will recognize the specificities of the Anglophone system in Cameroon, thereby leading to an end to the Anglophone crisis.

It remains unclear whether the special status can end the four-year-long conflict, especially as hardcore Anglophone separatists continue to oppose it.

Critics say the special status is vague, without any precision as to its content or how it will work. However, government supporters see the special status as a good offer, which could end the crisis.

Over three thousand people have died owing to the Anglophone armed conflict, with close to a million others displaced internally and externally. The hope of most of these displaced people is for the crisis to end, so they can finally return home.

Are Corsets/Waist Trainers Good for your health?

It is a typical desire for women to have a slim waist and a slender figure.

Of course, the 18th-century women have proven that wearing corsets and waist trainers can give a seeming effect on the body. 

It can shrink your waistline if you wear it consistently and certainly, the intention is to wear it for at least 8 hours in a day.

While wearing a corset and slimming your waist might look like a clean magic trick, the reality is that you are NOT eliminating the fat. You are simply moving it around to produce the hourglass shape you fancy.

The real question now is where does the fat go when you do corset training? 

When you wear a corset, you are not magically eliminating fat. You are simply moving it, and when you do it correctly, the effect can be very satisfying.

However, several doctors from all over the world hold that corset/waist training can hurt your external body parts and also squeeze the frame of your internal body organs.

Doctors urge that you move with care when undergoing waist training. Also, do not allow unnecessary pressure on your midsection as this too limits the flow of blood to your organs which could be very harmful. Besides, the upper organs can move upwards and the lower organs can move downwards. As your internal organs become misplaced, the results can be painful, not to mention dangerous.

It should be made clear that corset/waist training has its positive and negative effects. You ought to keep your mind open to the negatives too, because it is your own body that is in danger.

Cameroon: Tha Sanctified announces Gospel Rap “Devil go tire” Song Release

Cameroonian born Christian rapper Tha Sanctified has announced the release of his song titled “Devil go tire”.

Tha Sanctified was born in Ekondo Titi in Ndian Division as Nyendi Yanick Esinoh.

However, both his parents Mr Motale David Nyendi and Mrs Motale Emilia Nyamah hail from Dikome Balue, in Ndian Division, Southwest region of Cameroon.

In an interview with Ebonigram, he explained “I have written many other songs which are yet to be released.

Currently working on the new projects which will be released before the end of this year 2020:-

  • Devil go tire
  • Pikin 4 God
  • I no go suffer

Tha Sanctified started rapping in 2014 but never considered it a career up until 2020 when he realized how much impact his songs were creating. “Then, I decided to go out there with my music to be a blessing to many others.”

His songs are very popular in Christ light assemblies where he is a pastor, especially because his christian family and his senior pastor Apostle Samuel E. Molombe have been passionate consumers of his songs.

“I am a Pastor. I consider music as a means of reaching out to God’s people out there, especially the youthful generation.” He said.

He added that “I want to reach out to the youths with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and I know they can relate more with hip-hop and rap.”

Sharing his thoughts concerning people who criticize gospel rap, he states “I think they just haven’t heard me.

Here are some of his songs available on YouTube, SoundCloud, Audiomack, spotify, iTunes, Tidal and Amazon music.

  • New Dawn
  • Live 4 Jehovah
  • I’m High
  • Big boys now
  • No concept
  • Sunny day.

Guinea Bissau: Govt to Transfer Remains of Former President to New Grave

The remains of Guinea Bissau’s former President, João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira will be relocated from Bissau municipal cemetery to José D’Amura fortress, a heroes’ corner. This development was announced after the country’s cabinet authorised the iconic move.

The relocation slated for Monday implies that President Vieira will now be officially declared a dignified statesman and national hero.

The fortress harbours tombs of the country’s first President Amílcar Lopes Cabral who was buried side-by-side other national heroes and Bissau-Guinean influential personalities. Icons such former Prime Minister Francisco Mendes who died in a car crash in 1978, pre-independence hero Osvaldo Vieira in whose honour the main international airport of the country is named, Titina Silá – an independence heroine and Pansau Na Isna, another independence war veteran in Guinea Bissau.

Nino Vieira, who died at 70, was a liberation fighter murdered in his house on March 2, 2009. His death was thought to have been a revenge attack, following the army chief of staff’s death in an explosion a few hours earlier.

He was the longest serving president of the country. He ruled twice, firstly from 1980 to 1999, and later from 2005 to 2009. His charisma was however tinted with controversy.

Guinea Bissau government shelved his death investigation in 2017.

José D’Amura fortress was built in the heart of Bissau in 1696 by the Portuguese colonialists in order to protect the country from French invasion.

Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest states in the world with a history of coups and has become a major passage for smuggling cocaine to Europe.

Guinea-Bissau has been overrun by coups and political unrest since the country gained independence in 1974 from Portugal.

African Leaders Congratulate Biden, Despite Trump’s Denial To Concede Defeat

Some leaders in Africa have congratulated US President-elect, Joe Biden following his victory in the US Presidential elections.

After the polls showed the Democratic candidate had crossed the threshold of 270 electoral college votes on Saturday, African leaders began sending their congratulatory messages to the new man who will run America.

Their acknowledgement of Joe Biden’s victory comes amid refusal by incumbent President Donald Trump to concede defeat. He claims the electoral process was marred by gross irregularities and fraud, and is taking legal action.

However, Mr. Trump and his campaign have failed to provide any evidence of these claims.

What have African leaders been saying?

Most of the leaders on the continent took to Twitter, expressing their support for Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They also pledged to collaborate with the new administration.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya and South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa said in separate tweets, that they were ready to strengthen the friendship between their countries and the US.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria said Joe Biden’s election was “a reminder that democracy is the best form of government,” adding that Biden’s “track record gives us hope that he will add value to the presidency and word affairs.”

For his part, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni appealed on President-elect Joe Biden, to maintain the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This trade act favours the quota and tax-free exportation of some African goods to the US.

Leaders from other countries like Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Niger, Liberia, Namibia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia have equally sent their well wishes.

What the Biden Victory Means for Africa

A good number of Africans are happy that power is changing hands in America. Some see former Vice President Joe Biden as the man who will bring the desired change.

Some Africans greatly opposed outgoing President Donald Trump and some of his policies. The height of their opposition to Trump came after the US President allegedly called black countries “s…hole” nations in 2018.

He received a lot of backlash in Africa, thereby upsetting his support on the continent.

Trump was also criticized recently, for allegedly calling anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela “no leader.” The allegations were found in a book released by Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen quoted President Trump as saying “Mandela f—d the whole country up. Now it’s a s—hole. F—Mandela. He was no leader.”

These words were enough to pit South Africans against the American leader. To them, it was a denigration of a man considered to be global icon; a hero.

Now, the continent hopes for a morally upright American leader; one who respects democratic principles, and who will recognise the strength of Africa.

Some countries like Zimbabwe hope to see economic sanctions heaped on them by the US, dropped under the Biden administration. Other countries across Africa hope to boost trade, diplomatic and security cooperation between their nations and America’s new leadership.

Well, these hopes can only come to fruition, if President Donald Trump and his campaign team lose their electoral lawsuits in court.