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South African President Names Cabinet 96 Hours After Inauguration, Includes Opposition

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Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has named his cabinet — just about 96 hours after he was sworn-in as president.

On May 11, 2019, Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) won the elections with only 57 percent of the votes, and was sworn in as president on May 25, 2019.

In another 96 hours, Ramaphosa named his cabinet and became the third president on the continent to have a gender-balanced cabinet, after Rwanda and Ethiopia.

While addressing the press on Wednesday evening at the Union Buildings in the capital city of Tshwane, Ramaphosa revealed that he had cut cabinet down the number of ministries in the country from 36 to 28.

The cabinet announced by the 66-year-old president had 14 men and 14 women to achieve gender parity.

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“To promote greater coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency, we (are) reducing the number of ministers from 36 to 28,” Ramaphosa said.

“This is a significant move of downscaling our state. Many people believed our government was bloated and this was agreed right across the board. All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing.

“It is therefore imperative, we place priority on revitalising our economy while exercising the greatest care in the use of public funds. For the first time in the history of our country, half of all ministers are women.”

Patricia De Lille, the leader of an opposition party and former mayor of Cape Town, was also named as minister of public works and infrastructure.

Reacting to her appointment, De Lille said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have received the call to serve as a Minister of South Africa’s new cabinet. I have fought for justice in our country for more than 40 years and have no plans to give up fighting.”

The South African rand reacted positively to Ramaphosa’s cabinet, strengthening by 0.5 percent, after an initial loss of one percent before he named the ministers.

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All Police Officers In Uganda To Undergo Mental Check-Up

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All Police officers in Uganda are to undergo mandatory mental checkups to ascertain their psychological status.

The move followed reports to the Police administration in the East African country that many Police officers were reportedly brutalizing suspects while others have committed suicide.

The officers will be tested on levels of distress, how often they socialize, how often they experience temper outbursts and urges to beat, injure or harm someone. They will also be tested on whether they feel blocked as they try to get things done, whether they get difficulties making decisions and whether they find it hard to concentrate on their work.

Speaking at the launch of the exercise, Christine Oulanya, the acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Welfare in Uganda, said there is a need to check the cops’ mental health on grounds that some officers brutally handle.

They will be tested on levels of distress, how often they socialize, experience temper outbursts suspects which is unlawful and violates their code of conduct.

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“We want to help our officers. Last year, six officers committed suicide, five died in 2017 and seven in 2016. This is what we want to clear out and help these officers accordingly,” Oulanya said.

She revealed that last year, one of their officers in Kampala murdered his wife and then killed himself after he discovered that he was HIV positive.

Also speaking during the launch, a counselling psychologist, Prof. Edward Bantu said they will also assess the officers’ suicidal ideation and social integration.

They will also evaluate superior-subordinate relationships, optimism, drug responses, coping strategies and the intimate partner violence of the officers.

“These officers have to be in a good mood while handling people. However, at times they ought not to serve promptly if they are depressed. It becomes worse if they have nowhere to run to. So, as a psychologist that is why we have come out to know the mental health of the officers,” Bantu said.

He added that in case some cops are found mentally ill, they will be rehabilitated and taught self-managerial skills.

“We are going to train a group of officers in skills to help the mentally ill as well as assist them to manage violence against spouses and children,” he said.

Addressing the press after the launch, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the decision to carry out mental checkups on officers came from the Police Advisory Committee (PAC).

He said PAC deliberated on the issues raised about the conduct of some Police officers and observed that the officers could be stressed, mentally ill or psychologically unstable. Onyango noted that the force, thereafter, got in touch with the School of Psychology at Makerere University.

“This is necessary for our officers as they get involved in nasty situations. For example, a traffic officer who rescues casualties with broken limbs, a fire brigade directorate that goes for emergencies to retrieve a baby in a pit and crime officers who handle murdered victims, these people get stressed and traumatized, hence the need to be checked and helped,” Onyango said.

“However, the data obtained from officers will be confidential and only be used for research purposes,” he said.

The survey will be first of its kind to be conducted in Kampala.

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Jonathan Departs Nigeria To Lead AU’s Election Observer Mission To Mozambique

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Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has been nominated by the African Union (AU) to lead the continental body’s Election Observation Mission, to Mozambique’s scheduled October 15 general elections.

Jonathan’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, said in a statement on Thursday, that his principal is billed to leave the country today for Maputo, capital of Mozambique.

While there, he will be overseeing the deployment of the mission’s 40-member team of observers, to different parts of the country.

In a letter of invitation signed by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU described Jonathan as a man who is deeply committed to peace and democracy on the continent.

It said: “Given Your Excellency’s vast experience and commitment in promoting democracy and peace on the continent, I would like to invite you to lead the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to the Republic of Mozambique.”

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This comes just 24 hours after Jonathan met with President Muhammadu Buhari in a closed-door meeting, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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South Africa Agrees To Issue Nigerians 10-Year Visa Following Buhari’s Visit

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Buhari and Ramaphosa

South Africa and Nigeria have reached an agreement on issuing 10-year visa.

This is following the successful conclusion of the 9th Bi-National Commission of South Africa and Nigeria meeting in Pretoria, South Africa this week.

However, the visa will only be issued to businessmen, academics and frequent travellers.

This was revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad.

Ahmad tweeted: “FLASH: Following the successful conclusion of the 9th Bi-National Commission of South Africa and Nigeria meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, both countries have agreed on issuing 10-year visas to businessmen, academics and frequent travelers. #PMBinSA”

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