African Overview: Ethiopia, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Lesotho

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Source: Notas.org / The Dawn News / November 7, 2016

Ethiopian police detained South Sudanese students who occupied the embassy

Forty-two South Sudanese students were detained after occupying the country’s embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
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They were students from the Ethiopian Technical Training Institute who had been granted with a scholarship by their government, but haven’t yet received the corresponding financing. One of the students affirmed in an interview with Tamazuj Radio that police authorities had beaten his classmates down and taken them to an undisclosed prison.

He also denounced that it was officers from the Embassy themselves who ordered the detentions. The diplomatic headquarters are considered to be “territory of the country they represent”, therefore, they can’t enter the location without proper authorization.
According to the claim made by the students, for the past 14 months they have not received the scholarship (which amounts to 100 dollars) that should be given to them by their government. They have also failed to provide the necessary food for the interns, which amounts to 14 thousand dollars.

South Sudan, the youngest country of the world, achieved its independence from Sudan in 2011, and is now experiencing a civil war that has generated serious social, economic and political problems.

South African dams could take up to five years to recover from drought

South Africa’s dams could take up to five years to recover even if the country experiences normal rainfall following a severe drought, authorities said on Tuesday, increasing the prospects of water rationing.

Southern Africa has been affected by a severe drought that has prompted water restrictions by various municipalities, which have warned that water could be rationed if consumers do not heed calls to cut consumption.

“We predict that it will take anything from two to three years and even up to five years to recover from the drought we have just come through,” said the department of Water and Sanitations deputy director general Trevor Blazer.

Blazer said only about 8 percent of rainfall water is captured in dams, with most of it being lost to evaporation, transpiration and replenishing ground water.

The South African Weather Services said at the same briefing that the country was more likely to have a wetter early summer season, from November to January, with lower temperatures than previously expected.

“Observations suggest a likelihood of a weak La Nina which is expected to start decaying before it gains any form of momentum,” said meteorologist Lucky Ntsangwane.

But there is still uncertainty over whether the summer rainfall will be enough to offset the effects of the drought. The weather service has said that there is a likelihood of a weak La Nina weather system, which is usually associated with higher rainfall and lower temperatures.

The severe drought ravaged southern Africa and led to the loss of livestock and staple maize crop, was driven by an El Nino weather system that set in last year.

Ivory Coast voters back new constitution

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Officials say more than 90 percent supported the new charter, though turnout was low following an opposition boycott.
An overwhelming majority of voters in Ivory Coast have backed a new constitution in a weekend referendum that was boycotted by the opposition, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission. The results on Tuesday showed 93.42 percent of voters had supported the new charter. Turnout was 42.41 percent of registered voters, commission president Youssouf Bakayoko said on state-owned television.

The opposition had previously said that it believed only around 6 or 7 percent of voters took part.
The boycott meant there had been little doubt about the outcome and the focus was on turnout as the key measure of whether there was broad public support for the new constitution. Before the vote, President Alassane Ouattara had said the new constitution would help end years of instability in the country.

But the proposed package alarmed opposition leaders and prompted accusations that Ouattara is trying to line up a successor for when his term ends in 2020. Ouattara’s revised constitution would create a vice president picked by the president, and set up a senate, a third of whom would be nominated by the head of state. It would also get rid of a contested clause on national identity that took effect in 2000. It stipulates that both parents of a presidential candidate must be born on Ivorian soil and not have sought nationality in another country. The issue has previously contributed to of unrest in the country.

In recent years, Ivory Coast has made progress, and the International Monetary Fund says it will be Africa’s fastest-growing economy by the end of 2016.
Source: News Agencies

Lesotho Queen launches sanitary towels drive

Lesotho Queen, Masenate, has launched an ambitious project to ensure that all girls in the country’s high schools get free sanitary towels.

The project called ‘Hlokomela Banana’, which means ‘Care for Girls’ in Sesotho, ensures that girls are able to go to school while on the menstrual cycles.

Lesotho is no exception, as poor girls in the country can miss up to 50 days of school a year while on their periods.

More than 600 girls were eagerly awaited the Queen Masenate’s arrival in the highlands district of Mokhotlong.

St James High School is the first recipient of the Hlokomela Banana project.

The Queen’s National Trust Fund partnered with Lil-Lets South Africa to make it possible for anyone to lend a hand to this initiative.

There are 370 post-primary schools in Lesotho and they house nearly 200 000 girls. Her Majesty’s wish is that when she is through, all of them will get free sanitary pads.

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