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Tunisia PM Fumes After Sacking Of Health Minister Over Skyrocketing Covid Cases

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Tunisia PM Fumes After Sacking Of Health Minister Over Skyrocketing Covid Cases

Tunisia’s government stumbled deeper into crisis on Wednesday over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, after premier Hichem Mechichi fired the health minister amid skyrocketing cases in the North African country.

Mechichi, whose office had announced Faouzi Mehdi’s sacking in a brief statement on Tuesday evening, slammed the minister’s performance, pinpointing a critical lack of oxygen at Tunisian hospitals and a slow rollout of vaccines.

“There’s an extraordinary level of dysfunction at the head of the health ministry,” Mechichi told health officials in footage published on his Facebook page late Tuesday.

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Tunisia has been facing an overwhelming Covid-19 caseload that has left more than 17,000 people dead in a population of around 12 million.

The country’s hospitals have faced acute shortages of oxygen, staff and intensive care beds, and fewer than eight percent of the population are fully vaccinated.

TUNISIA : Health minister Faouzi Mehdi still behind on emergency supply  orders - 01/12/2020 - Africa Intelligence

Faouzi Mehdi, Tunisia Health Minister

Mehdi’s sacking came a day after the start of a temporary opening of vaccination stations to those over 18, to mark the Eid al-Adha Muslim festival.

But that led to stampedes at some of the 29 vaccination centres, where jab stocks quickly ran dry.

Mechichi slammed the programme as “populist” and “criminal”.

“Neither the head of the government nor the governors nor the security services were aware” ahead of time, he said.

But analyst Selim Kharrat suggested that Mehdi had been made a scapegoat.

“There have been contradictory decisions, restrictions haven’t been implemented, and there has been a failure to think ahead,” he said.

– Third-worst death rate –

Kharrat noted that the health ministry had warned in May over potential oxygen shortages.

Oxygen concentrators sent from France in early June are not yet fully operational due to bureaucratic delays.

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s decaying health facilities have been swamped with coronavirus patients.

In some cases, bodies of victims have been left lying in hospital wards next to other patients for up to 24 hours because there was not enough staff to organise transfers to overstretched mortuaries.

According to Our World in Data, Tunisia currently has the third-highest rate of daily Covid deaths per population in the world, after Ecuador and Namibia — although the World Health Organization has said it is more transparent with its data than many other countries.

Tunisia PM Fumes After Sacking Of Health Minister Over Skyrocketing Covid Cases

Tunisia PM Fumes After Sacking Of Health Minister Over Skyrocketing Covid Cases

Tunisia’s crisis has pushed countries from Gulf states to former colonial power France and even cash-strapped Mauritania to send medical aid.

The government of war-torn neighbour Libya in early July closed their shared border and suspended air links with Tunisia over the rocketing caseload.

Tunisia has also struggled to get its coronavirus vaccination campaign off the ground.

Tunisians have lived through a decade of political turmoil and economic crisis since their 2011 revolution which overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, leaving vital public services crumbling.

The country’s fractious political class have been unable to form lasting, effective governments.

Since President Kais Saied was elected in 2019, he has been locked in a showdown with Mechichi and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, which has blocked ministerial appointments and crippled the state’s ability to tackle Tunisia’s multiple economic and social problems.

“We have a head of government who uses his ministers as fuses, to absorb any public dissatisfaction,” Kharrat said.

“But how long can that last?”

Source: GhArticles.com/Africanews.com

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BREAKING: Sudan Prime Minister ‘Kidnapped’ – Government Ministry

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BREAKING: Sudan Prime Minister ‘Kidnapped’ – Government Ministry

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has been “kidnapped” in his Khartoum home alongside his wife in the early hours of Monday morning, according to a statement on the Ministry of Culture and Information’s Facebook page.

It says what happened represents a huge infringement of the constitution and a “complete coup”.

The statement called on Sudanese people to take to the streets in peaceful protest to do all they can to “protect their revolution”.

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Ethiopian Parliament Confirms Abiy Ahmed As Prime minister

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Ethiopian Parliament Confirms Abiy Ahmed As Prime minister

Ethiopia’s parliament confirmed incumbent Abiy Ahmed as prime minister for a five-year term on Monday, cementing his power domestically amid mounting international concern about his government’s handling of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Abiy’s party won a landslide victory in June’s election. He was sworn in on Monday, and a ceremony was being held later in the capital Addis Ababa attended by several African heads of state.

President Sahle-Work Zewde told parliament on Monday that government priorities included easing inflation – which has hovered around 20% this year – and the cost of living, as well as reducing unemployment.

The United Nations has warned that hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing famine in Ethiopia’s war-ravaged northern region of Tigray.

Conflict broke out there 11 months ago between federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party that controls Tigray.

Thousands have died and more than 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

On Thursday, Ethiopia announced it was expelling seven senior United Nations officials and gave them 72 hours to leave, a move the U.N. rejected.

Ethiopia accused the U.N. officials of diverting aid and communication equipment to the TPLF, failing to demand the return of aid trucks deployed to Tigray, violating security arrangements and spreading misinformation.

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The United States also condemned the expulsions and warned that it would not hesitate to use unilateral sanctions against those who obstructed humanitarian efforts.

Abiy Ahmed was appointed prime minister by the then-governing coalition in 2018 and promised political and economic reforms.

Within months of taking office, he lifted a ban on opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners and took steps to open up one of Africa’s last untapped markets.

His government now faces accusations from rights groups that it is rolling back some new freedoms, which it denies.

In June’s vote, Abiy’s Prosperity Party won 410 of the 436 parliamentary seats that were contested, out of a total 547 seats. Security and logistical problems delayed voting in the other 111 seats.

The opposition parties Ezema and the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) each won fewer than 10 seats in the June vote.

On Sept. 30, an additional 47 constituencies voted. Results from those regions have yet to be announced, but will not affect the overall result.

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Guinea’s Coup Leader, Mamady Doumbouya Sworn In As Interim President

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Guinea’s Coup Leader, Mamady Doumbouya Sworn In As Interim President

Guinea’s Coup Leader, Col Mamady Doumbouya has been sworn is as Guinea’s interim president after leading a coup that saw the overthrow of Alpha Condé.

After Mali’s Assimi Gota, 38, who similarly launched a military revolution, the former French legionnaire, 41, becomes Africa’s second-youngest leader.

Under proposals to restore civilian government revealed this week, Col Doumbouya will be forbidden from running in future elections.

The coup which was initiated on September 5th was widely denounced.

Guinea has been suspended by both Ecowas and the African Union.

Ecowas also imposed penalties on the coup leaders and sought a six-month period of constitutional order.

According to the AFP news agency, the new President, Col Mamady Doumbouya while speaking at the Mohammed V palace in Conakry said that said his purpose was to refound the state by establishing a new constitution, combating corruption, altering the electoral system, and holding free, genuine, and transparent elections.

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He also stated that he will honor all of the country’s national and international commitments.

Guinea’s military regime has not stated how long elections will take to conduct.

Nevertheless, it states that anyone who contributes to the interim administration, which will have a civilian prime minister, will be ineligible to run for office.

Col Doumbouya is barred from contesting future elections under plans to restore civilian rule announced this week.

Meanwhile, the former president, Alpha Conde’s whereabouts remain unclear after he was detained by Col Mamady Doumbouya and his military team.

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