East Africa: Eye on the Indian Ocean

Weekend of unrest

The French government rushed in additional police and investigators to Mayotte after a spate of murders last week has raised tensions on the island. Last weekend say three people murdered in as many days and several homes and vehicles set on fire as gang violence broke out. The three murders were done using knives with those killed still in their teens. Along with the additional 40 police officers, the French government has also sent in 10 judicial officers to investigate the causes of the outbreak of violence. On Wednesday, three men surrendered to the authorities.

Hitting back

Air Seychelles was doing well financially before Covid-19 struck, its CEO Remco Althuis said. The good financial performance before Covid-19 struck was due to the airline scrapping its long-haul flights and concentrating on regional flights as well as savings enjoyed by the airline due to switching to Airbus 320 neos. Althuis' remarks came after President Wavel Ramkalawon suggested restructuring the airline because the of Air Seychelles' $38 million debt owed to Etihad and Etihad bondholders and because the government cannot continue to sustain the company financially. Air Seychelles asked the government for a $5 million cash injection to pay employee salaries. Ramkalawon has suggested the airline concentrate on domestic and ground handling services, something which Althuis warned earlier could cost the airline 500 jobs.

Vaccine resistance at the top

Tanzania's President John Magufuli warned his country's health ministry against rushing to get Covid-19 vaccines from foreign countries. Speaking at a ceremony to launch a public forest in the country's Geita region, Magufuli said, "You should stand firm. Vaccinations are dangerous. If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, he should have found a vaccination for Aids by now; he would have found a vaccination of tuberculosis by now; he would have found a vaccination for malaria by now; he would have found a vaccination for cancer by now". Any vaccines, he said, would only be used by the health ministry after being certified by Tanzania's own health experts. Magufuli cited an unnamed country for sterilizing young girls under the guise of giving vaccines against cervical cancer. Tanzanians must be careful, "so that we are not used for trials of some doubtful vaccinations which can have serious repercussions on our health" the president warned.

Partisan intelligence

The Zondo commission in South Africa heard evidence of how the state's intelligence service the State Security Agency was under the thumb of the former Zuma government. The SSA's acting director general Loyiso Jafta told the commission how under the Zuma government SSA operations and reports were directed by government officials, at least one case of where the SSA was used to funnel bribes to a judge, how the SSA was used to direct money to factions within the ruling African National Congress in factional fights to run smear campaigns and fund bogus NGOs and unions to boost the electoral chances of the ANC. The commission also heard testimony of how the SSA illegally detained one of Zuma's spouses suspected of attempting to poison him.

Schools closed

Schools on the island of Mohéli in the Comoros have been shut down for at least 10 days as the country struggles to come to grips with a second wave of the Covid-19, including its South African variant, centered on the island. Schools in the rest of the country will remain open. On Monday, President Azali Assoumani reintroduced restrictions nationwide including shutting down all religious establishments and events, marriage and cultural gatherings, closing down markets after 4pm and a curfew between 8 pm and 5 am.

Opposition in prison

Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Ibrahim Shujau, President and vice president of the opposition People's National Congress party in Maldives were transferred to the country's Dhoonidhoo prison after they were arrested during opposition protests on Wednesday. The protests were held over the refusal of the country's health minister to meet with the opposition to discuss concerns over vaccines donated by India earlier this month. On Thursday the country's health authorities approved use of Indian-supplied AstraZeneca vaccine on condition that it be administered by public health authorities in centres equipped to deal with anaphylactic reactions to the vaccine. This is the second time that the two were arrested this week. Abdulla and Shujau were also arrested on Monday, along with 24 other opposition supporters during a demonstration decrying the decision to delay local government elections. They were released on the same day. The opposition parties accuse the Solih government of making use of the Covid-19 pandemic to clamp down on the opposition.

More From: L'Express

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