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Infos: Benin opposition leader rejects preliminary results of parliamentary vote

Eric Houndété, the president of Benin's opposition party, The Democrats, on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.   –   Copyright © africanews Cleared / AFP By Rédaction Africanews and AFP Last updated: 55 minutes ago Benin ****Benin's main opposition on Thursday (Jan. 12) claimed vote buying and fraud allowed allies of the President to win Sunday's legislative election.**

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Infos: Benin opposition leader rejects preliminary results of parliamentary vote
Eric Houndété, the president of Benin's opposition party, The Democrats, on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.   –  

Copyright © africanews

Cleared / AFP

Benin

****Benin's main opposition on Thursday (Jan. 12) claimed vote buying and fraud allowed allies of the President to win Sunday's legislative election.
**

Beninese electoral commission announced late Wednesday, preliminary results of Sunday’s parliamentary election.

According to the commission, the main opposition Democrats won 28 seats while the Republican Bloc (BR) and Progressive Union for Renewal (UP-R) parties allied with president Patrice Talon together won 81 seats.

The leader of The Democrats party, one the 3 parties claiming to be part of the opposition called out fraud.

“The results attributed to the twin parties could only be achieved thanks to the ploys put in place by them to distort the democratic game,” Eric Houndété said.

“These manures include massive corruption of voters, flagrant ballot box stuffing, a number of effective voters exceeding the number of registered voters, and the mismatch between the electoral lists and the voter’s' lists”, the president of The Democrats party added.

On Sunday (Jan. 08), seven political parties — including three allied to the opposition — were allowed to participate after a 4-year ban. The Democrats party is one of these opposition parties.

Final results for the 109-seat parliament are expected on Friday (Jan.13) after a vote that went ahead peacefully and in line with the regulations, according to election observers from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS.

Eric Houndété's party is determined to act, The Democrats announced they would appeal to the Constitutional Court.

“The Democrats Party rejects the results proclaimed by the electoral commmission and demands that the 'truth' behind the ballot boxes be restored. It's for this reason, that the Democrats Party is already working to lodge appeals with the Constitutional Court so that its rights be respected.”

About 6,6 million Beninese were called to vote on Sunday, but the turnout is said to have been low.

The Democrats party hoped to gain seats in preparation for 2026 presidential elections, when candidates will need lawmaker support to be registered.

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          Foreign

          Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”

          Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –   Copyright © africanews Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved By Rédaction Africanews and Serge Koffi Last updated: 8 hours ago Pope Francis The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

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          Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”
          Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –  

          Copyright © africanews

          Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

          Pope Francis

          The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

          A dozen dignitaries including Congolese Prime Minister Sama Lukonde, alongside civil and religious authorities met him at the foot of the plane.

          Pope Francis was then escorted in his Popemobile to the Palace of the Nation where he met the Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

          The pontiff expressed his regret that the country, and more widely the African continent, still suffers from various forms of exploitation.

          “This country and this continent deserve to be respected and listened to, they deserve to find space and receive attention. Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: Africa is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!”, said Pope Francis

          Alongside the Pope, the Congolese president spoke of the challenges facing the  Continent, notably security and the preservation of the environment.

          “The removal of security threats in our country will certainly contribute to the effectiveness of the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment. Your pastoral visit will surely contribute to strengthen this determination and our people are ready to welcome your message of peace, hope, comfort, strengthening and brotherhood”, said Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, President of the DRC

          Africanews reporter Serge Koffi added:

          “According to the organisers, Pope Francis will not be visiting the east of the country where the security crisis has lasted for more than two decades.

          It is therefore here in Kinshasa, far from the shooting and fighting that the pontiff will launch his message of peace and reconciliation with the aim of easing tensions in this part of the DRC“.

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                      Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

                      South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –   Copyright © africanews Africanews By Africanews Last updated: 8 hours ago South Sudan Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985. The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of

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                      Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis
                      South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –  

                      Copyright © africanews

                      Africanews

                      South Sudan

                      Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985.

                      The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of South Sudan and one of the poorest countries in the world.

                      “We hope this visit is a great opportunity for the people of South Sudan to reconcile, to reunite, and to rebuild their future as one people united”, said Andreas Mabior, Head of the choir.

                      Sister Sarah Gune Justin, a Catholic nun, added “(South Sudan, Ed.) We became helpless because of war, but with faith and trust in God we know that with the coming of the Holy Father to our country, we will experience the peace of Christ, and South Sudan is going to change, it’s not going to remain as before”.

                      The six-day trip to the DRC and South Sudan had been planned for July 2022, but postponed due to the pontiff's knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair in recent months.

                      “Hopefully his coming as already indicated in his motto of coming, this is his wish for the people of South Sudan, “to be united, to be one”. This is without any hesitation that is moving people of South Sudan to be one”, concluded Matthew Remijio, Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Wau Diocese.

                      After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan suffered a brutal five-year civil war, while continued conflict between rival ethnic groups exacts a terrible toll on civilians.

                      The Pope will be joined in Juba by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the leader of the Church of Scotland, on what he has called “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace“.

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                                Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home

                                The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –   Copyright © africanews africanews By Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago France An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast. The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty

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                                Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home
                                The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –  

                                Copyright © africanews

                                africanews

                                France

                                An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast.

                                The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty kilometres around villages.

                                In 1916 the drum was confiscated by the French colonial administration and transferred to France in 1930.

                                The “talking drum”, as it was nicknamed,has been restored in a workshop near Paris under the supervision of the Quay Branly Museum.

                                “You can see that it has been quite badly affected by wood-eating insects which have dug galleries, certainly repeatedly, and that this has structurally weakened the drum”, said Nathalie Richard, head of the conservation-restoration department at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                “We consolidated the material, the wood itself, by impregnating it with a resin carried by a solvent. So the resin makes it possible to regain a slightly solid structure and to avoid small breakages on the edges, on the edges of the galleries, on the edges of the gaps, and so that vibrations and handling do not damage the drum any more”, concluded the head of conservation. 

                                The drum is three metres long and weighs 430 kg. This wooden instrument is seen as carrying mystical properties and was used to warn of dangers, mobilise for war or summon villages to ceremonies or festivals.

                                It is the first of a list of 148 works that Ivory Coast officially requested the restitution to France in late 2018.

                                “The drum made it possible to transmit messages over long distances – up to 30 kilometres in all directions – to villages neighbouring the village of Adjamé where it was located and which were therefore interpreted by those who heard them through sound, since the Ebrié language is a tonal language”, said Hélène Joubert, head of the heritage unit of the Africa collections at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                This traditional object, long claimed by Abidjan, is a central piece of the musical art of the Ebriés, an ethnic group in Ivory Coast.

                                “This loss was extremely important psychologically, felt as a loss of identity and freedom. And to recover the drum is to recover one's identity and freedom”,  concluded the head of African collections. 

                                The arrival of the Djidji Ayokwe at the Museum of Civilisation in Abidjan can only be confirmed once the French Parliament has voted on a law allowing its official return, similar to the restitution of historical pieces to Benin approved by the French parliament in December 2020.

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