Maputo, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — Vote counting continues Wednesday in Mozambique's presidential and parliamentary elections, after isolated incidents of vandalism and violence tainted a generally peaceful night of tallying the ballots.
One person was killed by police dispersing a crowd at a voting station after the polls had closed in the northern port city of Nacala, according to local reports.
Leading opposition figures had urged their supporters to stay and monitor the vote counting, despite official announcements that only accredited observers and polling station staff could remain at the premises after hours.
Another crowd refused to leave a polling station in Maniamba, in northern Niassa province, leading to a scuffle with police in which ballot papers were destroyed, according to local radio reports.
Pre-marked ballot papers were discovered in several incidents up and down the country, according to the civic group, the Center for Public Integrity. In all cases the ballots were marked in favor of the ruling Frelimo party, it said.
A senior opposition politician, Renamo's national spokesman Jose Manteigas, was arrested in Inhambane, in southern Mozambique, in an apparent dispute over his accreditation to observe the voting process, according to local reports.
Results could take days to be announced. The National Election Commission will not release partial results during the counting process as it had done in the past, said commission head Sheik Abdul Carimo, according to the newspaper, Canal de Mocambique.
In the previous elections in 2014, the election commission held press conferences every few hours to announce the results as they came in. The commission decided announcing preliminary results in this election, Carimo said, because they "can create various negative interpretations."
Johannesburg, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — Former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang is challenging attempts to extradite him to the United States for a corruption trial.
His extradition hearing is underway Wednesday in South Africa.
Chang was arrested in South Africa last year on the request of the U.S. government in relation to a $2 billion debt scandal that rocked Mozambique's economy. The scandal affected some U.S. investors. Chang was finance minister from 2005 to 2015.
South Africa's justice minister decided to review his predecessor's decision to have Chang extradited to Mozambique instead. Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has asserted that Mozambique has not shown seriousness in prosecuting him.
Mozambique's government wants the court, not the justice minister, to decide where Chang should go. It has argued that Lamola is biased in favor of the U.S. government.
Juba, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — South Sudan's fragile peace deal is faltering less than a month before the country's president and armed opposition leader are meant to form a coalition government and begin the long recovery from a five-year civil war.
Some doubt it is safe enough for opposition leader Riek Machar to return to the country by Nov. 12, when he would again serve as President Salva Kiir's deputy, an arrangement that has collapsed in fighting more than once.
Machar won't return unless security measures are in place, including a 3,000-member force for his protection, said the opposition's deputy chairman, Henry Odwar.
"The city is militarized, mistrust is high and Riek Machar's return in that environment without serious security arrangements in place could be dangerous," said Lauren Blanchard, an analyst with the U.S. Congress who recently visited with a congressional delegation.
It's difficult to see how the new government can be formed safely next month, she said.
The government vows to move ahead. If the opposition doesn't return it will be seen as holding the country "hostage," said government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.
South Sudan's civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions. Implementation of the peace deal signed last year has been riddled with delays and a lack of funding.
Two key factors must be resolved before Machar's return. Opposition and government soldiers must be brought together into one national army. At least 42,000 troops, or about half of the new unified forces, need to be ready — along with the 3,000-member force for Machar.
The integration process has been sluggish while food, shelter and medicine are lacking. Some opposition soldiers complained to The Associated Press of government harassment.
Then there's the issue of the number of South Sudan's states, "the most contentious challenge to peace," said Dan Sullivan, senior advocate for human rights at Refugees International.
After a failed 2015 peace deal the government expanded the existing 10 states to 32, a decision seen by observers as a move to divide the country along ethnic lines. Some vow to return to war if the issue isn't resolved.
"Fighting will take place if the boundaries aren't defined. We are ready to fight," said Aban Yor, a community leader with the Shilluk ethnic group. Grievances are rife among the Shilluk after the government forcibly displaced them from their homes during the war, according to a report last month by Small Arms Survey.
South Sudan's government has said any outstanding issues will be decided in the three-year transitional period before elections.
Even if a unity government is formed, the country's situation is dire. More than 6 million people are hungry and pockets of the country face famine conditions, according to a report last week by the International Rescue Committee.
Violent crime in Juba has increased, with humanitarian workers likely targeted for their perceived wealth, according to a security report circulated among aid groups this month and seen by the AP. It noted "brazen disregard for law enforcement not previously seen in Juba."
Civil servants haven't been paid in months. While the government cites a lack of funds, critics including the Washington-based group The Sentry allege the money is squandered by senior politicians and military officials. South Sudan's national draft budget this year allocates $20 million for medical coverage for 400 members of parliament, while about $14 million is budgeted for the country's entire health care system.
Analysts say the international community needs to think creatively about salvaging the peace.
"The parties have shown an uncanny ability to undermine the agreement in any number of ways. The guarantors should anticipate these moves and be prepared with swift and targeted responses," said David Deng, a South Sudan researcher.
The U.S. government is increasing pressure, last week sanctioning two businessmen, the Sudanese Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal and South Sudanese Kur Ajing Ater, for involvement in bribery, kickbacks and procurement fraud with senior government officials.
The U.S. has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if a new government isn't formed next month.
"We are not prepared to continue to see delays, we are not prepared to continue to hear arguments for why more time must be given," said Bryan Hunt, Sudan and South Sudan office director at the State Department. "We think it's past time, frankly, for the leadership to sit together and find ways to move this country forward."
Bie, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Six people were killed and another injured in a car accident Monday in Angola's central Bie Province, local police said.
The victims included a 9-month-old child and the driver was seriously injured, said Antonio Hossi, chief superintendent from the Bie provincial command of the National Police.
The accident happened on National Road No. 250 in Chinguar town of Bie Province. The official attributed the tragedy to overspeeding.
Road accidents remain the second leading cause of death following malaria in the southern African country.
Kampala, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The 20th batch of Chinese medical teams have arrived in Uganda on a tour of duty for the next one year aimed at boosting the east African country's health care.
At a welcome and sendoff reception of the incoming and outgoing Chinese medical teams held on Monday at the Chinese embassy here, Uganda hailed China for the continued assistance since the first batch of doctors arrived in the country in 1983. Since then, over 211 volunteer doctors from China have served in Uganda, according to the Chinese embassy.
Emmanuel Batibwe, Director of China-Uganda Friendship Hospital said the outgoing medical team has carried out over 2,200 consultations in the last one year out of the 150,000 outpatients that visited the hospital.
Batibwe said the Chinese medical experts worked with their Ugandan counterparts to carry out surgeries.
Charles Olaro, director of health services at the ministry of health said China has for long donated an assortment of medicines and medical equipment, which have been critical in extending health care to many Ugandans.
Olaro said China has also been important in making Uganda ready to handle an Ebola outbreak in case it spreads from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo where it is ravaging villages.
Among the medical team that was stationed at China-Uganda Friendship Hospital in the capital Kampala is an Ebola expert who has been in constant liaison with the ministry of the health.
Last month, China provided emergency assistance for Ebola prevention and control to Uganda in case it faced an outbreak, according to the Chinese embassy.
Besides the donations, close to 50 medical people from public health facilities also traveled to China for training and seminars.
Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda said China-Uganda medical and health cooperation is an important part of the eight major initiatives of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in September last year.
Zheng said with the deepening China-Uganda friendship, China continues to provide considerable medical aid to Uganda.