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Caf president Ahmad undecided about pursuing second term

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Ahmad has led the Confederation of African Football since 2017

Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad says he is undecided about running for a second term in office next year.

Ahmad, the subject of an ongoing Fifa Ethics case, indicated that he is likely to decide late on and only after seeking guidance from colleagues.

“I still take advice from all the participating parties of African football,” the Fifa vice-president told BBC Sport Africa. “Once it’s done, I’ll be able to say whether or not I go for it.”

The former Madagascar FA head announced his 2017 candidacy four months before the elections, and just a week before their deadline, saying he decided to run after hearing some federation presidents call for change.

“I do not do this function out of personal ambition,” Ahmad ventured. “I do it far more out of collective motivation and currently, even if I think about it a little bit, I do not want to think about it too much.

“I’d rather put my energy into the obligations that Caf has to face these days, that are very urgent. Many things need to happen.”

Since coronavirus spread across the world, Caf – like many sporting organisations – has been facing a logistical nightmare working out when it can stage forcibly-postponed tournaments, such as the next Africa Cup of Nations.

It is also in arbitration with Lagardere Sports, whose billion-dollar TV and marketing deal was cancelled by Caf last October – a decision Ahmad blames on anti-competition regulations, but one which could cost his organisation tens of millions of dollars in compensation to the French company.

Campaign trail?

While he mulls his future, some have seen this month’s decision by Caf to increase the yearly subventions for its members from $200,000 to $300,000external-link as a possible first step along the election campaign.

But the 60-year-old states the money is to help federations as they battle financial losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are making an effort to stabilise our finances at Caf but at the same time substantially help the federations,” he said.

“We have decided to give $300,000 to each of them, which implies an enormous engagement on the part of Caf for $16.2m, but it’s an obligation. We must invest to be able to hope to increase future revenues.”

Ahmad is the subject of a Fifa ethics investigation after his former Secretary General Amr Fahmy made various allegations to football’s world governing body against the Malagasy – all of which he denies.

French anti-corruption authorities have also been interested by one of the allegations, which centres on a controversial deal with Tactical Steel, a little-known French gym manufacturer run by an old friend of Ahmad’s then attaché, which provided sportswear equipment to Caf in 2017 after an original deal with Puma – slightly smaller, but costing four times less – was cancelled.

Images from the Tactical Steel website
Tactical Steel’s website highlights its role in both making and supplying gym – and not football – equipment

Fifa has not released information about the ethics investigation but has sent auditors to Caf, with Pricewaterhouse Coopers – in a damning report that leaked in February – questioning missing funds amounting to over $20m while also calling for further investigation into Ahmad’s role in the Tactical Steel affair.

The Zurich body undertook the audit along with Caf while undertaking an unprecedented move in the history of world football.

Between August 2019 and February 2020, the global body sent its own Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, to act as a ‘General Delegate for Africa’ in a bid to improve football governance on the continent.

Many saw this as an admission that Caf under Ahmad was clearly failing. The Malagasy sees it differently and insists it was he who asked for assistance.

“I might be the only president of a confederation with a real experience of managing public affairs,” said the former vice-president of Madagascar’s Senate.

“I was in a government, in a Senate, and perhaps it is those experiences that pushed me to always look up towards the bigger organisation and collaborate with it.”

Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura (left), Fifa President Gianni Infantino (centre) and Confederation of African Football President Ahmad Ahmad (right).
Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura (left) was sent to act as a ‘General Delegate for Africa’ between August and February

‘Transform Caf’

The joint Fifa-Caf relationship, which lasted six months before being abruptly curtailed in February, ended with Fifa listing 100 points that required reform, including relieving Caf’s Executive Committee of its management responsibilities and introducing a Code of Ethics.

The African body has itself created a so-called ‘Transform Cafexternal-link‘ programme, which Ahmad says will achieve similar objectives.

“When we analysed Fifa’s document, we went to 120 points more or less – and today, Caf is open,” he asserts. “We only need to validate certain points that need the approval of Congress.

“In December, important decisions will be taken. Not all will be taken though, because some changes relate to the president and in December we’ll be on the eve of presidential elections.

“So we won’t seal these changes to ensure it is not interpreted as a way of closing the door to other candidates. On that point, the new president will be able to decide if he or she wants to amend the statutory clauses.”

Ahmad did not elaborate any further but all should be revealed in Ethiopia at the General Assembly in December, by which time candidates for the election will have been determined.

Should he contest March’s elections, Ahmad is likely to face more challengers than three years ago, with a strong challenge from North Africa anticipated.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet

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FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.


According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.



Source – observer.ug

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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News

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The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'

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Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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