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Yoshihide Suga launches bid to become Japan’s next prime minister | Japan News

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Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, has announced he will join the race to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – and, by default, the country’s next head of government.

A longtime aide to the outgoing prime minister, Suga told reporters on Wednesday that he was entering the leadership contest to avoid a political vacuum in a time of crisis.

The party’s leader is set to take over as prime minister, given the LDP’s majority in the lower house of parliament. Abe announced his decision to resign last week, citing poor health.

Suga, 71, said his decision came “after some deep thought on what I can do as a politician and a member of Abe’s administration”. 

His main competitors in the September 14 party vote are a former defence minister, Shigeru Ishiba, and a former foreign minister, Fumio Kishida. There are no female contenders in the race, the winner of which will finish the rest of Abe’s term, until September 2021. 

The party decided on Tuesday to hold a scaled-back leadership vote that will not include rank-and-file members. Instead, only its legislators and three representatives from each of the country’s 47 prefectures will vote – an advantage for Suga, who is backed by five of the LDP’s seven factions, according to local media.

Ishiba, 63, is not seen as popular among LDP legislators due to his anti-Abe stance, but he is a favourite in public opinion polls.

Kishida, also 63, was in the past considered Abe’s favoured successor. But the prime minister has said he will not endorse a candidate, and Kishida’s limited public profile is likely to leave him struggling to challenge Suga.

‘Push forward Abenomics’

Many party chapters will poll rank-and-file members to decide how to allocate their three votes, but experts say this is unlikely to change the momentum growing for Suga if the members of the five factions back him.

His selection “is increasingly assured, as the LDP’s factions – with the exception of the factions headed by rival candidates Shigeru Ishiba and Fumio Kishida – have lined up behind Suga”, Tobias Harris, a Japan expert at Teneo consultancy, said in a note.

In his news conference, Suga said he would “maintain and push forward” the reflationary “Abenomics” stimulus policies pursued by the outgoing prime minister.

The son of a strawberry grower in the northern prefecture of Akita, Suga is a self-made politician, a rarity in Japan’s largely hereditary business of politics. He earned his own tuition while working several part-time jobs to graduate from a university in Tokyo. He entered politics as secretary to a legislator for 11 years and served as a city assemblyman for nearly nine years before he was elected to parliament in 1994.

As Japan’s longest-serving chief cabinet secretary, Suga is a policy coordinator and adviser to Abe – the point man behind the centralised power of the Prime Minister’s Office that influences bureaucrats to implement policies. Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe since his first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007, which ended abruptly because of Abe’s chronic illness, and helped him return to power in 2012.

He has earned a reputation for his matter-of-fact twice-daily televised media briefings and has become known as “Uncle Reiwa” after he was tasked with unveiling the new imperial era name for Emperor Naruhito last year.

Asked about key policies that a post-Abe government should tackle, Suga identified coronavirus measures as the biggest challenge. In addition, the Japan-US security alliance – developed through the friendship between Abe and US President Donald Trump – “needs to be further deepened” within the limitations of Japan’s pacifist constitution, he said.

The two other contenders, Kishida and Ishiba, say the prime minister’s policies tended to ignore the voices of the people and that they intend to address the economic and social divisions that had widened under Abe. Neither man has proposed any major changes in Japan’s security and diplomatic policies.

Abe’s successor will also have to grapple with the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to next summer, setting Japan’s security policy in the face of an increasingly assertive China, and the outcome of the presidential election in the US, Japan’s key ally.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Museveni: We Don’t Encourage Export of Labour

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President Museveni has urged Ugandans to exploit the available resources to create jobs and stem labour export.

Uganda does not encourage the export of human labour resource abroad,” said Museveni on Saturday, April 10.

”Uganda is a very rich country. It is bad to be poor. What matters is to have attitude change among our people and to put the available resources into use to create jobs,” he emphasized.

 Museveni said Uganda should emulate countries like South Korea and Japan whose nationals do not seek for jobs outside their countries.

The President was meeting the Regional Director of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mohammed Abdiker in charge of East and the Horn of Africa who was accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango.

Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates globally with more than 78% of its population below 30 years.

This is the productive age of many people but while the labour force is increasing with each passing year, the labour market is actually shrinking rendering it incapable of accommodating the 500,000 young Ugandans that join the labour market annually.

This makes labour export the most feasible alternative way out of this unemployment conundrum.

Uganda adopted the externalization of labour in 2005 as a measure to shed off its excess and abundant labour force though this policy has culminated into an industry that is lucrative but unregulated hence the making the need for regulatory processes more needed today than ever before.

Ugandan women were recently warned against the increasing number of criminal gangs in Kampala city who allegedly recruit girls on the streets promising them ‘juicy jobs in Malaysia and other East Asian countries and instead sell them into forced prostitution.

Remittances to Uganda have increased from $ 1.6 billion (Sh4.6 trillion) in 2016, to $ 2.0bn (Sh7 trillion in 2017 and they can only go higher as the labour export industry is regulated and formalized so that the nation can gain from the labour and exploits of her citizens.

Meanwhile, Museveni and Malango discussed the current political situation in the region including Somalia, South Sudan and the DRC.

During the meeting that was held at Independence Grounds at Kololo, the President said the political solution to Somalia was to senstize the nationals about the weaknesses of fronting issues of identity including tribal and religion as opposed to people’s common interests to achieve Socia-economic transformation, prosperity and political stability.

Mr. Mohammed Abdiker thanked the President for his tremendous input on two fronts mainly; fighting for the political stability of Somalia and South Sudan and combating Covid-19 pandemic.

He thanked the President for his support to IOM programmes on disaster response and refugees.

The post Museveni: We Don’t Encourage Export of Labour first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Opposition sidelined as Benin votes in presidential election | Elections News

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With most rivals in exile or sidelined, Benin’s President Patrice Talon looks set to win a second term in office.

Voters in Benin are set to cast their ballots in a presidential election on Sunday, days after deadly protests against President Patrice Talon, who is heavily favoured to win a second term.

Talon, a cotton magnate first elected in 2016, faces off against two little-known rivals, Alassane Soumanou and Corentin Kohoue.

Opponents accuse the 62-year-old Talon of undermining Benin’s vibrant multi-party democracy by sidelining most of his main opponents.

Protests in several cities last week turned violent. At least two people died in the central city of Save when troops on Thursday fired tear gas and live rounds to break up protesters who had blocked a major highway. Five others were wounded.

In the commercial capital Cotonou, several people said they feared violence on election day.

“The events of these last days scare me,” said Christophe Dossou, a student. “I prefer to remain cautious.”

Benin’s President Patrice Talon denies targeting his opponents [File: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

Among the protesters’ complaints are Talon’s U-turn on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2016 to serve only one term, and changes he pushed through to election laws that he said were aimed at streamlining unwieldy government institutions. In practice, those reforms resulted in total control of parliament by Talon’s supporters and the exclusion of leading opponents from the presidential race.

One opposition leader Reckya Madougou was detained last month on accusations of plotting to disrupt the election, a charge her lawyer says is fabricated.

A judge from a special economic crimes court created by Talon also fled the country last week after denouncing political pressure to make rulings against the president’s critics, including the decision to detain Madougou.

Meanwhile, businessman Sebastien Ajavon, who came third in the 2016 presidential poll, was convicted of drug trafficking in 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, while another potential rival, ex-finance minister Komi Koutche, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzlement. Ajavon lives in exile in France, while Koutche lives in Washington, DC.

Talon denies targeting his opponents.

He has campaigned on his economic record, which includes improvements to key infrastructure such as roads, water and energy supplies.

Soldiers stand in line to block supporters of the incumbent president during an electoral campaign rally at Abomey-Calavi, on April 9, 2021 [Pius Utomi Ekpei/ AFP]

Benin, a country of about 12 million people, became Africa’s top cotton exporter in 2018 and recorded average annual gross domestic product growth of over 5 percent before the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we did was not easy,” Talon said at one of his final campaign rallies on Friday. “We are strong and we know how to get it done.”

He said he expects a “knock-out victory” for which there would be no need for a runoff vote.

The United States, German, French and Dutch embassies as well as the European Union delegation in Benin all called on Friday for calm and for the vote to go ahead in a free and transparent manner.

“We urge all parties to express their perspectives peacefully,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. “We urge the electoral institutions and courts overseeing these processes and verifying these results to ensure these elections are conducted freely, fairly, and transparently.”

Results are expected to be announced on Monday or Tuesday.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Trucks Traveling to Juba Get Military Escort

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Government of Southern Sudan has agreed to provide full military security and safety to all road users including Ugandan cargo truck drivers plying Juba – Nimule highway starting this week.

This was reached during a meeting between South Sudan government and Ugandan authorities on Friday at Elegu One-stop Border point in Amuru district, Northern Uganda.

High level security officials from both countries met to deliberate on the deteriorating security along major highways in South Sudan in which eight Ugandan truck drivers have been shot dead by armed men in the past weeks.

The Sudanese high-level delegation was led by the country’s Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Johnson Juma, Inspector General of Police, Gen. Majak Akech, and Director-General of Internal Security, Gen. Akol Khor.

The Deputy Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority, Hon. Africano Mande was also present and four East African Ambassadors.

On the other side, Uganda’s delegation was led by Police Operations Director AIGP Edward Ochom, Director Crime Intelligence Col. Damulira among others high ranking officers.

“We have successively concluded our two days meetings with Ugandan authorities including the drivers who later agreed to resume the normal operation,” said South Sudan authorities.

“And as government, we assure them of full security on the major highways in the Republic of South Sudan and removal of the illegal road blocks and check-points for easy movement of trucks to Juba and others towns within the country.”

Last week, truck drivers from across the East African region protested the increasing insecurity in South Sudan, illegal taxes and also demanded for compensation of their deceased colleagues.

They parked their trucks at Elegu border and demanded for both governments to intervene before the situation deteriorates further.

In regards to compensation, Sudanese authorities agreed to pay for the victims but said that the process will be discussed through the foreign ministries of the two countries.

Although traders had also requested Ugandan authorities and in this case the UPDF to escort their goods to South Sudan, Lt.Col Deo Akiki said that “this can’t be a decision of UPDF. South Sudan is a sovereign State, therefore anything done on its territory at the moment has to be a bilateral matter beyond the two forces. It’s a government to government affair.”

ChimpReports understands that some trucks on Saturday left Elegu border for Juba under full security escort.

The post Trucks Traveling to Juba Get Military Escort first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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