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Marking the country's 59th Independence Day on Thursday, Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye said his country is moving forward on the path of reconciliation.

In a speech in the political capital Bujumbura, Ndayishimiye said respect of national territory, person, and national laws is key to rebuilding the country. "Burundians now want to take charge of their destiny by drawing useful lessons from their past," he said.

The country was embroiled in a political crisis that followed the previous election in 2015 when late President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a controversial third term in office. Since his election last year, Ndayishimiye has promised to listen to all voices and serve all the people.

Formerly administered under Ruanda-Urundi, the two countries in East Africa acquired their independence from Belgium on July 1, 1962.

In Rwanda, though a public holiday, there were no celebrations, with ceremonies expected to take place on July 4, the day it marks the 1994 liberation.

National celebrations took place in Bujumbura and the provinces, featuring colorful parades by security personnel and civilians from both state and private institutions.

During the official ceremony, Ndayishimiye awarded different personalities for their distinguished professional services and patriotism.

In attendance was Faustin A. Touadéra, the president of the Central African Republic, and other dignitaries from neighboring countries.

For the Burundian president, the presence of the Rwandan delegation led by the Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente was “a strong signal of a new beginning in relations between the two neighboring countries.”

The Burundian leader asked the international community to “stop supporting the country’s destabilizers” and instead help the nation in the rebuilding process.

Ndayishimiye, a retired army general, has promised his government would take measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, a policy shift from his late predecessor who downplayed the danger posed by coronavirus. But during the ceremonies, a majority of attendees had no face masks. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

Photo Courtesy Tuko

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in the Elysee Palace on Thursday, July 1, where he was received by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron The two leaders held bilateral and multilateral talks with Uhuru giving the progress of the expansion of the 233-kilometre Rironi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Road Uhuru was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo, James Macharia and Kenya's envoy to France Judi Wakhungu

President Uhuru Kenyatta has been received by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron after his arrival in the European nation for bilateral talks. Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in France on Thursday, July 1, for bilateral talks. Uhuru arrived in Elysee Palace on the morning of Thursday, July 1, months after his last visit to France where he signed a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement worth KSh 160 billion.

In a statement from state house, Uhuru and Macron discussed several bilateral and multilateral subjects of mutual interest to Kenya and France key among them the expansion of the 233-kilometre Rironi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Road whose construction is set to kick off in September 2021.

William Ruto Promises Policies to Boost Funding for Start-ups, Small Businesses "Presidents Kenyatta and Macron discussed enhanced cooperation in the health sector particularly in building Kenya's capacity to manufacture vaccines locally," the statement indicated. On the multilateral front, the two leaders spoke about the forthcoming Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Summit in London to be co-hosted by Uhuru and United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson.

The Kenyan head of state was accompanied to Elysee Palace by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, her infrastructure counterpart James Macharia and Kenya's envoy to France Judi Wakhungu.

Uhuru's tour in 2020 In October 2020, Uhuru also toured France where he signed three bilateral agreements. Among the agreements reached is a public-private partnership (PPP) for the construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway signed between KeNHA and Vinci Concessions.

The highway is one of the largest PPP projects in Eastern Africa. Others were agreements for the development of the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) commuter railway line and the 400KV Menengai-Rongai electricity transmission line.  By Racheal Nyaguthie Tuko

 Two Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) soldiers in Bujumbura, March 19, 2014. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross

 

At least 15 people were burnt alive or shot dead in a horrific attack in central Burundi after armed men blocked off a road and started killing travelers, security sources said Sunday.

The ambush on Saturday night took place in Muramvya province, mirroring similar attacks staged here last year.

Armed men barricaded a road with boulders and sprayed bullets on vehicles. They also poured petrol and set alight two buses, burning the passengers alive in what one witness said were “scenes of horror.”

At least 13 people were torched alive and between two and five shot dead, witnesses and a local official said. A local official said 15 others were wounded, of whom six had serious injuries.

A security source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the toll was 17 as the “heavily-armed” attackers shot dead two others while fleeing. The source said at least four people had been arrested.

The interior ministry confirmed the 8:00 pm attack near the Munanira hill but did not provide a toll.

In early May, a similar ambush in the same area claimed at least 12 lives.

Civil society groups in exile blame such attacks on ethnic rivalry and infighting in the former Hutu rebel group Cndd-FDD, which is now in power. - AFP/The Defense Post

Queen Latifah was honored for her illustrious hip-hop and acting career at the 2021 BET Awards on Sunday, June 27. 

 

Latifah received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday night’s awards show during the televised event, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, where she shared an inspirational message in her acceptance speech. 

The 51-year-old took the stage with her father, Lancelot Owens, Sr., and a photo of her late mother, Rita Owens. 

“I’m so extremely moved, I don’t even know what to say,” Latifah said, getting emotional. “Let me just say that I want to thank God, because God designed this whole thing to be this way. There is no way that I could have had the parents that I was born to, my father, my mother, who instilled so much in me. My family, I love you. My siblings, my best friends who ride or die with me. Whether my face is on the dirt or flying in the sky, they know me and they are there for me.”

 

 

“I want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine. When we couldn’t get played on the radio and other places, we couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET, that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine to this night right now, right here. Bless everybody that graced the stage tonight and everyone in the audience for all your support,” she continued. “Be Black. Black is beautiful.” 

Latifah continued, sharing that she’s always celebrated women because she was raised by a strong Black woman and a father who loves women. “We can’t live without each other. I wanted to celebrate us because I know together, we stand stronger,” she shared. “So respect to all the females on the stage tonight.”

 The performer thanked her team, including her longtime business partner Shakim Compere, before sharing a message to her fans. 

“I thank you so much, all of you, the fans, for supporting every crazy thing I’ve done through the years,” she said. “Peace and happy Pride!” 

Latifah’s speech came after a tribute performance featuring Rapsody and Lil’ Kim. Rapsody first performed Latifah’s “Ladies First,” before Kim and MC Lyte belted out “U.N.I.T.Y.” 

The introduction was accompanied by a short video package that highlighted Latifah’s accomplishments across music, movies, and TV with stars like Jada Pinkett Smith, Megan Thee Stallion, and more commenting on her incredible legacy. By PH News of Africa

Ministers of Health from four African countries (Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Cabo Verde), representatives from international organizations, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry reiterated today at a high-level roundtable event the urgency of establishing a regulatory authority across Africa, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current fragmented regulatory systems across the continent are making it difficult to mount an appropriate response.

Ministers of Health and roundtable participants outlined the first areas of work for the AMA and agreed that it has the unique opportunity to become one of the most efficient and modern regulatory systems in the world. Once established, it will perform a vital task in overseeing rapid and effective market authorisation of safe, quality, effective and accessible vaccines, medicines, and health devices to control and treat disease across Africa to robust regulatory standards.

Crucially, it will foster reliance and regulatory harmonization across the continent. In practice, this means that national regulatory authorities will be able to build on the work done by counterparts in other countries, significantly cutting down the time it takes for medicines, vaccines or diagnostics to reach the market. For many countries, the AMA also holds the promise of driving industrial and economic growth, through encouraging the development of local pharmaceutical industry and the establishment of centres of excellence for research across the continent.

But while commitment to the AMA mission and vision is strong, it has not translated into concrete actions. A new cross-stakeholder alliance announced at the roundtable, the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance (AMATA), will seek to push for rapid ratification of the Treaty, as well as meaningful engagement with patients, industry and other relevant parties once the Agency becomes operational.

Michel Sidibé, Special Envoy of the African Union, said: “The delay in establishing the African Medicines Agency is hindering much-needed improvement of the regulation of medicines, medical products and technologies across the continent. I am heartened to see the launch of the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance, today and urge ministers of health who have not yet done so, to set the process in motion for the rapid ratification of the AMA”.

Kawaldip Sehmi, CEO of IAPO, said: “The launch of the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance represents a key milestone in our campaign for patients’ interest in Africa. Respecting the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’, we are stressing that the AMA needs to establish a particular framework and structure to engage with African patients and consumers like their European or American counterparts already do”.

Karim Bendhaou, chair of the IFPMA Africa engagement committee echoed the new alliance’s goals: “The African Medicines Agency will contribute to regulatory harmonization across Africa to enable collaboration, work-sharing and the use of reliance procedures, which will mean a win-win for national regulators, patients and industry. We hope we’re reaching a tipping point on establishing the AMA and hope to see significant progress in the ratification process by the end of the year”.

Philippe Lamoureux, Director general of Leem, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative and look forward to engaging with the AMA Treaty Alliance to achieve its goals for better patient access to medicines in Africa”. 

ANA NEWS WIRE 

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