“In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump’s elaborate exit ceremony,” Politico reported Tuesday morning. “The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don’t want to be photographed sending off their former boss.”
Trump’s current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. “Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold,” Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: “No one wants to touch them, they’re just toxic.” Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: “They’re f—ed.”
Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. “Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869,” The Washington Post notes.
Uganda’s government spokesman on Tuesday accused the US ambassador of breaching diplomatic norms and engaging in “mischief” over her attempt to visit opposition leader Bobi Wine, who is confined to his home.
The former popstar-turned-politician has been under effective house arrest guarded by soldiers and police, since he cast his ballot in last Thursday’s presidential election, which he said was riddled with fraud.
US Ambassador Natalie Brown on Monday tried to meet with Wine — whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi — and was met with a line of police officers clad in riot gear who turned her away.
“The purpose of Ambassador Brown’s visit was to check on Mr. Kyagulanyi’s health and safety, given that he’s effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence,” read a statement posted on the US Embassy’s Facebook page on Monday.
Wine, 38, came second in the presidential election, which returned Yoweri Museveni to power for a sixth term, and has said he is cut off from his lawyers and party as the days tick by for him to challenge the vote in the courts.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the attempt by Brown, who took up her post during Uganda’s fraught election campaign, was a sign “that she is up to mischief”.
“We expect her to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to adhere to diplomatic norms. We don’t think that a friendly country or someone who wants to help out in a difficult situation would act in this way,” he told AFP.
“It is the arrogance of the Americans, who think they rule the world.”
The embassy of the United States said Uganda’s election campaign had been “marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day.”
“These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy.”
Asked if Wine was under house arrest, Opondo said he is “under the protection of the Uganda government” because he is the “target of many forces”.
“It’s in the interest of the Government of Uganda for him (Wine) not to be harmed in any way.”
The Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Abdullahi Gana, who was reported to have handed over the mantle of leadership Monday, has been asked to remain in office pending official communication from the Presidency.
According to reliable sources who spoke to PRNigeria on the matter, there was no official directive from the Presidency for him to hand over as of yesterday when he clocked 58 years, following the expiration of his six months extended tenure on January 17, 2021.
The federal government through the Ministry of Interior had extended Gana’s tenure by six months in July 2020. The NSCDC spokesman, Emmanuel Okeh, had in a statement on July 19 said the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola had approved the extension of the tenure of the NSCDC boss for a six-month period effective from July 17, 2020 to January 2021.
A source very close to the NSCDC boss told PRNigeria that Commandant General still has two years ahead before retiring from service.
The source said: “The CG Abdullahi Gana still has more years in the service because by age, he was 58 years as of yesterday by year of working experience, he has just spent 28 years, which means he still has either two years to clock sixty of age or seven years to reach 35 years in the service.
“As I am talking to you now, he is awaiting further official directives from the Presidency,” the source said.
PRNigeria also gathered that there is frantic lobbying of powerful individuals at the Presidency to reverse the earlier decision made to appoint the Deputy Commandant General of Commandant-General (CG) in charge of Operation and most senior officer at NSCDC, DCG Hilary Kelechi Madu, as the acting Commandant General of the corps.
According to sources, Madu, who was billed to have taken over from Gana whose extended tenure of six months expired on January 18, 2021, may be forced to wait longer as efforts are made to extend his boss’ stay in office.
The world will never be the same after COVID-19. Yet in a world changed and changing in ways unseen before, certain things do endure. The fraternity between China and Africa is one of them. Forged in the early nationhood of the People’s Republic of China and African countries, such friendship has grown into a towering tree defying winds and rains over the decades.
And certainly, it will not be deterred by COVID-19. From 4 to 9 January 2021, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi started his official visits to the world with a five-nation tour to Africa, a proud tradition upheld by every Chinese foreign minister over the past 30 years. Rain or shine, China and Africa are always there for each other. President Xi Jinping visited Africa on his maiden foreign trip in 2013. Many African leaders, like Tanzanian founding father Julius Nyerere, visited China quite a few times. From building TAZARA to fighting Ebola, China never hesitates to step in for African brothers and sisters. From applauding China’s return to the UN to rebutting unfair accusation against China, Africa always stands with China.
The timing of Foreign Minister’s visit cannot be more relevant: 2021 is an anniversary year of diplomatic ties between China and several of the five African countries; the concluding year for the follow-through of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit; and, most importantly, a year when solidarity is vital for humanity to emerge from the challenges of our lifetime.
True friends don’t leave each other at the sign of danger, according to an African proverb. When the world is in the depth of winter, due to a coronavirus which no one knew before, solidarity between China and African countries sends a warm spring breeze. For China, it is a snowfall of goodwill letters from African leaders and assistance in kind, priceless as an expression of friendship. For Africa, it is the medical supplies and professionals sent from China in addition to the online experience sharing sessions that China held with African friends.
For example, when Botswana detected its first COVID case last March, China was among the first to send medical supplies. Last September, a 46-member Chinese medical team braved the pandemic to begin their two-year long work in Botswana. At the Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone and the Nyangabgwe Hospital in Francistown, the Chinese doctors threw themselves into the treatment of urgent cases, including a little boy with acute abdominal disease, often before the patients were tested COVID-positive. It was more than courtesy when Sethomo Lelatisitswe, Botswana’s assistant minister of health and wellness, once commented this, “Botswana will forever cherish the assistance from China”.
Now, with China and Africa working together to make vaccines more affordable and accessible in the developing world, there is a greater chance for humanity to prevail over this trying time.
But the world needs to look beyond the pandemic. China is pursuing national rejuvenation and a better life for its people. So is Africa. With the African Continental Free Trade Area taking off on 1 January 2021 and China reinforcing its domestic market and the international one, a lot more can be done by the two coming together. When it comes to getting things done, China and Africa are no talkers but doers: an MOU was signed between China and Nigeria during Foreign Minister Wang’s visit to spearhead bilateral cooperation across the board; Chinese companies like Huawei have been helping with ICT training for the next-generation Nigerian talents; D.R. Congo and Botswana became the 45th and 46th members joining the big family of Belt and Road cooperation; a grand blueprint has been drawn up for China-Tanzania cooperation in infrastructure, human resources training, investment and trade; a demonstration zone of South-South cooperation on climate change will be built to support climate change response in Seychelles, a paradise on the Indian Ocean.
Heading to a shared future with their strengths combined, China and Africa can work together toward: a healthy Africa with greater public health capacity, an Africa strong in manufacturing, a connected Africa with across-the-continent infrastructure, trade and financial links, a green Africa that prospers while preserving its grasslands, mountains and lakes, a digital Africa that thrives on the fourth industrial revolution, a bumper African harvest for all Africans, a secure Africa where guns are silenced and peace restored, and an Africa drawing on a greater pool of professional talents.
Sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith. This is the guiding principle set out by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Tanzania in 2013. Up to date, China has built for Africa 6,000 kilometers of railways, the same mileage of highways, over 130 medical facilities and more than 170 schools. China sees to it that every promise be turned into real results.
When the world today suffers the greatest recession since the 1930s, what else is more needed than solidarity and partnership? When the 1.4 billion Chinese and 1.3 billion Africans prosper together, humanity will have a brighter future.
In the 21st century, as in the past, a closer China-Africa community is a force for good for this world.
U.S. President Donald Trump at this point is opting not to issue a pardon for himself as he prepares an expansive list of more than 100 pardons and commutations for release on Tuesday, a source familiar with the effort said.
White House advisers have said Trump has privately debated with advisers whether to take the extraordinary step of issuing a pardon for himself but some administration officials have cautioned Trump against a self-pardon because it would make him look guilty.
Many scholars have said a self-pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case.
Others have argued that a self-pardon is constitutional because the pardon power is very broadly worded in the Constitution. Historical texts made clear that the nation’s 18th century founders discussed self-pardons, but opted not to include an explicit limitation on that power.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last week on charges of inciting the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by pro-Trump protesters. His case is to face a Senate trial and if convicted, he could be disqualified from seeking another run for the presidency in 2024.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said so far Trump does not plan to pardon himself and also does not plan to issue preemptive pardons for members of his family, another subject he has discussed privately with advisers.
Trump, who has already issued two waves of pardons in the past month, met advisers on Sunday to finalize a list of more than 100 pardons and commutations, the source said.
CNN reported that Dr Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, is expected to be on the clemency list.
The source said the clemencies were expected to be issued on Trump’s last full day in office on Tuesday. Skipping the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Trump leaves on Wednesday morning to begin his post-presidency at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. His presidency ends at noon on Wednesday.