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Brazil’s Rousseff, Neves race for support in tight election runoff

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO – An unexpectedly competitive runoff campaign for Brazil’s presidency kicked off on Monday with leftist incumbent Dilma Rousseff and her pro-business rival Aecio Neves racing to win over supporters of an ousted third-place candidate and other voters frustrated with a stagnant economy.

Neves, a centrist senator who has pushed for greater trade and lower government spending but who had been widely written off until the last few days of the campaign, rode a late surge in support to a strong second place with 33.6 percent support in Sunday’s first round of voting.

He will face the leftist Rousseff, who won 41.6 percent support, in the Oct. 26 runoff that will decide what has been Brazil’s most unpredictable election in decades.

Rousseff remains a slight favorite due to her enduring support among the poor, but Neves is within striking distance.

Brazil’s main stock index <.BVSP> soared as much as 8 percent early on Monday, and the real currency gained as much as 3 percent as investors were cheered by the strong showing from the candidate they preferred all along.

Latin America’s largest economy has been stuck in a rut for nearly four years under Rousseff, and most of Brazil’s business community and Wall Street investors have made no secret of their desire for change.

Both remaining candidates immediately shifted their focus to the 21 percent of voters who backed the third-place finisher, environmentalist Marina Silva.

Silva’s campaign fell apart late in the race amid questions about her shifting views on major issues, but she remains admired by many voters and she could still help swing the election with an endorsement.

Top Rousseff aide Gilberto Carvalho told reporters on Sunday night that he had already spoken to the head of Silva’s Brazilian Socialist Party, Roberto Amaral, to ask for their support.

“He asked for calm and more time to talk with the party,” Carvalho said.

Most observers believe Rousseff has very little chance of winning formal backing from Silva, after unleashing a barrage of negative ads that contributed to her collapse.

Instead, her best hope may be for Silva to stay neutral, as she did after finishing third in the 2010 race, which could allow Rousseff to peel away her more left-leaning supporters.

Senior officials from Neves’ Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) are hoping for a formal endorsement and they expected to meet with leaders of Silva’s campaign on Monday, a party source told Reuters.

The two camps shared broadly similar market-friendly platforms and Silva’s campaign chief, Walter Feldman, is a former PSDB leader with enduring ties to the party.

Another Silva aide who wields huge influence with her, Eduardo Giannetti, told reporters on Sunday night he would support Neves.

“I don’t think it would be good for Brazil to have four more years of (Rousseff),” Giannetti said, according to the website for Veja magazine. “Now we have to re-establish confidence. Our best chance for that is with (Neves).”

BATTLE BETWEEN VISIONS

The runoff will be a battle between opposing visions for Brazil: the state-led capitalism of the ruling Workers’ Party, and the market-friendly policies promised by Neves and the PSDB.

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Boko’s rivals plan new party

15th August 2022

Following their loss to the Duma Boko-led lobby in the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s national congress last month, some members of the party are reportedly considering forming a new political party.

According to members, the new party will be formed after they receive a tip-off that the BNF will do all it can to ensure that the aggrieved members do not participate in the 2024 national elections. This will reportedly done through a carefully orchestrated primary elections elimination campaign. 

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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