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Briefly

- - Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MALAWI

Pro-democracy candidate wins by-election

SALIMA | A pro-democracy candidate defeated the ruling party opponent on Wednesday in a critical by-election that signals increasing opposition to President Bingu wa Mutharika's seven-year rule of Malawi.

The electoral commission announced Enoch Chihana won 6,641 votes in the parliamentary seat for the northern Rumphi district against 3,275 for the ruling party candidate, Norman Nyirenda.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mutharika announced a downsized Cabinet that includes his wife and his brother but trims 14 other ministries in a nod to demands from civic society.

In August, he dissolved his 42-member Cabinet, one month after deadly anti-government riots that killed 19 people in July.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Two killed in jailbreak as hundreds escape

LUBUMBASHI | Two people were killed Wednesday in a massive jailbreak as nearly 1,000 prisoners escaped in southeastern Congo, an official said.

Dikanga Kazadi, the information minister of Katanga province, said eight armed men attacked the prison guards in Lubumbashi on Wednesday, allowing the prisoners to flee.

Police recaptured 152 of the 967 escaped prisoners. The armed men were trying to free a militant who was condemned to death, Mr. Kazadi said.

A police officer and a man visiting his imprisoned brother were killed in the jailbreak, he said.

BURKINA FASO

Midwives jailed over woman's death

OUAGADOUGOU | Two midwives have been jailed amid accusations they left a woman to die in labor while they watched television, a state prosecutor said Wednesday.

Sita Traore's Aug. 31 death prompted angry protests in which demonstrators torched a maternity ward.

She was expecting twins. Her husband said his wife and babies died at the clinic in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso.

It was the latest in a series of deaths of women in Burkina Faso maternity wards.

The death prompted a rare promise from the government of the West African nation that it would take action.

SOUTH AFRICA

Criticism mounts against chief justice nominee

JOHANNESBURG | Critics say the pastor nominated to lead South Africa's judicial system is an apologist for rapists and belongs to a church that believes homosexuality is a sin.

On Wednesday, three female Nobel Prize winners urged President Jacob Zuma not to appoint Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as chief justice. They claimed he would be unable to separate church from state.

"Many of his rulings have undermined the severity of the crime of rape," they said in a statement.

The Treatment Action Campaign says Mr. Mogoeng seems to increase sentences for men who rape men and lessen those of men who rape women. He also ruled in one case that a man accused of raping his wife was provoked because she wore a nightdress.

Mr. Mogoeng quoted from the Bible at a hearing, saying he will uphold the law because "he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted."

SWAZILAND

Police disperse march, arrest union leader

MANZINI | Swazi police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a pro-democracy march Wednesday, arresting a top South African union leader who was going to address the crowd, a protest organizer said.

Zingiswa Losi, deputy president of the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) labor body, was among three people arrested in the southern Swazi town of Sitheki, said Sibongile Mazibuko, head of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers.

"When COSATU representatives got up to speak, police gathered to remove them. The crowd tried to protect them. There were gunshots, tear gas. I think they are being taken back to their country," said Ms. Mazibuko, whose teachers union is a driving force behind the Swazi protests.

Pro-democracy advocates have staged three days of protests against Swazi King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.