Category Archives: Central Africa

CAR: Touadéra joins election

The President of the Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin-Archange Touadéra, announced his candidacy for the presidential election scheduled for December 27 on Saturday September 26.

“It’s a heavy responsibility. A very heavy responsibility. I accept to be your candidate ”, declared the Head of State, elected in February 2016 and whose candidacy is not a surprise, in front of the members of his party, the United Hearts Movement (MCU), gathered in congress in the capital Bangui.

More than 7 years after the coup d’état of a coalition of armed groups with a Muslim majority, the Seleka, which overthrew President François Bozizé in 2013, the first round of the presidential and legislative elections is scheduled for December 27, but uncertainty prevails today as to the possibility of holding them within this timeline, as significant delays have arisen in their organisation, in particular the registration of voters.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Ebola outbreak in western Democratic Republic of Congo has infected 100 people as of August 21, claiming lives of 43 of them, the World Health Organization said.

The latest outbreak of the virus was declared on June 1 in Mbandaka, a city of one million people on the River Congo, just before DR Congo declared the end of a previous outbreak in the east that had lasted for two years.

It has spread to remote villages in Equateur province spanning more than 300 km of dense tropical jungle with few roads, the WHO said in a statement. The pace of the virus’s spread has been relatively consistent, case data shows.

“The virus is spreading across a wide and rugged terrain which requires costly interventions,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director.

As in previous outbreaks, the WHO has implemented a ring vaccination strategy, where contacts of infected individuals are vaccinated, reaching more than 22,600 people to date.

In late June Congo celebrated the end of a genetically distinct Ebola outbreak which killed more than 2,200 people over two years. Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, however the response was limited by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

There are the other problems along with security, complicating the situation, the last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended on Monday when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, the response was hampered by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

Last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe fièvre, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

AU confirms Ebola outbreak

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast province of the country.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 1 released a statement announcing the outbreak in Mbandaka, in Équateur province. According to the statement, six cases have been confirmed, with four deaths and two patients under medical care.

“It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase,” added the statement.

DRC: new Ebola case established

Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed a case of Ebola in the western province of Equateur, over 1,000 km away from the ongoing outbreak in the country’s east, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told journalists on June 1.

The diagnosis presents a serious challenge to health authorities. In April, Congo was days from declaring the end of the second-largest Ebola epidemic on record when a new series of contaminations was confirmed in the east.

Burundi: ruling party celebrates victory

Burundi’s ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye has won the presidential election with 68.72% of votes cast, the electoral commission said on May 25, after multiple accusations of rigging by the leading opposition challenger.

The commission said opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa got 24.19% of votes. There was a turnout of 87.71%.

The vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza was preceded by a wave of political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

There was also controversy over holding the election during the global coronavirus crisis.

Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands fled into exile after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by standing for a third term.

Rwasa has previously said he would take his complaints to the constitutional court, though it is overwhelmed with the president’s allies. He was not immediately available for comment on the elections results announcement.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.

EU welcomes Chad death penalty abolilition

On May 20, Chad adopted a new anti-terrorism law that no longer includes the death penalty for terrorism-related crimes, with life imprisonment as the maximum sentence. With this law, Chad has become the 22nd African state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in law.

It is a strong signal to other countries in the world and contributes to the gradual abolition of the death penalty in Africa. 80% of the member states of the African Union are already abolitionist by law or apply a moratorium” reads the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

“The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.

“The Chad decision is also a step towards harmonizing the G5 Sahel’s legal framework in the fight against terrorism. In their Joint Declaration of 28 April 2020, the members of the European Council and the member states of the G5 Sahel stressed the importance of ensuring respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in the conduct of their actions”.

Image: Chad army celebrating victory of military operation

Sudan bans FGM

“The decision of Sudan to ban female genital mutilation is another historic step forward in the country. We praise the Government of Sudan in its entirety for taking this bold and historic step towards the full realisation of women’s and girls’ rights. The road towards a democratic and prosperous Sudan with equal rights and opportunities for all is long, but can only be travelled by taking steps like these. The European Union stands ready to support Sudan to implement this decision.

“The same way they led the revolution last year, Sudanese women have led the fight to end female genital mutilation (FMG) in their country and serve as an example to the world.

“World leaders have committed to eliminate FGM by 2030; today this practice remains carried out in more than 90 countries in the world. Banning or criminalizing FGM is the first step of a long process to end a practice, which in many countries is enmeshed with tradition and religious beliefs.

“The European Union is committed to promote the global trend towards banning the FGM practice and all other forms of harmful practices discriminating against women in various ways”.

Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen on the ban of female genital mutilation original on Twitter inserted above.

South Soudan elections as key to stability

European Council today adopted conclusions stating the EU’s determination to stand by the people of South Sudan in their quest for peace and prosperity, and in facing the consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which risks having far-reaching humanitarian and economic consequences on the newfound stability of the country.

In its conclusions the Council states that the EU welcomes the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in South Sudan as a key step towards a long lasting peace and inclusive and sustainable development in the country, and that full respect of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of December 2017 is imperative. In this context, the EU underlines the importance of the fulfilment of the security arrangements with the demobilisation of former combatants to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and calls on the UN Security Council to renew the arms embargo.

The Council conclusions stress that the holding of free and credible general elections at the end of the transitional period will be another step towards stability, and that journalists, civil society and human rights defenders must be enabled to operate freely.

At the same time the Council deplores widespread violations of human rights and the culture of impunity. The EU stands ready to adopt further restrictive measures if such violations continue or the peace process is undermined.

EU diplomacy supports CAR electoral calendar

Only a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process, conducted in accordance with the electoral calendar will guarantee credible and legitimate elections, awaited by the population” said the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson, reacting upon various hypothetical scenarios of postponement of the presidential elections in Central African Republic, originally foreseen the end of December 2020.

The poisson of the European Union diplomacy vis-à-vis elections has been announced after the Minusca (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) raised concerns about the consequences of the constitutional reform project launched by the Central African Republic president Faustin Archange Touadéra, which would allow him to secure his own interim if the December presidential election is postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

While the President Touadéra is preparing to validate a constitutional amendment that would allow him to ensure his own interim in the situation of the postponement of the presidential election in December 2020, the project raises the most serious concerns within the UN.

Reportedly the international experts are warning about the destabilising consequences of such a sifnificant legal project, changing the Constitution of the country, in spite of a considerable political opposition to the initiative.

However validated on April 22 by the President’s office, it will be presented to the Council of Ministers in the nearest future.

Borrell reaffirms EU support to CAR

EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, had a telephone exchange of views with the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra, on April 28, 2020.

On this occasion, Borrell reaffirmed the European Union’s support for the Central African Republic, in particular in this phase of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The diplomat confirmed that the European Union will soon organize, in collaboration with France, a humanitarian airlift for the transport of medical equipment necessary for the response to the pandemic. The head of the EU diplomacy also stressed the importance of combating disinformation and stigma linked to the pandemic. The European Union will also remain vigilant against those who are tempted to take advantage of the situation to hamper the stabilization process in the Central African Republic.

In this regard, Borrell reiterated the European Union’s support for the organization of the next presidential and legislative elections scheduled for the end of the year. These elections are an essential step in the process of democratization, reconciliation and peace in the country. European Union financial support for the electoral process already amounts to € 17.5 million.

The diplomat reiterated the need to accelerate the implementation of the Political Peace and Reconciliation Agreement despite the current circumstances. He called for the continuation of the dialogue between all the actors and the respect of the commitments made by the parties. Borrell reiterated the European Union’s resolute commitment to support this process, in close coordination with its partners, in particular the United Nations and the African Union.

The interview reaffirmed the solidity of the partnership between the European Union and the Central African Republic.

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