Category Archives: Crisis

Borrell condemns barbarism in Ituri

Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been hit for several weeks by an intensification of almost daily systematic attacks against the civilian population. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 200,000 people have fled the atrocities.

“These barbaric acts must stop. It is up to the Congolese authorities and the UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO) to put an end to the actions of the CODECO armed militia and to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. No feeling of impunity can prevail. It is also essential to give priority to dialogue and to fight against any instrumentalization of identity.

“What is happening in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo cannot become a forgotten crisis; and efforts to end insecurity in this region must be accelerated. The European Union stands ready to support the efforts of the Congolese authorities in this direction, in coordination with its partners.

“Finally, the European Union does not exclude taking adequate measures with regard to individuals, groups or organizations which contribute by their actions to undermining the preservation of peace or to serious human rights violations”.

Lesotho PM Thabane resigns

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane resigned on May 19, three months after police named him and his current wife as major suspects in the murder of his former wife in a case that has shocked the southern African nation.
Thabane had formally handed in his resignation to King Letsie III, the top traditional leader of the mountainous kingdom.

Thabane’s disgraceful resignation marks the end of one of Lesotho’s longest political careers, one marked by exile, intrigue, tensions and a political crisis that deepened when police named him as a murder of his wife suspect in February.

“The time to retire from the great theatre of action, take leave from public life and office has finally arrived,” the 80-year-old Thabane announced in a speech on Lesotho TV.

All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, opposition figures and South African mediators who had arrived to find a way out of the crisis caused by the murder of Thabane’s wife had all been pressing the Prime-minister to resign over the police investigation, which casted shadow on his reputation incompatible with holding the office.

Gunmen shot dead his previous wife, Lipolelo, on June 14, 2017, two days before he took office. Thabane had filed for divorce from Lipolelo Thabane, when she was shot dead near her Maseru home. The attack occurred just two days before Thabane was sworn in for his second stint as Prime minister.

Prime minister wife, and incumbent First Lady, Maesaiah has been formally charged with the murder. Though named as a suspect, Thabane has not been charged. They both deny any involvement. At present Maesaiah, has already been charged and is out on bail. Thabane asked the Constitutional Court to stop the courts from trying him for the crime while he remained in office. His retirement means he could now stand trial.

Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, 58, is expected to replace him. Among his immediate tasks as Prime minister will be to pass the budget and revive the economy. Despite confirming only one coronavirus case, Lesotho has taken a big economic hit due to the global slowdown brought about by the pandemic.

Cameroon: EU promotes inclusive dialogue

We have expressed out support to Switzerland, mediating in the crisis, and we would like to promote a political dialogue which will be accepted by all stakeholders” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reflecting upon the latest episode of violence in Cameroon where the mayor of Mamfe, the youngest the country, was assassinated recently.

European diplomacy has taken note of the violence episode in the south-west of the Cameroon, where Mayor of Mamfe was killed, one more act reflecting profound crisis which has been ongoing for some years, effecting the country. The EU has been calling the government and the separatists to do their utmost to put an an end to the down spiral of violence and engage into constructive inclusive dialog, considering interests of all stakeholders.

The EU has been continuously expressing concerns about violations of human rights that are effecting the population.

Via the EU delegation in Cameroon the European diplomacy is engaged in a regular political dialogue with the authorities and the stakeholders as “civil society and religious leaders to encourage them to come up with the peaceful solution to the peaceful solution to the crisis” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy added.

Malawi faces new elections

In a unanimous decision Supreme Court upheld a previous court ruling that annulled President Peter Mutharika’s narrow election victory last year, the Malawi justice announced on Friday 8 May.

In its judgment on May 8, the Supreme Court said: “The various breaches undermined the duties of the Malawi Electoral Commission and grossly undermined rights of voters. None of the candidates obtained a majority.”

It added that the electoral commission should not have appealed, as doing so showed it was taking sides. Mutharika and the electoral commission later appealed the Constitutional Court decision.

Malawi is dependent on foreign aid and is frequently beset by drought which threatens the lives of thousands of people.

Former law professor Mutharika, president since 2014, oversaw infrastructure improvements and a slowdown in inflation in his first five-year term, but critics accuse him of failing to tackle endemic corruption.

The Constitutional Court in February cited “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities when it annulled the vote that returned Mutharika to power last May.

A new election will now be held on July 2.

COVID19: Ghana eased restrictions

In Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo lifted a three-week lockdown in its two main cities, where non-essential businesses reopened. Akufo-Addo said the decision was made based on improved tracing of the disease, and to “protect the economy”.

THe move to lift some coronavirus lockdown restrictions this week is aimed to test the possibility of a return to normality after weeks of shutdowns that have damaged economy, and left without source of income a considerable part of population.
Many experts raised concerns of hunger if economy standstill continues for more weeks.

One of Africa’s fastest growing economies, Ghana last month cut its 2020 GDP growth forecast from 6.8% to 1.5% due to the coronavirus pandemic, a rate that would represent its worst performance in nearly four decades.

COVID19: Nigeria prisons relief

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prisoners who have been awaiting trial for six years or more for relief of the overcrowded cells as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, a spokesman said on April 21.

A statement quoted Buhari as saying 42% of 74,000 prisoners were awaiting trial. The President urged Chief Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to reduce that number “since physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.

Buhari said inmates with no confirmed criminal cases against them, elderly prisoners and those who were terminally ill could be discharged.

Most of these custodial centres are presently housing inmates beyond their capacities and the overcrowded facilities pose a potent threat to the health of the inmates and the public in general in view of the present circumstances, hence the need for urgent steps to bring the situation under control,” Buhari said.

Two weeks ago, the President pardoned 2,600 prisoners who were either 60 or older, terminally ill, or had less than six months left to serve of sentences of three years or more.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with some 200 million people. On April 20 it said it had registered 665 cases of the coronavirus and 22 related deaths.

Its measures to stop the spread of the virus include closing its borders and locking down the capital Abuja, the commercial hub, Lagos, and the adjacent state, Ogu

Lesotho PM «dignified retirement» 

Government of the Kigndom of Lesotho has agreed that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is accused of murdering his estranged wife, will resign without any further delay.

The deal brokered with the help of South African mediators is said to promise the Prime minister a “dignified and secure” exit from office.

Thabane has been under pressure to resign over persistent suspicions he was involved in the assassination in 2017, and his new wife has been charged. Both deny any involvement in the brutal murder. Gunmen shot and killed Mr Thabane’s then-wife Lipolelo Thabane on 14 June 2017. Officials charged Mr Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah with the murder this year, and also named Mr Thabane as a suspect – although he has not yet been formally charged.

It is not yet clear if he will agree to stand down immediately, as the deal indicates.

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