Category Archives: Politics

Zuma in prison in KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa former President Jacob Zuma has handed himself in to police to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court.

The high profile convict was admitted to Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, July 7.

Police had warned that they were prepared to arrest him if he did not hand himself in by midnight.

Zuma, 79, was handed the jail term last week after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry.

The sentencing sparked an unprecedented legal whirlwind in South Africa, which has never experienced a former president jailed before.

Zuma had initially refused to hand himself in, but in a short statement on Wednesday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation said he had “decided to comply”.

His daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, later wrote on Twitter that her father was “en route [to the jail] and he is still in high spirits”.

Ethiopia voting in key elections

Brussels 21.06.2021 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (pictured) is facing his first real test at the ballot in what is Ethiopia’s first multi-party election in 16 years, albeit one riven with conflict, jailed opposition figures and parts of the country unable to vote.

Abiy said he expected the poll to be peaceful, tweeting ahead of the vote that it would be Ethiopia’s “first attempt at free and fair elections.” But some Ethiopians and political analysts disagreed with the Prime minister.

Abiy was appointed, not elected, but vowed to hold the most credible elections Ethiopia had ever seen to secure a mandate for his reform agenda.

The ruling coalition that preceded him claimed staggering majorities in the two previous elections, which observers said fell far short of being free and fair.

The poll was postponed from August 2020 to June 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Abiy’s opponents declared him illegitimate when his term expired in October.

The election was postponed the second time to June 21 because of logistical setbacks, including delays in voter registration and a lack of electoral officials.

The war in Tigray, and ethnic unrest elsewhere, is expected to make voting impossible in large parts of the diverse country of 110 million.

The atmosphere was peaceful at one Addis Ababa polling station visited by CNN on Monday, June 21, morning. Several Ethiopians waiting patiently in line said they were voting because they hoped it would help move the country in a more democratic direction.

The European Union has long withdrawn its election observation mission to Ethiopia, citing the government’s uncooperative stance in fulfilling “standard requirements” relating to security and the independence of the observer group.

CAR: France suspends Military cooperation

Paris suspended its military cooperation and budgetary aid to the Central African government, terming the Central African Republic (CAR) “complicit” in an anti-French campaign. (Image: illustration)

The French military ministry said that it considered the Central African state as “complicit” in a Russian-led anti-French campaign.

“On several occasions, the Central African authorities have made commitments that they have not kept, both politically towards the opposition and in terms of their behaviour
towards France, which is the target of a massive disinformation campaign in CAR,” Paris said.

“The Russians are not to blame, but the Central Africans are at best accomplices in this campaign,” it added.

In April, five French military aid workers who were posted to the Central African Defence Ministry were recalled to Paris. The military training provided to the Central African Armed Forces (Faca) by troops stationed in Gabon has also been suspended, the ministry stated, confirming information from the French news website Mediapart.

France, a former colonial power, continues to contribute around 100 soldiers to the European mission EUTM-RCA, which mobilizes nearly 200 soldiers to train the FACA.

Ten of the soldiers do participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), which has 12,000 blue helmets in the region.

When prompted by AFP on the budgetary restrictions imposed, the French Foreign Ministry however did not reveal any figure.

France, which intervened from 2013 to 2016 through Operation Sangaris to stop the violence, handed over some 1,400 assault rifles to the Faca in December 2018 after obtaining an exemption to the UN embargo.

A few months earlier, Russia had made a remarkable entry into this former French “prĂ© carrĂ©” by delivering arms to the Faca at the beginning of 2018 and by installing a contingent of military instructors.

Last December, reportedly Russia urgently dispatched hundreds of paramilitaries to the aid of President Faustin Archange TouadĂ©ra’s army, threatened by a rebellion.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs claim that these paramilitaries are fighters from the Russian private security group Wagner, which Moscow continues to deny.

BANGUI: AU denies press reports allegations

Brussels 09.06.2021 The representative of the African Union denied information that a joint delegation of the AU, the European Union and the Economic Community of Central African Countries (ECCAS) came to the Central African Republic to persuade the head of state to start negotiations with the militants.

The Central African Republic is preparing for a nationwide dialogue, in which political and public leaders of the country will take part. In preparation for the event, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra held a series of consultations with representatives of various sectors of society.

At the same time, the head of the CAR absolutely unequivocally stated that negotiations with those who raised their hand against the civilian population are impossible. H.E. President Touadera’s position met with the approval of regular citizens, but the West has repeatedly sounded calls to establish communication with the leaders of criminal gangs.

Dialogue with such a person is simply impossible, as stated by the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bancol Adoye, underlining that the AU calls on the media and politicians to refrain from propaganda of incitement to hatred and disinformation.

“We did not even mention former President Bozize and did not agree on him with Touadera. We called on all parties concerned to strongly condemn those who took up arms to seize state power. Our task is to promote peace in the CAR,” said the representative of the African Union.

Thus, the joint delegation of the EU, AU and ECCAS regards Jeune Afrique’s article as disinformation published in the interests of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). The CPC was formed by six rebel groups on December 15, 2020, with the aim to disrupt the country’s elections and oust President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

W.Sahara leader returns to Algeria

Brussels 02.06.2021 The leader of the Western Sahara independence movement, Brahim Ghali, returned to Algeria on Wednesday, Juin 2, after spending more than a month in hospital in Spain – a stay which triggered a diplomatic row between Spain and Morocco. (Image above: illustration)

“He arrived safe and sound,” commented the trip Jalil Mohamed, the Polisario Front’s spokesman in Spain.

Algerian state television later showed President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visiting Ghali in hospital, but gave no details of their discussion between them.

Rabat has not yet commented on Ghali’s departure from Spain but had previously informed that it would not alone resolve the dispute.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, which was a Spanish colony until the mid-1970s and nowadays is claimed by Morocco.

Ghali flew to Algeria from Pamplona in northern Spain at 1:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Juin 2, on an officially chartered private plane, the spokesman for Polisario Front said.

Ghali, who was suffering from COVID-19 complications, had been admitted to a Spanish hospital in April on humanitarian grounds, the Madrid government said.

The Polisario leader left Spain several hours after appearing remotely in a hearing with Spanish high court on a war crimes case. Following the hearing, judges did not impose any restrictions on the Polisario leader and allowed him to leave the country.

Spain’s decision to admit Ghali to a hospital in the northern Spanish city of Logrono, presenting Algerian documents and without informing Rabat, the move visibly upset Morocco.

Moroccan officials suggested that last month’s sudden influx of migrants to Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta after security forces appeared to loosen border controls was a form of retaliation.

Algerian support for the Polisario Front independence movement is a also source of anger in Morocco.

Morocco demands clarity from Madrid

Brussels 23.05.2021 Morocco urged Spain to open an investigation into the circumstances of a Western Sahara independence leader’s arrival in the country for medical treatment and explain its findings to Rabat.
The Moroccan ambassador to Madrid H.E.Karima Benyaich has described the moment that Spanish-Moroccan relations are going through as a “serious crisis” and so she has spoken in a statement in Spanish read at the Moroccan Foreign Ministry after meeting with the minister of that portfolio, Naser Burita.

Being in Rabat, the Moroccan ambassador to Spain, H.E.Karima Benyaich, warned on May 21 that if the Government in Madrid opted to return the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali – hospitalized in Logroño diagnosed with Covid-19 for a month – “with opacity” that would imply “opting for the stagnation and worsening of bilateral relations”.

Benyaich was the first Moroccan representative to articulate on the massive arrival of migrants to Ceuta that began this Monday, May 17, in contrast to the silence that the Rabat authorities maintained during the first days of the migration crisis. This Tuesday, before meeting in Madrid with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, the Moroccan diplomat slipped to Europa Press a veiled reference to the presence of the Polisario leader in Spain, which annoyed Rabat: “There are acts that have consequences and they have to be assumed ”, the Moroccan diplomat said.

This Friday, May 21, already in Rabat, where the diplomat has been called for consultations, the ambassador has been much more explicit. What happens with Gali “is a test for the independence of the Spanish Justice, in which we fully trust,” she pointed out. And also another test to know if Spain “chooses to strengthen its relations with Morocco or prefer to collaborate with its enemies”, in the opinion of Benyaich, for whom Spain “has unfortunately opted for opacity to act behind Morocco’s back, welcoming and protecting this criminal and executioner using humanitarian reasons as a pretext and thus offending the dignity of the Moroccan people ”.

On February 27, the Polisario Front marked the 45th anniversary of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which it declared in 1976 to be the rightful government of the territory of Western Sahara. During the celebration – which took place in the refugee camps of Tindouf, in the Algerian desert, where the seat of the SADR government is located – the Polisario decried the continuing political impasse over the territory, which Morocco also claims. The deadlock must be broken – and the European Union should help.

The EU’s connections to Western Sahara are extensive. Beyond their geographical proximity, Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony with deeply rooted and often personal ties to Spain. For the thousands of Spaniards who have shared their homes with young Sahrawis summer after summer, the issue of Western Sahara is a heartbreaking family affair.

After Morocco took control of Western Sahara, the Sahrawis faced mass displacement, and many now languish in desert camps, with few options but to depend on humanitarian aid. Now, they may be about to become even more vulnerable. Although Western Sahara has been in limbo for decades, a series of recent developments raises the specter of a new wave of violence, which could hurt the Sahrawis above all.

Brahim Ghali (pictured), leader of the Polisario Front which wants independence for Western Sahara, is receiving medical treatment in Spain, angering Morocco which annexed the former Spanish colony decades ago.

Morocco has urged Spain to open an investigation into the circumstances of a Western Sahara independence leader’s Brahim Ghali arrival in the country for medical treatment and explain its findings to Rabat.

Madrid should explain “the conditions, circumstances and connivances that led to the fraudulent entry of this person using false documents and a usurped identity”, Foreign Ministry Director General Fouad Yazourh said on Saturday, May 22.

Diplomats leave N’Djamena

Brussels 20.04.2021 The U.S. State Dept has ordered all government employees at the US Embassy in Chad to leave as rebel fighters approach the capital, N’Djamena. The UK has also urged its citizens to leave the country. France has been assisting Chad put down the rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).

FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol claimed that rebels had “liberated” Kanem region and were still trying push away the remaining state security forces.

“We reassure the population of the city of N’Djamena and its surrounding area, in particular diplomatic personnel, United Nations staff, partners, and expatriates working in Chad, to remain calm and to avoid any non-essential travel outside the city,” Ogouzeimi said in a statement posted to Facebook.

A group of 14 opposition leaders, who had called for their supporters to boycott the election, signed a petition on Sunday calling for a ceasefire to allow for an “inclusive national dialogue.”

Chadian president Deby has been killed, according to state television. What started off a week ago as a small incursion from Libya by Chadian rebels and tribe members has ended in a political crisis.

Chad: killings in N’Djamena

At least two people were killed after security forces went to arrest Chad’s opposition candidate Yaya Dillo at his home on Sunday morning, February 28, Dillo and the government said.

Dillo, who plans to run against President Idriss Deby in a presidential election in April, told he was attacked at home by members of the presidential guard and that five family members were killed, including his mother.

The government said in a statement that security forces went to Dillo’s home to arrest him after he refused to respond to two judicial mandates and were met with armed resistance. It did not say what the mandates were concerning.

Two people were killed and five wounded in the ensuing fight, including three policemen, it said.

Internet has been cut off in N’Djamena since early Sunday morning, a witness said.

Dillo said his house has been surrounded by government forces since the incident.

Dillo is a formal rebel leader who fought against Deby in 2006 before joining his government and becoming a minister. More recently, he served as Chad’s representative to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

He is one of 16 people who have announced they will run against Deby in April’s election.

Deby, who has been in power since 1990, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that reinstated term limits but could let him stay in power until 2033.

Hundreds took to the streets earlier this month to protest his candidacy in the upcoming election.

Deby has faced strikes and protests in recent years over economic woes caused by low oil prices and armed rebellions in the north, but has drawn on his effective control of state media and institutions to maintain political dominance.

Chad is a key ally of Western nations in the fight against Islamist militants in West and Central Africa.

DR COngo: government dismissal acceptance

The official resignation declaration from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Thisekedi acceptance of government dismissal has been signed, but there is no official reaction from former President and senator for life Joseph Kabila and Common Front for Congo (FCC). Political turmoil will persist in the coming months in the DRC.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba resigned on Friday,January 29, the presidency said, a move that will enable President Felix Tshisekedi to rid the government of his predecessor’s allies and push through his own policies.

Ilunga, an ally of former President Joseph Kabila, stepped down after parliament passed a no-confidence motion on Wednesday, January 27, the latest in a series of political victories for Tshisekedi over Kabila in recent weeks.

Ilunga “has just handed in his resignation,” the presidency said on Twitter. “He said he had taken note of the evolution of the current political situation.”

Ilunga this week initially called into question the no-confidence vote against him, before accepting its legitimacy on January 28.

Borrell: CAR consolidation for peace

Brussels 27.12.2020 The Central African Republic elections are a crucial step for the “consolidation of democracy and peace”, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote in his Twitter micro blog. He called for the “mobilization of voters and the responsibility of all actors for credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections”, especially mentioning the European Union – African Union ties in support of the democratic transition.

Meanwhile the former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize (pictured) backs the rebels, and urges people against voting in presidential and legislative elections today, AFP Africa reports.

Francois Bozize, president of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013 and a participant in two previous attempted coups d’etat, returned from exile in 2019 to run for his old job. In December, just three weeks ahead of the election, Bozize was barred by the Constitutional Court from running again. The court ruled that he had failed to meet the “good morality” requirement for candidates because of an international warrant for his arrest and UN sanctions on charges of assassination and torture. He has since been accused of plotting a new coup.

Despite a series of attacks in the run-up to the Central African Republic’s presidential and legislative elections — the first since a fragile peace deal was reached between the government and rebels in February 2019 — as well as threats against the centers where voter cards are distributed, the possibility of assaults on polling places and the killings of three UN peacekeepers on Saturday, the national elections authority, ANE, has reported that the vote will go on.

Despite threats against voting offices and polling places, the Central African Republic’s election authority has said Sunday’s, December 27, vote will go ahead. According to press reports Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN’s special envoy for CAR said the situation was under the control of the UN Blue Helmets, together with the Central African armed forces and the Central African domestic security forces, such as gendarmes and police. They were on the scene to react to any attacks or strategies of harassment by certain armed groups in alliance with Francois Bozize, the goal of which was to obstruct the election process by preventing Central African citizens from receiving their voting cards and going to polling places on December 27.

“We face attacks every day, but our response has been overwhelming” Mankeur Ndiaye concluded.

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