Category Archives: Politics

Cote d’Ivoire President Ouattara aims at re-election

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara,78, will seek re-election in October this year after his proposed successor, former Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died last month.

The announcement made by Ouattare on Twitter microblog says: «I am the candidate for the presidential elections on 31 October 2020».

«This decision, carefully considered, is a duty that I accept in the best interests of the Nation; in order to continue to put my experience tirelessly at the service of our country» he added.

Alassan Ouattara won a second five-year term in 2015 with almost 84% of the vote. With 2,118,229 votes, or 83.66% of votes cast, and a 54.63% turnout.

Harare in lockdown amid public discontent

Zimbabwe’s two main cities – Harare and Bulawayo – have been in lockdown since July 31, Friday, patrolled by the secuiry forces in an attempt of government to prevent protests called by activists over corruption and rapidly degrading economic situation, causing unprecedented hardships.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s critics blame his government the return to the authoritarian methods of late Robert Mugabe, banning demonstrations, and abducting and arresting opponents.

Mnangagwa has responded that the protests constitute an attempt of “insurrection” by the opposition.

The leading ZANU-PF party this week branded the U.S. ambassador in Harare a “thug,” accusing him of funding protests.

In central Harare, the capital, banks, supermarkets, and businesses were shut as police and soldiers patrolled the streets.

A journalist in Bulawayo, the other main city, described a similar situation there, with some police patrolling on horseback. Businesses also stayed shut in Harare’s townships, including Mbare – an epicenter of protests in the past.

Public indignation is rising over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.

More than a dozen activists sought by the police for promoting Friday’s protests were in hiding.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere and Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga separately said on social media they had been detained for protesting in their neighbourhood. Mahere posted a video of police advancing towards her and telling her to stop recording them. She later could not be reached for comment.

“The security situation in the country is calm and peaceful” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said.

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights» reads the Tweet issued by EU delegation in Zimbabwe, calling for immediate release of Tsitsi Dangarembga,the award-winning novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the Consitutional lawyer.

Image above: social media

Taiwan-Somaliland diplomatic ties

Taiwan and the African region of Somaliland, which claims independence, will establish representative offices in each other’s capitals, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on July 8. Till present Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with 15 countries because of pressure from the Communist China, which considers the island to be an integral part of its territory with no right to state-to-state relations.

However in February this year Taiwan signed the agreement with Somaliland, strategically located on the Horn of Africa, and Minister Wu added Taiwan’s contacts with Somaliland, a self-declared state internationally recognised only as an autonomous region of Somalia, dated back to 2009.

The top diplomat told reporters in Taipei that eight other nations or international bodies had representative offices in Somaliland, including Ethiopia, although not China.

“I think what we are doing is not much different from other countries,” Wu said, adding that Somaliland had declared independence in 1991 and since then held three democratic presidential elections.

“They have been recognised by many countries as a very free, democratic country in Africa,” the diplomat added. “So, in essence, Somaliland is an independent country.”

China’s influence is not far away, though, as it runs its first ever overseas military base in neighbouring Djibouti.

“International military forces, including those from China, patrol the waters around Somalia on anti-piracy missions.

China and Taiwan have traded barbs for years over the international recognition of the island.

In Africa only the Kingdom of Eswatini has established full diplomatic ties with Taiwan, however in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Embassy doors remain closed.

Guterres on foreign interference in Libya

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on July 8 that the conflict in Libya has entered a new phase “with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels.”

“The conflict has entered a new phase with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels, including in the delivery of sophisticated equipment and the number of mercenaries involved in the fighting,” Guterres said.

“We are very concerned about the alarming military build-up around the city, and the high-level of direct foreign interference in the conflict in violation of the U.N. arms embargo, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and commitments made by Member States in Berlin,” Guterres said.

Between April and June this year the U.N. mission has documented at least 102 civilians deaths and 254 civilians injuries – a 172% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020. He said there had also been at least 21 attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and medical personnel.

Guterres also called on the Security Council to take action over the obstruction by several key national officials of an international audit of the Central Bank of Libya.

The Secretary-Genearl said the United Nations was making efforts to mediate an end to a blockade imposed in January by eastern-based forces that has resulted in more than USD6 billion in lost revenue for OPEC member Libya, aiming “to alleviate economic hardship compounded by the conflict and COVID-19.”

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Libya increased seven-fold in June to more than 1,000, but Guterres said “the true scale of the pandemic in Libya is likely to be much higher.”

France calls for Mali opposition leader release

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 8 called for the release of Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cisse (pictured), who has been held hostage by suspected Islamist militants since March.

“France expresses its outrage over Mr Soumaila Cisse’s situation. He is the opposition leader, he was candidate in the presidential election and he was taken hostage three months ago and we are strongly calling for his release,” Le Drian told the National Assembly when asked about Cisse.

Cisse and several members of his delegation were ambushed by unidentified gunmen in March on the campaign trail in the northern region of Timbuktu. His bodyguard was killed and two others wounded, Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said at the time.

Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State stage frequent attacks on civilian and military targets in the area, but there was no claim of responsibility and no request for ransom has been received.

France, the former colonial ruler, has troops in Mali to counter the jihadist threat.

Cisse, 70, is Mali’s leading opposition figure and was finance minister from 1993 to 2000. He lost the 2013 and 2018 elections to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s government has said the military is trying to find the hostages. Mali has been in political turmoil since the disputed election in March.

Portugal takes control of Dos Santos shares

The Portuguese government took control of a stake held by Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos in Efacec Power Solutions SGPS SA as it attempts to help the manufacturer find a new shareholder, Bloomberg news agency reports. The daughter of late President of Angola Eduardo dos Santos, often named as the “richest woman of Africa” complained about injustice committed to her. Ms.Dos Santos also denied any wrong-doings, used as a pretext to seaze and privatase part of her immense wealth.

The 72% stake in Efacec was held through Malta-based firm Winterfell 2, which is indirectly controlled by Isabel dos Santos, Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said in Lisbon on July 2 following a cabinet meeting. The government will immediately launch a plan to sell the stake and there are already proposals from various companies, he said.

An “impasse” in Efacec’s shareholder structure has led the producer of electrical equipment including transformers to face some difficulties with clients, suppliers and creditors, and some orders have been canceled in the last few weeks, according to Siza Vieira. Efacec has annual sales of about €400M, the minister said.

Efacec said in January that dos Santos planned to sell her majority stake in the company.

In December, an Angolan court froze some assets of dos Santos, as well as those of her husband Sindika Dokolo and one of her executives, after prosecutors alleged they engaged in deals with state-owned companies that led to the Angolan government incurring losses.

In February, Portuguese prosecutors froze her bank accounts in the country. Dos Santos has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Angolan billionaire businesswoman said she had been “denied justice” after losing an appeal against an asset freeze over alleged corruption.

Described by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest woman in Africa, she is accused of diverting billions of dollars from state companies during her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s nearly 40-year rule of the oil-rich nation.

Since her father retired in 2017, her business empire has been targeted by his successor, Joao Lourenco, who has vowed to defeat corruption.

“I have been denied justice from the courts in Angola and Portugal,” dos Santos said in a statement.

Ghent removes Leopold II bust

Belgium city of Ghent removed a bust of King Leopold II from one of the city parks, in a symbolic gesture aligned with the celebration of 60 years of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former colony.

“This symbolic action is received as a relief by the Congolese community,” said Marie-Laure Mulayi . “Finally, we are being heard.” The student from African origin, she leads Umoja student union, devoted to multiculturalsm.

During the ceremony on Juin 31, testimonies were read by inhabitants of Ghent with African roots.

“Today is a very important day. But it is not the last day. This is the start of a process, not an end. The battle continues. We will continue to do our best and hopefully we will have a better world soon. ”

“Today we want to turn a black page in our history,” said ships Tine Heyse (Green party). After a minute of silence, the removal proceeded. After the statue was removed there was brief applause.

The bust was brought to a depot of the Ghent City Museum. It will be examined later to assess the damages made by vandals. The nameplate with the inscription “Leopold II, King of the Belgians” and the pedestal on which the statue stood will remain for the time being.

The time when the controversial statue was removed was kept secret. The City of Ghent did not wish to make it a public event, indicating that they were determined to respect social distancing and other sanitary norms in the situations of coronavirus pandemic.

The controversial statue has been damaged several times by vandals in recent weeks. On Juin 31 in the evening, the Belgicist association Pro Belgica made a final tribute to the statue.

There are different reaction of the removal, also those who think it is wrote to erase past. “Ghent capitulates. One criminal, Leopold II, is now replaced by another, who has been canonized: George Floyd. All under the guise of ‘the fight against racism and discrimination” writes on his Twitter micro blog Sam van Rooy, the Flemish politician and Member of Flemish parliament.

Belgium King appologies for Colonial past

Here is the letter that Belgium King Philippe sent to the Congolese president, Félix Tshisekedi, as part of the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The sovereign expresses “deep regrets” there. (Translation from original in French):

On this sixtieth anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I extend my warmest wishes to you and to the Congolese people.

This anniversary is an opportunity to renew our feelings of deep friendship and to rejoice in the intense cooperation that exists between our two countries in so many fields, and in particular in the medical field, which is mobilizing us during this pandemic period. The health crisis strikes us amidst other concerns. The privileged partnership between Belgium and Congo is an asset to face it. On this national holiday, I wish to reaffirm our commitment by your side.

To further strengthen our ties and develop an even more fruitful friendship, we must be able to speak of our long common history in all truth and serenity.

Our history is made of common achievements but has also experienced painful episodes. At the time of the independent state of Congo acts of violence and cruelty were committed, which still weigh on our collective memory. The colonial period that followed also caused suffering and humiliation. I would like to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past, the pain of which is today rekindled by the discrimination still too present in our societies. I will continue to fight all forms of racism. I encourage the reflection that has been initiated by our parliament so that our memory is definitively pacified.

Global challenges demand that we look to the future in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. The fight for human dignity and for sustainable development requires joining forces. It is this ambition that I formulate for our two countries and for our two continents, African and European.

The current circumstances unfortunately do not allow me to go to your beautiful country, which I would love to know better. I hope I will have the opportunity soon. “

G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott

President Emmanuel Macron will travel to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Juin 30 for a Summit of West African leaders to discuss the ongoing combat operations against Islamists in the Sahel region, Elysee Palace office said last week.

French President intends to request Mali and Burkina Faso for guarantees on their commitments in favor of peace, so as not to jeopardize the military gains recently acquired on the ground, said a source at the Elysée on Juin 29.

“All the progress recorded is fragile and can be jeopardized if the political dynamic is not suitable,” he continued.

The Prime Minister of Sapin Pedro Sanchez and the French Head of State Emmanuel Macron are due to make their first trip to Africa in person on Juin 30 since the coronavirus pandemic.

The G5 force operates with the over 5,000-strong French Barkhane force which has been deployed in the Sahel for the last seven years but has encountered increasing resistance from the Islamists, desiring to restore the historic Chaliphate of Sokoto.

The meeting in Mauritania comes six months after a Summit in Pau, France, where the leaders vowed to strengthen the efforts to defeat the jihad in Sahel.

After the Nouakchott meeting, the six leaders will hold video talks with other key players including European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a French presidential official.

The other European leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the Italian Council Giuseppe Conte will participate in this summit only by videoconference. Five G5 Sahel heads of state and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, and the president of the EU Council Charles Michel will join by teleconference.

Political criis in Mail has agrravated the situation in Sahel, and caused concern of the European Union, one of the major humanitarian sponsors of the region. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has warned about the risk of a protracted poliitical crisis for the security and stablitiy of the region.

Malawi opposition wins presidency

On Juin 27 Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi opposition leader, was declared the winner of a re-run presidential election, replacing incumbent Peter Mutharika’s discredited win 13 months earlier. For the majority of independent analysts the victory has been assessed as a triumph for democracy in Africa.

Chakwera, 65, secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote on Juin 23, the electoral commission said, winning over Mutharika. Chakwera won election to a five-year term as President of the nation of 18 million people.

“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Chakwera said after his win, which sparked wild late night celebrations on the streets of the capital Lilongwe, his stronghold.

A rerun of the 2019 election was ordered after the Constitutional Court found the ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.
That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re-elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.
Mr Chakwera, who came second in that election, argued that tallying forms had been added up incorrectly and tampered with.

The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads up the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the philosophy and theology graduate has pledged to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.

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