Category Archives: Politics

SA: Ramaphosa half million in sofa

Brussels 01.12.2022 South Africa is facing deep political turmoil and corresponding uncertainty across markets amid growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down over an emerging bizarre scandal centered on the alleged theft of $580,000.

The over half million in cash was literally found stuffed in a sofa at a farm that Ramaphosa owns. The timing of the crisis couldn’t be worse given long-awaited economic reforms had only just begun to take shape and improve the country’s outlook.

The mysterious cash payment has sparked outrage particularly among the opponents of the ruling African National Congress, and with his allies holding emergency consultations. On Thursday South African media is reporting President Ramaphosa is to imminently address the nation as prospect for his resignation grows, and as he faces impeachment.

Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday moved to the brink of becoming the first South African president to face impeachment after a report found evidence that he might have broken the law in relation to a stash of money stolen at one of his properties.

The finding by an independent parliamentary panel essentially amounts to a recommendation that Mr. Ramaphosa face a hearing in Parliament that could lead to his removal if two-thirds of the lawmakers vote against him.

The panel cast doubt on the president’s explanation for how the large sum of U.S. currency came to be hidden in — and stolen from — a couch in his living quarters. “The information presented by the president on the storage of the money is vague and leaves unsettling gaps,” the report said.

Burkina Faso: EU hopes calm returns soon

Brussels 30.09.2022 European Commission follows with concern the situation in Burkina Faso, said the press person of the European External Action Service. The military movements were observed from 4:30 AM early morning hours. “The situation remains confusing and fluid”, she continued.(Image above: social media).

“We are in permanent contact with our delegation there, which informs us about the situation. It is clear that the European Union hopes that the situation will return to calm soon”. She added that the EU expects that civil society will stay united in these challenging times.

Reports of gunfire near the Presidential palace in Ougadougou flow on social media. It is unclear at the moment if it could be a mutiny? The current President Lt Col Paul Sandaogo Dimba who took power in January this year from Gen Roach Marc Kabore. At present his whereabouts are unknown.

Gunfire rang out early in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears that another coup attempt may be underway, nine months after the democratically elected president was ousted from power, the AP reports.

Tigray: towards peace

Brussels 12.09.2022 “The Regional Government of Tigray announces its readiness to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and to participate in AU-led peace process. This opportunity should be seized by all. Now. EU ready to support” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said Sunday, September 11, they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept a peace process led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with the government to end almost two years of brutal warfare.

The announcement was made amid a flurry of international diplomacy after fighting flared last month for the first time in several months in northern Ethiopia, torpedoing a humanitarian truce.

“The government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” said a statement by the Tigrayan authorities.

“Furthermore, we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”

Borrell visits Mozambique

Brussels 09.09.2022 “It has been a very important visit. And for me, it is a good occasion to discuss with our African partners about the very difficult and complex international landscape and the fundamental geopolitical developments that we have been living in during this year” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell addressing President Filipe Nyusi and Foreign Minister Dlhovo, for receiving him today Mozambique.

“In this geopolitical environment, the European Union wants to continue being a close partner of Africa, and in particular of Mozambique.

“At the moment, we are living the most difficult moment, the most challenging threats – I can say – to our own security since the end of World War II. But the European Union does not forget other crises in other parts of the world.

“We are very much aware that this war in Ukraine is affecting everybody, and that in some countries like in Mozambique, you have your own problems. And that they also deserve our attention.

“And I wanted to visit Mozambique, not only because it is one of the largest recipients of the European Union’s support. It is. Among all African countries, Mozambique is a country that receives strong support from the European Union, the third one in terms of absolute support.

“Not only because of that. That would be a good reason, but also because I wanted to express the commitment and solidarity of the European Union with Mozambique in fighting against terrorism and looking for peace. Unhappily, my visit coincides with the killing of six people in the Nampula province just yesterday. I took a good note of this, because this attack and this killing of six people is a stark reminder that the fight against terrorism is not over and that, unhappily, it is spreading out of the Cabo Delgado region to other regions.

“This is not a new threat. You, Minister, know that better than I do. And to help the Mozambican armed forces in Cabo Delgado, we have implemented in a record time, an [EU] Training Mission (EUTM Mozambique) that has already trained 600 soldiers. And will continue doing that.

“We are also delivering military capacities. Through our European Peace Facility, we are funding equipment such as pickup trucks and individual combat equipment. Tomorrow, in my visit to the Headquarters, the barracks of the mission, I will be witnessing the handover of this material to the Mozambican armed forces.

“I also want to commend the efforts of the Rwandan contingent and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission to Mozambique, the SAMIM, which we are also supporting.

“I am pleased that today I could announce to the President, the decision taken in Brussels, at the European Union Headquarters, just this morning, to provide €15 million to this mission.

“Allow me to point out, to show, the importance of our complementary military support to this training mission. We are going to provide €89 million on military capabilities for the units that we are training – not only training, but preparing them to fulfil their duty.

“But we know that we cannot win a war against terror only with soldiers and weapons. The solution cannot be only a military solution. In these circumstances, you cannot win the war if you do not win peace.

“Development needs peace and peace needs development. Both things have to go together, hand in hand. This is why our approach has to be comprehensive – not only military support, but also boosting economic development. Economic growth, job creation, wellbeing of the people, public services, education, health. These are the basis of peace. And that is why we are working closely with the government of Mozambique. And, in parallel to our security support, we are focusing on education, on access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and the fight against climate change. These are the basis of a good society. And a good society is the only remedy against terror.

“Allow me a last word. I want also to say that to strengthen our partnership with Mozambique, we want to do that on the international stage. Not only bilaterally, but also taking into account what is happening in the wider world.

“And I had to congratulate the President for the election of Mozambique as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. For which I want also to congratulate you, Foreign Minister [Verónica Macamo Dlhovo], as you will have to play an important role in New York.

“We hope that we will continue working with Mozambique to defend multilateralism and a rules-based international order – including the United Nations’ Charter, which is the basic pillar of this order. And multilateralism, nowadays, needs to be strengthened, not to be weakened. Because it is the best tool that we have to address global trends and challenges that threaten all of us, all around the world.”

Eid al-Adha wishes to Sudanese

Brussels 14.07.2022 The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) and the European Union extend our warm wishes to the Sudanese people at the conclusion of Eid al-Adha:

“Eight months after the military takeover we note the announcement by Sovereign Council Chair General Burhan that the military forces will cease participation in political talks. We acknowledge the stated intention of the military forces, upon agreement among civilian parties to form a transitional government, to withdraw from the political scene.

“The military and security forces should be held to this commitment. They must also end violence against civilians and hold to account those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights violations and abuses.

“We encourage all political actors committed to the democratic transition to engage swiftly in an inclusive dialogue to form a civilian-led transitional government. This process must deliver an agreement that defines: a clear timeline for free and fair elections; procedures for selecting a transitional prime minister and other key officials; and a dispute resolution mechanism to help avoid future political crises.

“A transitional government must be civilian-led, and have broad-based, nation-wide support. There must also be full clarity on, and oversight of, the military’s role and responsibilities. Such matters cannot be defined unilaterally by the military; they require dialogue and transparency to help avoid future disputes.

“We commend the tripartite initiative of the United Nations, African Union, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development to facilitate such an inclusive dialogue and support their continued efforts.

“Nearly three years since Sudan began its transition to democracy, we deeply regret the continued loss of life, and reversal of important economic and political progress. We commend the devotion of the Sudanese people to a more peaceful and just future and honor the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives in support of democracy.

“The Troika and the European Union look forward to supporting a transitional civilian government that enjoys popular support, reflecting the hope and aspirations we share with the Sudanese people”.

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Mali: EU five individual sanctions

Brussels 04.02.2022 Mali: EU adopts targeted sanctions against five individuals: Malick Diaw, Ismaël Wagué, Choguel Maïga, Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga, Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau.

The Council decided today to impose restrictive measures on five individuals in view of the situation in Mali, following its decision of 13 December 2021 and recent developments in the country.

These individuals, which include prominent members of the Malian Transition Government, are responsible for actions that “obstruct and undermine” the successful completion of Mali’s political transition, the document underlines. The names are published in the EU Official Journal: Malick Diaw, a key member of Colonel Assimi Goïta’s inner circle; Colonel-Major Ismaël Wagué, a member of inner circle; Prime Minister since June 2021, Choguel Maïga, who led the Transition Government; Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga member of the strategic committee of M5-RFP; and Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau, is one of the young leaders of the M5-RFP.

The five designated people are subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories, and an asset freeze. Moreover, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them, either directly or indirectly.

The EU continues to stand with the people of the Sahel and reaffirms its full commitment to strict compliance with the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law in Mali.

On 24 and 25 May 2021, the European Council adopted conclusions in which it strongly condemned the coup d’état which took place in Mali on 24 May 2021, and stated that the EU was ready to consider targeted restrictive measures. On 29 June the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2584 (2021), in which it also condemned the coup and called on all Malian stakeholders to facilitate a full political transition and handover of power to elected civilian authorities within the 18-month transition period. It also called on Mali’s transitional government to hold free and fair presidential and legislative elections.

On 7 November, ECOWAS deplored the lack of progress made in the preparations for the elections, decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect, and called on international partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.

On 13 December, the Council set up an autonomous framework for sanctions against those responsible for threatening the peace, security or stability of Mali, or for obstructing the implementation of its political transition.

On 8 January 2022, Mali’s Transition Authorities submitted to the ECOWAS a new calendar scheduling the conduct of the presidential elections for the end of December 2025, thus setting the duration of the transition for a total of five and a half years, contrary to the agreement reached with ECOWAS on 15 September 2020 and the commitment in the Transition Charter. In light of that, on 9 January 2022, ECOWAS decided to impose additional economic sanctions.

Libya: Gaddafi son bid for presidency

Brussels 14.11.2021 The son and heir of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi announced Sunday, November 14, his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, Libya’s election agency said.

Seif al-Islam submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabah, the agency said in a statement.

Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled Gadhafi after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gadhafi was later killed under suspicious circumstances, while attempting to flee NATO operations in Libya sky.

“The death of Moammar Gaddafi, on October 20, in Sirte raises one of the questions which has to be clarified. There are serious suspicions about it being in fact a war crime” said Luis Moreno-Campo, the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Le Figaro newpaper on 16 December 2011.

Seif al-Islam (49) was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention. Gadhafi’s son is one of the most prominent figures expected to run for president — a list that also includes eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar (78), Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah (63) and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh (77).

Photographs distributed on social media showed Gadhafi in traditional brown robe and turban, and with a grey beard and glasses, signing documents at the registration centre in the southern town of Sebha.

São Tomé and Principe elections

Brussels 07.08.2021 “The European Union welcomes the successful conduct of the second round of the presidential elections held in São Tomé and Principe and wishes to congratulate the President-elect, Mr. Carlos Vila Nova. We will continue with him and his government the excellent bilateral cooperation started with his predecessors for the benefit of relations between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe and our peoples”.

“The electoral observation mission led by the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States noted the peaceful and calm climate in which the ballot took place, despite the postponement and latent tensions following the results of the first tower. We welcome this free and competitive electoral process which demonstrates the solidity of the democratic institutions and processes of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe”.

ZAMBIA: EU congratulates Hakainde Hichilema

Brussels 16.08.2021 The European Union welcomes the announcement of results by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and congratulates President-elect Hakainde Hichilema.

We look forward to working with the new President and his government, as well as with the newly elected members of the National Assembly, to strengthen our long and productive partnership with Zambia.

As a longstanding supporter of Zambia’s democratic process, the European Union commends voters who clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy, participating in large numbers despite the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The example set by those candidates who made timely statements of concession is also very welcome.

The EU Election Observation Mission’s preliminary assessment found that, despite a number of shortcomings during the campaign, the election day itself was largely calm and the electoral process was technically well managed. The EU Electoral Observation Mission remains in the country completing its work and finalising recommendations, on which we look forward to working closely with Zambian stakeholders.

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