Category Archives: Politics

Congolese Bemba liberation as blow to prosecution

The International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, June 8, overturned the war crimes conviction of former Democratic Republic of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba,  considered as a huge blow to prosecutors that could also impact politics in his home country in future.

Bemba was one of only four people convicted by the permanent war crimes court in its 16 years of operation, and the highest ranking among them. He had been convicted of murder, rape and pillage for actions by fighters he sent to Central African Republic to back CAR’s then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

Judge Christine Van den Wijngaert said Bemba, once the leader of Congo’s main opposition party, could not be held responsible for crimes carried out by troops under his control in CAR in 2002-2003.

Dismissing his 18-year-sentence, she said trial judges had failed to consider his efforts to stop crimes committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) once he became aware of them, and how difficult it would have been for him to control the troops’ actions from a distance.

Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally responsible for the crimes committed by MLC troops during the Central African Republic operation,” she said, reading the ruling of a 5-judge appeal panel. Bemba’s efforts to stop the crimes “extinguished his responsibility in full”, she said.

EU expects Guinea Bissau to recover “democratic normality”

“Mediation efforts by the Economic Community of Western African States have been essential in the intense negotiations between political stakeholders to contribute to a way out of the long-lasting political crisis” – says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS), commenting the appointment of an inclusive government, chaired by consensual Prime Minister Aristide Gomes,  which has reopened the National Assembly, and made an announcement of legislative elections for November 2018.  Both movements are considered by the EEAS are the major steps towards the resumption of a “normal functioning” of the State institutions in Guinea Bissau and the preparation of the new electoral cycle.

“Now is the time to consolidate political and institutional progress, have a programme and budget for the government presented and discussed in the reopened National Parliamentary Assembly, and start preparations for the legislative elections.”

“We encourage all stakeholders to engage in this new opportunity for the recovery of democratic normality, Rule of Law and institutional stability. With that purpose, we stand ready to collaborate with the authorities of Guinea Bissau for transparent and inclusive legislative elections on 18 November 2018.”

“The EU will maintain its engagement and coordinated action with international partners, especially within the P5 group – the United Nations, the African Union,  ECOWAS, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries – to promote stability, democracy and development for the people of Guinea Bissau.”

Haftar returned to Benghazi

Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar return to his headquarters in Ar Rajma, after completing the treatment he received at Paris hospital, according to different sources.

The arrival at Benghazi ended the flow of speculations about Haftar’s declining health and problems of succession of power, at least on short term. Surrounded by his generals, Commander appeared on TV energetic and decisive, while delivering his speech to nation shortly after arrival to Benghazi.  However the incident with an abrupt departure for Paris hospital, due to health crisis left unanswered questions of his capabilities to operate as a statesman. The flow of rumors and speculations in aftermath Haftar’s health crisis also indicated the fragility of the political situation in East Libya (Cyrenaica), dependent on physical condition of a single person.

Zimbabwe invites observers for elections

Zimbabwe will invite observers from the West to monitor its national elections for the first time in more than 15 years, official papers showed, ending a ban imposed by veteran former leader Robert Mugabe.

The vote, scheduled for July, is seen is a major test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials since he came to power in November after a de facto army coup ousted Mugabe (94).

Zimbabwe will invite the United States, the EU, Australia and the Commonwealth among 46 countries and 15 organisations, a list released by the foreign affairs ministry showed.

The countries and groups on the list were all previously banned from watching elections in 2002 after Mugabe accused them of favouring his opponents.

The West slapped sanctions on Mugabe and members of his inner circle, accusing them of rigging a series of votes – charges they denied.

Joey Bimha, permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, said the invitations would be sent out soon but declined to give more details.

Cyril Ramaphosa presidency inspires hopes

Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as South Africa’s President in a parliamentary vote on Thursday (15.02.2018) after scandal-ridden Jacob Zuma resigned on orders from the ruling African National Congress.

South Africa’s main stock market index jumped nearly 4% putting it on track for its biggest one-day gain in more than two years as investors welcomed Zuma’s resignation after nine years in office plagued by corruption allegations.

South Africa’s main stock market index jumped nearly 4 percent, putting it on track for its biggest one-day gain in more than two years as investors welcomed Zuma’s resignation after nine years in office plagued by corruption allegations, Reuters agency reports.

However the question remains how Cyril Ramaphosa – the closest ally of plagued with corruption accusations Jacob Zuma, – will change the existing practices and put and “drain the swamp” if he has been for a part of the system.

President Zuma tries to win time

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has formally asked President Jacob Zuma to resign, according to senior party officials.

The decision to “recall” him “urgently” followed ANC marathon talks on the issue.

Mr Zuma, 75, agreed to step down, but only in the next three to six months, the official added, fueling a suspicion he is maneuvering in attempt to win time, postponing his departure.

Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, has been dogged by corruption allegations. Current crisis is not the first one in his long political career, until present Mr.Zuma has been able to overcome all of them, and stayed as the head of state. Life at brink became his modus vivendi, further degrading the situation in the country lacking genuine political leadership and vision of future.

EU diplomats focus on Libya

The Council of Foreign Affairs ministers will review the situation in Libya, following the meeting of the joint migration task force with the African Union and the UN on 14 December 2017.

The discussion will feed into the preparations of the 4th Quartet meeting at the end of January. The Quartet supports the UN-facilitated political process in Libya. It brings together the EU, the UN, the African Union, and the League of Arab States.

 

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