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July 18, 2016

Moroccan king asks for joining African Union

Moroccan king asks for joining African Union

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Monday, July 18, 2016

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Countries who belongs of African Union are shown in green
Image: Mangwanani.

Today, Morocco asked to rejoin African Union (AU), 32 years after quitting African Unity in 1984 when the AU acknowledged Western Sahara‘s independence. African Unity was later renamed to African Union. Morocco is the only African country which is not the member of that union.

Moroccan king Mohammed VI sent a message to AU’s summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali saying “the moment has now come” to rejoin the institutional family. Mohammed VI said, “Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions.”

Moroccans consider Western Sahara as their province which is neither a member of the United Nations (UN) nor the Arab League. Earlier this year, Moroccan leaders intended to pull their soldiers away from UN, activities. Despite the claims of Morocco on Western Sahara, African Union said that it would support Western Sahara’s people’s rights to conduct a referendum for independence.

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Moroccan king asks to join African Union

Moroccan king asks to join African Union

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Monday, July 18, 2016

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On Monday, Morocco asked to rejoin the African Union (AU). Morocco quit African Unity in 1984 when the AU acknowledged Western Sahara‘s independence. African Unity was later renamed to the African Union. Every African country except Morocco belongs to the AU.

File photo of Mohammed VI of Morocco, 2013.
Image: US State Department.

Moroccan king Mohammed VI sent a message to AU’s summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali saying “the moment has now come” to rejoin the institutional family. Mohammed VI said, “Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions.”

Moroccos considers Western Sahara its province which is neither a member of the United Nations (UN) nor of the Arab League. Earlier this year, Moroccan leaders intended to pull their soldiers away from UN activities. Despite the claims of Morocco on Western Sahara, the African Union said it would support Western Sahara’s people’s rights to conduct a referendum for independence.



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September 26, 2015

Civilian government restored as Burkina Faso coup ends

Civilian government restored as Burkina Faso coup ends

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Gilbert Diendéré in 2010.
Image: Jeremiah Erickson, USAF.

The week-long coup d’état in Burkina Faso ended on Wednesday with the restoration of interim President Michel Kafando and the civilian government. By yesterday the government announced that the presidential guard unit involved in the coup, the Regiment of Presidential Security, would be dissolved.

This follows the intercession of regional leaders and the regular Army, which sent soldiers to the capital on Monday.

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States met on Tuesday in the Nigerian capital Abuja and helped with negotiations. A prominent mediation role was also played by the Mogho Naba, the traditional king of the Mossi, who are the country’s largest ethnic group. Civilian protests against the coup resulted in the deaths of at least ten people with more than a hundred injured. The attempt to overthrow the government was criticized by the international community, with the African Union suspending the country’s membership and describing the coup as “null and void”.

The President and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida were detained by the presidential guards at a ministerial meeting on September 16. The guards installed their former commander, Gilbert Diendéré, as head of state and demanded the lifting of a ban on electoral participation by anybody who had tried to help exiled former President Blaise Compaoré to extend his 27-year rule in October 2014. Diendéré was previously Compaoré’s chief of staff.



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March 9, 2015

Nigeria allies join fight against Boko Haram

Filed under: Africa,African Union,Archived,Boko Haram,Chad,Nigeria — admin @ 5:00 am

Nigeria allies join fight against Boko Haram

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Monday, March 9, 2015

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Military forces from Chad and Niger yesterday engaged Boko Haram militants within the borders of Nigeria. This follows African Union endorsement on Friday of the creation of an 8,000-plus strong regional force to combat the threat posed by the militant group.

Along with Cameroon, both Chad and Niger have previously engaged Boko Haram forces who have crossed their borders from the territory they hold in northern Nigeria. While all three countries have previously aided Nigeria against Boko Haram, the new attacks are Niger’s first push into foreign territory.

The new attacks against Boko Haram follow its leader pledging allegiance on Saturday to Islamic State, as other groups have done. A Nigerian military spokesman, speaking to the BBC, dismissed this as a “plea for help”; Nigerian spokesmen cited recent military defeats inflicted upon Boko Haram as the reason for the militants’ announcement.



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September 10, 2014

WHO warns of thousands of new Ebola cases

WHO warns of thousands of new Ebola cases

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Liberia is expected to see thousands of new Ebola cases within the next three weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

The current outbreak of the virus in West Africa is believed to have killed 2,100 people, including 79 health workers. As well as Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are at the centre of the outbreak, with Nigeria, and Senegal also effected.

Cquote1.svg As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients Cquote2.svg

—World Health Organisation

Liberia is proving particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus. Before the outbreak, the country had only one doctor for every 100,000 inhabitants, and a severe shortage of beds. The WHO stated that “as soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients”.

The UK military have said they will build a 50 bed centre near Sierra Leone’s capital, with the US saying it would send a 25 bed field hospital. This falls short of the 1,000 beds an investigative team from WHO says is needed in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, alone.

WHO says a three- to four-fold increase in the efforts of those combating the outbreak is needed.

The African Union also warned of the economic impact of the outbreak, urging a lifting of travel bans and border closures. WHO have previously warned that such travel restrictions increased the chance of food shortages. An agreement made yesterday is expected to lead to those restrictions imposed in the last few months being lifted.



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November 26, 2011

Yahya Jammeh wins Gambia presidential election

Yahya Jammeh wins Gambia presidential election

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

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In Gambia, current president Yahya Jammeh has won a presidental election, allowing him to take a fourth term in office. According to the election commission, Jammeh gained 72% of the votes.

File photo of Gambian president Yahya Jammeh from February 2007.
Image: John Armagh.

Mustapha Carayol, electoral chairman, reported an 83% voter turnout. Carayol also stated Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party, took 17% of the vote, while Hamat Bah, of the United Front coalition, received 11% of votes. Jammeh was confident that he would win this election, saying: “There is no way I can lose unless you tell me that all Gambian people are mad”.

Darboe has disputed the validity of these results, calling them “bogus, fraudulent and preposterous” and claimed that they “constitute a capricious deception of the will of the people”. Before polling commenced, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressed concern about the fairness of the election and the freedom of Gambian voters. ECOWAS refused to send poll observers to monitor Gambia’s vote; they cited “intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power, the lack of neutrality of state and para-statal institutions, and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation” as reasons for their refusal to do so.

BBC News Online has reported that the polling was overseen by observers representing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the African Union (AU). According to Voice of America, AU members were satisfied with the organization of the poll and the conduct of voters. The head of the poll monitoring group at the AU reported: “We didn’t notice any intimidation anywhere. The policemen who were in the polling stations were not armed, and as much as possible tried to do their job without interfering with the process.” Meanwhile, Carayol has contested the accusations of ECOWAS, stating that the Gambia election process is “one of the fairest in the world”. Carayol explained: “We use marbles; we don’t use ballot papers, [and] we have very few invalid votes. All Gambians understand the system”. He insisted that Gambia elections “are free and fair”.

Samuel Fonkam, the chairman of ELECAM — Cameroon’s Electoral Board — says members of the group did not witness any incidents of violence or intimidation in the approach to the election. Fonkam said that in all 24 constituencies they observed, “the turnout was massive, orderly, peaceful and really serene”. The citizens of the Gambia “demonstrated to those who wanted to see that they are the sovereign masters of their destinies,” according to Fonkam.

Jammeh came to power of the Gambia in 1994 as the result of a bloodless coup in which he overthrew the previous president. Speaking about his presidency, Jammeh claimed: “In 17 years, I have delivered more development [to Gambia] than the British were able to deliver in 400 years”.

The stance of the Jammeh government on civil liberties has attracted criticism from international rights groups, with particular disapproval drawn to the government’s attitude towards freedom of the press, as well as the disappearance of journalists there and the detaining of journalists within the country. Jammeh responded to this criticism by stating: “The journalists are less than 1% of the population and if anybody expects me to allow less than 1% of the population to destroy 99% of the population, you are in the wrong place.”

Last year, eight people accused of plotting Jammeh’s overthrow were sentenced to death. In 2007, Jammeh claimed that the sexually transmitted infection AIDS could be cured through the use of a herbal concoction. In 2008, he said he would sentence homosexuals to execution by beheading. The three elections Jammeh previously won have also received a substantial amount of criticism.



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January 31, 2010

Gaddafi loses African Union chair

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Gaddafi loses African Union chair

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gaddafi at last year’s African Union summit, where he became president.

File photo of Mutharika, who is taking the presidency.

Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, has not been able to win his bid to stay as chairman of the African Union, losing out to Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika, who was backed by several eastern and southern states.

Gaddafi used his final speech to highlight the need for political unity between African states. Libya has been chairing the African Union for the last year, and the job of chair was due to go to a southern African representative. However, Gaddafi wished to retain the presidency, which was backed by Tunisia, and had allegedly won over other countries by paying their membership fees.

The African Union summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, involved a speech to the African leaders by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called for the countries to strive for national union in Sudan, where the southern part of the country may secede from the north. In addition, the Secretary General highlighted the various achievements of the African Union. He said that they had “seen a sharp decrease in malaria and measles deaths across the continent, virtual gains in primary school enrolment [and] marked improvement in child health”, stating that “we must build on these successes and help spread them around the world”.

The three-day summit involves topics such as the state of affairs in Somalia, and a Senegalese proposal to resettle Haiti earthquake victims.


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January 23, 2010

World Bank President to make eight-day African tour

World Bank President to make eight-day African tour

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Official photograph of Zoellick, taken in 2008

Robert B. Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, is to begin an eight-day, three-nation tour of Africa starting next Tuesday. He will take part in the African Union summit scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The World Bank boss would first travel to Sierra Leone, then Cote d’Ivoire, and finally heading to Ethiopia for the AU summit. According to a statement from the World Bank, Zoellick is to meet with leaders, donors, investors, and representatives of the civil society, to discuss the ongoing food crisis on the continent and possibilities for economic growth.

“I am visiting Africa to learn about how its people have coped with the global economic crisis and to see how the World Bank Group can work with them to improve prospects for economic growth and expanded opportunity. Much of Africa has a solid record of economic growth, including in some of Africa’s fragile states, and it has the potential to be another pole of growth for the world economy,” Zoellick said, as quoted by the institution’s statement.



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December 21, 2009

Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister

Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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Andry Rajoelina

Madagascar’s leader, Andry Rajoelina, has named a high-ranking army officer as the country’s new prime minister, and announced he is abandoning a power-sharing deal with the opposition.

Mr. Rajoelina’s office announced Sunday that Colonel Camille Albert Vital would serve as the new prime minister, replacing Eugene Mangalaza, who was supposed to be prime minister under the deal. Previously he had been expected to make Cecile Manorohanta the new prime minister. He also abolished the posts of co-president.

In a nationally broadcast address, Colonel Vital said that organising elections and increasing security were his priorities. He called on the people of Madagascar, including political rivals, to work with his government.

Mr. Rajoelina took power in a coup last March. On Wednesday, he appeared on national television to announce that parliamentary elections would take place March 20 next year. He made no mention of presidential elections.

International mediators have brokered several power-sharing agreements in recent months, but all have been unsuccessful. The African Union and other regional bodies have refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina’s presidency.



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October 23, 2009

Kenya government reform record to be reviewed by AU experts

Filed under: Africa,African Union,Archived,Kenya,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Kenya government reform record to be reviewed by AU experts

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Friday, October 23, 2009

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Kenya has agreed to be reviewed by a team of African Union (AU) experts in November to assess the country’s political reform record. The review is to be conducted by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

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Image: Pumbaa80.

The review, which was sanctioned by the African Union Heads of States, will determine the Kenyan unity government’s performance since it was created last year, following a disputed election and resulting violence.

Cquote1.svg The exercise will have particular emphasis on the institutions and stakeholders charged with carrying out the envisaged reforms. Cquote2.svg

—Wycliffe Oparanya

APRM Prime Minister Wycliffe Oparanya launched the preparatory activities for the assessment on Thursday. “The exercise will have particular emphasis on the institutions and stakeholders charged with carrying out the envisaged reforms,” Oparanya said.

The Lead Panelist for the APRM for Kenya, Graca Machel, will lead the review team. The assessment is scheduled to be conducted between November 16 and 20.

This comes several weeks after former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan encouraged the Kenyan government to speed up its reforms.

The APRM was created in 2003, and Kenya was one of the first ten African countries to acede to it. Under the review, which is voluntary, countries evaluate themselves, before a team of AU experts carry out an independent review. Results of the assessment are given to a Heads of State and Governments summit.



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