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African Union Suspends Mali

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Mali will no longer take part in the affairs of African Union a continental body that brings together all 55 Member States.

The African Union has effectively suspended Mali’s membership and threatened sanctions in response to a second military coup last Friday.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led both coups, was declared president on Friday. Interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained and pressured to resign.

In a statement the AU’s Peace and Security Council said Mali’s suspension – effective immediately – would remain until “normal constitutional order has been restored”.

Failing “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition”, the council said targeted would follow.

Below is the full statement by AU against the Mali situation

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 1001st meeting held on 1 June 2021, on the situation in Mali.

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling its previous communiques and press statements on the situation in Mali and in the Sahel region, in particular Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (M)] adopted at its 1000th meeting held on 25 May 2021 and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(CMXLl)] adopted at its 941st meeting held on 19 August 2020;

Taking note of the opening remarks by the PSC Chairperson for June 2021 and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Joel Nkurabagaya and the statements by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; H.E. Ambassador Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU, as the representative of ECOWAS Chair and Ambassador Fafre Camara, Permanent Representative of Mali to the AU, as well as the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of the AU Mission for the Sahel (MISAHEL), H.E. Ambassador Maman Sidikou;

Deeply concerned about the evolving situation in Mali and its negative impact on the gains made thus far in the transition process in the country;

Also recalling the Communique of the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, held on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

Mindful of the provisions of all relevant AU normative instruments, including the AU Constitutive Act; the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union; the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; and the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government, adopted by the 36th Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Lomé, Togo, July 2000 (the Lomé Declaration);

Reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the AU to respect the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Mali, as well as the AU’s solidarity with the people and Government of Mali;

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council,

1. Endorses the decisions adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, as outlined in paragraph 8 of its Communique issued on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

2. Condemns in the strongest terms possible and totally rejects coups d’état and unconstitutional changes of government in the Continent, consistent with the provisions of Article 4(p) of the AU Constitutive Act;

3. Decides, accordingly, in line with the relevant AU normative instruments, to immediately suspend the Republic of Mali from participation in all activities of the African Union, its Organs and institutions, until normal constitutional order has been restored in the country;

4. Strongly urges the Malian military to urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali, while calling for the creation of conducive conditions for an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition, based on the agreed transition roadmap for Mali, failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures against any spoilers of the current transition;

5. Calls on the Malian defence and security forces to immediately lift all restrictions on all political actors, including the house arrest of H.E. Bah N’Daw and H.E. Moctar Ouane ;

6. Calls upon the transitional authorities to respect and abide by the originally stipulated 18 months transitional period and, therefore, appeals once again to the Malian people to place the supreme interests of the country and its people above all else, to remain calm and to continue to work together within the framework of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali, which emanated from the Algiers process, with the effective participation of women, the youth and Malians in the Diaspora, to resolve the current crisis, and organize free, fair and credible democratic elections on 27 February 2022;

7. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission through his Special Representative and Head of AU Mission in Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) to continue to closely coordinate with the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

8. Expresses support for the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and commends its efforts in Mali, while reiterating AU’s readiness to actively collaborate with the UN in maintaining peace, stability and security in Mali;

9. Demands unambiguously that the current leadership of the transition process, including the Head of the Transition, Vice-President and Prime Minister, should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming presidential election in Mali;

10. Calls on the military leadership and all political stakeholders to fully and unconditionally respect the transition charter while urging for the immediate appointment of a civilian Prime Minister to lead the conclusion of the transition process and to coordinate a genuinely inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue process for the stability of Mali;

11. Further decides to constitute a PSC evaluation mission to Mali, to engage with all concerned stakeholders and the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator, in order to identify areas in which the AU could provide support to Mali, particularly as this relates to the implementation of the transition programme and the holding of elections;

12. Appeals to the international community to extend financial support to Mali in order to enable it to address the grave macroeconomic challenges facing the country and ensure that the transition plan is not derailed;

13. Also requests the Chairperson of the Commission to monitor the situation in Mali closely and to provide regular updates to Council, at least once every quarter and as necessary; and

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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Politics

Kenya’s Deputy President Ruto Leaves Ruling Party

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Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has dumped the ruling Jubillee Party and joined the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a new political party.

Local media reports indicate that Ruto has publicly embraced the UDA party, calling it an ‘alternative national party’.

UDA Chairman, Johnson Muthama, said the party is a chosen bus to help drive Ruto to win the top seat in 2022.

Ruto has been at loggerheads with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, after they differed on the Building Bridges Initiative project that aims to amend the constitution.

The former Senate majority leader, Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, and close ally to Ruto, says the new party provides enough room for anyone who is unhappy with the ruling Jubilee party.

Since September 2020, Kenya has 71 fully registered political parties, and these numbers are expected to increase as elections get closer.

The constitution of Kenya allows the formation of political parties, to promote democracy considering that the East African nation is a multiparty democracy, so long as the party does not promote tribal, regional and religious hate.

However, with the UDA in the political ring, many ordinary Kenyans feel that political parties across the country are becoming tribal, and are merely a vehicle to help politicians achieve their immediate interests during elections only to later move on to another party.

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Politics

Ivory Coast Election Violence Victims Demand For Bagbo’s Arrest

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Former President Laurent Gbagbo is expected to return to Ivory Coast on Friday but there is an atmosphere of confusion on ground.

Laurent Gbagbo is expected on June 17, 2021 in Abidjan. As his supporters prepare for his return, victims of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis are calling for his arrest when he gets off the plane.

“I was out to go to work, but in the face of escalating violence between law enforcement and young people, I decided to come home. It was on the way home that I was hit in the foot by gunfire from soldiers. Since then, I have been disabled and I can no longer practice my profession ”.

Former driver of tankers and trailers, Karim Coulibaly had to be amputated. He has no income since.

Like him, nearly a thousand people were injured during the post-election crisis of 2010-2011 and around 3,000 others were killed.

For these victims and their loved ones, the announced return of former President Laurent Gbagbo on June 17, 2021, revives old pains.

On 31 March, the ICC Appeal Chamber confirmed his acquittal and that of Charles Blé Goudé, earlier pronounced on 15 January 2019.

The two men were accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, which had left more than 3,000 dead.

For Laurent Gbagbo, it was over. After a decade-long trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), he is a free man.

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Politics

Burundi Debates Removing Ethnic Quotas From Constitution in 2025

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Burundi constitution provides for ethnic quotas (60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi) which authorities in the country argue is a measure against possibilities for discrimination.  Ethnic groups in Burundi include the three main indigenous groups of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa.

The quota system must be respected in certain government institutions, including the military. Three seats in each house of the Burundian government are allocated to the Twa.

Meanwhile, since January 2017, foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in Burundi are required to respect ethnic quotas when employing local staff.

However, there is no satisfactory proof worth considering that this quota system has created any form of social and ethnic cohesion. Therefore there is an ongoing debate on whether to scrap this quota arrangement. 

The ethnic quota requirement was adopted amidst fears of re-ethnicisation of politics and society, enhanced control on civil society and tense relations between the Burundi government and its aid partners. 

While authorities justify the measure as a remedy for decades of discrimination along ethnic lines, an analysis of the legal reform shows that a variety of other motivations and dominant party interests account for its adoption and enforcement. 

While the reform mirrors a wider international trend of shrinking civic space, the Burundi case study also shows how a clever discursive strategy may skillfuly divide NGOs and their funding agencies.

Furthermore, the case study reveals the instrumental use of obscurity and ambiguity in terms of the legal wording and enforcement of the ethnic quota requirement.

Emmanuel Sinzohagera, President of the Senate is currently presiding over a process of information gathering on the country’s past with the aim of helping make informed decisions on the future.

For example, controversy still clouds the events of 1972 with no clear or agreed or unanimous position on what to call or define them.

Within the framework of the conferences on the bloody events of 1972, organized by the Senate, its president maintains that the qualification of the large-scale killings perpetrated in the country is up to the Burundians themselves. According to him, this is not the responsibility of the United Nations.

Unlike some intellectuals and other personalities who proclaim that it is the United Nations that must qualify the large-scale killings that have plagued this country, Sinzohagera, President of the Senate believes that it is rather the responsibility of the Burundians themselves. – even to qualify these crimes.

According to him, it is not Germany, Belgium, as colonial powers or even less the international community that have this latitude. “This is primarily the responsibility of the Burundians. The fate of our motherland is ours. It is our duty to qualify what happened in 1972 “, insists Sinzohagera.

“The children and grandchildren of President Michel Micombero must not be victims of his actions or the bloody events of 1972. They are innocent just like the descendants of those who were victims of the killings of 1972 called ‘Abamenja’ ‘, the rebels. This ignominy must not stick to their skin like a curse when they have nothing to do with it “, He said.

“We need to know the truth in order to be reconciled and the objective is not to unearth the bloody past and sow discord, but the ultimate goal is to heal the wounded Burundians so that our children do not inherit these evils. that our dear homeland has known, ”he said.

“Any testimony on our dark past is welcome”

“That the skeptics are reassured, all the cyclical crises which mourned our country will be explored and conferences and debates will be organized so that the truth is known”, says the Senate President.

The basis of all reconciliation, he insists, is the truth, the whole truth. Sinzohagera, calls on all personalities, all witnesses of all ethnicities to give their versions of the facts, without passion.

“It is not the only ex-president Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, a Hutu, who has just given lectures on the events of 1972 under the aegis of the Senate who can shed all the light, that there are Tutsi also for presentations, they are welcome. Besides, former President Ntibantunganya does not tell us what he reads, “he called.

According to him, the Senate must not be misunderstood or misinterpreted on its objectives with these conferences. “The media must deliver the real message on the bloody events that have grieved this country.”

The Senate President Sinzohagera insists on clarifying the framework of his proceedings. It is under the terms of article 289 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi requiring the Senate to give its assessment of ethnic quotas and to see to what extent to remove them or not from 2025, that this institution intends to explore all the contours of the ethnic question and the inter-ethnic violence that has plagued this country.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to forget, to put a cross on our ” so-called ethnic groups ” without knowing the truth about the cyclical violence that our country has known and which has brought mourning to our country on the basis of these same ethnicities. It would be difficult to move forward and walk towards reconciliation,” noted Sinzohagera.

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