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West-Africa

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya Officially Becomes Head of State

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In front of his wife and Guinean politicians, but in the absence of high-ranking foreign representatives, the putschist was made transitional president on Friday, October 1.

Mamadi Doumbouya, was sworn in on Friday October 1 as president of a transition of still unknown duration and content.

The commander of the special forces who overthrew President Alpha Condé on September 5, in a beige ceremonial uniform, wearing a red beret and dark glasses, swore before the Supreme Court “to preserve national sovereignty in all loyalty”, to “consolidate democratic gains, to guarantee the independence of the homeland and the integrity of the national territory ”.

His mother and his wife, a French gendarmerie officer, and many Guinean political figures were present. Cellou Dalein Diallo (UFDG), Sidya Touré (UFR), Faya Millimouno (BL), Siaka Barry or even Ousmane Kaba had made the trip to the Mohammed-V palace in Conakry.

Granting himself an additional rank of colonel, Mamadi Doumbouya again pledged to respect by Guinea all of its “national and international commitments”.

He also assured that, as provided for by the “charter” of the transition, a sort of fundamental act published on Monday, September 27 and entered into force immediately, neither he nor any member of the junta or of the transitional bodies would be a candidate for the future elections.

Personality cult

Before making him swear an oath, the President of the Supreme Court, Mamadou Sylla, compared the task of Colonel Doumbouya to the piloting of a ship “loaded with many painful events, many demands and immense and urgent expectations.”

He called on her not to be sidetracked “by the force of the waves of demagoguery and the storm of personality worship.”

After two coups in neighboring Mali, Colonel Doumbouya led the third putsch in a year in West Africa, carried out in a few hours at the cost of an unknown number of human lives, the media reporting about twenty dead.

This putsch has been widely condemned by the international community, which demands the release of Alpha Condé, still in the hands of the putschists. If the presidents of ECOWAS had been invited to this opening ceremony, none made the trip.

The president of the Malian transition had nevertheless sent Malick Diaw, the president of the Transition Council to represent his country. In attendance were the ambassadors of China and Russia.

Several Western countries had limited their presence to lower-ranking diplomats, but the representative of the United Nations system was present.

Indefinite period

Colonel Doumbouya assigned the mission of this transition to a “re-foundation of the State”, the drafting of a new Constitution, the fight against corruption, the reform of the electoral system, the organization of “free, credible and transparent ”and“ national reconciliation ”.

The junta said it would return power to civilians after elections at the end of a transition period. But she has never specified the duration of this transition, which has yet to be fixed by “mutual agreement” between the military and the country’s forces, nor specified its plans.

Colonel Doumbouya, colossus with calm manners, always closely protected by his men and always appearing in public in fatigues and wearing his beret, seems determined to give himself time, despite international pressure, analysts agree.

ECOWAS called for presidential and legislative elections within six months. It decided to freeze the financial assets of the members of the junta and their families and to ban them from traveling.

Since his accession, the one that the official press releases already designated as President of the Republic even before his inauguration, has multiplied reassuring remarks towards investors and foreign partners.

He guaranteed the respect of mining contracts and reopened all air and land borders. The “charter” of the transition confirms Colonel Doumbouya as the new strongman of Guinea, “Head of State and Supreme Chief of the Armies”, who “determines the policy of the Nation” and who “can take orders”. President Doumbouya will appoint by decree a transitional prime minister, whom he can dismiss.

 

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West-Africa

US Wants Gen. António Indjai Of Guinea-Bissau Arrested

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He is a decorated fighter at the rank of General in the Guinea-Bissau military commonly known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People or FARP.

Gen Antonio Indjai rose to prominence during the civil war in the 1990s and led a coup in the West African country in 2012.

It should be noted that Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries in the world, has a history of coups and no elected leader has served a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974.

On April 12, 2012, he overthrew the elected government in a coup, citing as the reason the presence of the Angolan military.

The 270 soldiers from Angola had originally arrived to help reform Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, which stand accused of involvement in a cocaine transshipment trade that sees an estimated 30 tons of the illegal substance ending up in Europe every year.

The United States has labelled Gen. Antonio Indjai as “drug kingpin” and has placed a bounty on his head. In mid-August, US justice promised $ 5 million to anyone who will allow the arrest of this former Bissau-Guinean chief of staff.

He has long been one of the most feared men in the country. And seven years after his retirement, his influence hardly seems to have waned: inquiring about General António Indjai still arouses apprehension and many embarrassed silences. When it comes to shedding light on the grey areas of his career, it’s hard to find any official willing to speak with his face uncovered.

The US wanted notice issued against him by Washington, which considers him a drug lord, has of course not helped. António Indjai’s relatives remember the trap set on the high seas in 2013 by the US Anti-Drugs Agency (DEA) for Bubo Na Tchuto, a former almighty head of the Navy, also accused by the courts of having reigned master of the cocaine trafficking plaguing the country.

Targeted the same year by a similar lure, Indjai will not be taken in, but the case will sharpen his caution.

Chatting with Gen. António Indjai in 2012 After the Coup

If Carlos Gomes Jr. were to come back, would the former Prime Minister be safe? 

We would not be responsible for Carlos Gomes Jr.’s security on his return. If he were to come back, he’d be responsible for his own security. I repeat, if he were to come back, whatever happened to him would be his own or the U.N.’s responsibility.

Editors note: Carlos Domingos Gomes Júnior is a Bissau-Guinean politician who was Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau from 10 May 2004 to 2 November 2005, and again from 25 December 2008 to 10 February 2012.

I have read a lot about the April 12 coup but would like to hear about it from you. Why did you organize a coup? 

We didn’t organize a coup, we organized a countercoup. Do you know the origins of this coup? Angola and Carlos Gomes Jr. Would America allow a foreign army with heavier weapons than them inside the United States? We said [to Angola], Either you give these weapons to us, or, if not, leave the country and we will continue with cooperation between our two countries in the future.

They said no, and only reinforced their own weaponry. I’m asking you, in light of this, what is the origin of the coup? Angola and Carlos Gomes Jr.

If we hadn’t organized a coup before them, they’d have reinforced their troops here and arrested us. The intention of Carlos Gomes Jr. was to have international forces to add to the Angolan troops, which meant they could have struck us down at any time.

I drew [Carlos Gomes Jr.’s] attention to this more than 20 times — I said not to bring Angolan troops here. This is why we organized a coup. I didn’t ask that he remove the Angolan troops, just that he solve the problem of the weapons.

I’ve heard people in the street say that the coup represents a failure of democracy.

Of course I agree the coup is a failure of democracy. A coup has no place in a democracy. But if you have no other means of escape, you have to look for a solution.

For example, if I took you and locked you in this room with my weapon and I were to shoot, how would you react? You’d want to escape, and you might break down the door — you’d take any means that you could in order to get out.

We removed just two people — the Prime Minister and the President. Where else does that exist, that a coup d’état happens and no one dies? Not one. Since they didn’t want to take our advice, we said leave or you will be dismissed.

 

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West-Africa

ECOWAS Launches Trade Promotion Organizations Network

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The Economic Community of West African States, with the support of the International Trade Centre, officially launched the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations Network.

This network (TPO) is a public-sector led entity and will work in partnership with the ECOWAS commission to drive inclusive trade development initia-tives within West Africa and beyond.

According to sources, the TPO also held its First Annual General Assembly 15th – 16th July 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Before officially launching the Network, Tei Konzi, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi BROU, stressed the importance of the Trade Promotion Organisations in accessing new markets and establishing linkages between local and international businesses.

These are some of the major reasons the Council of Ministers at their 17th June, 2021, 86th Ordinary session took a decision to establish the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation Network in the region, he reiterated.

In her remarks, the International Trade Centre Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton emphasized the milestone West Africa had achieved with the establishment of the ECOWAS TPO Network.

“As a network you can learn from each other, support growth into each other’s markets, invest in shared information assets, and amplify the voice of TPOs and the private sector as champions of the Africa of tomorrow,” said Ms. Coke-Hamilton.

Cicile Tassin-Pelzer, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and to ECOWAS, noted that the flagship of the West African Competitiveness Programme has brought together public and private sectors stakeholders across the region to strengthen competitiveness and enhance the level of production, transformation and export capacities of the Private Sectors.

Speaking directly to the TPOs, by creating this network, you take your mission to another level, creating strength in numbers and synergies of closer collaboration with an ultimate objective improving the West African Markets, she said.

Mr. Olusegun Awolowo ED/CEO Nigeria Export Promotion Council, in his welcome address, stated that indeed this was a first of many steps towards building mutual trust and cooperation

without borders within the ECOWAS region. As at today intra-Africa exports only accounts for about 16% of Africa’s global export, and more specifically intra-ECOWAS trade only accounts for a tenth of ECOWAS countries’ global trade.

Indeed, more must be done to increase the volume of trade within the ECOWAS region and more importantly between ECOWAS and the rest of Africa.

It is therefore imperative that through the TPO network we work assiduously towards facilitating the ease of trade for our MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa at large, thereby building an army of exporters that will boost intra Africa trade.

If soundly operationalized, this new mechanism of TPO Network should help a great deal in boosting trade among ECOWAS member states. Consequently, economic integration in the sub-region will be further deepened, he added

The first AGM of the Network, chaired by the President of the ECOWAS TPO Network Olusegun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and supported by the Vice President Guy M’Bengue, Chief Executive Officer of Côte d’Ivoire Export Promotion Agency (APEX-CI), will consider key documents for the operationalization of the network.

As part of the event, the ECOWAS TPO network engaged in discussions with Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, and Transcorp and Jean B. Bakole, Regional Director of UNIDO, moderated by Dr. Asare Afua Asabea, Chief Executive Of-ficer of Ghana Export Promotion Agency (GEPA).

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Politics

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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