New date for Somali presidential election
On Sunday, Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble presented a new timetable for the upcoming elections in the country on the Horn of Africa. After the parliamentary and presidential elections had been postponed several times, the parliamentary elections, which had already begun, are now to be completed between 15 January and 25 February 2022, so that the president can be elected by parliament by 25 February at the latest. The previously announced 30% quota for women in parliament is also to be maintained. The electoral system in Somalia follows a complex indirect model in which state legislatures and clan delegates elect members to the national parliament, which consists of two chambers. Thus, Somalia’s five state legislatures vote on senators for the 54-member upper house. This process was completed in November 2021, several months late. According to the former schedule, the 275 members of the lower house should have been elected by 30,000 clan delegates between 1 November and 24 December 2021. However, on the said deadline, only 24 of the 275 MPs had been elected. At the same time, political tensions rose between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, and Prime Minister Roble, culminating in Farmajo’s temporary suspension of Roble at the end of the year. Roble, however, opposed his removal from office and now chaired the Somali National Consultative Council (NCC) meetings that led to the new agreement, with the participation of the prime ministers of Somalia’s states and representatives of civil society. The international community welcomed the new timetable, but scepticism remains in Somalia as to whether Farmajo and Roble can really put aside their differences and work together to deliver on the plan. Somalia’s political crisis came to a head after President Farmajo’s four-year term expired on 7 February 2021 without holding the indirect elections agreed upon in September 2020. Parliament’s controversial decision to extend Farmajo’s term in April 2021 was accompanied by violent protests in the capital Mogadishu. In view of the continuing tense political situation, the security situation in the capital also remains fragile, most recently rocked by renewed explosions near the airport on Wednesday.
SADC member states extend military mission in Mozambique
A two-day special summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ended in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Wednesday with member states agreeing to extend the mandate of the regional troop deployment to fight Islamic State-linked insurgents in Mozambique once again. SADC members and Rwanda deployed more than 3,000 troops last July to support the Mozambican army in the northern province of Cabo Delgado on the border to Tanzania, where almost a million people have been displaced and more than 3,000 civilians killed since the conflict began in 2017, according to media reports. The country’s economy has also been hit hard by the fighting, with oil and gas projects worth billions of dollars stalled after international companies came under attack and were forced to suspend operations. However, since SADC members deployed multinational troops last year, there has been “significant progress” in the fight against the militant insurgency in northern Mozambique, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs SADC‘s Defense and Security Department, said Tuesday. In doing so, he referred to the return of some of the internally displaced persons to their home areas and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected families. At the same time, the joint final declaration on the summit makes clear that the military mission faces financial challenges in particular. In the document, SADC also calls for support from the international community for an International Conference on the Socio-Economic Reconstruction of Cabo Delgado Province. Security experts have long pointed to parallels between northern Mozambique and Mali or Afghanistan and have called for the start of a dialogue with the insurgents in addition to military intervention. They also criticize the lack of coordination between SADC troops and the Rwandan military on the ground. The latter is said to be active in Cabo Delgado in particular to protect French corporate interests, but a joint strategy among the various actors is lacking.
In other news
The year 2022 is kicking off successfully for African women in the sports world: Last Friday, 18-year-old Namibian sprinter Christine Mboma, who won the silver medal in the 200-metre race at the last Summer Olympics in Tokyo to become her country’s first female Olympic medallist, was awarded the BBC African Sports Personality of the Year award for 2021. Meanwhile, in football, Rwandan Salima Mukansanga is making history. The 33-year-old was nominated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as one of 63 referees for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which kicked off last Sunday in Cameroon, making her the first and only woman to referee a men’s tournament on the continent. She has already refereed matches at prestigious tournaments such as the last Summer Olympics and the last Women’s World Cup. She made her first appearance at the AFCON, which runs until 6 February, on Monday as the fourth official in the preliminary round match between Guinea and Malawi.
Foreign policy seen from a different angle: Under the title “Turnschuhdiplomatie. Die internationalen Sportpolitischen Beziehungen der DDR nach Afrika als besonderer Bestandteil ihrer Außenpolitik”, Daniel Lange examines the role of the GDR’s sport policy relations with Africa as a central part of its foreign policy in his dissertation. In the 600-page book, Lange discusses the role of sport in the GDR’s Africa policy and the interests with which it was linked in the areas of diplomacy, cultural work abroad, competitive sport and foreign trade, among others. With a greeting from the President of the German Africa Foundation Dr. Uschi Eid, the regional focus of the work includes regional studies for North Africa (Egypt, Algeria), West Africa (Ghana, Mali, Guinea) as well as on Ethiopia and Mozambique.