CW 31/2020: Clash of the Titans
Press Review 25 July 2020 to 31 July 2020

Ivorian governing party nominates Ouattara as presidential candidate

On Wednesday, the current Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara was officially nominated as the presidential candidate by his party RDHP (Rassemblement des Houphouétistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix). Although Ouattara has not yet confirmed his candidacy, he intends to announce his decision in the course of next week. If he were to run for election on October 31, he would be seeking his third term in office. This is controversial under constitutional law, and accordingly causes controversial discussions in the West African state, since the law only provides for two terms of office for the presidency. Moreover, this would mean that Ouattara is  breaking his promise made in March to pass on power to a younger generation. The fact that there have been many voicing for Ouattara to run for a third candidacy is due to the surprising death of Prime Minister Gon Coulibaly in early July. He was considered the designated presidential candidate of the ruling RDHP. In addition to the 78-year-old Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié are also polarizing the entire country. The three men share a long interlinked history: during which they ruled the country at a given point in time. While 86-year-old Bédié has already announced his candidacy, 75-year-old Gbagbo is trying to return to his home country, especially after his acquittal from the International Criminal Court. With the return of the three political heavyweights to the current election campaign, the conflict over the concept of “Ivoirité” could also become more central. The issue of preferential treatment of “native” Ivorians over people who immigrated from other West African states was also prominent factor  in the civil war following the 2010 elections. The development of the political situation will ultimately also depend on who is officially a candidate. The deadline for the registration of candidates is currently set for September 1.

 

Vote of no confidence against Somali Prime Minister

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire was forced to resign by the parliament on Saturday. 170 of the 178 members of parliament supported a motion of censure against the head of government in office since 2017 and called on President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (known as “Farmajo”) to appoint a new prime minister. Khaire questioned the legality of the vote, but accepted the result and submitted his resignation. According to observers on this issue, the backstory is that it is  a power struggle between Khaire and President Farmajo for the upcoming 2021 elections. The country in the Horn of Africanhad set itself the goal of holding the first fully free democratic elections since 1969, in which each person receives one vote. In the current electoral system, the president is elected by delegates from the various clans. The dispute between Khaire and Farmajo is said to have flared up especially around the time of the elections: While Khaire wanted to stick to the election date set for February, Farmajo is said to prefer a postponement of the date. The fact that the parliament has now expressed its mistrust towards Khaire on the grounds that he was unable to present a clear timetable for the election is therefore considered a political move by Farmajo. A postponement of the election would pose further challenges to the already politically unstable country, since Farmajo’s term of office expires in November and an extension is constitutionally not allowed. The EU criticized the action as clearly illegitimate and a serious setback for the democratic development of Somalia. Interim Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid reacted with incomprehension and asked for no further interference in the domestic affairs of his country.

 

In other news

The entrepreneur Patricia Nzolantina is the founder of the Congolese cab company Ubizcaps, which hires only women, although in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) cab driving is considered a male domain. But it is not only the 100% quota of women that makes Patricia’s company special; at around 300 US dollars a month, the pay of the female drivers is far above the Congolese average. In addition, every woman gets her own account with a credit card so that she can manage her own money. Nzolantina has already considered her next project: She wants to form a development bank for women.

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