CW 35/2020: According to the People’s Will?
Press Review 22 August 2020 to 28 August 2020

Mali after the coup

Following last week’s coup d’état in Mali, a delegation from the Economic Community of West African  States (ECOWAS) negotiated with the leadership of the military junta. Goodluck Jonathan, the main mediator of this delegation and former President of Nigeria, was received in Mali last Saturday. Following a meeting with some twenty detained members of the old government and the military junta, ECOWAS withdrew its demand to reinstate the toppled President immediately. There is different  information on the success of the negotiations. It remains unclear when a civilian government will be reinstated and democratic elections will be held. While ECOWAS insists on a one-year transition, the National Committee to Save the People is said to have proposed a three-year transition period under its leadership – however, this has not been confirmed by the insurgents themselves. In any case, on Thursday the military junta complied with ECOWAS’ demand to release the toppled ex-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keїta. The military junta also started negotiations with the opposition, which are to be continued on Saturday. It remains to be seen to what extent all this will have a positive effect on today’s internal ECOWAS talks on how to deal with Mali, which has been subject to economic sanctions by the international community since the coup d’état. Meanwhile, developments in Mali are also being followed very closely from Europe. As legitimate authorities are currently lacking, both EU missions, the training of soldiers (EUTM) and police officers (Eucap), have been suspended. However, a withdrawal of troops is not expected, as a further advance of Islamist terrorist groups without the support of foreign troops is considered likely.

 

Gbagbo and Soro excluded from Ivorian presidential election

About two months before the presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire, former President Laurent Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro were excluded from the election. Their appeals were rejected this week by a court in Abidjan. A representative of the Ivorian electoral commission said that they could not be reinstated on the electoral roll. The reason for exclusion was the convictions of the two politicians by the Ivorian judiciary. In 2018, Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for embezzlement of funds from the West African Central Bank during the civil war in 2010. Soro also received a 20-year prison sentence for embezzlement and money laundering in April this year. According to the opposition, however, this was a political manoeuvre by President Alassane Ouattara to eliminate potential competitors before the elections. Tensions have been rising in the country since Alassane Ouattara announced his candidacy in early August. More and more people are taking to the streets to protest against Ouattara’s unconstitutional third candidacy. At least six people have already died and hundreds have been injured in violent clashes. Meanwhile, Ouattara’s supporters justify a third term in office with the adoption of a new constitution and the introduction of the Third Republic in November 2016. Accordingly,   Ouattara’s terms of office would still be in the Second Republic – a new republic would also mean a new counting of presidential terms. Opposition parties and civil society groups condemn the president’s attempt to remain in power as a coup, which increases political unrest in the country.

 

In other news

Deutsche Welle’s internet portal Qantara is presenting Sauti this week, a digital publication on strengthening women’s rights and the first feminist blog of its kind. The platform was launched by the African Union shortly before this year’s Pan-African Women’s Day on 31 July. In Arabic and Swahili Sauti means “voice” and this is exactly what the digital space is meant to give to young African women on the continent and in the diaspora. Through creative forms of expression such as stories, pictures or videos, young feminists have the opportunity to share their experiences in fighting the global pandemic of Covid-19 and to describe daily challenges, thoughts and successes.

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