CW 39/2020: Men in Power
Press Review 19 September 2020 to 25 September 2020

Kenya’s Chief Justice calls for dissolution of parliament

Kenya’s Chief Justice and Chairman of the Supreme Court David Maraga advised President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday to dissolve the country’s male-dominated parliament. According to Maraga, the legislators had failed to comply with a constitutional provision that requires women to occupy one-third of the seats. In his letter, he therefore accuses the parliament of discrimination and continuous violation of the constitution. Although the Constitution states that no more than two-thirds of an elected or appointed body may be of the same sex, women hold only about 22 per cent of the seats in the Lower House and 31 percent in the Upper House of Parliament. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the proportion of women in the Kenyan parliament is thus lower than in the East African neighbours Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Parliament, Justin Muturi, together with the Attorney General, initiated legal action against Maraga’s recommendation and was able to achieve a stage victory yesterday, Thursday. The High Court thus prevented any dissolution of parliament and ordered a proper trial to take place in October. President Kenyatta has not yet commented on Maraga’s letter. Relations between his government and the Supreme Court have been strained for several years. In 2017, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court annulled Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential election and subsequently ordered new elections, which Kenyatta won under boycott of the opposition. The current dispute over the constitutional composition of the Kenyan parliament could pose a threat of constitutional crisis for Kenyatta. The Law Society of Kenya has already announced that mass protests will be organised in mid-October if the Chamber of Deputies is not dissolved.

Mali’s military junta appoints interim presidents

About a month has passed since the coup d’état in Mali in which the military removed former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from office. Following pressure from the Economic community of West AfricanStates (ECOWAS), an interim president was appointed this week: Bah Ba N’Daou was the country’s Minister of Defence under Keïta and is now 70 years old. He will be sworn in at a ceremony in the capital Bamako on Friday. However, the demands of ECOWAS and the popular protest movement for a civilian transitional government will only be partially met. Besides N’Daou, who spent his entire professional life in the military and served under the Malian military dictator Moussa Traoré, who died last week, the current junta leader Assimi Goïta takes over the influential office of Vice-President. According to the Transitional Charter adopted by Mali’s political forces a fortnight ago, the Vice-President will have the power to govern security, defence and the reorganisation of the state institutions – the very issues that will concern Mali in the coming months. The Transitional Government is now to govern the country until a democratically legitimate government can be formed. ECOWAS and the military junta have agreed on an election date in a year and a half. Meanwhile, the economic sanctions imposed by ECOWAS following the coup against Mali will only be lifted after this transition period. According to Reuters, however, former Nigerian president and ECOWAS Special Envoy Jonathan Goodluck yesterday called for an immediate lifting of the sanctions. Amidst the many political and economic challenges, Mali celebrated its 60th independence day on Tuesday – for the first time with neither a parliament nor a president in office.


In other news

Somali boxer Ramla Ali has recently signed a multi-fight advertising contract with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and will make her eagerly awaited professional debut in October, subject to licensing. She will be trained by her husband Richard Moore at BoxClever Gym in London and will compete in the Super Bantamweight. Ali’s family fled to England in the early 1990s before the Somali Civil War, where she became the first Muslim amateur boxer to win a national title in 2016, before deciding three years ago to represent her home country Somalia. Her next goal is to become the first Somali boxer to participate in the Olympic Games.

Event information

Next Friday the exhibition Concrete Limbo will open at the Haus der Statistik, in Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin. The exhibition, which involves public institutions and professional designers, aims to show how architecture and interior designers can lead to structural change and prosperity as well as to a better understanding of culture and tradition in West African cities. The exhibition runs from 2 October to 25 October.

The House of One Foundation, Bet- und Lehrhaus Berlin invites you to the opening of the architectural exhibition Religions Building for Peace – a House of Peace and Religions for Central Africa. From 24 September to 6 October, they are showing 24 designs and a dozen models by students of the EAMAU College in Lomé and the Bauhaus University Weimar in Berlin’s Parochial Church.

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