CW 40/2020: Far-reaching Decisions?
Press Review 26 September 2020 to 2 October 2020

Togo: First woman appointed head of government

Last Friday, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou and his government. The step was not unexpected: After the presidential elections in February this year, the imminent withdrawal of Klassou, who had been in office since 2015, had already been announced. However, the withdrawal was delayed due to the Corona pandemic. At the beginning of this week, Gnassingbé then appointed Victoire Sidémého Tomegah Dogbé as the first woman to head the government of the West African country. As close confidante of the president, the 60-year-old has been his chief of staff since 2009 and has held several ministerial posts since 2008, including the office of development minister. While Gnassingbé, whose victory in the presidential elections in February was only possible after a controversial constitutional amendment, faces growing opposition in the country, Dogbé is considered an experienced reformer in the fight against poverty and youth unemployment. Her task will be to govern the country at a time when it is hard hit by the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On 11 September , the World Bank announced the release of $70 million to Togo to help the country recover its economy, whose growth is expected to fall from 5.3 percent in 2019 to only one percent in 2020.


Rwandan genocide: wire-puller Kabuga transferred to Tanzania

On Wednesday, the French Court of Cassation in Paris decided to transfer the alleged mastermind of the Rwandan genocide, Félicien Kabuga, to the International Residual Mechanism for Ad Hoc Criminal Courts (IRMCT) within four weeks. Thus, the attempt by Kabuga’s lawyers to initiate a trial in Paris based on the 87-year-old’s  health status was rejected. With its two branches in The Hague, the Netherlands, and Arusha, Tanzania, the IRMCT is handling the final cases of the UN tribunal on Rwanda. Kabuga was long considered “the most wanted man in Africa” until he was arrested in May this year – 26 years after the genocide – in a suburb of Paris. In 1997, the UN tribunal first brought charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Kabuga. With his assets, he is said to have been the main financier of the Interahamwe Militia, which was responsible for the majority of the murders of more than 800,000 Tutsis in 1994. Kabuga is also the founder of the radio and television station RTLM, which called for violence against the Tutsi. Kabuga, who used 28 different identities to escape justice, denies any accusations against him. Due to the Corona pandemic and Kabuga’s poor health, it remains unclear whether the trial can actually take place in Arusha, although the French court sees no obstacles to this. Alternatively, Kabuga could be transferred temporarily to The Hague..


In other news

For 20 years the Pan-African Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi has been keeping swarms of desert locusts for research purposes. The latest breakthrough: locust oil for the modern diet. The protein-rich animals are not only easy to breed, but also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of vitamin E and antioxidants. For one liter of the oil, 20 kilograms of locusts are first dried and then crushed. Insect breeding is also considered a sustainable meat alternative because, unlike widespread cattle breeding, it produces 83 percent less of the climate-damaging methane. Soap and biodiesel from insects are also conceivable for the future, according to ICIPE.


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