CW 43/2020: Progress and Uncertainty
Press Review 17 October 2020 to 23 October 2020

Controversial election results in Guinea

The outcome of the presidential elections in Guinea last Sunday remains controversial. The day after the elections, opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo declared himself the winner of the elections. At a press conference in the capital Conakry, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) said: “In view of the results at the ballot boxes, I emerge victorious in the first round of this election – despite the irregularities which overshadowed the overall orderly conduct of the ballot on 18 October”. Mr Diallo’s supporters took to the streets rejoicing. The electoral commission CENI , however, immediately afterwards announced that no official result had yet been announced. Finally, on Wednesday, the electoral commission announced that incumbent Alpha Condé was ahead in the preliminary results. The 82-year-old Condé, who ran for the third time following a constitutional amendment in March, had beaten his challenger in 14 of 20 counted constituencies. Election observers from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stated that the election had been conducted transparently. According to the Guinean Minister of Security, ten people, including two police officers, died in clashes between supporters of Diallo and security forces on Wednesday. Diallo, who was detained in his home by security forces, nevertheless called on his supporters to continue their protests: “My dear compatriots, I am counting on you to continue the fight until victory is won”.

US plans to lift sanctions against Sudan

On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that the US government would remove Sudan from the list of state supporters of terrorism. Sudan has been on that list since 1993, after Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden spent time there as a “guest” of the Sudanese government. In return for the lifting of sanctions, Sudan will pay $335 million in compensation. The compensation claims relate to the 1998 bomb attacks by Al-Qaida on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. More than 220 people were killed in the attacks. The compensation should be paid to US terror victims and their families, said President Trump. The categorisation as a “terrorist state” has long isolated the country in Northeast Africa from the international community. By removing it from the list, it will get easier for international companies and banks to invest and operate in Sudan. Furthermore, it will  allow Sudan to have access to assistance from multilateral donor institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. The payment of compensation will not be easy for Sudan, which has been in a deep economic crisis for a long time. About one and a half years have passed since the fall of long-term president Omar Al-Bashir. Sudan now faces a breakthrough in its efforts to improve relations with the international community. A need for discussion was created by the fact that in the recent past, the US has made increased efforts to persuade Arab or Muslim majority states to officially recognise Israel. In this context, there had been speculation that Washington would remove Sudan from the list only in return for the normalisation of its relations with Israel. However, Sudan’s Prime Minister Hamdok stated that his transitional government did not have sufficient legitimacy to take such a far-reaching step.

In other news

Diva Taxi, the first all-female taxi company in Uganda’s capital Kampala, was founded in June 2020 by Rebecca Myakeli. The company offers new earning opportunities to women who have fallen into economic hardship and lost their jobs due to months of corona restrictions. As taxi drivers for Diva Taxi, they now transport people through the metropolis of three million people. With now 70 registered drivers, about 100 vehicles and an average of 30 trips per week and driver, the driving service is growing daily. Diva Taxi’s digital app has been downloaded about 500 times so far. By the end of 2020, the goal is to reach the mark of 2000 active users.

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