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‘Heads of States’ meet in Ghana after UEMOA court suspends ECOWAS sanctions on Mali

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After the court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union- UEMOA suspended regional bloc – ECOWAS 3-months old sanctions on Mali Thursday, leaders of the Economic Community of West Africa African States (ECOWAS) met on Friday for a summit over Mali’s political crisis.

The summit was held in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. In attendance were members of the “Heads of States” of ECOWAS. Malian Foreign Minister Aboudlaye Diop confirmed the meeting on Friday.

Also in discussions were the situation in Guinea and Burkina Faso, where coups have also taken place recently.

On Thursday, the court of the West African Economic and Monetary The court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Thursday ordered a suspension of the eight-nation body’s sanctions against Mali, imposed in January after the junta delayed elections.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) disagreed with the military junta of Colonel Goïta in Mali over the duration of the transition into civil government and a date for elections. The regional bloc mediator and former president of Nigeria (2010-2015) Goodluck Jonathan was in Bamako last week with delegates in a bid to broker an earlier transition period but left without reaching a compromising stand with the military government.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ramped up sanctions on Mali after Goïta took over the government in August 2020. The regional body also activated its standby military force following the failure of transitional authorities in the country to organise elections.

 

The government of Mali, which has been under West African sanctions since January, says it has submitted a timetable for “elections with a 36-month (three-year) deadline for the transition,” but “this proposal was not accepted by the West African mediator,” according to a statement issued Sunday evening after Jonathan’s departure.

Politics

Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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