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Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara to announce slim cabinet size next week

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Following the resignation of Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Patrick Achi who tabled his resignation and that of his government yesterday, President Alassane Ouattara reiterated plans to slim down the size of the cabinet.

Ouattara said he would reduce the government to around 30 ministers from the current 41, with new appointments to be made next week to govern the world’s top cocoa producer.

The president is expected to address a joint session of the West African country’s parliament on April 19, a government spokesman told Reuters.

A slimmer cabinet will be more efficient and in tune with the global economic climate, Ouattara said during the cabinet meeting at which he accepted the government’s resignation.

President Quattara’s move to cut government should be considered a positive in public administration in Africa because most African countries want to have large governments to the detriment of the state public finance.

A Nigerian scholar, Chinyeaka J. Igbokwe-Ibeto, argued that the cost of governance in Africa has been a serious challenge to development in the continent. A large government makes it difficult for governments to implement development plans and projects as most of the state resources are expended as high recurrent expenditure, while other vices like corruption, budget deficit, and fiscal indiscipline continue to plague public finance in the continent.

“It is imperative to reduce state spending and re-focus on social and security resilience,” he added.

The president however did not specify which ministerial positions would be cut.

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Mali’s junta sets date for presidential elections. Will that stop ECOWAS sanction?

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The military junta in Mali has adopted an electoral calendar with a presidential election set for February 2024.

The transition plan was announced three days before a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is due to consider the tough sanctions imposed on the junta in January.

The spokesman to the government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, who is also Minister of Territorial Administration, on state television on Thursday said “our authorities are further paving the way for a return to constitutional order in Mali, the scene of two coups d’état led by the same group of colonels in August 2020 and May 2021.”

“The government finds this timetable (electoral and referendum) realistic, he added.

According to official documents sent to the media, the junta also set a date for referendum on the new constitution for March 2023.

The calendar also revealed that legislative elections are to be held between October and November 2023, and local elections in June 2023.

In June, Mali’s military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita created a body charged with responsibility for writing a new Constitution. The government had through a decree read on state television said that Bamako will be returned to civil rule after twenty months.

Regional bloc, ECOWAS in reaction to the 24 months transition plan, says it regrets the decision of Colonel Goita to extend the duration of the transition.

Recall that earlier in the week the junta announced new electoral law which permits Colonel Goita and other military service men to contest for the projected 2024 elections.

The move puts Mali in the eye of observers again as it suggests Goita is getting ready to join the undemocratic train of previous African leaders like Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, Omar al-Bashir in Sudan, Gnassingbé Eyadéma in Togo, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire who succeeded themselves in a military to civil transition.

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2023: Nigeria’s ruling party presidential candidates, Tinubu, Masari, can’t find certificates. What we know so far

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Kabiru Masari, the running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Nigerian presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the coming 2023 general elections, has declared that his school certificates and other vital documents including the certificate to landed properties, are missing.

Masari’s declaration of missing certificates, is coming barely a week after his principal, Tinubu, also declared that he could not explain the whereabouts of his primary and secondary schools certificates after soldiers invaded his house while he was in self-exile during the fight against military regime in Nigeria shortly after the June 12, 1993, presidential election, which was annulled by the General Ibrahim Babangida-led military regime.

While explaining how he lost his certificates, Tinubu had said the documents were among his personal effect destroyed when his property at the Balarabe Musa Crescent in Victoria Island, Lagos, was set ablaze by agents of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, in 1997.

Tinubu’s Form EC9, which was published on Friday by the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, revealed that the former Lagos State governor did not fill the columns for his primary and secondary school education, which generated a lot of controversies, leading to some opposition political parties and civil society groups threatening court actions.

But while Nigerians were still grappling with the idea of a presidential candidate without the basic primary and secondary school certifications, Masari, who was named as a ‘placeholder’, effectively meaning he is a temporary vice presidential candidate while the party looks for a suitable replacement, also announced that he is in the same boat as Tinubu.

In a sworn affidavit he deposed to on July 17, 2021, and submitted to the INEC, Masari claimed that the Grade II certificate he allegedly obtained from the Katsina State Teachers’ College and his primary school certificate were missing.

He also said told the electoral umpire that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a plot of land in Katsina State were also missing.

“Sometimes in January 2021, while on transit within Wuse Area, FCT-Abuja, I discovered that my original Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of Plot, No KT 17522, GRA Katsina, Katsina State; Certificate of Kaduna State Development Centre from 1994 – 1995 were missing,” the affidavit reads.

“Also missing were Grade II Certificate from Katsina Teachers’ College (KTC) from 1978 –1983 and First Leaving School Certificate issued by Masari Primary School in Katsina State from 1972 – 1978.

“Efforts made to trace the documents proved abortive hence this affidavit,” he added in the sworn affidavit.

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