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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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Senegalese opposition condemns President Sall’s ‘slow’ election date announcement

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The opposition presidential contenders in Senegal have claimed that the government is taking too long to announce a new date for the poll, following a court ruling that declared a 10-month postponement to be illegal.

This occurs just a few days after President Macky Sall pledged to comply with the Constitutional Council’s position that the election be held as soon as feasible following the parliament’s resolution to reschedule the election—which was initially set for February 25—was overruled by the court.

The situation in one of the more stable democracies in coup-hit West Africa led to violent public protests and threats of authoritarian overreach, and Sall came under intense pressure both domestically and internationally to accept the council’s decision.

However, no new date has been announced, which has angered opposition candidates who want the election to happen before Sall’s term expires on April 2.

In a joint statement released late on Tuesday, sixteen out of the nineteen presidential candidates bemoaned the “inexplicable slowness” with which the council’s decision was implemented.

It was their contention that Sall’s tardy return to electoral duty demonstrated his reluctance to initiate a process that would result in a transfer of power. A request for response from the presidency was not answered.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said that there was room for discussion over the expiration of Sall’s mandate on April 2.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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