Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekly Newsletter 25 February 2013

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A stamp from Mauritania.

Dear Reader,

Djibouti’s ruling party, the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), has declared victory in the parliamentary elections conducted last week. The opposition, including the UMP’s main rivals, the Union for National Safety (USN), claim there was widespread fraud. These polls – the most open for years – will see the election of Djibouti’s first opposition MPs since independence, although this may not quite be the democratic opening for which some are hoping.

Mamphela Ramphele, a former South African apartheid activist, academic and businesswoman, launched a new political party last Monday. Ramphele is hoping that Agang (‘Build’ in SeSotho) will challenge the dominance of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The significance of Agang, however, is more likely to be in mobilising opposition over specific issues such as corruption and constitutionalism than in challenging the ANC’s overall dominance. 

Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo appeared at the International Criminal Court in The Hague last week for the start of hearings which will determine if there is enough evidence to try him. Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity in the wake of the Ivory Coast’s disputed 2010 elections. While there is general support for Gbagbo’s trial, however, many are concerned that the case risks providing one-sided justice – those on the other side of the conflict have not been charged. 

Ahead of Kenya's elections next week, Think Africa Press has been examining some of the country’s minority populations. Despite a long history in the country, the Nubians struggle to be recognised as Kenyan citizens leading to a range of problems. Meanwhile the government is trying to force Kenya’s Somali refugees living in towns and cities to return to refugee camps

North: Egypt: A Police Under Fire and in Need of Reform

West: Ivory Coast: Gbagbo Appears Before the ICC

Central: Experts Weekly: Will the Central African Republic's New Unity Government Hold?

East: Museveni's Muzzled MPs: Uganda's Missed Opportunity in the Oil Debates

South: The King's Ransom: Swaziland's Suffering Economy

Below are a few highlights from the past week:

All the best,

The Team at Think Africa Press