Category Archives: North Africa

Bashir high-tails it back to Sudan to avoid South African court decision in ICC

Mail and Guardian

Sudan said on Monday that President Omar al-Bashir has left South Africa.

Omar al-Bashir. (Reuters)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has left South Africa, a Sudan minister said on Monday, defying a Pretoria court order for him to remain in the country until it ruled on an application for his arrest. Bashir, who was attending an African Union summit in South Africa, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Pretoria High Court was in session on Monday to decide on a petition by the Southern African Litigation Centre, a rights group that wanted to force the South African government to arrest Bashir and hand him over to the ICC.

South Africa is an ICC signatory and therefore obliged to implement arrest warrants, but the African National Congress on Sunday accused the Hague-based court of being biased against Africans and said it was “no longer useful”.

Pretoria’s furious response and its decision to allow Bashir to leave is affirmation of its shifting diplomatic priorities with Africa’s interests trumping those of the West.

Judge Hans Fabricius on Sunday barred Bashir from leaving South Africa until he had made a decision on the application and had asked the government to inform all ports of exit not to allow the veteran Sudanese leader to leave.

However, Sudan’s state minister Yasser Youssef told Reuters Bashir had left South Africa and was due to land in the Sudanese capital Khartoum at around 3:3pm GMT.

Local South African media earlier reported seeing a Sudanese plane leaving Waterkloof Air Force Base at around 10am GMT.

Immunity

Jacob Zuma’s government had given immunity to Bashir and all other delegates attending the AU summit.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the Darfur region. He has long rejected the court’s authority.

The conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300 000 people and displaced two million, the United Nations says.

The ICC, the US Department and the UN have criticised Pretoria for rolling out the red carpet for Bashir.

“The International Criminal Court’s warrant for the arrest of President al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes is a matter I take extremely seriously,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Geneva.

“The authority of the ICC must be respected and its decision implemented,” Ban added. – Reuters

Judge prevents Sudan’s Bashir leaving South Africa

IOL News

June 14, 2015
By NTANDO MAKHUBU
Pretoria High Court Judge Hans Fabricious has issued an interim order preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa, pending a decision of the court, to be made after urgent application that he be arrested is made later this afternoon.
  
The International Criminal Court has called for SA to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. File picture: Simonn Maina. 

(Credit: AFP)
The judge made the order after granting the state a three hour period in which to prepare arguments in response to SA Litigation Centre’s application that President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority arrest al- Bashir on the order of the International Crimes Court (ICC).
The ICC issues warrants of arrest against al-Bashir in 2009, for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity over the Dafir, Sudan conflict.
The conflict claimed the lives of more than 400 thousand people, and left more than two million more displaced.
The Litigation Centre made the urgent application following the ICC’s order that al-Bashir be arrested immediately he landed in South Africa to attend the African Union (AU) summit currently being held in Johannesburg, for which he reportedly arrived on Saturday.
As a signatory of the Rome treaty, South Africa is obliged to arrest the president, but the AU has previously refused to heed the ICC call, accusing them or targeting African leaders.
Arguments for and against the urgent application are expected to be made before Judge Fabricious at 3pm today.
ntando.makhubu@inl.co.za
@ntsandvose

Sudan – air force bombs central Darfur

Radio Dabanga

Several dead in second bombing in Central Darfur this week

June 12 – 2015 ROKORO
Fire in Kuma Garadayat, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Fire in Kuma Garadayat, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

The Sudanese Air Force bombed Solo and Dalo, west of Rokoro in Central Darfur, on Thursday. According to an armed rebel group, three civilians were killed, including a child. A large number of livestock did not survive the explosions.

The military spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid El Nur (SLM-AW), Mustafa Tambur, told Radio Dabanga that an Antonov airplane was flying over the area since 6 pm. After about an hour, it dropped sixteen bombs on the villages of Solo and Dalo.

There were three casualties. One of them is a child under the age of five.

Tambur added that the aerial bombardment also killed about 236 cattle, including camels, and has forced hundreds of residents to flee to the nearby caves and valleys.

The SLM-AW reported an aerial bombardment in the same area on Tuesday. There were no casualties, but people fled from their homes into the surrounding valleys.

Sudan – Bashir shuffles cabinet and appoints new defence minister

BBC

President Omar al-Bashir speaks to the crowd after a swearing-in ceremony in Khartoum (02 June 2015)
President Bashir has been forced to admit that Sudan needs to change

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has formed a new government a month after winning elections that were boycotted by the main opposition parties and tarnished by a poor turnout.

The key foreign ministry portfolio has gone to Ibrahim Ghandour, a former presidential assistant.

Mohamed Zayed has been appointed oil minister, while Mustafa Osman Obeid was appointed acting defence minister.

The new government will comprise a total of 31 cabinet ministers.

In addition President Bashir has also appointed governors for Sudan’s 18 states in what he has vowed will be a “new page” for his country,

A fighter from the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces in the city of Nyala, south Darfur (03 May 2015)
The president says that he wants to bring an end to fighting in Darfur
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (centre left) arrives to take his oath during his presidential inauguration ceremony (02 June 2015)
President Bashir won elections in April with more than 94% of the vote – which was boycotted by most opposition parties

Speaking at his inauguration last week, the president said that he wanted to repair ties with the West, tackle corruption and bring peace to the country.

Another priority is restoring Sudan’s ailing economy.

Mr Bashir, 71, seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

line

James Copnall, BBC Sudan Analyst

Even President Bashir has been forced to admit – with civil war(s) continuing, and the ongoing economic crisis – that Sudan needs to change, and this reshuffle is part of his promised reforms.

The most surprising decision is the removal of Abdel Rahim Hussein as defence minister, as for many years he has been President Bashir’s confidant and friend.

Mr Hussein has been named governor of Khartoum state, one of several changes among the governors, which seem designed to remove any who were developing sizable local power bases.

But simply replacing ministers and governors will not bring change. Instead, the way Sudan is governed will have to improve if the country is to escape from its current malaise.

Mali – Tuareg rebels agree security deal as move towards peace

Reuters

Mali’s Tuareg-led rebels have agreed to deals for a local ceasefire and more political guarantees as a step toward a U.N.-brokered peace agreement to end decades of uprisings in the north, the United Nations envoy said on Friday.

Mali’s government accepted a broad U.N.-brokered accord in March, but the rebel coalition delayed a final signing, saying it fell short of their demands, as fighting continued in the region that separatists call Azawad.

U.N. envoy Mongi Hamdi said one arrangement called for a ceasefire in the northern town of Menaka and the withdrawal of pro-Bamako armed groups from the area, to be replaced temporarily by U.N. security.

A second political text addresses some demands by the rebel alliance, known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements.

“There are two texts that we will sign today, one security and one political, that will allow the Coordination to go ahead and sign the final agreement, hopefully on June 20 in Bamako,” Hamdi told Reuters before a signing ceremony in Algiers.

Pro-government armed groups seized Menaka from Tuareg separatists in April during fierce fighting that has complicated international efforts to get a final peace agreement.

Western powers are pushing for a conclusive accord, fearing that continued instability will allow Islamist militants to return to the north, from where a French military intervention drove them out.

Tuaregs have risen up four times since Mali’s independence from France in 1960 to demand some form of self-rule.

The Algiers document in March proposed more devolved powers for the north, a regional security force and a special development plan. But it left the issue of Azawad’s political identity for a national debate between Malian parties.

Sudan – President Bashir delivers conciliatory inauguration speech

Sudan Now/allAfrica

Photo: Mohamed Siddig/UNMIS

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir voting in Sudanese elections on 11 April at St. Francis School, Khartoum.

Khartoum — President Omar Bashir who was sworn in before the parliament on Tuesday delivered a speech in which he promised achieving peace and halting blood shedding in conflict area.

In a ceremony attended by the heads of state from Egypt, Chad, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Djibouti and Somalia, beside representatives from Arab and African states, the president renewed his commitment that he would be president for all Sudanese people irrespective of those who participated or boycotted the elections as this was a constitutional rights exercised by all people.

President Bashir told the legislature, following his sworn in as president for a new term, that he would remain loyal to the Sudan and the Sudanese people and that he would do all he could to serve his homeland.

Bashir reaffirmed that the general and presidential elections were conducted in a free and fair climate under the supervision and observation of regional and international observers and that this would remain a source of pride for the Sudanese people.

President Bashir commended all those who participated in the process, with special reference to the Sudanese people who took part in that national action that showed the resolve of the Sudanese people and their commitment to the peaceful exchange of power through the ballot boxes. He thanked the Sudanese people who put their faith on him.

The president also commended the nationalistic spirit with which the people engaged in the elections, saying the Sudanese people as expected of them went to the elections in full and free will to choose their representatives and their president.

“I bear witness here before you and before Allah the almighty that we will remain in the service of the Sudanese people working to bring every possible good for the people. We pledge before you and before Allah the almighty that we will never be but in positions of pride” President Bashir vowed in his speech before the parliament.

He thanked the national committee that stood behind his nomination led by Field Marshal Abdul Rahaman Swardahab. President Bashir also praised the role played by the National Election Commission which he said has carried out its role in all capability and national commitment.

The president equally commended the role played by the police, army and the security and all regular forces who contributed to the success of the elections in a civilized manner and in a spirit of tolerance and cooperation, denoting their full awareness about this huge constitutional right.

The president said special thanks go to the Sudanese armed forces and their new strong arm, the Rapid Support Forces, and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) who shade their blood in protection and in preservation for the dignity of the Sudanese nation and in securing the climate that led to conducting the elections.

“Our commitment and pledge is that the government will continue supporting them until all citizens are secured in every inch of this grand homeland” President Bashir pledged.

President Bashir sent a special thanks and gratitude to the Sudanese women who have now secured one third of the seats in the parliament, saying that the women in the Sudan have coupled words with deed when they said they would be decisive elements in the elections which they did, he said.

President Bashir commended the youth and the students who have been the spirit and the energy in the elections. The president sent special thanks to the workers, farmers, and businessmen, the pensioners, teachers and intellectuals as well as the religious leaders and the various sectors of the Sudanese popular groups and leaders along with the Sudanese people with special needs who were actively engaged in the elections and were vital for their outcome.

President Bashir commended the role of the political forces that participated in the elections as well as the media men and journalists who contributed in the elections completing this national tableau.

Bashir has underlined that the Sudan is looking forwards to building an effective and productive partnership with all friends and with all sisterly countries of the world, based on Sudanese overtures on all Arab brothers, African neighbors and friends around the globe.

He has pointed out in his speech before the legislatures following the sworn in ceremony as president of the Republic, that Sudanese relations with Arab countries have recently witnessed positive developments and that its African and Asian relations have been a model to be followed for cooperation and constructive relationship.

He said the Sudan would work with open heart and mind to complete its dialogue with the Western countries so that relations would return to normal, guided in this by the positive indexes that showed up recently, and in confirmation of Sudan declared policy of removing all obstacles so as to gain the friendship of all peoples and governments of the world.

He pledged to start a new era in the Sudan where the application of the lofty Islamic sharia will be reinforced, in response to the desire of the Sudanese people and in commitment to the pledges made to those who martyred in defense of those lofty principles.

The president has pointed out in his speech before the national parliament, in the presence of heads of state and government and delegates who came to take part in the inauguration, that the Sudan will enter a new era where blood shedding will cease and reaffirmation of the commitment to relentless efforts to complete the peace process in the country.

The president has reaffirmed his keenness to achieve peace and that the doors close before the doors of sedition, and will open the doors for love, good and brotherhood among and between our people in Darfur, South Kordufan and the Blue Nile area.

He underlined that this peace would be created by the Sudanese hands and Sudanese determination and will, resulting in stability in the homeland and lead to a new phase of development and national building, with a pledge to preserve the unity of the people and the homeland.

He said he was keen to enter in a new era in which he would work with the partners in the homeland to write permanent constitution for the country in a way that would achieve full stability in the homeland and pave the way for making use of the energies of the people for national construction and for development.

He said Sudan is entering a new phase in which all conflicts, nepotism and wars would be discarded and all efforts will be veered towards the reconstruction of the country, based on the guidance of the holy Koran.

The President congratulated the members of the parliament who have been elected by the voters from all part of the country to the National Legislature.

Bashir said in his statement following the inauguration ceremony that he was sure the MPs will carry with them the concern and the worries of their constituencies and that they would continue their role in discussing legislation and in working to monitor the work of the executive, stressing that he would stand with the MPs in the road to reform and development in the country.

He said the government is committed to the reform of the state organs with all the might and resolve and that the aspects of weakness, shortcoming and corruption would be remedied. He said he was confident the MPs would play their role in the supervision, monitoring and in the drafting of legislation to this end.

The president commended the role played by the outgoing MPs, commending the legislature, its leading role and vanguard position in support of the concern of the homeland and in backing and supporting the Sudanese armed forces.

The President has meanwhile announced the formation of a new commission charged with fighting corruption and that this commission would be affiliated to the presidency of the Republic.

He said the new era Sudan is entering into will be that of social justice, the rule of law and prevalence of the shura among the Sudanese people.

He said the new era will be characterized by the high place of transparency in decision making, in appointment and in decisively dealing with any form of corruption or failure to discharge duties or function.

President Bashir told the MPs that in the new ear investment will witness a qualitative leap through attraction of Arab investment capitals that will take role in the Arab food security where the Sudan stand as the lead.

The president said agriculture would be the spearhead in the investment process in the Sudan and that it would be the motor that would help the Sudan remedy poverty, unemployment and compensate the country for the losses made because of the war and conflicts.

The president has meanwhile stressed that assuming public posts will be based on qualification and on competences and that at the same time there would be freedom of expression so long as it is abiding by the law and avoid calling for religious or racial sedition in the country.

He said the Sudan would also make use of all its resources to help build the modern Sudan.

Bashir has revealed that the discovered gold according to the most recent geological map stands at over 8000 tons at a market value of 330 billion dollars which will be used to complete the grand development project and to achieve economic prosperity for the Sudanese people.

The president stressed that the coming phase will be devoted for future developments and that a new page for national accord and togetherness of the national ranks, will be opened.

He said the living conditions of the Sudanese people will be given priority, saying the Sudanese people have born all the suffering and shortages but they still continued their resolve to see sustainability of the economic development and to provide the best possible living conditions for the people, through the best use of the national resources, improving productivity and investment with better cooperation with Sudanese economic partners.

He said Sudan is poised to be a leading productive nation that will meet its needs and cover the food gap for others.

He also announced that all preparations have been completed for launching the comprehensive national dialogue, be it political or societal, which he had called for last year. He said the process will kick off in the coming few days.

The president called on political parties in opposition and who are reluctant to join the process and on rebel movement that the doors of the country are still open to all of them and that they will not be closed before the national political forces that reject the use of force and opt for dialogue as a means for a comprehensive national dialogue that will bring all national forces and deal with all national issues and questions.

The president has announced pardon on all those who carry arms and who are genuine for returning to the home and take part in the dialogue.

“They are all welcome around the national dialogue table so as to come out with a document that would be acceptable for all Sudanese people and which will bring together all Sudanese people and unite their ranks, build its national glory, tall among other nations” the president stressed.

He said he calls on all the Sudanese political forces, be they in agreement or not with the government, that the joint national duty should be to preserve the security and stability of the country and to observe the peaceful coexistence between its various cultural components in a culture of peace and cohesion and that there should be a peaceful deliberation of power and that in case of any differences the politicians should go back to the people.

He said the people should work together to protect the country from foreign breaking and from any other international agenda that would negatively impact the people of the Sudan. He said the Sudanese political scene is big enough to accommodate all people.

He said Sudan is at a very critical stage with serious developments in the neighbouring areas, including wars, conflicts, splits and destruction. He called on all to avoid the Sudanese undergoing similar fate. He called for working together with the neighbouring Arab and African brothers to find political solution that would avert the region warring and displacement and destruction.

Bashir said the new cabinet will be announced shortly, to continue with the plans set in the quarter of century strategic plans and also will be guided by the election programme announced by the Presidential candidate Omar Bashir during the election campaign.

He said the new cabinet will take into consideration the aspirations and expectations of the Sudanese people and their legitimate demands, seeking to convert them into realities.

The president pointed to the various achievements reached thanks to the efforts exerted by the outgoing cabinet, the legislative and political organs.

The president has stressed that much attention will be given to the weaker sectors and that production will be encouraged in the agricultural and industrial sectors and that all hurdles before investment would be removed.

Ethiopians vote in first post-Meles election

BBC

Ethiopians are voting for a new parliament in the first election since the death of long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012.

The current parliament has only one opposition MP – and Mr Zenawi’s successor Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to hold on to power.

The opposition and human rights groups have accused the governing party of intimidation – a criticism it rejects.

Observers from the African Union are monitoring the poll.

Polling stations opened at 06:00 (03:00 GMT) and close at 18:00 pm (15:00 GMT).

Hailemariam Desalegn on left, Debretsion Gebremikael (centre) and Tewodros Adhanom or right

  

Current Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn (L), is favourite to retain the post but faces competition from leading challengers Debretsion Gebremikael (C) and Tewodros Adhanom (R)

Final results will not be known for a month.

Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has been in power for almost a quarter of a century.


  

More than 36m Ethiopians – and 57 political groups – have registered for the election. Many of them are organised along ethnic lines.

Other contenders include the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum, a coalition known as Medrek [the Forum] and the Semayawi [Blue] Party, which has held protest rallies and draws support from young people.

Chart showing ethnic groups of Ethiopian population

Ethiopia has more than 80 different ethnic groups

“The government people came to go door-to-door asking us to register as voters and to promote the EPRDF,” Reuters news agency quoted a student as saying. “For me, all I see is that prices increase.”

Another voter told AFP: “I will give my vote to the ruling party because I do not have faith in the opposition parties’ ability to govern.”

Ethiopia has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies – with government-financed investments extending to new railways, roads and hydro-electric dams.

People take part in a Blue Party election rally in the capital Addis Ababa on 21 May.

Many young people have taken part in protests called by the Semayawi (Blue Party)

But critics accuse Prime Minister Desalegn of stifling dissent. One opposition candidate, Yilekal Getinet, said the government had closed political space.

Addis Ababa rejects the criticism. Government spokesman Redwan Hussein told AFP it was up to voters to choose.

“If they want to give us another chance they will vote for us. If they have a grudge, they will not.”

A general view shows part of the capital Addis Ababa on 17 May.

The government has invested massively in infrastructure projects

Predictions of another government success have turned some voters off the idea of casting a ballot. “The election will bring no change,” Behailu Ayele told Reuters. “It is already known that the EPRDF will win the vote like the previous elections – by fraud.”

In 2005, 174 opposition politicians won seats in the 547-seat parliament, but many did not take them up after pronouncing the vote rigged.

In the 2010 polls, Girma Seifu, of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), was the sole opponent to win, while the EPRDF garnered 99.6%. An independent candidate was also elected.

The opposition MP is not running again.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,290 other followers