Vol. II Issue. 25
Egypt: Constitutional declaration issued
23 June 2012
The Constitutional Declaration was issued in Egypt on June 17. It grants the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) legislative powers as well as greater control over the constitution-drafting process. Prior to this the military issued, on June 13, Decree No. 4991, which grants the military power to arrest civilians for an extensive list of crimes, including acts disrupting traffic and public protest.
On June 14 the Supreme Constitutional Court announced its verdict on two major decisions. The first concerned the Political Isolation Law whose goal is to deny political rights to persons associated with Mubarak's former regime. The court declared the law unconstitutional, allowing Ahmed Shafiq, who was Hosni Mubarak's interim Prime Minister in 2011, to run in the final round of the Presidential elections. The second decision claimed the parliamentary elections for the Lower House last year had been unconstitutional as party members had been allowed to contest the one third of seats reserved for independent candidates. This thus called for parliament to be dissolved until fresh elections.
The People's Assembly (parliamentary lower house), however, has decided that it will hold its first session sometime in the following week, said Abdel Aleem Dawoud, deputy of the assembly.
Source(S): All Africa, June 21, 2012.
Libya, China to increase cooperation
Libya and China vowed to boost cooperation concerning Libya's reconstruction during a meeting between Vice President Xi Jinping and visiting Libyan Foreign Minister Ashour Ben Khayil at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
"China will encourage its companies to participate in Libya's reconstruction," Mr. Xi said, adding that political and economic reconstruction in Libya has entered a crucial period. He spoke highly of the progress made by the Libyan interim government in maintaining the country's stability, resuming economic development and promoting national reconciliation. On his part, Mr. Khayil said Libya appreciates China's "fair and responsible" stance concerning Libya.He said Libya attaches high importance to its relations with China and welcomes China to join in Libya's reconstruction.
Source(S):All Africa, June 12, 2012.
Church bombings in Nigeria
Bombings at three churches in Nigeria's northern Kaduna state took place on June 17. At least seven Christians were killed and triggered retaliatory attacks by Christian youths who dragged Muslims from cars and killed them. Kaduna state's governor declared a 24-hour curfew in a bid to restore calm.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings but the Islamist Boko Haram group has often attacked church services in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.
Source(s): Reuters Africa, June 17, 2012.
Liberian government extradites Ivorians
The Liberian government has extradited 41 Ivorians accused of trying to launch cross-border raids on Ivory Coast. They were arrested by UN peacekeepers in April as they tried to cross from Liberia with guns and ammunition.
It was believed the group was working in support of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is facing war crimes charges in The Hague. Violent border attacks have resulted in at least 60 deaths, including seven UN peacekeepers earlier in June. The 41 Ivorians who were extradited are expected to face an investigation in their home country. In June, Ivory Coast said it had foiled a plot to overthrow the government organised by Mr Gbagbo's supporters. The former president was ousted from power in December 2010, but refused to leave his post for four months. He was captured in April 2011 by recognised election winner Alassane Ouattara's forces.
Source(s): BBC Africa, June 23, 2012
U.S restores aid to Malawi
The United States has restored a $350 million aid programme to overhaul Malawi's decrepit electricity grid in recognition of the "sound economic policy" introduced since the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in April.
The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) froze the donor agreement in July last year after 20 anti-Mutharika protesters were killed in a police crackdown. The suspension, which coincided with aid freezes from other governments including Britain, Malawi's biggest donor, exacerbated an already acute dollar shortage, sending the economy into a spiral. However, the MCC has announced that the change of direction on human rights and economics under new President Joyce Banda meant the programme should resume.
Source(s): Reuters Africa, June 22, 2012.
Malawi: World Bank to invest in river basin
Malawi's Shire River Basin will receive a $125 million boost for improving land and water management potentially directly benefitting livelihoods of 430,000 people while conserving the Basin's resources and ecosystem to generate benefits for millions that depend on it. The announcement was made by the World Bank during a press release.
"The Shire Basin is very prone to floods that frequently disrupt livelihoods of thousands of people. So part of the planning activities will develop a weather, hydrologic, and flood forecasting and warning system for better climate resilience of the communities in the lower Shire," said Sandra Bloemenkamp, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi. Other activities include an integrated planning and investments for flood risk management infrastructure.
Source(s):All Africa, June 14, 2012.
Sudan: Army clashes in border state
Sudan's armed forces clashed with rebels in the oil-producing border state of South Kordofan on June 21. In a statement, the insurgents said they inflicted "heavy losses" on government forces and captured weapons and other military equipment. Sudan's armed forces spokesman, Al-Sawarmi Khalid, said the rebels had actually lost the battle.
"What happened was that our forces defeated the (SPLM-N) forces and evicted them from the mountains in the El Faragil area," he said, adding the clashes had taken place over the last two days. Rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said they "liberated" El Faragil, a village west of Delling, one of the largest towns in South Kordofan, on June 20.
Source(s): Reuters Africa, June 21, 2012.
UN report on Congo delayed
The release of a United Nations expert report on Congo has been delayed by the United States. The document is likely to implicate Rwanda in its neighbour's conflict.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has accused the United States of blocking the so-called Group of Experts report to protect its ally but diplomats at the U.N. said they expected the report to be published in full once Rwanda had been given a chance to respond to the accusations. The diplomatic wrangling over the report comes after Congo's government and Human Rights Watch said that a new rebellion in the country's east was getting support from officials in Rwanda, including weapons in breach of an arms embargo for Congo and fighters, but stopped short of directly accusing the government.
Source(s): Reuters Africa, June 21, 2012
The report is prepared by Priyanka Mehrotra, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation