Vol. II Issue. 29
Tunisia: another hard-line Ismlamist group legalised
20 July 2012
Tunisia’s government has granted a licence to hard-line Islamist group Hizb Al-Tahrir to allow it to become a legal political party. Hizb Al-Tahrir is an international movement that seeks to re-establish the Caliphate, a defunct form of an Islamic empire. It does not endorse democracy nor take part in elections but is focused mostly on preaching.
The Salafi Islamist group is banned in several countries and was repressed in Tunisia before last year’s revolution ousted secular dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and brought the current moderate Islamist Ennahda party into government. Tunisia’s secular elites accuse Ennahda of being too soft on hardliners. Ennahda says its strategy is to bring them into the political mainstream to avoid violent protest from the fringes. In May, the government granted a political licence to another Salafi Islamist party, Islah Front, drawing criticism from secularists.
Source(S): Al Ahram, July 18, 2012.
Mali: MNLA ready to work with government
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which had carried out a rebellion against the Mali government a few months back, has abandoned its ambition of an independent Azawad state.
The MNLA is now ready to join the government and drive the Al Qaeda jihadists in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its local allies out of northern Mali. ’We are not asking for the recognition of a state but recognition as a serious partner,’ Spokesman Mossa ag Attaher said.
While the two groups had come together during the Tuareg rebellion, the jihadists drove MNLA fighters from their last redoubt, the little town of Ansogo on July 11. The MNLA has now officially denied that the Islamists, Ansar Dine, and MNLA had come together.
Source(S): Africa Confidential, All Africa, July 20, 2012.
EU to ease restrictions on Zimbabwe
The European Union has decided to lift restrictions on EU development aid to Zimbabwe and further consider easing sanctions depending on improvements in the rule of law. The move recognises economic difficulties in the southern African country and aims to persuade President Robert Mugabe’s government to hold a fair referendum on constitutional changes later this year.
The change will allow the EU to deal directly with the Harare government on delivering aid, the diplomats said. Currently the aid has to be directed through non-governmental organisations. The EU’s executive Commission channels around 100 million Euros a year in development assistance to Zimbabwe
Source(s): Reuters Africa, July 20, 2012.
Mauritius appoints new president
Mr. Rajkeswar Purryag was named Mauritius’ new president on July 20. His predecessor Mr. Anerood Jugnauth stepped down in March to return to party politics and challenge Prime Minister Navinchndra Ramgoolam and his governing coalition.
Prime Minister Ramgoolam tabled a motion to appoint parliament speaker and Labour party member Purryag as president, which was unanimously approved by lawmakers from the ruling coalition. The next general election is slated for 2015.
Source(s): Reuters Africa, July 20, 2012.
S. Africa: Minister elected as AU Commission Chairperson
The African Union elected South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as the Commission’s Chairperson on July 15. Ms. Dalmini-Zuma is the first woman to be elected as the head of the Commission.
Dlamini-Zuma successfully challenged the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, who held the post since 2008. Dlamini-Zuma successfully challenged the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, who held the post since 2008. She secured the votes of 37 of the 51 African Union member nations that were allowed to vote to narrowly win the two-thirds majority required at a summit of leaders in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Mali, Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau have been suspended from the African Union due to the forceful change of governments that recently took place there.
Mr. Ping and Ms. Dlamini-Zuma had run for the office at the previous summit in January, but member states were divided along geographic and linguistic lines, leaving neither candidate with enough votes for an outright win
Source(s): All Africa, Washington Post, July 16, 2012.
Kenya: new threats from Al-Shabaab
Al Shabaab militants have threatened to carry out massive destruction in Kenya during Ramadhan. Nairobi Provincial Police chief Anthony Kibuchi said they had received intelligence reports that the terrorists plan to hit their targets during the Holy Month of Ramadhan. "Al Shabaab terrorists have issued threats that they will carry out massive destruction during the month of Ramadhan," Kibuchi said and urged the public to remain vigilant.
Security has been intensified in government installations and public places, including hotels. The group has in the past months threatened to bring down Kenya’s buildings after Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia last October following a spate of attacks and abductions in its territory that it blamed on the militants. Al-Shabaab insurgents have launched a spate of attacks in Kenya, mainly using grenades and it is believed that these are building up to a larger attack. On July 18, at least four people were wounded in twin grenade attacks in the North Eastern province of Wajir.
Source(s): All Africa, July 20, 2012.
DR Congo, Rwanda agree to use force against rebels
The presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed an agreement on July 15 to support, in principle, the formation an international force to confront an armed rebellion in the eastern part of the DRC.
The two leaders met during the African Union Summit that was held from July 9-16, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agreement calls for a regional body, the Great Lakes conference, to work with the African Union and the United Nations "for an immediate establishment of a neutral international force to eradicate M23, FDLR and all other negative forces in eastern DRC (Congo), and patrol and secure the border zones." The FDLR or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda is led by Hutus who helped perpetrate Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and escaped to Congo.
Jean Ping, the African Union Commission’s outgoing Chairperson, has said that the pan-African organization would be willing to send troops for such an international army fighting in eastern Congo.
Source(s): ABC News, All Africa, July 17, 2012
The report has been prepared by Priyanka Mehrotra, Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation.