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Senior MEP calls on Parliament to 'restore calm' in Guinea after elections

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A senior MEP has called on the EU to press Guinea to “restore calm” after the weekend presidential elections left the trouble-torn African country in further turmoil.

Official results will not be known for several days and the local media have been banned from publishing exit poll results. But it is widely rumoured that the main opposition candidate, Cello Dalein Diallo, beat the sitting president Alpha Conde by over 50%.

There are now fears of unrest with Diallo suggesting the incumbent may “cheat” and dispute the outcome of Sunday’s (18 October) election in a bid to stay in power.

Diallo is apparently in hiding following rumours that he might be arrested.

Belgian Socialist Maria Arena, chairwoman of the European Parliament’s sub committee on human rights, told this website: “It seems important to me that the European Union, namely the external action service but also the member states, use political and diplomatic dialogue to try to restore calm in Guinea.”

On Monday (19 October), speaking exclusively to this website, Diallo said: “I am convinced from the results obtained that I won this election despite fraud and intimidation. I appeal to officials, territorial administrators and members of the branches of the CENI (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) to ensure that all compatriots observe and respect the electoral code and other laws and good practices so that our country does not sink into violence.”

He added: “We don't need it. But, the risk is that if Alpha Condé wants at all costs, and whatever the results of the ballot box, to proclaim itself the winner. Let him understand that we will not accept.”

Diallo went on, “I now ask the international community to take its responsibilities to save Guinea from drift.”

In the vote, which followed months of political unrest where dozens of people were killed during security crackdowns on mass protests, 82-year-old Conde sought a controversial third term.

Diallo told reporters, “Alpha Conde cannot abandon his desire to grant himself a presidency for life.” He warned his rival not take power using “cunning and violence”.

Diallo said that in the election observers had encountered obstructions at polling stations while Guinea’s Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana admitted there had been “incidents.”

Ten other candidates besides Conde and Diallo contested the poll and, if necessary, a second-round runoff vote is scheduled for November 24.

Much of the tension in Guinea relates to a new constitution Conde pushed through in March, in defiance of mass protests, arguing that it would modernise the country.

The move controversially allowed him to bypass a two-term limit for presidential terms. Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 and won again in 2015 but rights groups now accuse him of veering towards authoritarianism.

Maria Arena, also a member of the Parliament’s influential conference of committee chairs and foreign affairs committee, noted that an emergency resolution had been voted by the assembly in February condemning Condé's desire to change the constitution by referendum to allow him to exercise a third term.

She said: “In this resolution, the European Parliament had already pointed out human rights violations and urged the government to organize transparent, pluralist and inclusive elections.

"But Condé, who called himself the president of democracy (“the Mandela of West Africa”) changed his ways and took the path of repression by locking up opponents.”

Turning to the current post-election period, she said: “We must avoid repeating the scenes of violence of 2009.”

She added: “Unfortunately the covid pandemic did not allow the EU to deploy an election observation mission. This is damaging for Guinea.

“Guinea, like the other African countries, has signed the Cotonou Agreement, which is still applicable and this agreement provides for sanctions mechanisms in the event of non-respect for good governance and democracy. The European Council will also be able to use this tool if the elections lead to a failure to respect these principles and if the Guinean population is a victim.”

Further comment comes from foreign affairs committee chairman German MEP David McAllister who told this website he did not want a repeat of the violence seen during the legislative elections and a constitutional referendum in March which he said “was deeply shocking”.

“The EU has rightly called on the authorities to carry out independent and thorough investigations so that those responsible can be prosecuted.

“The presidential election on  Sunday was included amongst the 2020 priorities for an EU-Election Expert Mission but the political situation in the country made it impossible to deploy a mission, as the minimal conditions were clearly lacking. Furthermore, the Guinean authorities did not actively send any invitation to the EU for an election observation,” said the EPP deputy.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Sahel and Central Africa: €210 million in EU humanitarian aid

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The EU is reaffirming its solidarity with vulnerable people in countries in the Sahel and Central Africa through a humanitarian budget of €210 million in 2021. The funding will be allocated to humanitarian projects in the following eight countries: Burkina Faso (€24.3m), Cameroon (€17.5m), the Central African Republic (€21.5m), Chad (€35.5m) Mali (€31.9m), Mauritania (€10m), Niger (€32.3m) and Nigeria (€37m).

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “Worsening instability and armed conflicts, together with the COVID-19 pandemic and natural hazards, are having a devastating impact in the Sahel and countries in Central Africa. The EU remains committed to help reduce suffering among people in need in the region. While humanitarian aid is there to bring emergency relief, longer-lasting improvements can only be brought about through the political will of national governments and good governance.”

The EU's humanitarian funding in the Sahel and Central Africa countries is targeted to:

  • Provide life-saving assistance to the people affected by conflict and to the communities hosting people who had to flee;
  • provide protection to vulnerable people and support the respect of International Humanitarian Law and the humanitarian principles;
  • support measures to address food crises and severe acute malnutrition among children under 5;
  • enhance the immediate response in terms of basic services to most vulnerable population, especially as concerns health care for all or education for children caught up in humanitarian crises, and;
  • strengthen fragile communities' preparedness for crises, such as mass displacements of people, or recurrent food or climate-related crises.

This assistance is part of the wider EU support provided to the region, including through the ´Team Europe´ contributions to the Coronavirus Global Response, support to the vaccine distribution effort through the COVAX Facility, and other actions providing longer-term support to strengthen fragile health systems.

Background

As part of the EU's Coronavirus Global Response and its target to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, Team Europe provided €2.2 billion to the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility is supporting the delivery of 1.3 billion doses of vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021 and has recently decided that up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available for use in humanitarian contexts.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100m in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

The EU is a leading, long-standing humanitarian donor in the Sahel and Central Africa, one of the world's poorest and most fragile regions. In 2020, the EU supported humanitarian interventions in the region with more than €213m. More than 19 million people in need benefitted from EU-funded humanitarian operations initiated in 2020 in West and Central Africa, including around 6.3 million people who were provided with food security and livelihood support, more than 3 million people assisted on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, around 2.8 million people offered access to health services, and almost 1.8 million people receiving protection support.

In order to support longer-term achievements, the EU is working to build effective synergies between humanitarian, development and peace initiatives. The life of many in the Sahel and Central Africa countries continues to be disrupted by conflict, poverty, climatic changes, recurrent food crises, or a combination of all. It is estimated that there are more than 35 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the eight priority countries covered by the EU's 2021 Humanitarian Implementation Plan for West and Central Africa. The major humanitarian needs relate to shelter, emergency food aid, access to health care and clean water, treatment for malnourished children, and protection for the vulnerable.

Against this backdrop, the coronavirus pandemic is posing additional challenges, both as concerns the pressure on already fragile health systems but also the effects of the containment measures on vulnerable people's access to food and livelihoods.

At the same time, humanitarian actors are facing the combined challenges of delivering humanitarian assistance in an increasingly insecure context, where access is further restricted due to the pandemic.

More information

Factsheets on EU Humanitarian Aid: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sahel

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Africa

Vice President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson participate in ministerial conference on migration management with African partners

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Today (11 May), Promoting our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, will take part virtually in a ministerial conference on migration management gathering Interior ministries from EU Member States, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, the Chairs of the Rabat Process and the Khartoum Process and partner countries in Africa. Organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the event will focus on two main areas in the EU's migration partnership with African partners: the management of irregular movements, including border management and return; and new opportunities for legal migration. Senior officials from the African Union, the European Commission and the European External Action Service, Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will also participate.

Portugal's Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita and Commissioner Johansson will hold a press conference after the meeting at +/- 14h30 CET.

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Africa

South African political parties and civil society plan mass Palestine protest march

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South African political parties and civil society will be uniting in a Palestine protest march to take place this week in Cape Town. The Palestine protest march is being organized by, among others, the Muslim Judicial Council, Al Quds Foundation, National Coalition 4 Palestine (NC4P), the ANC,  GoodParty, Economic Freedom Fighters, SACP, ANC Youth League, NFP, Al Jamaah, Kairos Southern Africa, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and #Africa4Palestine. To this end a protest notification submission has been made to the City of Cape Town and we are awaiting the outcome of the application. The organizers are committed to adhering to all COVID-19 protocols. Organizations that would like to endorse and form part of the mass Palestine protest can contact the MJC, Al Quds Foundation or #Africa4Palestine. Final details, upon approval from the City of Cape Town, of the Mass Palestine Protest March will be made public tomorrow (Tuesday 11 May).  

On Friday and Saturday nights (7-8 May), Israeli forces stormed the AlAqsa mosque attacking worshippers who were praying. Hundreds of Palesintinian civilians were left injured, with several losing their eyes . Israeli forces have recently resorted to shooting directly in the face. One Palestinian youth had to have both his eyes removed (see image above). One Palestinian has also been killed.    The weekend violence by Israeli forces against Palestinians comes on the back of the forced removals currently underway in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah where Israeli extremists are forcibly removing Palestinian families from their homes. So far several families have already lost their homes to Israeli vigilantes who have, in the dark of night, illegally entered the homes of Palestinian families and unlawfully evicted them. The crime of the Palestinian - they are the wrong ethnicity. 

Click here for a short 25 minute video explaning what is happening in the area. 

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