Libya: Russia Voices its Continued Concerns Over Legitimacy of NATO Operation as Rebels Reject New AU Peace Plan. The African Union (AU) recently proposed another peace deal that would have had Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi remain in power while democratic reforms are implemented. Under pressure from its supporters, the Transitional National Council (TNC), refused the proposal, stating that it would not accept anything less than Gaddafi’s departure, particularly after the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) issued a warrant for Gaddafi’s arrest. The AU has criticized the warrant, stating that it has hindered peacemaking efforts. The AU plans to hold additional peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July with all parties to further discuss the proposal. Meanwhile, NATO continues to bombard targets within Tripoli and recently admitted fault in the killing of 9 civilians after it mistakenly bombed a residential area in Tripoli. The Libyan government reported the killing of 19 additional civilians and the wounding of scores of people by NATO a week afterwards when NATO launched an air attack against the home of Libyan official. In addition to aerial bombardment, ground support to rebels has expanded, with France recently admitting to providing arms to rebels. Meanwhile, Russia, along with South Africa, has expressed its growing concern over the legitimacy of NATO’s mission in Libya; NATO was mandated by the UN to implement measures to protect civilians; however, NATO has expressed its desire to remove the current Libyan regime.
West Africa: ECOWAS to Discuss Implementing Convention on IDPs. Early this month, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders will meet in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss the implementation of a regional convention that will outline the principles and approaches to dealing with large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Known as the ‘Kampala Convention’, the original treaty was unanimously adopted by over 46 African states when first created in 2009; however, only 17 states actually ratified it. The treaty requires an additional 15 state ratifications in order to enter into full force. The convention, which is based upon various previous human rights conventions and international law, prohibits arbitrary displacement, caused by various man made causes, such as conflicts or development projects, and makes provision for the assistance of IDPs in the event of displacement. Its enactment would require AU member states to take all measures to prevent displacement and establishes state accountability in the event of displacement and any violation of IDP human rights.
Nigeria: Government Continues to Battle Terrorist Islamist Group ‘Boko Haram’ Amidst Daily Attacks. Nigeria’s main terrorist Islamist group, Boko Haram, has stepped up its attack of military and civilian targets. Just last week, in the northern town of Maiduguri, Boko Haram bombed a beer garden, where military officers frequent, killing at least ten people. In addition to the bombing, assailants shot and killed several local civil and political leaders after breaking into their homes. Over the past few weeks, Boko Haram members have launched several attacks, which included a bombing right next to the National Police Headquarters in Abuja that killed two people. Its deadliest attack occurred just two weeks ago when members of the terrorist sect attacked a bar, killing 25 people. President Jonathan Goodluck has vowed to use all available government resources to eradicate the group completely. Just a few years ago, the government orchestrated a brutal suppression of the sect, which has recently regrouped. British authorities recently stated that it had uncovered evidence of Al Qaeda’s intent to turn Nigeria into a primary operating base against ‘Western’ targets. In a related development, the Ugandan and Burundi governments are set to receive over $45 million in military aid from the US government to battle the Islamist threat in their countries; the package will include four drones to provide capability for targeted aerial attacks.
Senegal: President Wade Drops Undemocratic Plan for Electoral Rule Change; Denies Plans for Monarchical Succession. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade decided to halt plans to change electoral rules after thousands of people protested in the capital last month. Wade wanted to reduce the majority vote needed to win a presidential election from 50% to a mere 25%, in an attempt to eliminate a required run-off. Wade also wanted to add the position of an elected vice-president, also vehemently opposed by many Senegalese, who view these changes as an attempt by Wade to position his son as president. Wade’s son Karim currently heads several ministries; Karim has denied that he is being groomed by his father to succeed the presidency; nonetheless, the Senegalese people continue to demonstrate their legitimate concern over Wade and his son’s intentions. Senegal’s constitution limits a president to two terms; this rule was established however after Wade was first elected in 2000. Wade contends that because he was elected to his first term before the law was enacted, that he is eligible to stand for another term, a notion hotly contested by legal experts. Wade’s plans to run in 2012 contradict previous promises. In 2007, after being elected to his second term, Wade stated plainly that his 2007 term would be his last.
Morocco: Months of Protest Prompt Moroccan Monarch to Hold Referendum on Reform. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, under pressure from growing protests, held a referendum this past week on proposed democratic reforms. The new reforms would strip the monarch of some power by making the country’s Prime Minister the new head of government. However, opposition critics claim that the reforms, which passed with a 98% vote, are superficial, as the king will maintain the ‘head of state’ and will retain total control of the military. Morocco has the longest lasting dynasty of all Arab monarchies at 400 years.
East Africa: Severe Drought Threatens Millions. Significant parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia are suffering from an unprecedented drought and subsequent food crisis, with over 10 million people affected. In Somalia, every one in three children is suffering malnutrition, and thousands of Somalis have been crossing daily into Kenya, compounding an already dire refugee crisis there. Livestock have been completely decimated and cereal prices have drastically increased across East Africa. Aid agencies have launched a desperate appeal to donors for aid.
Ethiopia and Egypt: Ethiopia Postpones Ratification of New Nile Water-Sharing Treaty. Last year, six Upper Nile states, with Ethiopia at the lead, devised a new Nile water-sharing treaty that would have seen Egypt’s and Sudan’s share reduced. Under a pre-colonial agreement, Egypt and Sudan retain the rights to over 90% of the Nile’s waters, which flow from East Africa: an unsustainable agreement given increases in need by all parties involved. Egypt and Sudan initially took part in the negotiations for a new treaty; however both governments eventually walked out, refusing to give up their 90% share. With Egypt in a state of political transition, the Ethiopian government has decided, after meeting with an Egyptian delegation, to postpone ratification of the treaty. Ethiopia plans to build a 5,000-megawatt power project on the Nile close to the Sudanese border. The Sudanese government has previously indicated that it would use all means to protect its water resources.
West Africa: World Bank to Support ICT Projects in Gambia, Burkino Faso and Guinea. Under the new initiative, Burkino Faso, Gambia and Guinea will receive $23, $34 and $35 million, respectively, as part of the $300 million West African Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (WARCIP). All three states have had significant difficulties in attracting investors within the telecommunications sector due to their location