News – The Sahel Crisis

Dialogue with Islamists

Return of the army to the north

Insecurity and attacks

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Insights – The Sahel Crisis

February again saw more than 600 conflict-related fatalities, with the lion's share distributed between Mali (311) and Burkina Faso (235). The past three months have been the three deadliest of the Sahel crisis, with no signs of the violence abating.

Both security forces and armed groups continue to target civilians, often based on perceived ethnic allegiances and in retaliation for prior attacks. → Read the rest “Insights – The Sahel Crisis”

Sahel Crisis Reports and Analysis

Burkina Faso: Stopping the Spiral of Violence
International Crisis Group
The proliferation of armed groups and the expanding footprint of jihadist groups fuelled violence in Burkina Faso in 2019. The government should adopt a more integrated approach to security and tackle the crisis in rural areas by resolving land disputes. (2020-02-24)

“How Much More Blood Must Be Spilled?” → Read the rest “Sahel Crisis Reports and Analysis”

News – Togo: President (2020)

Insights – Togo: President (2020)

President Faure Gnassingbé has won a fourth mandate with 72.36% of the vote, according to official results. The announcement was contested by the opposition, which claims serious irregularities.

Agbéyomé Kodjo, Gnassingbé's primary challenger, won 18.37% of the vote, while third-placed Jean-Pierre Fabre got 4.35%. Participation was 76.63%, according to the electoral commission. → Read the rest “Insights – Togo: President (2020)”

News – Guinea: National Assembly (2020)

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Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)

As of now, the contested referendum is going forward, easily overshadowing the legislative elections that it was tacked onto only a few weeks ago. Tensions are running high, though.

President Alpha Condé did little to defuse these tensions with comments made to a French newspaper on Wednesday. He openly flirted with the possibility to use the planned constitutional changes to run for a third term, saying that "The Guinean people will ask this question: Is it the first time that a president changes the constitution to do a third or fourth term? → Read the rest “Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)”

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

Insights – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

As was expected, the official results saw the governing party retain its absolute majority. President Paul Biya's RDPC won 139 out of 167 declared seats, according to the president of the constitutional council. Further seats went to allies of the ruling party.

Thirteen seats from the anglophone regions of Cameroon had their results annulled due to irregularities and violence during election day. → Read the rest “Insights – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)”

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

News – Togo: President (2020)

News – Togo: President (2020)

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

Insights – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

Election day has come and gone, and the votes are still being counted. It may take another two weeks for the official result to arrive.

But based on the estimates of independent election observers and international journalists, it seems that the signature feature of this election was a low turnout. As few as 30 percent of voters may have cast their votes. → Read the rest “Insights – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)”

News – Togo: President (2020)

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

News – Burkina Faso: New Constitution (2020)

Burkina Faso (constitutional referendum): While a draft constitution exists since last year, the referendum might be shelved for the foreseeable future. The dates for the next presidential and legislative elections were fixed for November 22, without any mention of a new constitution taking effect until then. This delays any referendum until at least mid-2021. → Read the rest “News – Burkina Faso: New Constitution (2020)”

News – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)

Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)

President Conde has pushed things too far with his attempts to reform the constitution, likely to allow him another term in office. If Guinea's political forces don't find a solution in the coming days, the onus will fall on the regional organization ECOWAS to mediate and search for a non-violent solution to the conflict. → Read the rest “Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)”

News – Togo: President (2020)

News – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)

Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)

According to some press reports, Guinea's President Alpha Condé will announce in the coming days that the planned constitutional referendum will take place on the same day as the legislative elections.

Condé probably recognizes that the elections are linked to his plans to abolish term limits anyway. Furthermore, the opposition has announced that it will boycott the election and has not entered any candidates. → Read the rest “Insights – Guinea: National Assembly and Constitutional Referendum (2020)”

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

News – Chad: National Assembly (2020)

Chad (National Assembly): Despite being announced for August 9, 2020 just last week, this date has been thrown into doubt again. According to Jeune Afrique, a delay in updating the voter rolls and the upcoming rainy season will further delay the election to the end of October or November. The election is overdue since 2015. → Read the rest “News – Chad: National Assembly (2020)”

News – Burkina Faso: New Constitution (2020)

Burkina Faso (constitutional referendum): A draft for the new constitution already exists, but the government has so far not officially decided, if it will put it to a popular vote, or try to pass it through the National Assembly. Time is running out, though, because presidential elections are due next year. → Read the rest “News – Burkina Faso: New Constitution (2020)”

Fighting Fake Drugs

While much of the world focused on the gathering in Davos last week, there was a smaller get-together in Togo’s capital, Lome. There leaders and representatives from seven African countries signed on to an agreement, the Lome Initiative, committing to introduce legislation criminalizing the trafficking of fake medicines.

The idea is that it will be the first step in a broader effort to end the trafficking and sale of substandard and falsified drugs. → Read the rest “Fighting Fake Drugs”

If you have the time, read these!

 → Read the rest “If you have the time, read these!”

A Plague on All Your Countries: Locusts and Climate Change

The essentials: Massive swarms of locusts are currently active in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia and threaten the food security of millions in the whole region. The plague is the result of both natural breeding cycles and human-made climate change.

The context: Locusts are a family of insects that bear a strong resemblance to grasshoppers, but come with a critical difference: under the right environmental conditions, they can change both their behavior and physiology. → Read the rest “A Plague on All Your Countries: Locusts and Climate Change”

News – Comoros: Assembly of the Union (2020)

Insights – Comoros: Assembly of the Union (2020)

Given that the opposition largely boycotted the elections, the results don't surprise: President Azali Assoumani's party won 17 out of 24 seats, according to official results reported by news agencies.

Two seats went to other parties, though these are also part of the presidential coalition. A second-round deciding the five remaining seats will take place on February 23. → Read the rest “Insights – Comoros: Assembly of the Union (2020)”

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

News – Cameroon: National Assembly (2020)

If you have the time, read these!

  • The Oxford English Dictionary this month for the first time inducted some Nigerian English words into its venerable pages and does a wonderful job of explaining them here: Release notes: Nigerian English
  • Malawi's Constitutional Court will rule on a challenge to nullify the presidential election and the country is on edge.
 → Read the rest “If you have the time, read these!”

#LuandaLeaks All Over Isabel Dos Santos

The essentials: A massive leak of 715,000 documents to the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa, led to a massive investigative journalism effort coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists into the provenance of the wealth of Isabel dos Santos, billionaire daugther of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos and her husband, Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo. → Read the rest “#LuandaLeaks All Over Isabel Dos Santos”