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ECOWAS Hints At Lift of Mali Sanctions – Interim President1 minute read

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may soon lift the economic sanctions it slammed on Mali following a coup in September, the country’s interim president has said.

Soldiers, who say they are the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), had on August 18 overthrown democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, from power, prompting swift sanctions from the 15-nation ECOWAS.

The military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita named a retired colonel Bah Ndaw as Interim President following demands by ECOWAS that the junta hands over power to a transitional government led by a civillian.

Goita was named as the interim government vice president but the ECOWAS has refused to lift the sanctions until a prime minister is named.

Just a few days ago the interim government named Moctar Ouane as the new government’s Prime Minister. Yet, the sanctions remain in place.

A tweet from the Interim President, Ndaw, has, however, disclosed that the West African regional bloc has “hinted” that sanctions against Mali “could soon be lifted”.

Earlier this week, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said there were still some “grey areas” that needed to be worked out before relations with Mali could return to normal.

For instance, Mali’s new vice-president is the former junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, and Ecowas wants to make sure that he cannot become president.

Ndaw is a former military officer and defence minister.

Members of Ouane’s government will be unveiled on Tuesday, a report said.

The new PM, aged 64, served as foreign minister between 2004 and 2011 during Amadou Toumani Toure’s presidency.

He has served as peace and security representative for the West African Monetary Union (WAMU) since 2016. Ouane is originally from Bidi in central Mali.

Mali maintained a “peaceful country” status until the military coup in September 2020.

Politics

Ivory Coast Holds Presidential Election

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Ivory Coast citizens went to the polls on Saturday even as some opposition supporters tried to disrupt the vote, heeding a call from two rival candidates of President Alassane Ouattara for a boycott over his bid for a third term.

The streets of Abidjan, the West African country’s capital, were quiet and largely empty, in contrast to the sometimes violent run-up to the election. The vote is seen as a test of stability in Ivory Coast, which is the world’s top cocoa producer and has one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

Voting went smoothly with orderly lines at polling stations in a number of districts. In the city’s Blockhauss neighbourhood, around 20 young men blocked the entrance to a school, preventing would-be voters from entering until police dispersed the group.

“It’s civil disobedience,” said 31-year-old Bienvenue Beagre, one of the youths trying to obstruct the vote.

“He’s done two terms and needs to go away.”

The country has been in turmoil since President Ouattara announced in August that he would seek a third term.

Over the past few weeks, at least 30 people have been killed in pre-election violence, evoking memories of a 2010-2011 crisis that turned Abidjan into a battleground and left 3,000 dead.

Ouattara, 78, was supposed to step aside after his second term to make way for a younger generation, but his chosen successor’s sudden death forced a change in plan.

The opposition slammed the president’s decision to seek a third term, saying it’s against the constitution, which allows two terms. But Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock on his term.

Four candidates are competing for the highest office. The incumbent’s key rivals, Konan Bedie, 86, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, 67, both say Ouattara’s third-term bid is unconstitutional and have called for an election boycott and civil disobedience.

Roughly 7.5 million Ivorians can cast their vote at more than 22,000 polling stations between 0700 and 1700 GMT. More than 35,000 police and security force officials have been mobilized to secure the election.

A candidate needs to garner at least 50% of votes to win in the first round. A run-off election will be held if no candidate wins a majority of votes Saturday.

When the outcome of the election will be unveiled is unclear. Under the constitution, the electoral commission has five days in which to announce the results.

The vote in French-speaking West African nation is also a crunch test in a region where Nigeria faces widespread social protests, Mali is emerging from a coup and jihadist violence is challenging the Sahel.

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Politics

Nigeria’s President Buhari Condoles with Burkina Faso President over Father’s Death

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has put a phone with his Burkina Faso’s counterpart, Marc Christian Kabore, to commiserate with him and the nation following the demise of the president’s 90-year old father, Bila Kabore.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

The Nigerian leader said: “I am deeply pained and saddened to hear of the death of your beloved and respected father.

“He was an outstanding leader who cared for all. His life was devoted towards the progress of the Burkinabe nation and its people.

“May God give you, the family and the entire country the fortitude to bear the loss.

“On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Nigeria, please accept our heartfelt condolences.

“May God repose his soul.”

The deceased was a distinguished Burkinabe, who served as Minister of Finance in the 60s, a board member of the country’s Central Bank and at one-time, the Vice Governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

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Inconsistencies In Guinea’s Presidential Election Results Worrisome – US

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The US has expressed concern over “inconsistencies” in preliminary results of Guinea’s presidential election.

In a statement, the US embassy spoke of a “lack of transparency in vote tabulations and inconsistencies between the announced results and tally sheets results from polling stations”.

Guinea’s 82-year-old leader Alpha Condé won a controversial third term in office, according to preliminary results, amid violent protests across the country.

The US has urged all parties to peacefully resolve electoral disputes through established institutions. It said it supported diplomatic efforts by the West African regional bloc, Ecowas, the African Unions and the UN.

The main opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, had declared himself winner and was prevented from leaving his house until Wednesday when he said the security officers outside his home had been withdrawn.

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