President Felix Thisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and his predecessor Joseph Kabila have agreed to form a coalition government. Tshisekedi, who won the recent presidential elections, was not able to gain enough support in Parliament.
Kabila’s party holds the majority seats in parliament. Through this agreement, Joseph Kabila finds himself in government again. Kabila did not vie for the top seat in the December 30 2018 elections.
Factors Leading to the Coalition
President Tshisekedi could not push through his choice for Prime Minister in parliament. The stalemate effectively held back Tshisekedi’s ambitions to reform the country. Whereas President Tshisekedi’s CACH–Heading for Change Coalition–has only around 50 seats, Kabila’s FCC party—Common Front for Congo– has 337 seats, out of the 485 seats.
A sitting president in DRC is required to select a prime minister from the parliamentary majority. Essentially, a prime minister is chosen from a political group, coalition, or party that holds the majority in the National Assembly. The FCC coalition blocked Tshisekedi’s proposals in parliament.
The dominance of FCC put Tshisekdi at a difficult position in pushing his agenda, and a coalition government was seen as an ideal solution.
President Tshiskedi and Kabila’s parties pushed the two leaders to form a coalition government—after several weeks of failed talks. Both Kabila’s FCC and Tshisekedi’s CACH are coalition parties in themselves.
Coalition Government Talks
After Tshisekedi vented his frustrations on his inability to push through his choice for Prime Minister, it was time for coalition government talks with Kabila. On Sunday 17 February 2019, Kabila and Tshisekedi held talks on the possibility of forming a unity government. Although Kabila is no longer president, he is still the head of FCC.
On Wednesday, March 6 2019, both parties issued a joint statement confirming an agreement to form a coalition government. According to the issued statement, the decision to form a joint government was a move that reflected the will of the people.
What this Means
A coalition government will now make it easy for President Tshisekedi to have his proposals approved in parliament. As such, the President can comfortably appoint a new Prime Minister and cabinet. President Tshisekedi can now govern the country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo now joins Kenya and Zimbabwe as some of the African countries that have formed coalition governments during a specific period. In Kenya, former president Mwai Kibaki formed a coalition government with Raila Odinga—from April 2008 to April 2013. Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe formed a coalition government with Morgan Tsvangirai—2009 to 2013.
UN Rules Against Britain In Favor Of Mauritius Over Colonial Era Territory Grab
The International Court of Justice has found that Britain illegally seized control of Chagos archipelago. According to the UN Court, British’s acquisition of the group of islands was wrongful. The Court further advised that Britain should end their administration of the islands as soon as possible. Specifically, the court advised Britain to hand over the islands to Mauritius.
As part of the advisory opinion, the UN court judges pointed out that all UN member states were under obligation to cooperate to complete the decolonization of Mauritius. This includes the United State which operates a military base on the largest atoll of Diego Garcia.
The Back Story
Chagos archipelago comprises 60 tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. Chagos has been part of Mauritius since the 18th Century. All of the islands were part of French colonial territory. However, after Napoleon’s defeat, the islands were ceded to the British. 3 years prior to Mauritian independence, the British cut Chagos from the territory of Mauritius to form British Indian Ocean Territory.
In order for the British to pave way for a leasing agreement with the United States that demanded an uninhabited island, British officials forcibly expelled approximately 2,000who had lived on those islands for a century.
The U.S set up an airbase on the islands, and the natives have never been allowed to return home. Today, the U.S. still holds a major military base in Diego Garcia. The military base was a strategic point for the U.S. during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, home to some 3,000 UK and US military and civilian contracted personnel. The United States lease ends in 2036.
Chagossians have since engaged in activism to return to the archipelago, claiming that their forced expulsion and dispossession were illegal.
Mauritius argued that it was coerced into giving up the islands to the UK. In addition, the separation, which took place 3 years prior to independence breached UN Resolution 1514 that was passed in 1960. The UN Resolution banned the breakup of colonial territories prior to independence.
Mauritius also claimed that the UK offered it two options prior to independence—independence with detachment from the islands or no independence with detachment. Either way, Mauritius was to lose the islands.
Professor Philippe Sands Remarks For Mauritius
In a report of the hearings last year by The Guardian, Prof Philippe Sands QC, representing Mauritius, told the International Court of Justice:
“No country wishes to be a colony. The mere possibility engenders strong feelings. A recent British foreign secretary’s [Boris Johnson] statement made that clear a few weeks ago in his resignation letter. He complained to the prime minister that she was adopting a path, in respect of Britain’s intended departure from the EU, that would turn the country into one ‘headed for the status of colony’.
“… The United Kingdom does not wish to be a colony, yet it stands before this court to defend a status as colonizer of Mauritius, a significant part of whose territory it administers.”
Instead of resettlement, Sands pointed out, the UK proposes to fund “heritage visits”. They would allow a handful of former “Man Fridays” – as some colonial documents refer to members of the Chagossian community – to visit their old homes for a few hours.
“The right to self-determination is not a ‘heritage’ issue. This is not Africa in the late 19th or early 20th century. This is September 2018.”
The British Reject Mauritius’ Claim
Britain, in its defense, claimed that the UN Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. As such, the ruling will be referred to the UN General Assembly for debate.
Making arguments for the United Kingdom was Robert Buckland. He rejected Mauritius’ claim that the 1965 agreement was made under duress. He pointed out that in 1982, Mauritius and the UK signed a treaty that reached “full and final settlement” of Mauritian claims to the archipelago. That deal, he claimed has since been recognized by the European court of human rights. He added that the UK had already invested over $56 million in resettlement programs to help Chagossians living elsewhere.
Reactions from Both Parties
The decision by the International Court of Justice was passed by a majority. The majority decision by the UN Court is a major blow to Britain. Britain has termed the ruling as being an advisory, not a judgment. It is therefore non-binding.
Mauritius has celebrated the decision of the International Court of Justice, stating that it effectively ends colonialism in Mauritius. The Chagossians, natives of the Chagos archipelago, have, for many years, fought for the return of the islands. Mauritius Prime Ministers stated that the decision by the court was a historic moment for the country and its people.
Macky Sall Wins 2019 Senegal Election. Here is what Senegalese Can Expect From His Second Term
Incumbent Macky Sall convincingly won the 2019 Senegal elections. In an election with four other challengers, President Macky Sall won by 58 percent of the vote. The win gives the President his second and final five-year term. President Macky Sall was first elected in 2012 for a seven-year term—before a change in the constitution. His second term gives him 5 more years to advance his agenda.
Senegal applies the two-round system in elections. A candidate must get at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a second round. With 58 percent of the vote, President Macky Sall won in the first round—no run off. Other candidates in the election included Madicke Niang with 1.5 percent, Issa Sall with 4 percent, and Osmane Sonko with 15.7 percent. Former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck came second with 21 percent of the vote.
One little interesting observation was that Senegal did not get nearly as much excitement as Nigeria did in its elections. Just a little over a day after votes were casted, there was already talk of the incumbent winning. The other candidates did not agree with this but did not create a fuss or contest it. The electoral commission put out their results formally today confirming the incumbent as Winner. There was little fuss and the country is continuing with business as usual. Some observers shared their opinion on Twitter.
oh btw … Senegal has already declared their winner … https://t.co/qiwSLWZzZQ
— ICON Help (@Stand_Nigeria) February 27, 2019
#Senegal is the #Africancontinent's poster child on matters related to democratic elections. About 6.5 million people of the country's 15.9 million inhabitants voted peacefully in one of #Africa's most stable countries. #WestAfrica #AfricanPolitics #Democracy #AfricanEconomies
— Rick Li (@Rick_Li88) March 1, 2019
Had coffee with @DavidNdii & he went “rogue”. Tells me the African nations that'll win the future R those with BORING elections. “Senegal had elections & it hardly made news. DRC & Nigeria also did and they made a LOT of news”. We're doing something with that idea #BoringAfrica pic.twitter.com/0b7R6NSFS7
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) March 1, 2019
Senegalese Reactions to Macky Sall Win
As expected, there are varied reactions to Macky Sall’s win. An impressive 66 percent of registered voters turned out to vote—including diaspora voters. Loud cheers broke out at Macky Sall’s party headquarters when the results were announced. However, small riots were reported in Dakar where students protested the results.
To both local and international observers, Macky Sall’s win was not a surprise. Most pundits predicted his win in the first round. Opposition leader Idrisaa Seck has stated that he will not contest the results. Before the elections, there were diverse social media reactions on the disqualifications of Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall.
Macky Sall’s Agenda and Promise for Senegal
Having already served a seven-year term, much of Macky Sall’s campaign promises for 2019 elections was for the continuation of his development agenda. During the 2012 election, Macky Sall promised to create 500,000 jobs in his seven-year term.
The president has claimed that between 2012 and 2018, his administration created 491,000 jobs. In addition, Macky Sall’s first term saw the completion of large infrastructure projects. The projects include highways and a new airport.
These achievements provided a basis for Macky Sall’s 2019 campaign promises. During his last campaign for the 2019 elections, Macky Sall promised the creation of one million jobs—through housing program. Furthermore, the president promised to supply electricity to more households, build more roads, and introduce 50,000 streetlights. In addition, the President promised to establish youth and women’s entrepreneurship programs.
According to Mamadou Fall Kane, the President’s advisor, the president will continue to transform Senegal for the next five years. Sall wants to position Senegal as one of the most resilient economies on the contient. He has promised to improve the wellbeing of the Senegalese people for the better and we have 5 years to see how makes these happen.
Muhammadu Buhari is re-elected as President of Nigeria and here is how Nigerians are reacting
On February 23, 2019, Nigerians queued up to elect the president who will pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years. It was a keenly contested election but the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) came out victorious. He polled 15,191,847 to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11,262,978. Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari will remain the President of Nigeria for another four years.
Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, made the announcement early Wednesday morning. Shortly after, the president made his acceptance speech at the presidential campaign headquarters in Abuja. He said,
“The new Administration will intensify its efforts in Security, Restructuring the Economy and Fighting Corruption. We have laid down the foundation and we are committed to seeing matters to the end. [However] We will strive to strengthen our unity and inclusiveness so that no section or group will feel left behind or left out.”
Atiku Abubakar rejects the election
The difficult geography of the country often makes it difficult for voters in certain areas to participate in elections. This also affects the time it takes to collate results. Consequently, this often leads to mistrust and give the impression of something fishy. To tackle this, some Nigerians are calling for the digitalization of the electoral process. A political critic and influential online personality, JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) said
Over 1 million cancelled votes. That’s a problem. We need to overhaul this electoral system. Down to the result announcement. This analogue thing must end with this election. We had elections on Saturday, results will come in tomorrow. If this is normal to you, you are abnormal!
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) February 26, 2019
However, Mr. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party has rejected the result of the just concluded pools calling it a sham. The PDP and its candidate believe the election result was manipulated by President Buhari and the APC. In a statement, Mr. Abubakar promised his fans that he will get redress in court. He said,
“Consequently, I at this moment reject the result of the February 23, 2019, sham election and will be challenging it in court. I want to assure my supporters and the entire Nigerian people that together, we will not allow democracy to be emasculated.”
Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) February 27, 2019
Nigerians react on the re-election of Muhammadu Buhari as new President of Nigeria
Mixed reactions have trailed announcement of Muhammadu Buhari as the new President of Nigeria. Many Nigerians at home and abroad took to Twitter and other social media networks to share their views. Many supporters took to Twitter to congratulate the President. However, not everyone feels the same about the announcement.
One of the presidential aspirants, Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) is suggesting the election was not free and fair. He said, “Good morning Nigeria! Elections are over, but it is de Javu! This election wasn’t free and fair. As you see, even the “winners” can’t celebrate! #TakeItBack
Good morning Nigeria! Elections are over, but it is de javu! This election wasn’t free and fair. As you can see, even the “winners” can’t celebrate!#TakeItBack
— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) February 26, 2019
An influential online personality and APC supporter, Tolu Ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) said, “President-Elect @MBuhari: Now that the elections are over, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria. This is why I said our supporters must not gloat. Our god-given victory is enough source of joy… The hard work to build a better Nigeria continues. #NigeriaDecides”
President-Elect @MBuhari: Now that the elections are over, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria. This is why I said our supporters must not gloat. Our god-given victory is enough source of joy… The hard work to build a better Nigeria continues. #NigeriaDecides
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) February 27, 2019
One of the Nigerians in diaspora, Tolu_Official (@saheed_tolu) in a reply to @APCNigeria @Mbuhari said,
“#buharishould know that we are tired of promises. He should know we want actions. [Nigerians] want a working government/ we don’t want a repeat of the last 4 years. We do not want to know what he did last year. We want him to work on what he didn’t do. ”
#buharishould know that we are tired of promises. He should know we want actions. We want a working government/ we don’t want a repeat of the last 4 years. We do not want to know what he did last year. We want him to work on what he didn’t do. 😊
— Tolu_Official (@saheed_tolu) February 27, 2019
An ex-international footballer, Finidi George (@OfficialFinidi) is calling on Nigerians to remain peaceful,
“I know the results of the election might not be what you wanted but all I can say is I hope the next 4 years is better than the last — Please stay away from Violence, we are still one nation #Nigeriadecides”
I know the results of the election might not be what you wanted but all I can say is I hope the next 4 years is better than the last
Please stay away from Violence, we are still one nation #Nigeriadecides pic.twitter.com/uIcobFihW0
— OfficialFinidi (@OfficialFinidi) February 27, 2019
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