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The AU should do more to pre-empt coups by sanctioning bad governance and attempts by presidents to extend their terms. Coups used to be the method of choice in Africa for changing governments, with over 90 occurring between 1951 and mid-2020. During those years, only 30 incumbent leaders were peacefully removed from power by their political opponents in elections.

And in that time, just 28 heads of state voluntarily left office after serving their legally allowed number of terms as president, says Issaka Souaré, Director of the Sahel and West Africa Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In 2000, the propensity for staging coups – there had been 15 in the previous decade – worried the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) enough to adopt the Lomé Declaration. In a radical departure from the OAU’s firm policy of turning a blind eye to member states’ ‘internal affairs’, it decreed that any member taking power through an ‘unconstitutional change of government’ would be suspended. In practice, this referred to military coups.

After replacing the OAU, the African Union (AU) has exercised that power of suspension 14 times since 2003. After the Lomé Declaration, the incidence of coups steadily declined from 15 in the previous decade (1991 to 2000) to eight in the decade after, and five between 2011 and 2020. The extent to which the declaration played a role in this reduction is unclear, considering that the trend suddenly seemed to reverse last year.

The African Union has exercised its power of suspension in relation to coups 14 times since 2003

In fewer than 13 months from 18 August 2020, four coups have occurred. Two happened in Mali (August 2020 and May 2021), one in Chad (May 2021) and one in Guinea last month. This prompted the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) to tackle the question: Are coups back in Africa? in a seminar this week.

Answering it would require a crystal ball, but the discussion suggested that although the long-term trend was positive, coups could be here to stay. What might help prevent that would be better responses from AU, regional bodies, and international partners to coups and other forms of unconstitutional change of government. And most importantly to what Souaré and other participants labelled ‘UPP’ – the unconstitutional preservation of power.

The first step in tightening up the Lomé Declaration – and matching instruments in the regional economic communities (RECs) – is to apply the measures consistently across different countries, said ISS Senior Research Consultant David Zounmenou.

He cited the sharp difference in approach towards Mali and Chad. The former was suspended from the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the 2020 and 2021 coups. In contrast, Chad was allowed to remain in the AU pending a transition to elections and civilian rule.

The AU and ECOWAS lifted their suspension of Mali a few weeks after August 2020 when the heads of a new civilian transitional administration – vetted by coup leader Assimi Goïta – were announced. Goïta’s toppling of those same civilian leaders in May this year suggested the AU and ECOWAS had misjudged Goïta’s commitment to truly civilian rule. As Zounmenou said, if military leaders see they can seize power with impunity, there’s likely to be a proliferation of coups. Goïta’s coup in May suggested the AU and ECOWAS had misjudged his commitment to civilian rule in Mali

Kwesi Aning, Director of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, suggested that optimism around the declining rate of coups this century needed to be treated with caution. He said forecasts should account for a ‘teeming democratic sea … of frustrated, uneducated, barely educated, unemployed and increasingly unemployable youths … who see the possibilities of their participation in the domestic governing of their countries truncated by people who want to stay in power.’

The feelings of the disenchanted were clear when they lined the streets of Conakry in Guinea to applaud Colonel Mamady Doumbouya after he toppled Alpha Condé last month. Similar scenes of popular jubilation greeted Mali’s Colonel Goïta in Bamako last year after he ousted Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Aning agreed that the AU, RECs and others could help discourage coups by targeting incumbents who cling to power beyond their terms. Condé was a prime example of the consequences of the ‘unconstitutional preservation of power’. He forced through an unwelcome constitutional change in 2019 to rescind the two-presidential term limit, at the cost of many protesters’ lives.

Doumbouya cited this as one of the main reasons for the coup. As Souaré observed, we have no way of knowing if that was Doumbouya’s true motive but the possibility should be removed, not only for its own sake but as a plausible pretext for coups. The AU and RECs should sanction the ‘unconstitutional preservation of power’ to help prevent coups

Andrews Atta-Asamoah, Head of the ISS’ African Peace and Security Governance programme, noted that the Lomé Declaration went further than military coups and other violent power seizures as a trigger for suspension from the AU. An unconstitutional change of government could also include ‘the refusal by an incumbent government to relinquish power to the winning party after free, fair and regular elections.’

And he noted that the AU’s 2009 Ezulwini Framework for enhancing implementation of the Lomé Declaration’s measures against unconstitutional changes of government had gone further still. It stipulated that ‘the constitution shall not be manipulated in order to hold onto power against the will of the people’ and granted the African Court of Justice and Human Rights the jurisdiction to prosecute coup makers.

Atta-Asamoah felt the AU should be commended as a ‘norm entrepreneur’ for establishing the principle that coups were bad. Nonetheless, the frameworks for preventing unconstitutional changes of government were not really working because they were reactive, not preventive, he said.

So instead of addressing the grievances that sparked the coup, the AU and RECs’ post facto interventions often pitted them ‘against the overwhelming will of the people in the street’, especially when the AU and RECs insisted on restoring the old regime.

Perhaps the root causes of coups run too deep within a country for any external actor to influence much. But to the extent that they can, the AU and RECs should use their power preventively, focusing more on sanctioning ‘unconstitutional preservation of power’ and other undemocratic behaviour to try to pre-empt coups. By Peter Fabricius. ISS Consultant


Priti Patel, appearing on the Andrew Marr show, spoke about concerns that Covid lockdowns may have fuelled radicalisation

Britain’s intelligence agencies have warned ministers of a potential new wave of terrorist attacks carried out by “bedroom radicals” bred during lockdown.

Officials believe the country is facing a new threat from “lone wolf” terrorists who were radicalised online while spending months at home, The Telegraph understands.

It comes as investigators seek to establish whether the 25-year-old suspect in the killing of Sir David Amess had been radicalised during the long months of the pandemic. 

One security source said: “Counter-terror police and MI5 have been concerned for some time that once we emerged out of lockdown there would be more people out on the streets and more targets for the terrorists.

“Combined with the fact that lots of young people have been spending so much time online, it makes for a very worrying mix and there is a real concern about the possible rise of the bedroom radicals.”

On Sunday night police were continuing to question 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali, a British national of Somali heritage, on suspicion of murdering Sir David, the Tory MP, in a knife attack on Friday.

Over the weekend it emerged that Mr Ali had previously been referred to the Government’s counter-extremism programme, Prevent, but was not on MI5’s terror watchlist.

It has raised fresh questions over the effectiveness of Prevent, which is currently the subject of an ongoing review.

Investigators now believe the suspect may have considered killing other MPs, the Telegraph understands.

Police believe Sir David was not specifically targeted by his alleged terrorist killer but is believed to have been picked as part of plot to murder any MP.

Counter-terror police had initially thought the Right-wing Tory politician had been selected because of his values, views or religion. But it is now feared he was stabbed to death simply because he happened to respond to his alleged killer’s request for a face-to-face appointment as part of an indiscriminate attack on democracy.

It is understood the suspect had booked an appointment to see the MP at his regular Friday surgery a week before the attack.

The development came as Sir David’s devastated family issued a statement in which they said they were “absolutely broken” by his murder.

They called for unity rather than division in the wake of his “cruel and violent” death.

The family of Sir David Amess called for tolerance and togetherness in the wake of his killing
The family of Sir David Amess called for tolerance and togetherness in the wake of his killing

The statement read: “We ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.”

It was reported on Sunday night it was believed Ali was "radicalised" after watching extremist videos on YouTube and became "obsessed" with the hate preacher Anjem Choudary, sources told The Sun.

The Telegraph has learned that the suspect in custody was seen using his phone moments after the attack.

Police are said to be investigating whether he made a recording in order to take credit for the attack or was sending a message or posted material online after the fatal stabbing.

This alleged activity, which was seen by witnesses, is understood to be at the centre of why the police labelled the attack a “terrorist incident”.

Investigators were over the weekend trying to work out who the suspect had been in contact with in the run-up to Friday to better understand his alleged motives.

Meanwhile, three properties in London, connected to the man in custody, were being searched, including his former family home in Croydon, where his mother and siblings still live, and a property in Bounds Green, where his father resides.

Detectives were also at a flat in Kentish Town in north London, where Mr Ali had been living most recently.

A police search team enters the most recent address of Ali Harbi Ali, in Kentish Town, north London
A police search team enters the most recent address of Ali Harbi Ali, in Kentish Town, north London

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, spoke about concerns that Covid lockdowns may have fuelled radicalisation and the threat of lone wolf attacks.

Asked about the issue on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show, Ms Patel said: “It’s a really important point actually, it really is. Coronavirus, pandemic, people being locked down at home, online, etcetera.

“But what I would say, to put this into perspective, we have the best security and intelligence agencies in the world.

“I can’t sit and share with you [but] I know how they worked throughout the pandemic. I know the work that they do in terms of watching individuals – subjects of interest, tracking behaviours, monitoring anybody of interest.”

Priti Patel said Britain's security services were 'tracking behaviours, monitoring anybody of interest'
Priti Patel said Britain's security services were 'tracking behaviours, monitoring anybody of interest'

Security chiefs are understood to be concerned after months of lockdown left millions of younger people marooned at home, with many spending hours online, often unsupervised.

With schools, sports clubs and youth facilities also closed, there was little opportunity for the usual support networks to spot worrying signs of radicalisation and alert the authorities.

It is feared extremists around the world will now seek to activate their online recruits and encourage them to carry out terror strikes across the UK.

Focus on effectiveness of Prevent

The review of the Prevent programme has been running all year and is expected to be nearing its conclusion, though a publication date for conclusions is yet to be named.

William Shawcross, who chaired the Charity Commission between 2012 and 2018, is leading the work after being made the independent reviewer in January.

The review is said to be a top-to-bottom look at how the program is working, with Sir William tasked with writing a report for the Home Office that contains “recommendations on improvements”.

Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, used his first broadcast interview since being sacked from the role in the reshuffle last month to call for a more “joined up” approach to Prevent.

Mr Buckland told Times Radio: “I very much hope that when it comes to community supervision and community involvement with people like this particular individual, that it is much more joined-up between health services, education, whatever it might be, who have had some involvement with that individual in the past.

“And I think that that element of being joined-up is what we really need to work on urgently.”

Asked how agencies could work more closely, Mr Buckland said: “There may be records or information from schools or colleges or from the health service which can tell us much more about individuals and their activities.

“I think we need to join this up much more effectively because what we’re talking about here is community prevention.

“We’ve got to make sure that every arm of the state is absolutely working together in order to understand as much as possible about these individuals.” By /Yahoo News

The High Court has overturned a legal provision requiring aspirants vying for parliamentary seats at both the national and county level to be holders of university degrees.

Justice Anthony Mrima said the provision contained in Section 22 (1) of the Elections Act was irrational and had been developed without proper public participation.

The judge, in a ruling delivered on Friday, said drafters of the law did not take into account the 2019 population census data on the number of people with university degrees.

He further pointed out that the National Qualification Act requires academic training from any college or institution.

The judge said that the 2019 population data showed that there were 2.1 m graduates in the country, 25 percent whom were reported to be living in Nairobi.

He further said that some sub-counties like in Mau Forest, Kakamega and the North Eastern region have few if any graduates making the law irrational since people in such areas who be restrained from electing leaders of their choice.

The decision followed a petition filed by a lobby group named Sheria Mtaani and backed a section of Members of the County Assembly who were apprehensive the impugned law would lock them out of the 2022 general election.

The petitioners approached the court saying the decision made by parliament was meant to lock out several candidates and leave many Kenyans unrepresented in many counties. 

The lobby group had cited, among other reasons, the disruption of the academic year by the coronavirus pandemic making it impossible for some aspirants who had enrolled for programs with the intention to vie in 2022 general elections to complete their studies.

In 2017, only the President, Deputy President, Governors and Deputy Governors were required to hold university degrees as a prerequisite to be cleared to run for office. Capital FM

Sheila Mutavu at the Dusk Zone of the Remarkable Rwanda Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today


Nothing to shackle them down, the over 13 million Rwandans are set to take their country to the high echelons of socio-economic power in 2050. This is the message of the “Remarkable Rwanda Pavilion,” located at a corner lot of several rows of buildings at the Opportunity District of the Expo2020Dubai.

Divided into three floors, the pavilion tweets the past, present and future of the landlocked East African nation.

The “Dusk Zone” relates the early settlements and migration of various tribes into the present-day Rwanda since the late Stone Age from the 300,000 B.C. to the Iron Age until 550 B.C.; the formation of the earliest form of society called “ubwoko” (clans) which eventually inter-married to revolve into eight kingdoms; the entry of the German East Africa Empire that included the present-day neighbour of Burundi from 1894 to 1918; and the Belgian “trusteeship” as per the League of Nations decision until 1962. The “Night Zone” is the darkest age, referring to the horrific 1994 100-day Tutsi Genocide, triggered by the April 6, 1994 assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarinama, a member of the Hutu tribe, at the Kigali International Airport. In 1990, a Tutsi-led rebel group of refugees called the Rwandan Political Front, from Uganda, sparked civil war.

Incidentally, on May 22, 2021 and in commemoration of the 27th year of the Tutsi Genocide, Rwandan Ambassador to the UAE and Saudi Arabia Emmanuel Hategeka praised the courage and humility of the survivors to forgive the Hutus. He asked the international community “to recommit to the ‘Never Again’ (movement) by bringing to justice the yet-to-be-apprehended remaining 1,100 genocide suspects spread across the globe. “Humbled and honoured” to represent the host government, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemy said: “This is a very important milestone for us to remember and honour the victims and also to pay respect to the survivors and ensure that what happened never happens again…We stand hand-in-hand with you (Rwandans) and we pray that this not only happens again but we work actively together to ensure all forms of hatred, all forms of extremism are fought and tackled.”

The “Dawn Zone” narrates the unity and determination of a broken people to move forward post-Tutsi Genocide becoming an emerging African economy, able to break down parameters set forth by international bodies such as the World Bank (WB). The “Day Zone” encapsulates the aspirations of the Rwandans who, guided by Vision 2050 of the national government are positive to be among the First World.

Rwanda Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Economic Diplomacy and Partnerships Principal Officer Shiela Mutavu in a pre-arranged interview said: “Yes, something good happens and it has come out of the darkest period in our nation’s history. Rwandans have become united, determined and resilient through all the challenges. We all never want to go back to that part of our history again.”

That mindset not to have history repeat itself is the backdrop of the pavilion theme, “Remarkable Rwanda.” They want to show the world the transformation they have built since 1994 and their Vision 2050: “Our overarching goal is to show the world what Rwanda is, and what Rwanda means to us. We are immensely proud of our country, and this pride is the root of our successes over the last 27 years. Our more direct goals are to attract more investments to Rwanda by showcasing our track record of our success and our ambitious visions for the future. Some of the sectors that we are particularly looking for growth are in (Information Communication Technology), innovation and tourism, which will be our valuable engines for prosperity in our future, and for the improvement of the lives and livelihoods of our people.”

Mutavu explained that with the Vision 2050, the aspiration is for the nation to be an upper-middle income- economy (UMIE) by 2035 and among the First World or high income economies (HIEs) by 2050 in all areas of development that include education, health and welfare, infrastructure and agriculture. Based on WB measurements, the gross national income per capita of UMIEs are over $41,125.00 and less than $12,736.00. Those of HIEs are a minimum of $12,696.00.

Mutavu said the Rwandan Francs (RF) had been classified as a “stable currency with with $1.00 equivalent to RF900.00.”

She quoted the “WB Doing Business Report 2020” which had recently categorized Rwanda as the second in ease of doing business in the African continent and 38th globally: “Rwanda works for investors. This has been one of our government’s greatest priorities in recent years. The government has worked on creating a sound policy environment which offers multiple incentives for investors while ensuring that partnerships with foreign partners benefit the Rwandan people. The Kigali International Finance Centre has just been accredited on the Global Financial Centres Index which represents a landmark achievement and reflects the successes of the Rwanda Finance Ltd. and the government in creating a friendly environment for investors and committing to establishing Kigali as a financial hub not just for Rwanda but for the entire region.”

Post-Novel Coronavirus pandemic, Mutavu said investor-friendly Rwanda and the Rwandans have the following to offer as stimulants to their national and global economic recovery: The Gabiro Agri-Business Hub Project aimed at guaranteeing 4,000 jobs created, food security to Rwanda through cutting-edge technology and best practices as well as increase in the export of high-value crops and value-added agricultural products; the Gako Beef Project for the production of 50,000 tonnes per day of high quality meat products for local and international consumption; the development of the popular family-oriented tourism destinations specifically beach and golf haven Karongi District as well as the waterfront town of Rubavu; and the Rwanda Green Fund that, at the very least, aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 38 per cent in the next decade and reaching net zero by 2050. - Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Gulf Today

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) has issued its findings on Rwanda and Azerbaijan, the States parties that it reviewed during its latest session.

The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:


The Committee expressed concern that there is no law prohibiting child labour. It was similarly concerned about the lack of information on the implementation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. It recommended that the State party carry out regular and unannounced workplace inspections to ensure that migrant workers have the same pay and work conditions as nationals. It also urged Rwanda to redouble its efforts to eliminate child labour by taking legal action against those who exploit children economically, and to ensure child victims receive full reparation.

The Committee was also concerned at the limited knowledge about human trafficking among local leaders, teachers, young people, border communities, and refugees. It recommended that Rwanda adopt a holistic approach to tackle trafficking, such as setting up a cross-sector office that involves civil society and the private sector, and developing a human trafficking database. 

To enhance civil society’s participation in protecting the rights of migrant workers, the Committee recommended that the State party strengthen its dialogue with non-governmental organizations, and provide those working with migrant workers with all necessary means to take part in the implementation of the Convention.


The CMW was concerned about the State party’s border regime that is largely geared towards border protection, and about the criminalization of irregular border crossings. The Committee considered that irregular entry, stay or exit may constitute at most administrative offences and should never be considered criminal practices. It recommended that the State party adopt a human rights-based approach to migration, including de-criminalizing irregular border crossings.

The Committee was concerned about the practice of administrative immigration detention. It urged Azerbaijan to immediately stop detaining children and other vulnerable groups of migrant workers, as well as asylum-seekers and refugees. It recommended that the State party consider alternative measures to detention in all cases and ultimately put an end to immigration detention.

The CMW called on the State party to effectively investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases. It recommended that Azerbaijan strengthen international, regional and bilateral cooperation through agreements with countries of origin, transit and destination to prevent and combat such trafficking. SCOOP

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