Vote for South Sudan nearly unanimous
South Sudan Referendum Commission announced final results of Sudan’s referendum, with nearly 99% of voters opting to secede from north, marking the creation of Southern Sudan, the newest nation which will be proclaimed independent on July 9, 2011.
Omar Al Bashir, Sudanese President, stated, “Tonight we declare to the world our acceptance and respect for the option chosen by Sudanese citizens. Yes we will split into two states, but our conviction is that the links between the two countries will not end like other countries in the world because we were together as one nation for more than 100 years.”
North and south Sudan ended a more than two decade civil war in 2005 that left two million dead.
Source: Africa 24 Media, February 9, 2011.
South Sudan minister shot
Rural Development Minister of Southern Sudan, Jimmy Lemi Milla, was killed by a former employee, only days after a referendum confirming the secession of Southern Sudan. The assailant also killed a bodyguard and has been arrested.
Officials in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) believe the motive for the killing was personal rather than political, as the assassin is related to Milla, by marriage. However, the event has brought up the issue of security challenges that lay ahead for the nascent nation.
Source: BBC News Africa, February 9, 2011.
Tunisia senate agrees to widen presidential powers
Tunisia’s senate has passed legislation that gives interim President Fouad Mebazaa the power to rule by decree. The interim government has been struggling to restore order following the departure of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. This decree will enable Mr. Mebazaa to work better with the parliament which is dominated by associates of Mr. Ali.
This move comes three weeks after protesters ousted Mr. Ben Ali from office after 23 years in power. He is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia. 219 people are estimated to have died in the widespread protests.
Source: BBC News Africa, February 9, 2011.
Somali piracy threatens global oil supplies
After the latest hijacking of a super tanker carrying some US $200 million worth of crude oil off the coast of Oman, a warning has been issued by the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) that has urged governments to do more to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, saying the hijackings could disrupt global oil supplies.
The Irene SL was on its way from the Gulf to the US, and was carrying approximately 260, 000 tons of crude oil, which is 20% of one day’s US crude oil imports. This is believed to be one of the largest vessels ever seized.
Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in recent years in the shipping lanes around the Horn of Africa. A non-functioning government since 1991 has enabled piracy to flourish off its coast.
Source: BBC News Africa, February 10, 2011.
Inflation threatens South Africa
South Africa Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus warned of an increase in commodity prices. He said inflation may move to the upper end of the 3 to 6 percent target range sooner than expected. Due to the rising global and domestic prices, the monetary policy may come to be affected in the coming months. The Reserve Bank sees the economy growing by an average 3.4 percent in 2011 and 3.6 percent in the following year, far below the 5 percent average expansion seen between 2004 and 2008.
Source: Reuters, February 7, 2011
Nigeria faces upsurge in political killings
The recent killing of governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Borno State, Modu Fannami Gubio and six others including Governor Ali Modu Sheriff’s younger brother, has shed light on the extent of political killings in the country.
For nearly eight years now, the intra-party crisis between the two factions of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state, has resulted in heightened violence and political assassinations.
Source: Nigeria Daily Independent, February 10, 2011.
Mubarak’s refusal re-ignites protests
On Thursday night, February 10, President Mubarak addressed Egypt and the world, outrightly rejected the idea of stepping down immediately, insisting that he would stay in office to oversee a drawn-out transfer of power by September. He, however, ceded power to Vice President, Omar Suleiman.
In a written statement, Obama responded saying, “The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.”
The widespread fury over President Mubarak’s failure to departure has led protest organizers to hail Friday, February 11 – as the ‘Friday of martyrs’ – as the largest public remonstration yet.
After more than two weeks of widespread protests, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, warned of a possible army crackdown as anti-government protests continued. According to Human Rights Watch, 300 people have been killed in the protests so far.
Source: All Africa News, The New York Times, February 11, 2011