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Weekly Africa Update#8-9

 Weekly Africa Update#8-9

No.8/9--Week of 13-17 April, 2009; 20-24 April, 2009

African Union (AU):--In what looks like a role-reversal of election-monitoring, where the EU sends monitors to AU states, the Pan-African Parliament is in talks with the EU to send monitors to the European elections in June. This initiative could possibly see Zimbabwe politicians in Britain to oversee voting in the UK as it goes to the polls on 4 June.

Ten members of the African Parliament (MAPs) would first see how the UK conducts its general elections, and then proceed to an inspection of the central vote-counting office in Wiesbaden, Germany. From there, the MAPs would watch the final result with MEPs in Brussels on 7 June.

The objective of this exercise is to learn lessons ahead of a potential pan-African election. It would also help inform MAPs on how Europe pursues its democratic dispensation.

Still on the African Union, the Peace and Security Council of the AU has upheld sanctions against Mauritania for reneging to hold general elections. The ambassador of Benin to the AU, Edouard Aho-Glele, who chaired the meeting at the Addis-Ababa-based Council, said that the Council will continue to retain the sanctions against the junta.

The Mauritanian army toppled the country’s first freely-elected president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in August 2008

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ):--Following a workshop organized in conjunction with the UNDP, and which was aimed at boosting anti-corruption efforts in the ECOWAS region, a Network of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in ECOWAS Countries has been established. Nigeria, the sub-region’s largest economy, was elected to head the anti-graft body.

Held in the Gambian capital of Banjul, the meeting was attended by anti-graft agencies from 14 countries of the sub-region.

The responsibility of the new body is to ensure inter-state co-operation in the fight against graft, build capacity of ECOWAS states that have already established anti-corruption institutions and encourage those who have not done so.

Still in ECOWAS, the region now has a legal mechanism for protecting and assisting victims of human trafficking. According to the communiqué issued at the end of an ECOWAS meeting on a regional policy for the rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in West Africa, “it is a holistic mechanism for protecting trafficked persons by providing assistance that will equip them with relevant and appropriate tools for effective integration into their various communities.”

East African Community (EAC)--The youth of the EAC have requested the regional bloc to consider giving the youth an observer status so that they could fully participate in the integration process. Being granted observer status means that as an autonomous body, you are allowed to fully participate in all deliberations made at different levels of the community. A Ugandan youth leader cautioned that the observer status should go beyond listening to debates of policy-makers to include an active engagement with leaders of the sub-region on to enable to youth to play a more active role in the EAC integration process.

As in other regional blocs on the continent, the youth in EAC constitute the largest population of EAC.

IGAD--Ministers of Justice of the Member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development have agreed on draft IGAD-wide Convention on Extradition, and a Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance.

The Extradition Convention governs the measures countries shall take and the procedures they follow in the extradition of persons involved or suspected of being involved in a crime to neighbouring states upon the latter's request. As regards the Mutual Legal Assistance Convention, it provides, among other things, for the mechanism and procedure by which evidence is transferred between neighbouring countries.  

If ratified and implemented, the two conventions could serve to deter crime, as leaving a country for a neighbouring state after committing a crime, would not be safe for those who wish to embark on such activity, a statement said.

SADC--Ousted Madagascan President Marc Ravolamanana is returning home with a high-profile African Union/SADC delegation. Ravolamanana has not ruled out the possibility of power-sharing, hinting that the option would be explored. "We want to create an open government as much as possible and if eventually there is an agreement that a power-sharing arrangement be put in place, then this would have to be considered".

Responding to newsmen in Swaziland, Ravolmanana said he went to Swaziland because His Majesty the King, is the chairman of the SADC TROIKA organ.


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