Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

More power-sharing in Africa?

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Kenya’s power-sharing government was only born after weeks of election violence that killed 1,300 people. Zimbabwe’s power sharing agreement is yet to bear fruit as southern Africa’s former breadbasket crumbles into economic ruin.

So will power sharing in Central African Republic, where one of Africa’s most forgotten conflicts has been simmering for more than half a decade, fare any better?

After 10 days of United Nations-backed talks, President Francois Bozize, a former army chief who seized power in a 2003 coup, has agreed with rebel and opposition leaders, including the man he deposed, to form a consensus government to rule until the next scheduled presidential elections in 2010.

The stakes are high. Despite its mineral riches, which include diamonds and uranium, Central African Republic remains prostrated by poverty and languishes near the bottom of the U.N. human development index. The country and its people are scarred by fighting before, during and after the 2003 coup that included mass rapes — used as a weapon of war — torture and killings now being investigated by the International Criminal Court. Low-intensity northern insurgencies since then have driven tens of thousands of civilians into the bush as they flee rebel and bandit raids, and government army counter-attacks.

Drugs and guns in Guinea-Bissau

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Members of Guinea-Bissau’s unruly armed forces have blotted the military’s record again with another attack against the country’s political institutions. Early on Sunday, Nov. 23, renegade soldiers, their faces hooded, sprayed the Bissau residence of President Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira with machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The president survived unhurt this latest apparent attempt to topple him.

 

But The attack underlined the fragility of the small, cashew nut-exporting West African nation, one of the poorest in the world and a former Portuguese colony which has suffered a history of bloody coups, mutinies and uprisings since it won independence in 1974 after a bush war led by Amilcar Cabral. The assault followed parliamentary elections on Nov. 16 which donors were hoping would restore stability and put in place a new government capable of resisting the serious threat posed by powerful Latin American cocaine-trafficking cartels who use Guinea-Bissau as a staging post to smuggle drugs to Europe.

Does Algeria now have a president for life?

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After the Algerian parliament changed the constitution to lift presidential term limits, north Africans are asking whether Algeria now has a president for life.

 

In making the change, Algeria has followed a route taken in recent years by other African countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Uganda, all of which removed the limit of two presidential terms.

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