AROUND AFRICA: Mali Turmoil, Ghana Election

December 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

Mali Uproar

Mali’s prime minister was forced to resign this week (Dec. 10) by the same troops that launched a coup d’etat earlier this year that threw the West African nation into turmoil.

Mali (CIA World Factbook)


According to the Washington Post,  Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra was arrested by the army late Monday as he was preparing to leave for Paris for medical treatment. A few hours later he announced his resignation on national television, along with the dissolution of his government.

A large segment of the international community — including the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the U.S. State Department and the United Nations — condemned the power play, the Voice of America reported. But today (Dec. 13) VoA reported the African Union said it would support the new interim prime minister, Diango Cissoko.

Meanwhile, the latest political upheaval raised worries outside Mali that the nation’s armed forces weren’t ready to participate in a a planned military action against radical Islamists in the northern half of the huge African nation (click here to see map). ECOWAS leaders have voted to send a 3,000-man strong force to recapture northern Mali — an area nearly the size of Texas — from the radicals who have introduced harsh Islamic law (sharia) including public executions and limb amputations for criminals. A Tuareg separatist revolt caught fire after the revolt by government troops in Bamako, the nation’s capital. The Tuareg’s swept down from the Sahara and seized more than half of the country. They were later pushed aside by two extreme Islamist groups with ties to al Qaeda-linked groups.

Meanwhile, the violence in Mali is putting an endangered population of elephants in the Sahara Desert at risk, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and Oxford University.

Ghana Election

Incumbent John Mahama has won the recent presidential election in Ghana — by the narrowest of majorities — the West African nation’s electoral commission ruled Monday (Dec. 10.)  Officials said Mahama took 50.7 percent of the vote, compared to the 47.7 percent polled by opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, the son of a former president.

Ghana(CIA World Factbook)

(CIA World Factbook)

However, Akufo-Addo’s opposition New Patriotic Party says it will contest the election result in court, accusing the governing NDC party of conspiring with commission staff to fix the results, the BBC reported.

Ghana, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is regarded as one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Since 1992 Ghana has held relatively peaceful elections and power transfers. Akufo-Addo lost the 2008 presidential poll by one percentage point to John Atta Mills — but accepted the result. Mahama was vice president until Mills died suddenly last summer.

In addition to a legal challenge, Akufo-Addo urged his followers to take to the streets in protest. But Police and armored vehicles are securing intersections and key government sites in the wake of the election. The Christian Council of Ghana hs urged NPP supporters to remain calm, VoA reported.

Meanwhile, the oil giant Hess Corporation announced Wednesday (Dec. 12) that it had made a fifth discovery of oil off the coast of Ghana. The discovery reinforces Ghana’s emergence as an attractive potential oil producer, according to Dow Jones, which noted several major oil companies have been drilling for oil and natural gas off Ghana’s shores.

Ghana is the second largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa and the world’s second-largest cocoa exporter after neighboring Ivory Coast, CNN noted.


Entry filed under: Africa, Counter Terrorism, Skills and Training. Tags: , , , , , .

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