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3 AFRICAN LEADERS WHO REFUSED TO QUIT Oluwaseun |


| January 22, 2017

Before Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, who has disputed his rival Adama Barrow’s election victory, many African heads of state have attempted, in some cases successfully, over the past few years to remain in power beyond their legal mandate.

In some countries, elections have been disputed amid deadly violence, as was the case in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and Gabon.

Here are examples of two African leaders, in Ivory Coast and Madagascar, who refused to step down after losing an election, but failed.

Ivory Coast
On November 28, 2010, the second round of a presidential election – delayed six times since 2005 after a low-intensity civil war in the world’s top cocoa producer – pitted incumbent Laurent Gbagbo against his rival Alassane Ouattara.
But on December 3, the country found itself with two presidents: the constitutional council declared Gbagbo the victor, while the electoral commission said that Ouattara won. The UN recognised Ouattara’s victory and the European Union, France and the United States called on Gbagbo to stand down.On December 7, West African regional bloc ECOWAS said it recognised Ouattara as president and suspended the Ivory Coast’s membership.

Two days later the African Union also decided to suspend the Ivory Coast.

A deadly four-month post-election crisis followed Gbagbo’s refusal to hand over power, in which more than 3,000 people were killed.

On April 11, Gbagbo was arrested by Ouattara’s troops after 10 days of fighting in Abidjan, backed by French and UN soldiers.

On May 21, 2011, Ouattara was sworn in as president.

Gbagbo is currently on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in relation to the clashes.

Madagascar
The island nation was paralysed by protests during a political crisis in 2001-2002.In January 2002, President Didier Ratsiraka’s rival, Antananarivo mayor and successful entrepreneur Marc Ravalomanana, sent his supporters into the streets claiming victory in the first round of presidential elections held in December 2001.Ravalomanana refused to organise a second round of voting, while Ratsiraka declined to concede defeat, plunging the country into seven months of violence and chaos.The impasse split the vast nation in two — with two capitals, two governments, and a divided army — until Ravalomanana was officially proclaimed president in April 2002 and sworn in on May 6, with Ratsiraka still disputing the result.In July Ravalomanana conquered the whole of the territory and Ratsiraka started a 11-year exile in France.

Foreign ministry says visit of Morocco King to Juba postponed


morocco king

January 22. 2017, Juba – The visit of the King of Morocco to Juba has been postponed, according to foreign officials.

The cause behind the change of the plan initially announced to take place last remains unclear. And it is not clear when the new arrangement would be made. Foreign officials attribute the cause to busy schedules. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs, Mawien Makol, told Eye Radio that the reason for the postponement of the visit was due to a “busy schedule.

But sources with direct knowledge of the arrangement attribute the cause to lack of adequate preparations, including lack of standard mosque in which the king had hoped to pray on arrival. King Mohammad VI was expected to arrive in Juba today for bilateral talks with President Salva Kiir. The visit had initially been slated for Friday, January 20.

The Gambia ‘missing millions’ after Jammeh flies into exile


January 22, 2017, Senegalese troops secure area near state house in the Gambian capital Banjul Sunday Jan. 22, 2017Crowds cheered as troops from the regional bloc Ecowas entered the capital Banjul on Sunday

More than $11m (£8.8m) is missing from The Gambia’s state coffers following the departure of long-time leader Yahya Jammeh, an adviser to President Adama Barrow has said.

Mai Ahmad Fatty said financial experts were trying to evaluate the exact loss.

Luxury cars and other items were seen being loaded on to a Chadian cargo plane on the night Mr Jammeh left the country.

Mr Jammeh flew into exile on Saturday, ending his 22 years in power.

He had refused to accept election results but finally left after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention.

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh arrives at the airport before flying into exile from Gambia, January 21, 201Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMr Jammeh flew out of The Gambia on Saturday after long talks with regional leaders

President Barrow remains in neighbouring Senegal and it is not clear when he will return.

However, West African troops have entered the Gambian capital, Banjul, on Sunday to prepare for his arrival.

Cheering crowds gathered outside the State House to watch soldiers secure the building.

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The Senegalese general leading the joint force from five African nations said they were controlling “strategic points to ensure the safety of the population and facilitate… Mr Barrow’s assumption of his role”.

Mr Fatty told reporters in the Senegalese capital Dakar that The Gambia was in financial distress.

“The coffers are virtually empty,” he said. “It has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia.”

Gambia's President Adama Barrow is seen in Dakar, Senegal January 20, 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionAdama Barrow, centre, says he intends to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during Mr Jammeh’s time in office

He said Mr Jammeh had made off with more than $11m in the past two weeks alone. The BBC is unable to independently verify the claims.

Mr Fatty said officials at The Gambia’s main airport had been told not to let any of Mr Jammeh’s belongings leave the country.

Reports said some of the former leader’s goods were in Guinea where Mr Jammeh had stopped on his journey into exile.

Mr Jammeh is reported to now be in Equatorial Guinea, although authorities there have not confirmed it.

The former leader had initially accepted Mr Barrow’s election win on 1 December, but later alleged “irregularities” and called for a fresh vote.

The move was internationally condemned and the UN-backed Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) issued an ultimatum for him to quit or be removed by force

Breaking New: South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia has been given 24 hours to leave Ethiopia


anuary 22, 2017, South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia has been forced out due to “dirty deals ” between South Sudan , Egypt and Uganda against Ethiopia and Sudan

Iraqi general’s tour suggests tough fight ahead in west Mosul


January 22, 2017

A member of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) stands on a building during a battle with Islamic State militants in east of Mosul, Iraq, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
By Michael Georgy | MOSUL

Residents of east Mosul held up their children and took selfies with Iraqi counter-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi after his men cleared Islamic State fighters from their neighbourhoods.

But his tour on Saturday of homes once occupied by the militants was a reminder of the dangers ahead as security forces prepare to expand their offensive against the Sunni militants into west Mosul.

Flanked by bodyguards in the Mohandiseen neighbourhood, Saadi got a firsthand view of Islamic State’s meticulous planning and reign of terror as he moved from house to house, greeted by locals as a hero.

In one home were a set of instructions on how to make bombs. A large bucket was filled with screws that were packed into explosives to kill and maim. Beside the leaflets were a pair of industrial rubber gloves, wires and detonators.

Nearby a thick book described how to use Russian machine guns. Militants were also well-versed on how to employ anti-tank missiles.

The battle for Mosul, involving 100,000 Iraqi troops, members of the Kurdish security forces and Shi’ite militiamen, is the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

Iraqi security forces have retaken most of east Mosul, with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes which flattened rows of buildings in Iraq’s second-largest city.

The next phase, expected to kick off in a few days, could prove more difficult.

Western Mosul has many narrow streets and alleyways that tanks and other large armoured vehicles cannot pass through.

Jihadists are expected to put up a much tougher fight to hold on to their last stronghold in Iraq.

“We expect to enter the west in the next few days,” said Saadi, shortly after tearing down an Islamic State poster in anger.

Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State across its once vast, self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, has been occupied by the group since its fighters drove the U.S.-trained army out in June 2014.

Its fall would mark the end of the caliphate but the militants are widely expected to mount an insurgency in Iraq and inspire attacks in the West.

DRONES, TORTURE CHAMBER

The group’s determination and organisation were evident in several homes toured by Saadi.

Laminated guides on the range of various weapons could be found on the floor or on tables.

One house was clearly dedicated to the production of small drone aircraft used for both surveillance and attacks. Several lay scattered on the floor.

A document with Islamic State logos asked detailed questions about the type of drone mission, either bombing, an explosive aircraft, spying or training.

There was section on who will manage the aircraft’s power on any particular mission and a checklist on structural integrity.

Islamic State ruled eastern Mosul with zero tolerance for dissent, routinely shooting or beheading anyone branded an opponent to their radical ideology.

Saadi’s men were tipped off Islamic State had converted a villa on the street he was standing on into a prison and torture chamber. People were held on the top floor in rooms with steel bars.

“We were told that the neighbours would hear screaming from the house,” said Saadi. “They imprisoned anyone that challenged them. Anyone who refused to fight for them.”

Across town, overlooking the Tigris River dividing east and west, the former Ninewah Oberoi Hotel offered another glimpse into Islamic State, which changed its name to Hotel of the Inheritors.

“It was a place for them for the gatherings of the foreigners (fighters) and suicide bombers,” said

Saadi, standing on the hotel’s rooftop. “Five stars … in order to encourage them.”

Gunshots rang out, and explosions could be heard, a precursor to the upcoming campaign in west Mosul.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Hundreds in Saskatoon show solidarity with Women’s March on Washington


Image result for women march

January 21, 2017, If Saturday’s massive turnout to the Women’s March on Washington proves anything, it’s that Saskatonians aren’t happy with the status quo.

Hundreds gathered at Civic Square to not only challenge President Donald Trump’s agenda, but unify in support of women’s and human rights.

“He’s unleashed this wave of us versus them and people are buying into it, jumping on the bandwagon and using that to legitimize their racism,” protester Marjorie Beaucage said.

READ MORE: Regina’s Women’s March takes to the Sask. legislative building

As an indigenous women, Beaucage worries racial tension will flare and hatred will seep further into Canadian society.

“I think Trump and the movements around him are allowing violence, hatred and racism to reappear. It’s creating lines that are making us more at risk than before,” she explained.

An estimated 616 marches took place around the world, 24 of those in Canada.

“I think it shows how much people care. People care and people are going to fight,” said organizer Karen Brander, who only expected a handful of people to show up.

Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaves The Gambia after losing election


Former president Yaya Jammeh the Gambia's leader for 22 years, looks through the window from the plane as he leaves the country on 21 January 2017 in Banjul airporMr Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, is believed to be initially travelling to Guinea

January 21, 2017, Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh has left the country in the wake of elections that ousted him after 22 years in power.

He boarded a plane to Guinea and from there will travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea, regional group Ecowas says.

Mr Jammeh was defeated in December’s election by Adama Barrow but went on to challenge the results.

Mr Barrow has been in Senegal but says he will return to The Gambia soon.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Barrow said he wanted to create a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during Mr Jammeh’s time in office.

Marcel de Souza, president of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), said the military operation that had sent West African troops into The Gambia in support of Mr Barrow, was now ended, although some would remain to ensure security.


The scene at Banjul airport, by BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead

Former president Yaya Jammeh (C,up), the Gambia's leader for 22 years, waves from the plane as he leaves the country on 21 January 2017 in BanjulImage copyrightAFP

Yahya Jammeh arrived at the airport amid a large convoy of vehicles and throngs of cheering supporters.

He stood on a small platform to hear ceremonial music performed by a military band and then walked down a long red carpet surrounded by dignitaries.

He climbed the steps to the plane, turned and kissed and waved a Koran at those assembled.

After 22 years in power, he left bound for Guinea where it’s believed he will stay before going on to another country.

Soldiers, supporters and dignitaries were emotional as he left – many of them crying. Many others in The Gambia are glad to see the end of what they considered a dictatorship, where there was little respect for human rights or freedom of speech

The details of the arrangements made – or promises offered to persuade Mr Jammeh to give up power peacefully are not yet known, but there was the real threat of military action from regional states.

He’s the first president to peacefully hand over power in The Gambia since independence from Britain in 1965.


Mr Barrow has been in neighbouring Senegal for days and was inaugurated as president in the Gambian embassy there on Thursday.

Troops from several West African nations, including Senegal, had been deployed in The Gambia, threatening to drive Mr Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go.

Mr Jammeh’s decision to quit came after talks with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania.

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde was with Mr Jammeh and his wife on the plane that left Banjul late on Saturday.

Media captionPresident Adama Barrow: ‘We have got to know the truth’

In an address on state television, Mr Jammeh, who had once said he would rule The Gambia for a billion years, said he would stand down and that it was “not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed”.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” he said.

People celebrate in the streets with Gambian flags as they hear of the imminent departure of former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh in Banjul on January 21, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Image captionCelebrations have begun in Banjul
Gambian refugees return to Banjul, Gambia, 21 January 2017Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThousands had fled to neighbouring Senegal fearing violence – but large groups began to return to The Gambia on Saturday
People celebrate in the streets after hearing of the confirmed departure of former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh in Banjul on January 21, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMany Gambians saw Mr Jammeh as a ruthless dictator

BBC West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy says that Ecowas, which is backed by the United Nations, has sent a strong message to the region, and all of Africa, that they stand ready to protect democracy and are willing to send troops to enforce fair election results.

Mr Jammeh had at first accepted defeat in the election but then reversed his position.

He declared a 90-day state of emergency, blaming irregularities in the electoral process.


Yahya Jammeh: At a glance

GambiaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionAbuses alleged to have occurred under Mr Jammeh could now be investigated
  • Born in May 1965
  • Seized power in a coup in 1994
  • In 2013, he vowed to stay in power for “a billion years” if God wills
  • He also ordered the execution of criminals and political opponents on death row
  • Claimed in 2007 he could cure Aids and infertility with herbal concoctions
  • Warned in 2008 that gay people would be beheaded

Women around the world protest against President Trump


woman.jpgJanuary 21, 2017, Tens of thousands march in US capital Washington, DC, as solidarity protests take place in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Tens of thousands of women and allies protest in Washington, DC, after Trump takes office [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]
Women poured into the US capital on Saturday to march in opposition to US President Donald Trump, while sister demonstrations took place in cities across Europe, Africa and Asia.

Saturday’s protests came just a day after Trump, a right-wing Republican, took office.

In addition to Washington, DC, demonstrations against Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric took place in Sydney, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris, Stockholm and elsewhere.
Protests turn violent at Trump’s oath ceremony
Trump has drawn the ire of liberals, leftists and other progressives for sexist comments and xenophobic language, while many abroad are worried over his inaugural vow on Friday to put “America First” in his decision-making.

The protests illustrated the depth of the anger in a deeply divided country that is still recovering from the scarring 2016 election campaign season.

Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major US party.

“It’s important that our rights be respected. People have fought hard for our rights and President Trump has made it clear that he does not respect of them,” said Lexi Milani, a 41-year-old restaurant owner from Baltimore, who had ridden down in a bus with 28 friends.

The Women’s March on Washington featuring speakers, celebrity appearances and a protest walk along the National Mall, is the brainchild of Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook.

The march is intended as an outlet for women and their male allies to voice their opposition to Trump’s victory.

Organisers said they expected hundreds of thousands of people to attend.

Lowest popularity rating

A disparate lineup of organisations including reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood, gun-control group Moms Demand Action and Emily’s List, which promotes female candidates for office, sent large contingents to the event.

Many participants wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussy” hats, a reference to Trump’s ostensible admission to having committed sexual assault in a 2005 video that was made public weeks before the election. In that video, he said that he grabbed women by the genitals without their consent.

The march spotlights the fierce opposition Trump faces as he takes office, a period that is typically more of a honeymoon for a new president.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest popularity rating of any incoming president since the 1970s.

Women gave a host of reasons for marching, ranging from inspiring other women to run for office to protesting against Trump’s plans to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which among other things requires health insurers to cover birth control.

Jesse Carlock, 68, a psychologist from Dayton, Ohio was attending her first protest in decades. “Once Mr Trump was elected, I decided I needed to get active again, and I hadn’t been since the 60s and 70s,” Carlock said.

OPINION: Native Americans expect nothing good from Trump…

“I’ve got to stand up and be counted as against a lot of what President Trump is saying … about healthcare, immigration, reproductive rights, you name it.”

Women said they hoped to send a unity message to Trump after a campaign in which he said Mexican immigrants were “rapists”, discussed banning Muslims from entering the United States, and was revealed to have once bragged about grabbing women by the genitals and kissing them without permission.

Trump’s team did not respond to a request for comment about the march.

Celebrities such as the musicians Janelle Monae and Katy Perry – both of whom supported Clinton in the election – are expected to take part in Saturday’s march.

March organisers said they had extensive security plans in place, and would have both visible and hard-to-spot security workers along the route.

Global protests

Several thousand people gathered in central Stockholm to express support for women’s rights and human rights, and in solidarity with the march in the US.

They marched to the US embassy, some carrying placards that read “Tiny hands off the nukes”, “When they go low, we go high”, and “Love not hate makes America great”.
Women protest in Geneva, Switzerland [Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA]
Similar protests were held in the capitals of neighbouring Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Around 2,000 people marched in Vienna, according to estimates by the police and organisers, but sub-zero temperatures quickly thinned the crowd to a couple of hundred.

OPINION: Donald Trump’s dangerous demagoguery

In Africa, hundreds of protesters in Nairobi’s Karura Forest waved placards and sang American protest songs.

In Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, about 3,000 people – men and women – gathered for a rally in Hyde Park before marching on the US consulate downtown, while organisers said 5,000 people rallied in Melbourne.

In New Zealand, there were marches in four cities, involving around 2,000 people, Wellington’s march organiser Bette Flagler told Reuters.

Elsewhere in Asia, hundreds of people joined protests in Tokyo, including many American expatriates.

Finally Disgraced Out O Power, Gambian Dictator Yayha Jammeh Leaves Banjul Today Into Exile


jamiah

January 21, 2017, Gambia’s former president, Yahya Jammeh will now leave Banjul on Saturday with President Alpha Conde of Guinea, to begin a new life in exile. This followed Friday’s final peace move by Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The two West African leaders traveled to Banjul to persuade the long-ruling Jammeh to leave peacefully before West African forces pounced on him.

This followed Friday’s final peace move by Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The two West African leaders traveled to Banjul to persuade the long-ruling Jammeh to leave peacefully before West African forces pounced on him.

In a statement issued on state TV Friday night, Jammeh announced that he was stepping down, a superfluous announcement as he was already no more the leader, having been denied recognition by the world.

All indications are that Jammeh will be going into exile in Guinea.

A senior adviser to new President Adama Barrow said talks to finalize the exile deal were holding up his exit.

“I can assure you that he has agreed to leave,” Mai Ahmad Fatty, Barrow’s special advisor, told Reuters in Senegal’s capital Dakar. He could not say where Jammeh would go into exile.

President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow had earlier confirmed Yahya Jammeh’s stepping down.

Barrow, on his Twitter handle on Friday, @adama_barrow said: “I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down.

“He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia.”

Barrow on Thursday took the oath of office as Gambia’s new president.

He was sworn-in about 5 p.m. Senegalese time at the Gambian High Commission in Dakar, Senegal.

Barrow succeeded Yahya Jammeh, who lost in the Dec. 1 presidential election and refused to vacate office when his term expired midnight on Thursday.

Gambia’s Chief of Defence, Ousman Badjie, on Friday pledged loyalty to President Barrow.

“West African troops that crossed from neighboring Senegal into Gambia to help unseat Jammeh would be welcomed “with a cup of tea,’’ said Badjie.

ECOWAS armies halted Operation Restore Democracy aimed at installing the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, on Thursday so regional leaders could make one last attempt to convince long-time ruler Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

In Dakar, the Nigerian force Commander, Operation Restore Democracy, Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, said the ECOWAS forces would not let down their guard, in spite of negotiations for the former Gambian president, Alhaji Yahaya Jammeh to leave office.

He said the troops are awaiting briefing by the political leaders.

Yusuf made the statement while briefing journalists in Dakar, on Friday.

“Even if he quits we are not letting down our guard, our mandate is to restore peace in Gambia.

“We have been on standby, and the troops are still on a very high alert, depending on the outcome of political negotiations.

“We are not letting down our guard; our mandate is to restore democracy in Gambia,’’ Yusuf said.

Yusuf added that the mandate given to them was to restore peace and nothing else.

He promised to carry out his responsibilities professionally while waiting for a further directive from the political masters.

Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.

President Jammeh has ruled Gambia since a successful coup in 1994
AFP

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