Accra: Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has unveiled a major new initiative to help tackle the growing threat from illegal drug trafficking in West Africa. The West Africa Commission on the Impact of Drugs on Governance, Security and Development (WACD) was launched on Thursday at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre in Accra, Ghana. The Commission has been formed in response to the dramatic surge in drug trafficking through West Africa over the past decade.
Prescriptions for the International Community: The transition from revolution to rights-respecting democracy is foremost a task for the people of the country undergoing change. But the international community can and should exert significant influence to ensure its success. Too often, however, global powers sell their influence short - or settle for less than they should - because of competing priorities. For example, the US and European governments, as noted, in their eagerness to wrest Burma from China’s influence have been tempted to embrace the new government before genuine reforms are adopted. A similar temptation exists for Washington to downplay domestic threats to rights in Egypt so long as Cairo supports US policy toward Israel. A more constructive international response would include the following:
Johannesburg: To ensure the survival of the diamond industry, the African leadership of, and footprint in, the Kimberly Process (KP) would have to be expanded, chairperson Welile Nhlapo said Thursday. South Africa took over the chairpersonship of the KP from the US on January 1. Nhlapo indicated that it was important that the world’s largest diamond-producing continent took a more aggressive stance in the fight against conflict diamonds, while KP member-countries would also have to fulfil their responsibilities by becoming more actively involved.
Dakar: TrustAfrica is pleased to announce a new project, "The Fund to Advance International Criminal Justice in Africa." The project is a follow-up to a series of meetings on International Criminal Justice, the most recent of which took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of 2011. The $1.5 million, multi-donor effort seeks to ensure greater collaboration and accountability among African states to transform the field of international criminal justice in Africa. The fund has three main goals, namely:
Addis Ababa: When the International Criminal Court made public an arrest warrant in November for Simone Gbagbo, a former first lady of Ivory Coast, on charges of crimes against humanity, it set two precedents. For the first time, it had indicted a woman — and someone who had held no formal public office. The previous year, Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, Laurent, became the first former head of state to face trial before the I.C.C. He is charged with thousands of murders and “other inhuman acts” after refusing to accept defeat in a presidential election that was held in November 2010.
Three years and seemingly endless politicking and US$40 million later, Zimbabwe's draft constitution is finally ready. The final version has been approved by the principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) - from ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions - as well as by the co-chairs of the country's Constitution Select Committee (COPAC), which led the process and was mandated to 'ensure a people-driven constitution'. The draft will now be presented to parliament - possibly as early as the 31st January but probably on the 5th of February. It is highly unlikely that parliament will change this draft given that the leaders of the three main political parties have given it their stamp of approval.
Johannesburg: Despite impressive economic growth and political progress in many parts of Africa, the new year has begun with three cases of instability: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Central African Republic. Three key subregions — the Great Lakes, West Africa, and Central Africa — could thus be plunged into eruptions that could spread their deadly lava across borders. If Africans are to establish what Kenyan scholar Ali Mazrui described as a Pax Africana, it will be important to address the domestic, regional, and external dimensions of this instability.
Addis Ababa: The year 2013 marks the jubilee for the African continent as the Organisation of African Union will be celebrating 50 years of existence and eleven 11 years since the launch of the African Union. This year also marks a decade since the continent established the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as evident in our gathering at this round table. This year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the successes, challenges and way forward as we seek to strengthen the mechanism.
Addis Ababa: African foreign ministers under the aegis of the African Union Executive Council opened their meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Thursday, with a plan to outline a new set of measures to deal with unconstitutional take-over of power, including the amendment of the landmark Lome Declaration. Executive Council Chairman Nassirou Bako Arifari said with recent coup d’etats in Mali and Guinea Bissau, amendments to the Lome and the Algiers Declarations were urgently required during the AU Summit to criminalise power seizures.