Sierra Leone -- Elections: Challenges of a Transition & Beyond [July 19, 2007]

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Tension, acrimony and violence that have characterized the ongoing electoral campaigns in Sierra Leone remain a major cause for concern. One such classical case is the Sunday July 15 clash between the opposition Peoples’ Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in Kailahun in the eastern part of the country. Weapons were used and Charles Margai, the opposition leader reportedly escaped death narrowly. Sierra Leone is one of the two pilot countries where the newly created United Nations Peacebuilding Commission is kick-starting its mission to build peace and ensure that never again would the country glide into chaos and anarchy. Indeed, the peace that Sierra Leone enjoys began in earnest with President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s declaration on January 18th 2002 in Lungi that the rebel war, which began on March 21st 1991, was finally over with the words “di war don done.” This feat was realized following the intervention of the international community, which provided peacekeeping troops, and the determination of the people of Sierra Leone to bring an end to the suffering caused by the war.

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Togo -- LES REELS DEFIS DES ELECTIONS LEGISLATIVES AU TOGO: LE DEBUT DE CONFIANCE DES ACTEURS [August 31, 2007]

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Dans sa longue marche vers la démocratie le peuple togolais retiendra l’année 2007 comme celle au cours de laquelle d’importantes initiatives susceptibles d’influer la sécurité nationale, la démocratie, la paix et la reprise sans restriction des relations avec la communauté internationale ont été prises. Ces initiatives constituent une suite logique pour l’espoir suscité par le dialogue inter togolais renforcé par l’Accord Politique Global (APG). En effet, les manquements et effusions de sang qui ont été constatés lors des précédents processus électoraux ont induit une dynamique nationale pour la gestion du pouvoir et l’organisation d’élections libres et transparentes. Elle a clairement permis de spécifier la question relative à l’indépendance de la CENI (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) dans l’organisation et la supervision des élections vis-à-vis des pouvoirs publics. Une nouvelle volonté a vu le jour entre les protagonistes de la crise togolaise. Elle a été renforcée par l’implication de la communauté internationale qui cherche à aider l’Etat togolais à asseoir une politique de bonne gouvernance pour réussir l’organisation des élections libres et transparentes, conditions déterminantes pour la normalisation de la coopération future entre le Togo et l’Union Européenne.

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Nigeria -- Niger Delta Crisis and Yar’adua’s Administration: Critical Issues & Hurdles [February 20, 2008]

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The progression of events in the Niger Delta represents both opportunities to find lasting solutions to the violence in the region as well as serious risks to the corporate existence of Nigeria and international energy. The 2008 budget, the first by the Yar’ Adua Administration, shows the extent of the nation’s dependence on oil and its vulnerability to risks posed by the prolonged crisis in the Niger Delta. Of the projected total revenue of N1,986 trillion, 80% is expected to come from oil1. Nigeria is the 6th largest exporter of oil within The Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) and supplier of 12 percent of the energy needs of the United States of America (USA)2. The continuous unfolding events in the nation have major repercussions in the entire Gulf of Guinea. No doubt, therefore, that the present debate on the USA’s future defence and military strategies in Africa in the guise of AFRICOM have not been unrelated to the challenge posed by the crisis in the Niger Delta. The international implications of the volatility of Nigeria’s oil rich region is viewed in its immense influence on the international oil market. In December 2007, the price of oil hit the $100 mark with attendant consequences on the pump prices of fuel the world over.

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West Africa -- DRUG TRAFFICKING: AN ALARMING HUMAN SECURITY THREAT [September 12, 2007]

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The rate of drug trafficking in West Africa has assumed an alarming proportion. Almost each day, a major seizure of narcotics is reported in one of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States, despite protocols signed to deal with this criminal, yet highly lucrative trade. On September 4th 2007 the chief of army staff in Guinea Bissau gave orders for the army to shoot any plane that lands in its uncontrolled coastal islands, which have become a transit point for Latin American cocaine destined for European and American markets. On June 29, 2007, Senegalese authorities arrested Latin Americans who are using West African ports as transit routes and seized 1.2 metric tons of cocaine.

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Cameroun: February Unrest: Causalities, Implications and Way Forward [March 11, 2008]

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Dust is settling following violent protests that swept across Cameroon’s main cities of Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Kumba, Bamenda, Buea, Njombe-Penja, Obala and other localities in the usually renowned political hotspots of the country February 23-27, 2008. The riots led mostly by disaffected youths of the ‘Biya generation’ came in the heels of a transporters’ union strike against the soaring pump price of fuel. Human Rights groups now say more than 100 people were killed while the Communications Minister says 17 people were killed. The cost of the destruction is evaluated in millions of dollars.

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