- The UN Security Council has today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) by another six months, expressing its support for the long-awaited presidential elections slated for late November.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Council voted to keep the mission – and that of the French forces supporting it – in place through 31 January next year.
The Council stressed that “the Ivorian political actors are bound to respect this timeline to demonstrate their political commitment towards the holding of free, fair, open and transparent elections,” originally intended to be held as far back as 2005 but now scheduled for 29 November.
Welcoming the successful registration of all voters, the Council said that postponing the polls “would be inconsistent with a credible process and with the Ouagadougou Political Agreement,” the 2007 blueprint for political reconciliation in the West African country which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and a northern area dominated by the rebel Forces Nouvelles.
It also underscored the need for all civil society groups to take part in the electoral process, as well as ensuring the protection and respect for human rights.
In particular, the Council emphasised the importance of “respect for freedom of opinion and expression, and removing obstacles and challenges to women’s participation and full involvement in public life.”
Last week, the top UN envoy to Côte d’Ivoire told the Council that bureaucratic complications involved in planning and running the long-delayed polls “are not to be underestimated,” noting that the identification and registration of more than 6 million voters, intended to wrap up in six weeks, took more than nine months.
Y.J. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNOCI, said that “a public electoral timeline with detailed stages shall constitute one of the most important remedies to this chronic and pervasive problem,” adding that the Ivorian electoral management body seems to be struggling with the operation of the elections.
The month of September, he said, could prove decisive to the overall peace process as that is the deadline for many electoral planning and reunification-related issues – such as reintegrating members of the rebel Forces Nouvelles into the army, police and gendarmerie – to be solved ahead of the presidential polls, which were supposed to be held in 2005 and then 2008.
He further warned that, “given this mixed picture of worrying signs amid solid progress,” it may be necessary “to develop options [by October]… with a view to finding a way to reconcile the contradictions currently facing the Ivorian electoral and reunification process.”
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.