KW 08: Nigerian presidential election postponed, EU Parliament backs fishing deal with Morocco, Sierra Leone declares emergency over rape and sexual assault

– NEWS –

Nigerian presidential election postponed: Nigerian authorities postponed Saturday’s national election by a week, just hours before polls had been due to open. The electoral commission said the postponement was due solely to logistical factors and denied political pressure had played any part in the decision. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, said the delay was to make sure the election was free and fair. It’s reported the problem is over logistics affecting some areas, where the electoral material hasn’t arrived on time. Past elections have been marred by violence, intimidation and ballot-rigging, and the postponement raised the possibility of unrest. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says he has ordered the police and military to be ruthless with vote-riggers. The incumbent president also called the electoral commission incompetent and ordered an investigation into why the vote was delayed.
reuters.com, euronews.com, bbc.com

Rare black leopard filmed in Kenya: The elusive African black leopard is alive and well and living in Kenya. A team of biologists shot rare footage of the big cat after spending months watching and waiting, said Nick Pilfold, a global conservation scientist from the Institute for Conservation Research of the San Diego Zoo Global. While there have been previous reports of sightings of black leopards in Africa – also known as black panthers – the new images offer important confirmation. Pilfold said it was certain that black panthers had been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it had always been absent until now. His team of biologists had placed remote cameras to track the leopard population near a conservancy area in Laikipia County last year when they heard reports of a possible black leopard sighting. Within a few months, they were rewarded with multiple observations on their cameras.
cnn.com, nytimes.com

EU Parliament backs fishing deal with Morocco: The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of an EU trade deal with Morocco which includes fishing rights off the disputed coast of Western Sahara. The new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) includes the waters of Western Sahara and aims to take into account the conclusions reached by the EU Court of Justice on this matter. However, MEPs were advised by Human Rights Watch to first take the matter to the court, as the UN does not recognize Morocco’s claim over the territory.
euronews.com, europarl.europa.eu

German development minister supports investments in Africa: In an interview with German newspaper “Handelsblatt”, Development Minister Gerd Müller spoke out against linking development aid too closely with migration policies. He said if countries wanted to make leaps in development, then they needed sustainable private investment. The minister favors investments by German companies on the continent and promoted this strategy at the German-African economic summit in Ghana’s capital Accra. Müller also wants German companies to stand up for human rights standards in foreign factories.
handelsblatt.com, welt.de

Sierra Leone declares emergency over rape and sexual assault: Sierra Leone has declared a national emergency over sexual and gender-based violence after recorded cases of rape and assault doubled over the last year. President Julius Maada Bio announced the emergency amid a public outcry over the issue, triggered by a series of high-profile attacks. He also announced the formation of a dedicated police division to investigate reports of sexual violence, as well as a special magistrates’ court that would fast-track cases. Bio further said a national emergency hotline will be set up to facilitate reporting of sexual violence. The BBC’s Umaru Fofana in Freetown said the declaration of an emergency will mean state resources are more readily diverted to tackling sexual violence.
bbc.com, npr.org

Zimbabwe: 24 bodies recovered from flooded gold mine cnn.com
Munich Security Conference: Egyptian president calls for more cooperation zeit.de
German Development Minister Müller: Don’t leave market opportunities in Africa to the Chinese augsburger-allgemeine.de
African cinema: Booming African film industry in Berlinale talk spotlight dw.com

– BACKGROUND –

German Africa Commissioner defends himself against racism allegations: The group Fachverband Afrikanistik e.V. has raised serious charges against Germany’s Africa Commissioner, Günter Nooke. The group accused Nooke of using colonial stereotypes and racist undertones in an interview with a German newspaper. In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Development Minister Gerd Müller, Fachverband Afrikanistik e.V. called for Nooke’s resignation. During a conversation with the group at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Nooke defended his statements and said any form of racism was alien to him.
welt.de, taz.de

Decision on safe countries of origin postponed: The decision by the German Federal Council about the classification of the three North African countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Georgia as safe countries of origin has been postponed. This is intended to avert the foreseeable failure of the project for the time being. The council was to decide on Friday whether the four countries will be classified as safe countries of origin. International and EU law consider a country safe when there is a democratic system and generally and consistently.
faz.net, ec.europa.eu

– NUMBER –

The estimated stateless population in Africa is currently 700,000. Perhaps the best known example of an ongoing stateless crisis in Africa due in part to complicated citizenship laws is in Ivory Coast.
dw.com

– QUOTE –

“Many gays are blackmailed, robbed or sexually assaulted and do not report it to the police. They’re afraid they’ll get arrested.”

Mounir Baatour, head of the Tunisian LGBT human rights organization Shams, has warned that arbitrary conduct by officials and violence against homosexuals isn’t just a problem in Tunisia.
dw.com

– AT LAST –

21Torr’s South Africa experiment ends: Online marketing company 21Torr is taking stock after the end of its South Africa experiment. The German company moved to South Africa’s Cape Town to create a pop-up office. The head of 21Torr, Alexander Hafemann, is pleased about the positive results of the enterprise, which started in the late summer of 2018. The pop-up office was intended to give eight employees the opportunity to do their work away from home with the usual quality and efficiency. There was no shortage of applications for the project, the demand was huge, and the company is already planning another pop-up office.
wuv.de

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