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Archive for May 7th, 2007

Guinean government to look into the affairs of the Central Bank

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2007

Conakry (Guinea) The Guinean government set up an independent commission, attached to Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate, in charge of examining the status, running, and monetary and exchange policies of the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea (BCRG), APA learnt from official sources in Conakry.

As regards the status of the BCRG, the commission will examine the instructions and procedures relating to the running and the operations of the institution as well as the status of the staff.

This commission comprises four personalities, including one former BCRG Governor, Kerfalla Yansane, and a former Planning minister, Dr. Ousmane Kaba.

According to a government note published Friday, it will have to look into the law relating to the activity and the monitoring of credit institutions, in order to suggest a number of reform measures for the BCRG, together with an action plan.

The Commission will be backed in its task by the legal business department of BCRG and can count on the competences of resource people of the bank’s administration as well as its internal and external auditors.

The decision of the government follows the call, on May Day, by CNTG-USTG, ONSLG and UDTG trade unions to incorporate the Central Bank to the Prime minister’s office, in order to ensure its independence.

The trade-unions, in a memorandum to the PM on 27 April, requested a change at the head of this institution whose management they very much despise.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa


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Malian goes to constitutional court to seek redress

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2007

Bamako (Mali) The four defeated presidential candidates of the Front for Democracy and Republic (FDR), who challenged the provisional results of the presidential elections in Mali, expressed their wish to be heard by the Constitutional Court, APA learnt Saturday from a reliable source in Bamako, the Malian capital.

“The Constitutional Court can hear the applicants assisted by their lawyers,” the four opposition leaders wrote in their collective request to cancel the poll.

In addition to the alleged “irregularities” related to the “violation of the electoral code,” the four protestors complain about “generalised electoral fraud” and many other defects during the “voting operations.”

They said they have indicated “that state resources and civil servants were used,” the “corruption of voters was rampant” in the polling stations and that voters were “intimidated.”

Furthermore, affidavits drew up by bailiffs are evidences of “ballot rigging” and fraudulent “distribution” of voters’ cards to “potential voters”.

The four candidates, who hope to get a total cancellation of the poll, are defended before the Constitutional Court by a group of seven lawyers, including Lawyer Mamadou Gakou, president of the People’s Party Convention (COPP), one of the sixteen political parties and associations which are members of the FDR.

The complete provisional results of the presidential elections, published Friday by the Malian administration, gave 70.89 percent of the votes to outgoing president Amadou Toumani Toure against 19.09 percent to Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, leader of the FDR presidium.

The Constitutional Court is the only institution authorised to announce these results as final. On the election day, the Court had its own delegates a in the polling centres and counting stations.

Instead of ordering a repeat of the first round of the 2002 presidential election, the Malian Constitutional Court cancelled 541,049 votes or 24.58 percent of the votes cast.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Sierra Leone election date pushed to august

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2007

Freetown (Sierra Leone) Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission [NEC] has pushed the date for this year’s general and presidential elections to August 11, an addition of two weeks on the original date, APA has learnt.

While the commission has not officially announced the change of date but Hindowa Momoh, the commission’s executive secretary, told APA Saturday that they decided on the new date so as to enable NEC carry out its duties, such as printing of ballot papers. He said that the commission settled for the new date after consultation with leaders of the seven registered opposition parties and the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

“Time is too short and up until now parliament has not been dissolved. We would hope that within two to three months for the dissolution of parliament and so perhaps this additional time would help us meet our responsibilities,” Momoh said.

The previous date of July 28 had provoked controversy as it falls in the thick of the rainy season and opposition supporters have accused the ruling SLPP of having a hidden agenda. The new date is even bad timing as the rainy season would be at its peak.

As expected, the opposition has already begun crying foul, accusing the government of deliberately setting the date for the elections in the middle of the rainy season in order to disenfranchise many voters.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, a team of Moroccan engineers have been contracted by the government to help resurrect Freetown’s ailing power system.

The Moroccans, working with local engineers, are busy replacing damaged underground cables throughout the city, which has been dogged by erratic power supply for nearly a year.

Already, the Moroccans have revived the city’s street lights which have not been working for more than two decades. Most residents in the city rely on stand-by generators for electricity supply.

The government is trying to complete a hydro-electricity project at Bumbuna, in the north. When completed, the Bumbuna hydro power plant is expected to supply power to the whole of the western area including Freetown and most parts of northern Sierra Leone.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Gambian circumcisers drop knives – a remarkable development

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2007

Banjul (The Gambia) A remarkable development occurred Saturday morning in The Gambia when at the independence stadium in Bakau, some 12 kilometres from Banjul, the capital, a group of female circumcisers from different parts of the country stepped out before a large crowd of onlookers to publicly drop knives used in circumcising girls and swear that they have abandoned the harmful traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The public ceremony, which was covered by the media, and was attended by the country’s minister of health and social welfare, Dr. Tamsir Mbowe, and the WHO country representative, Dr. Nestor Shivute, among other dignitaries, was the high point of a countrywide campaign launched over a three year period by the Gambia Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP).

At the ceremony, the executive director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray, a gender activist and a lecturer at the Management Development Institute explained the genesis of the campaign which she said culminated in the ceremony. She explained further how their campaign against the “jealously guarded secrets about FGM, which was wrongfully associated with religion, thus making the debate more sensitive for women’s rights activists to engage,” was conducted through “effective mobilisation, action and frankness.

Dr. Touray added that GAMCOTRAP had developed the modules for its social mobilisation activities and found them very effective.

She noted that rights can only have meaning when the people are able to uphold them close to home and their practices, adding, “You can only demand your rights when you know what rights you have and can only execute the rights when you know for what purpose. These shermas (circumcisers) have understood the relevant articles and conventions to have reached this decision.”

Welcoming the achievement, the WHO representative spoke of the health hazards associated with FGM, describing in great detail how it affects women in society.

He said the immediate complaints include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, bleeding, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissues and he stressed that the injury and haemorrhage can cause death.

He however admitted that in some African societies the practice is deeply rooted and is regarded as “the rite of passage or transition” from childhood to adulthood. Nonetheless, WHO maintains that FGM is deleterious to the health and development of women and children in society, he said.

The health minister also observed that it is a mark of increasing maturity to subject the values and taboos surrounding this institution that the indigenous culture has held in high esteem in some quarters but the surgical aspects of which have been attributed to be causal factors of some health hazards.

He commended GAMCOTRAP for their promotion of a “democratic culture” and for piloting with the concerned circumcisers alternative employment opportunities.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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