Obasanjo, Mahama, Others Call For Reduced Cost Of Conducting Elections In Africa

African leaders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Ghanaian President John Mahama and some other former African leaders have called for a reduced cost of conducting elections in Africa.

The leaders made the call after a meeting, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, where they discussed how to ensure free and credible electoral process in the continent.

The meeting which was chaired by ex-president Obasanjo who was also the convener had in attendance 38 participants from across Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Africa and the United States of America.

The leaders agreed that, “African governments should take steps towards reducing the cost of elections learning lessons from African countries that conduct credible elections as low cost such as South Africa.”

The leaders also recommended that, “Greater investment is needed for technology and human capacity building that can promote civic education and political sensitisation to address the problem of ignorance and digital illiteracy.

“Civil society organisations in Africa should set up facts-checking sites as a way of countering the negative effects of fake news.”

READ ALSO: Obasanjo, Mahama, Others Discuss Credible Elections In Africa

The also called on the African Union to intensify advocacy for the ratification of the Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection.

“ICT should be central to election observation. AU, ECOWAS and other sub-regional organisations should be encouraged to embed ICT experts within its election observation mission to ensure that close examination and monitoring of these systems are undertaken by observers.”

Former Presidents, John Mahama of Ghana, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya and Vice President Saluos Chilima from Malawi were in attendance at the meeting.

Other stakeholders at the meeting include the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for Human Security of the Olusegun Obasanjo Library, Professor Akin Mabogunje, former Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Electoral Commission of South Africa, Advocate Pansy Tlakula.

The Open Society Foundations were represented by Dr. Muthoni Wanyeki and Amir Osman while the Brenthurst Foundations were represented by Dr. Greg Mills and Ray Hartley.

READ THE FULL COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING:

Preamble
The High-Level Working Group Meeting on “Mitigating Disruptive Applications of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) On Electoral Process In Africa” was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta Nigeria from December 18-19, 2018. The objectives of the meeting were:
 
• To review electoral systems in Africa especially inputs, processes and output/outcomes.
• To examine the strengths and weaknesses in the use of ICT in electoral systems in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
• To illustrate how ICT can be used to ease the electoral process rather than inhibit it.
• To document good practices in e-voting across the world and extract lessons for Africa.
• To propose models of successful deployment of ICT in electoral systems in Africa for the sustenance of democracy in the region
• To examine how to improve standards and policies for elections observations in Africa.
 
The meeting was attended by 38 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan,  South Africa and United States of America. Participants included His Excellences, President John Mahama of Ghana, President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya and Vice President Saluos Chilima from Malawi. Other stakeholders included the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for Human Security of the Olusegun Obasanjo Library, Professor Akin Mabogunje, former Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Electoral Commission of South Africa, Advocate Pansy Tlakula. The Open Society Foundations were represented by Dr. Muthoni Wanyeki and Amir Osman while the Brenthurst Foundations were represented by Dr. Greg Mills and Ray Hartley. Vice-Chancellors and IT experts were also participants at the meeting. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo who was also the Convener.
 
 
Closing Statement
 
After two days of deliberations on “Mitigating Disruptive Applications of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the Electoral Process in Africa”, the high-level Working Group chaired by H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo made up of eminent persons who had played active roles, participating in, implementing and observing the election process in Africa including former Heads of State and Government, chairpersons of election management bodies, Information Technology (IT) experts and civil society organisations and members of the academia, participants:
 
• noted the increasingly important role that ICT plays in the election process in Africa and elsewhere in the world, especially in improving the efficiency of the process;
• further noted that the adoption of technology has gone a long way to improve the election management process thereby drastically reducing incendiary incidents such as ballot stuffing, result sheet mutilation, over voting, alteration of result sheets and hijacking of ballot boxes. Elections’ management system based on technology can cut costs, increase voter turnout, make voting more convenient and accessible, ensure elections are honest, and reassure voters that their voices were heard. The development of e-collation support platform has also significantly reduced the incidence of result manipulation at collation centres;
• observed that in spite of its advantages, ICT use in the election process can be a dangerous monster in the process of elections in Africa and elsewhere contributing to instability and bad governance.  Examples of disruptive applications of ICT include malicious use of social media to disseminate false information to create confusion, tension and panic; malfunctioning of gadgets that were supposed to serve as instruments of electronic voting; hacking of election databases and the high cost of purchasing and maintaining electronic machines;
• noted that hate speeches and fake news are becoming increasing features of the election process induced largely by ICT use;
• noted the high cost of conducting elections in many parts of Africa. There is equally a growing concern that use of technology in elections is becoming an avenue for corruption that makes Africa’s elections some of the most expensive in the world.
• noted challenges to ICT use including accessibility to and understanding of ICT by the substantially illiterate populations in Africa; and
• lamented the deep-rooted ethnic and socio-cultural prejudices of electorates in many African countries which impede and impugn the integrity of the electoral process and possibly interfere with ICT use in the election process.
 
Recommendations
 
To mitigate disruptive applications of ICT in the electoral process in Africa, participants recommended as follows:
 
1. In deciding technologies to use or introduce for the election process, African countries should take into consideration the socio-cultural, political and infrastructural contexts in which ICT will be deployed; the costs and the benefits of use of technology on the integrity of the electoral process; nature and type of technology required; and sustainability and security of the chosen technology.
2. Procurement and deployment of election-related technology must be timely, transparent and inclusive to ensure a buy–in from all stakeholders, ensure value for money and allow for testing and inspection.
3. Election Management Bodies (EMBs) should overcome the challenge of delay in the final collation of results by fully implementing the use of electronic collation within the necessary time and legal frameworks to ensure early and comprehensive release of results. This will minimise the risk of manipulation into the system and tampering with the results.
4. Enough time should be allocated to ICT-based activities such as voter verification and issuance of voter cards and printing of registers. These activities when done on the eleventh hour are prone to avoidable mistakes which might generate unnecessary tension and problems.
5. An ICT-based regional infrastructure should be established to facilitate resource sharing among African countries in procuring, deploying and operationalising ICTs during elections.
6. ICT in the election process should be introduced early to enable the electoral bodies demonstrate their capacity to follow laid-down standard operating procedures and policies for acquisition and implementation of the systems, like procurement, testing, sign-offs, audit and training.
7. It should be ensured that the infrastructures particularly power and telecommunications exist in order to guarantee effective use of ICT in the election process.
8. Use-friendly technologies and technologies that are basic for persons with relatively low level of digital literacy is relevant for many African countries at this time with progressive sophistication over time to match improvements in the digital literacy level of the electorate. We should choose technology carefully and make haste slowly.
9. There should be emphasis on homegrown technology that is rugged, robust, scalable and sustainable.
10. Elections begin with good laws hence African governments are urged to enact and apply laws that are conducive to credible elections including the use of ICT in the election process.
11. If not already in place and in order to safeguard the right to privacy, African countries should enact and apply data protection laws on all data connected with the election process.
12. EMBs and civil society organisations should set up social media monitoring groups to constantly monitor misleading information and events in respect of the election process and promptly issue corrective narratives.
13. Credible and regularly-updated national ID systems are important for the election process. If not already in place, African countries should institute such systems. The move towards regional ID systems such as that of ECOWAS should be encouraged. A continental ID system is also worthy of consideration in the long term.
14. African governments should take steps towards reducing the cost of elections learning lessons from African countries that conduct credible elections as low cost such as South Africa.
15. Greater investment is needed for technology and human capacity building that can promote civic education and political sensitisation to address the problem of ignorance and digital illiteracy.
16. Civil society organisations in Africa should set up facts-checking sites as a way of countering the negative effects of fake news.
17. The African Union should intensify advocacy for the ratification of the Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection which is meant to be the continent’s regulatory framework on cybersecurity and personal data protection.
18. There is need to establish or strengthen the minimum standards of appointing election observers. These will include knowledge of the country in which the observation is made, the socio-cultural nuances of the electorate and technical knowledge to appreciate breaches in the use of ICT for elections.
19. Observers should be appointed early and not a few days to the start of elections so that they are conversant with the process and the context before the election effectively begins.
20. Attention should be paid to unhealthy interactions of external observer missions with partisan civil society organisations and politicians otherwise the integrity of the observer mission will be jeopardised.
21. High standards of reporting by observer missions should be encouraged. Timely release of the report should be ensured.
22. There should be more focus on sub-regional electoral observer missions.
23. ICT should be central to election observation. AU, ECOWAS and other sub-regional organisations should be encouraged to embed ICT experts within its election observation mission to ensure that close examination and monitoring of these systems are undertaken by observers.
24. Careful attention should be given to the appointment of leaders of election missions to ensure that they do not present a view of partisanship which undermines the credibility of the observer mission.
25. Observers should be encouraged to react promptly to every complaint from stakeholders.
26. Invest more resources in pre-election observation missions to involve technical experts.
27. There should be continuous improvement in instruments for election observation and capacity building of observers in the use of ICTs.
28. Election observation has done some good and we should continue to improve on its capacity to enhance the credibility and the integrity of the election process in Africa.
 
Appreciation
 
Participants appreciate the following for the success of the meeting:
 
• H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo for convening and chairing the meeting
• All participating Presidents/Prime Minister/Vice-President
• Open Society Foundations for funding support
• Past Chairpersons of Election Management Bodies (Nigeria and South Africa)
• VCs
• IT experts
• Civil Society Organisations
• Other experts

‘We Have A Great Battle To Fight’, Ghanaian President Challenges African Leaders

Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has called on African leaders to promote good governance in the continent.

He made this call on Monday at the 58th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“We have a great battle to fight and win. That is the battle to provide our people with a good quality of life,” he said.

He, however, advocated the need for the provision of free and qualitative education from cradle to secondary school.

“I have no hesitation whatsoever in asking all African countries to adopt the policy of free compulsory education from Kindergarten to Senior High School,” he added.


The Ghanaian leader believes the fight against corruption is one that must be won in order to improve the lives of the African people.

“For us to build a continent and meet the aspirations of the African people, we must characterize our budgetary arrangements to ensure that funds are available to strengthen key institutions of the state such as the legislature, judiciary, the school institution among others.”

Akufo-Addo also charged African leaders to embrace the principles and democratic accountability, rule of law, human rights, individual liberty and freedom, which he noted were the bedrock of Africa’s development and individual prosperity.

African Leaders Create Agency To Tackle Migration Crisis

 

African leaders have created a body to help coordinate national policies on migration, Morocco announced at the African Union (AU) summit on Monday.

AU leaders agreed to set up an organisation called the African Observatory for Migration and Development (OAMD), based in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told a press conference in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital.

“African leaders have taken the decision to task this important new tool with harmonising the national strategies of African states and improving interaction with partners (abroad),” he said.

The scheme, suggested by Morocco, comes amid a fresh crisis within the European Union (EU) over an influx of migrants taking the perilous trip across the Mediterranean.

But Bourita rejected an EU proposal to allow migrants rescued in international waters to request asylum in the EU from so-called “regional disembarkation platforms” located outside of Europe.

“Morocco strongly rejects this platform idea, which it considers inappropriate. It is an easy, counterproductive solution,” he said.

At a summit in Brussels last week, European leaders agreed to consider setting up “disembarkation platforms” outside the EU, most likely in North Africa, in a bid to discourage migrants and refugees boarding EU-bound smuggler boats.

Member countries could also create processing centres to determine whether the new arrivals are returned home as economic migrants or admitted as refugees in willing states.

“The tragic fate that awaits African migrants on Europe’s doorstep is made worse by the recurrence of intolerable behaviours against them in Africa itself,” Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU’s commission chairman, said in a tweet on Sunday.

“Unless it wants to lose any credibility on this issue, our union cannot condemn obvious human rights violations against African migrants elsewhere and ignore it when similar things happen on the continent.”

Hundreds of thousands of Africans have left the continent in a bid to reach Europe in recent years, often taking deadly routes through the desert and across the Mediterranean, as they fled war and poverty at home.

But migration was not on the official agenda of AU summit, which focused on security crises, trade and corruption.

AFP

Prioritise National Interest, Ex-Ghanaian President Advises African Leaders

The immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama has called on African leaders to prioritise national interests, adding that the African continent is better off operating a not so perfect democracy which could get better than a high-risk dictatorship.

Mahama said African leaders should always put national interest above personal and foreign interest and embrace a collective position to develop the continent.

The former Ghanaian President speaking as the guest speaker at the graduation lecture of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, said foreign interests have largely succeeded in Africa because many African leaders have not been able to entrench their national interests.

“For a long time, foreign interest has largely succeeded because many African countries have not been able to entrench their national interests within their democratic institutions.

“They have succeeded because the quest for power often tramps the safeguarding of our national interests. I, therefore, propose that African leaders must make efforts to define their own national interests and ensure that just like the Western countries, we take collective positions that do not vary, irrespective of who is at the helm of affairs,” he said.

Mahama said until African leaders like their foreign counterparts begin to take a collective position that does not vary irrespective of who is at the helms of the affairs, the African continent will not develop to its full capacity.

African Leaders Must Speak With One Voice, Says Buhari

African Leaders Must Speak With One Voice, Says Buhari
File photo

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African leaders to speak ‘with one voice’, independent of foreign influence.

The President, in a statement on Saturday, said this would help to achieve economic integration, development, peace, and security on the continent.

According to the statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, President Buhari spoke on Friday night at a bilateral meeting with President Alpha Conde of Guinea in Istanbul, Turkey.

He stressed the need for African leaders to learn from history to effectively tackle conflicts, violent extremism, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

“The two Presidents, who met on the margins of the ninth D-8 Summit in Istanbul, exchanged views on bilateral relations, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the statement said.

President Buhari assured his Guinean counterpart, who is also the current Chairman of African Union that Nigeria would continue to strengthen its engagement with all AU member-states to address the security challenges in restive areas such as South Sudan and Libya, and the political crisis in Togo.

In his remarks, President Conde commended Nigeria’s leadership role on the continent, particularly President Buhari’s anti-corruption drive and his strong voice on African issues at the international stage.

The Guinean leader also stressed the need for Guinea and Nigeria to accelerate economic cooperation, particularly in the natural resources sector, where Guinea boasts of 25 percent or more of the world’s known bauxite reserves.

Osinbajo Challenges African Leaders To Fight Poverty

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked African leaders to tackle the rising surge of poverty among several others for the continent to achieve its 2063 agenda.

He gave this admonition in Owerri, the Imo state capital during the 48th Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

According to him, “Africa must take practical steps with urgent collaboration amongst African leaders to tackle threats of weak education and healthcare system, poverty, social safety, climate change and issues of resource-based revenues if Africa wants to achieve the Africa Agenda 2063.”

On the need for an enhanced collaboration, the VP added, “We need to collaborate and unite for Africa’s development” maintaining that “encouraging the understanding that an attack against democracy in any African state is an attack against democracy in every African state, building intra-continental infrastructure for easy movement, strong economic integration and recognition of full inherent potential of its human capital.”

In her remarks, Chairperson of CPA, Lindiwe Maseko, hinged on parliamentarians across Africa making sure that come up with legislation to tackle scourge of gender-based and domestic violence, shared poverty, unemployment, and inequality  and work together to find mechanism for conflict resolution, peacebuilding and development of African countries if the Africa Agenda 2063 is to be achieve.

On his part, the state’s Chief Executive, Governor Rochas Okorocha said, “The conference is apt and timely especially with the socio-economic issues affecting the development of African countries at the moment, he said he’s optimistic that in no distant time, Africa will sing a new song and join other continents of the world to celebrate economic greatness.”

The 48th conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Africa is an event that draws parliamentarians from across the 55 African countries.

However, this year’s event is being held in the Imo trade and investment centre state on the theme, “Africa Agenda 2063: Vision Masterplan.”

Channels Television And IREX Highlight Works Of Young African Leaders

Channels Television And IREX Highlight Works Of Young African LeadersChannels Television and IREX have announced their partnership to produce and broadcast testimonials of young African leaders who are making a difference in their communities across Nigeria and Africa.

These young leaders will primarily consist of alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), that strengthens the leadership and professional skills of young professionals.

Beyond growing the talents of individual fellows, the programme also forges networks of leaders to deepen the impact of development locally and to share ideas across Africa.

Other participants will include community leaders and Africa-based alumni of other programmes implemented by IREX.

The Chairman of Channels Media Group, John Momoh, said of the partnership: “This partnership is exciting because it is important to amplify the positive narrative of Africa’s growth testimonials about young leaders transforming their communities and nations.”

IREX President and CEO, Kristin Lord, said, “Africa is beginning to show the world what the new face of servant leadership could look like and it serves us all to recognize, encourage and broadcast this movement.”

Together, Channels Television and IREX will amplify the voice of young leaders across Africa starting with Nigeria on November 1, 2016.

Channels Television will broadcast these testimonials with the goal of sharing the valuable contributions young Africans are making to their communities and countries.

Channels Television is an independent and multiple award-winning, 24-hour news and media company based in Lagos, Nigeria.

IREX is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a programme of the United States government and is implemented by IREX.

For more information, please contact:

Erin Powell, Communications Coordinator, IREX; [email protected]

Kingsley Uranta, AGM, Operations, Channels Television; [email protected]

Yemisi Ipaye, Snr Manager, News & Corporate Affairs, Channels Television; [email protected]

 

African Heads Of State Sign Charter On Maritime Security

Heads of State in Africa sign Charter on maritime safety African leaders have adopted and signed a draft Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development.

The agreement is aimed at establishing a roadmap on maritime security in Africa and causing development and economic growth through Africa’s oceans and seas.

At a summit in Lome, the capital of Togo, the African leaders signed the charter which is the culmination of previous summits, to provide peace, security and stability on Africa’s blue economy.

Over 90 per cent of Africa’s trade is maritime-based.

Prior to the signing of the charter, series of discussions were held by international maritime specialists and experts who met for five days.

They examined maritime piracy, trafficking, illegal fishing, development of the blue economy and protection of marine ecosystem.

These discussions culminated in a charter the Chairperson of African Union (AU), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Idriss Deby of Chad referred to as an uncommon feat.

nkosazana-dlamini-zuma
Chairperson of African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi, says nearly 3,000 delegates from 54 African countries and and outside the continent were in Lome for the African Union Extraordinary Summit on maritime security and development.

The summit had focused on mapping out an African strategy for the protection of the continent’s seas.

A Very Major Step

For the development of the continent’s blue economy to happen, Africa needs to run like a cheetah, UN Economic Commission Executive Secretary, Dr Carlos Lopes, says.

“What we need is a much deeper understanding of the transformation that is required by the continent and that transformation can be represented by the fastest moving animal on earth which happens to be in Africa – the cheetah,” he pointed out.

He said Africa must prepare for the worst while expecting the best.


The Chairperson of the AU Commission had listed major challenges facing the continent’s maritime development.

She says Africa needs to have its own products being transported out of the continent with its own vessels.

yemi-osinbajo-in-togo
Nigeria’s Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo says the charter is a major step

After the signing of the Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development, the President of Chad, Mr Deby and the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said the agreement was a big achievement for Africa’s development.

“One of the critical things here is that we have been able to get everyone to agree, which by itself, is a very major step. It, of course, enjoins every African country to provide certain services and armed services in their own locality,” Professor Osinbajo stressed.

Before now, vast potentials of Africa’s blue economy have been infiltrated by criminals, pirates and smugglers, but the leaders have made a strong commitment to the monitoring and coordinating of activities in the continent’s waters through the charter.

Part of what the leaders plan to achieve with the new charter are job creation and revenue increase that could run into billions of dollars.

Ease Of Doing Business: Nigeria Targets Top 100 Countries By 2019

Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria's EconomyPresident Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will be one of the most attractive and easiest places of doing business in the world by 2019.

He said this on Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya at a plenary session on “Dialogue with the Private Sector” at the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD VI).

President Buhari said his administration is implementing policies and measures to create right and enabling environment for business and investors in Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank, according to the Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business report.

President Buhari told the session attended by several African leaders, Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and international business executives that his administration’s vision and objective was to make Nigeria one of the top investment destinations in the world, within the shortest possible time.

“We believe government has a particular responsibility to create right and attractive environment for businesses and economic activities to thrive.

“In furtherance of this vision, we have launched the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEEC) and Inter-Ministerial Council, to oversee the efforts of government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle businesses and economic activities and thereby create economic activities and the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria.

“The secretariat will include strong private sector representation that would be led by experienced business professionals from the private sector.

“We are committed to moving up the ranking of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index 20 places in first year and be in the top 100 within the next 3 years,” the President said.

This plan was made public by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

Bill Gates Commends African Youths Innovation

Bill GatesPhilanthropist and Founder of Microsoft, Mr Bill Gates, says the power of the youths in Africa should be harnessed and their ability to drive innovation must be encouraged and given an opportunity to thrive.

He was the keynote speaker at the 14th Annual Nelson Mandela Foundation Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa, where he acknowledged some young Africans who have created groundbreaking innovations.

Mr Gates identified economic, social and health challenges prevailing in the continent as some of the factors that could hinder their development and that of the future of Africa.

He emphasized the need for African leaders to multiply the talents for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing population, and that depends on whether all of Africa’s young people are given the opportunity to thrive.

“Nelson Mandela said poverty is not natural, it is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

“We are the human beings that must take action and we have to decide now because this unique moment won’t last.

“We must clear away the obstacles that are standing in young people’s way so that they can seize all their potential.

“If young people are sick and malnourished, their bodies and brains will never fully develop. If they are not educated well, their minds will lie dormant. If they do not have access to economic opportunities, they will not be able to achieve their goals,” he said.

Obasanjo Challenges African Leaders To Tackle Unemployment

Olusegun Obasanjo, ECOWAS, AfricaA former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has challenged African leaders on the worrisome unemployment rate among youths.

He made the clarion call on Monday at his residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in southwest Nigeria.

The former president was speaking when he received the new President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Marcel Alain de Souza.

He asked the leaders to redouble their effort towards reducing the over 50% unemployment rate among the teaming population of youths on the African continent.

Obasanjo noted that the challenge of unemployment might spell doom for the continent if they fail to tackle it.

He said that the aims and aspirations of the founding fathers of the sub regional organisation have remained and have not been achieved in the last 41 years of its establishment.

While challenging Mr de Souza on critical reforms in the commission, the former president said that the fortunes of the 320 million people of the ECOWAS extraction must be met if the much needed development must be achieved.

War Crimes: Chad’s Ex-ruler Hissene Habre Gets Life Sentence

habreChad’s ex-ruler, Hissene Habre, has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison at a landmark trial in Senegal.

He was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990.

Victims and families of those killed cheered and embraced each other in the courtroom after the verdict was given.

It was the first time an African Union-backed court had tried a former ruler for human rights abuses.

Habre, who received strong backing from the U.S. while in power, has been given 15 days to appeal.

Survivors from the Habre era welcomed the verdict.

“This is a historic day for Chad and for Africa. It is the first time that an African head of state has been found guilty in another African country,” Yamasoum Konar, a representative of one of the victims’ groups, told the BBC.

“This will be a lesson to other dictators in Africa,” he added.

After he was sentenced, Habre remained defiant, raising his arms and shouting to his supporters, as he was led from the courtroom.

“Down with c!” he shouted, using a term which is critical of France’s influence in its former colonies.

Throughout the nine-month trial, he refused to recognise the court’s legitimacy, frequently disrupting proceedings.

The ex-president denied accusations that he ordered the killing of 40,000 people during his rule from 1982 to 1990.