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Matters arising

Jun 22, 2011, 12:59 PM

It is definitely incomprehensible that while the rest of the world is fighting tooth and nail in trying to contain the much-talked about financial crisis hitting the world, the continent of Africa is one way or the other engaged in wars and conflict.
From Libya to Morocco, Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea problems have continued to rage unabated. About 10,000 protesters have rallied in Casablanca, Morocco, against King Mohammed V’s proposed constitutional changes, which they say do not go far enough.

Reports say the king proposed slightly loosening his current absolute power, but said he would keep total control of Morocco’s security and foreign policy, as well as matters of religion.

His proposals will be put to a referendum on 1 July, but critics say this leaves little time for a real debate.

In neighbouring Senegal, a draft law is due to be tabled before the Senegalese parliament seeking to declare a candidate elected if he wins with at least 25 percent of the vote in the first round of elections.

Incumbent President Abdoulie Wade himself was elected in 2000 after coming second in the first round with 31 percent, then winning an overall majority in the run-off. Analyst say the proposal is likely to sail through the majority-controlled parliament in the coming days.

The proposal has raised the hackles of Wade’s rivals in the typically quiet West African state, who say it will make it easier for Wade to secure victory in next February’s election, which pits him against a fractured opposition.

Also there have been reports of a wave of arrests in Equatorial Guinea ahead of an African Union summit in the capital, Malabo. Reports say police raids have led to the arrest of more than 100 people.

The detentions were intended to prevent pro-democracy protests during the AU summit due to start on Thursday, Amnesty International said.

Equatorial Guinea banned protests after uprisings against long-term rulers started in North Africa.

The entire African continent is yearning for peace and nothing else. We have lost many of our loved ones in the continent, and any action that can create another trouble must be urgently tackled.

Worst of all, is the recent incident in Nigeria where the national police headquarters in Abuja was bombed.

A bomb reportedly tore through the car park of Nigeria’s national police headquarters last Thursday, killing several people and missing narrowly the country’s police chief who had entered the building moments earlier.

Reports also have it that gunmen raided a police station in northern Nigeria and killed several officers late on Monday, less than a week after the bombing at the police headquarters.

While we appreciate the efforts made by the ECOWAS, the AU and other international organisations, we pray that the parties involved in these conflicts allow common sense to prevail so that their people can live in peace, progress and prosperity.

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.”

Nelson Mandela