January 18, 2017

GAMBIA: President-elect Barrow to Stay in Senegal until Inauguration

DAKAR JANUARY 17, 2017 (CISA) – Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow is in Senegal and will remain there at the request of West African leaders until his planned inauguration, Senegalese officials have said.

Barrow left Gambia for neighboring Senegal on August 15, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside, Reuters reported

“He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilizing the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.

Backed by the West and the African Union, Barrow, is due to be inaugurated on January 19, when President Jammeh’s mandate runs out although President Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to election results.

The regional mediation mission to Banjul on January 14, led by Nigeria’s President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was seen as the last attempt at a diplomatic resolution to the political impasse.

Talks with regional bloc ECOWAS in December had also failed. Consequently, the bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if President Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Mohammed Ibn Chambas said earlier this week.

According to the Senegalese government Barrow was in Dakar following consultations with heads of state from ECOWAS at a Bamako summit.

Barrow flew into the Malian capital as a surprise guest at the Africa-France summit after talks broke down on Friday between a three-nation West African delegation and President Jammeh.

President Jammeh has cited irregularities in the polling process and is challenging the election results at Gambia’s Supreme Court.

But the court could not rule on his challenge this week because judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not show up. The Supreme Court has indicated it may not be able to sit again until May.

Meanwhile Barrow’s son died January 15 after being bitten by a dog. Eight-year-old Habibu Barrow is reported to have died on the way to the hospital in Manjai near the Gambian capital Banjul. Barrow missed his son’s funeral as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.


VATICAN: Pope Meets President of Republic of Guinea

VATICAN CITY JANUARY 17, 2017(CISA) – Pope Francis on January 16 met Prof. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea at the Vatican.

In a press statement released by the Vatican, he described the meeting as cordial and said they highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Guinea.

The statement focused on questions of common interest such as integral human development, care of the environment, the fight against poverty and social injustice and the development of adequate policies in regards to the phenomenon of migration.

The important role and the contribution of Catholic institutions that operate in the country, particularly in fields of education, healthcare and the promotion of inter-religious dialogue were also discussed and highlighted.

The statement also noted the Republic of Guinea’s concrete commitment to work for peace in the West African region as one of the issues discussed during the visit.

The leader of the West African nation also met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

Prof. Alpha Condé has been President of the Republic of Guinea since December 2010 after having spent decades in opposition to a succession of regimes.

When he took office he became the first freely elected president in the country’s history, and then he was reelected in 2015 with almost 58 percent of the vote.


NIGERIA: You Cannot Kill in the Name of Religion, Bishop Kukah Warns

ABUJA JANUARY 17, 2017(CISA) – Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto has warned against killings and other vices committed in the name of religious affiliations in the country.

“We have a feeling that somehow, people can genuinely kill in the name of religion. I think that unless Nigeria as a country is prepared to make laws and ensure that all citizens live by same and be answerable by the same law, what we are witnessing is a symptom, not the disease. The creeping inequalities, the inability of this system to deliver has made us uncomfortable,” said Bishop Kukah.

Speaking at the launch of a book, “Religion and the Making of Nigeria” by Prof Ayo Vaughan in Abuja, January 13, he urged the government to take necessary actions against those spreading religious hatred in the country.

He further called on the government to “separate religion from politics and economics and let everybody make his claims.”

According to Nigeria’s This Day Newspaper, the Catholic bishop also warned against constant religious killings in the North.

“Unless we get round to defining what constitutes religion and in this particular case, the way and manner in which the northern ruling class continues to use religion as a cover to perpetuate and subjugate the people, the problem will persist,” said Bishop Kukah.

He noted that most of the killings in the area “have often been associated with religion as a result of theological differences or disputation and must stop immediately”

“As a Nigerian and a citizen, I have always been an incurable optimist. But I have never been as unsure about the future of this country as I am now. People say they are killing for religion, but intentions are not enough. As it is, we may never be able to prosecute anybody because we have not been able to separate criminality from religion,” said Bishop Kukah.