- Jammeh Blocks Barrow’s Inauguration
The Political Party of Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, filed a request on Friday with the Supreme Court for an injunction aimed at blocking the swearing in of his rival.
Jammeh lost an election last month and has refused to accept his defeat.
The question of whether Gambia can install opposition figure Adama Barrow as president is seen as a test case for African democracy in a region accustomed to coups and political unrest.
Barrow, who won the poll and has received the support of the international community, has said he will go ahead with his inauguration on Jan. 19 despite Jammeh’s rejection of the result.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, confirmed receipt of the petition, which was filed by Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).
“It is filed today with the court registrar,’’ said Fagbenle, who did not say when a decision on the petition might be made.
Aziz Bensouda, the secretary general of the Gambia Bar Association, said an injunction would be unconstitutional.
“The inauguration of the president-elect should be held when Jammeh’s term officially ends the court does not have any mandate to put an inauguration on hold,’’ he said.
The election defeat of Jammeh, a former coup leader, after 22 years of increasingly authoritarian rule was celebrated across the tiny West African nation, and the incumbent initially accepted the result.
However, in a u-turn a week later that drew international condemnation, he denounced what he claimed was widespread fraud.
The APRC filed a challenge to the poll results, but the Supreme Court was unable to hear the petition after several judges failed to show up.
Fagbenle adjourned the hearing until Jan. 16.
The Supreme Court, which rights campaigners say is heavily influenced by Jammeh, has not sat in over a year.
Two chief justices have been dismissed since 2013 and one of them was jailed.
The court hired four foreign judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone to hear Jammeh’s appeal legal sources said that the judges had not yet arrived in Gambia.
Regional bloc ECOWAS has sought to negotiate Jammeh’s peaceful departure and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is leading a mediation mission to Gambia.
Nigeria’s lower house of parliament approved a motion to authorise Buhari to offer Jammeh asylum if he steps down.
However, ECOWAS has also hinted at possible military action if he stays beyond the end of his term in office next week, raising the prospect of violence.
The U.S. Department of State, which has already advised against travel to Gambia, warned American citizens to avoid the capital Banjul’s city centre.
Embassy staff was required to be off the streets by 6 p.m. (1800 GMT) until further notice.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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