Thursday, November 8, 2007

New PM for Togo, no debt for Sierra Leone, Iran is coming, more violence in Ghana

  • New prime minister for Togo

For much of the past week, the talk of Togo has centered around who President Faure Gnassingbé will pick as his new prime minister, says Afriquenlingue.

Speculation got off to a start immediately after Togo’s parliamentary election October 14 when the ruling-Togolese People’s Party won 50 seats in the 80-seat National Assembly. It was the first election of Faure, who took power under questionable circumstances after the death of his father, President Gnassingbé Eyadema, who had ruled the country since coming to power by military coup 1967.

One newspaper, Le Regard, speculates that opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio, who was barred from running in the presidential elections, handed Fauré a document outlining conditions for his party’s position in government when the two met in Burkina Faso.

However, other newspapers suspect a surprise pick.

  • China writes off huge Sierra Leone debt

Sierra Leone state radio claimed the Chinese government canceled a $22 million debt with the West African country.

This follows the June decision by the Paris Club to cancel $218 million in debt.

Chinese Vice Minister Zhai Jun met with Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura and signed the debt relief statement.

"We are ready to work with the government of Sierra Leone to achieve new progress in the desire to enhance Sino-Sierra Leone solidarity," Jun said.

  • Iran moves into Guinea

Neocons beware, Iran is ready to invest in the West African nation of Guinea.

"Expanding relations with African countries is one of Iran's strategic policies, and President Ahmadinejad is particularly keen on the matter," said Ali-Akbar Mehrabin said in a meeting with Guinean officials.

But does the impoverished country have any uranium?

It would seem so. Presently, an “Iranian industrial team” is in Guinea trying to bring a bauxite mine online. The minister also added that Iranian investors are also interested in investing other mining projects involving raw materials such as iron, gold and uranium.

  • Violence continues in Ghana over chieftaincy dispute

A man died in police custody in Ghana, marking the fifth victim linked to a long-running dispute over the succession of a new chief.

Police exchanged gunfire with a group who raided a chief naming ceremony less than a week ago, killing three. The next day, the body of a police officer kidnapped during the melee was found in a lagoon in the Volta Region, 150 km east of Accra.

IRIN said that more than 70 people were arrested afterwards and at least seven remain in custody. Human Rights groups claim the area lives under the blanket of fear.

It is still unclear how the detainee died.

Two rival groups have continued their fight over the ascendancy of the Anlo ethnic group, whose chief died 10 years ago.

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