The former Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at 84, the presidency announced on Friday, more than two years after he stepped down amid mass protests and under pressure from the army.
Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence, had ruled the North African nation for two decades. He resigned in April 2019 after nationwide street demonstrations rejecting his plan to seek a fifth term in office.
He had rarely been seen in public, even before his departure, after suffering a stroke in 2013.
After Bouteflika’s resignation, in an attempt to end the protests demanding political and economic reform, Algerian officials launched unprecedented investigations into corruption.
The probes led to the imprisonment of several senior officials, including Bouteflika’s powerful brother and advisor Saïd.
Saïd Bouteflika is in jail serving a 15-year sentence on a range of charges, including plotting against the state.
Place on the world stage
After Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, Abdelaziz Bouteflika became Algeria’s first minister of youth and sports and then, within a year and at the age of 26, foreign minister.
He was an influential figure in the Non-Aligned Movement, which gave a global voice to the emerging nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
As president of the UN General Assembly in 1974, Bouteflika invited the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the United Nations, a historic step towards international recognition of the Palestinian cause.
He also demanded that China be given a seat on the UN Security Council and was loudly critical of apartheid rule in South Africa.
He championed post-colonial states, challenged what he saw as the hegemony of the United States and helped turn his country into a seedbed of 1960s idealism.
He welcomed Che Guevara to Algiers, and the young Nelson Mandela got his first training in Algeria. The Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver was given refuge in Algeria while on the run from the US police.
Negotiating the peace
In the early 1980s Bouteflika went into exile after the death of President Houari Boumédiène and settled in Dubai, where he became an advisor to a member of the emirate’s ruling family.
He returned home in the 1990s, when Algeria was ravaged by a war between the army and armed Islamist militants which killed at least 200,000 people.
Elected president in 1999, he negotiated a truce with the Islamists and launched a national reconciliation process that allowed the country to restore peace.
Bouteflika joined the independence war against France at the age of 19 as a protégé of the then Commander Boumédiène, chief of staff of the Algerian border army.
On independence in 1962, Bouteflika became minister of youth and tourism in the government of President Ahmed Ben Bella at the age of 25. His appointment as foreign minister the following year made him the youngest in the world. That record still stands.
His rise continued after Boumédiène seized power and became president in 1965.
Little is known about Bouteflika’s private life. Official records mention no wife, though some accounts say a marriage took place in 1990. For years he lived with his mother, Mansouriah, in an apartment in Algiers, where she used to prepare his meals.
He used the revenue from oil and gas to soothe internal discontent, and the state he ruled became more peaceful and prosperous, allowing it to sidestep, for a while, the Arab Spring unrest that toppled leaders across North Africa in 2011.
But corruption flourished and Algerians were increasingly angered by the country’s political and economic torpor. This fuelled the mass protests which finally brought Bouteflika’s presidency to an end.
ECOWAS Institutes New Sanctions Against Mali For Failure To Hold Elections
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has maintained the existing sanctions it imposed on Mali, for failure by the transitional authorities to oversee a smooth political transition.
At an Extraordinary Session in Accra on Sunday, the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa States, expressed disappointment in the country’s failure to meet the proposed timelines for the conduct of fresh elections.
In a Communique issued after the meeting, ECOWAS agreed to uphold all existing sanctions against Mali and added new ones.
“In view of the above, the Authority upholds the sanctions already imposed on Mali and on the transition authorities. The Authority has also decided to impose additional economic and financial sanctions, in conformity with its deliberations at the Sixtieth Ordinary Session held on 12 December 2021 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
These additional sanctions include: Withdrawal of all ECOWAS Ambassadors in Mali; Closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali; Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, with the exception of the following products: essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19; petroleum products and electricity; Freeze of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks; Freeze of assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks; Suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from all financial institutions”, the Communique said.
Present at the Summit were fifteen ECOWAS Heads of State, government representatives and other designated participants. They included the President of Ghana and the Chairperson of ECOWAS, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; former President of Nigeria and Mediator for Mali, Dr Goodluck Jonathan; Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mahamat Saleh Annadif; Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security representing the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Bankole Adeoye, amongst others.
The meeting by the regional leaders also discussed the current political situation in Guinea and agreed that, “regarding Guinea, the Authority remains concerned about the slow progress of the transition process 4 months after the coup. The Authority regrets the absence of chronogram for the election and the non-setting up of the National Council of Transition (CNT). It also directs a mission be fielded to Conakry to discuss the transition process with the transition authorities”.
It will be recalled that Guinea and Mali were thrown into political unrest in 2021, following two separate coups in the two West African nations. Following these developments, ECOWAS convened a series of meetings to address the impasses and restore political stability in the two nations. Sunday’s meeting in Accra was to review earlier measures which had been proposed by ECOWAS to restore peace and sanity in the two embattled countries.
Following the close of proceedings, the Heads of State and Government expressed their gratitude to the President of Ghana and the Chair of ECOWAS, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. They also charged him to take all necessary measures for the new statutory appointees to take office on 1st July 2022 at the end of the tenure of the current Management. This implies the finalization of the allocation of remaining statutory positions and the launch of the recruitment process”.
The call was in connection with the creation of institutional reforms within ECOWAS.
Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island cell key returning to South Africa – minister
The key to the prison cell on Robben Island once occupied by Nelson Mandela is going to be returned to South Africa rather than be auctioned in the US, a minister says.
The auction had been due to take place in New York on 28 January until South Africa’s Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa objected.
“This key belongs to the people of South Africa,” he said.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison for campaigning to end white minority rule.
Eighteen of those years were spent on Robben Island, an island off Cape Town.
In 1994, he became South Africa’s first black president after the country’s first democratic elections, and he remains a national icon.
Mr Mthethwa said Guernsey’s auction house had agreed to send the key back to South Africa and also to halt the sale of other items that belonged to Mandela.
These included Mandela’s original painting The Lighthouse, Robben Island, as well as the exercise bike he was allowed to use and a prison tennis racquet.
“The key symbolises South Africa’s painful history whilst also representing triumph of the human spirit over evil,” Mr Mthethwa said in a statement..
It had been put up for sale by Christo Brand, Mandela’s former prison guard in the notorious jail. The pair had become good friends.
The auction was to raise funds for a memorial garden and museum around Mandela’s burial site.
Mandela was released from prison in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation (apartheid).
He served a single term as president, stepping down in 1999.
He died in 2013 aged 95.
Zambian pastor baths female Church members; says direction from Holy Spirit
New Year Cross Overnight: Pastor Bath Female Members in Church, says Holy Spirit Directed him to do so
A Video of some young ladies been bathed at a Cross over service by a pastor in Church, on 31st night here has surfaced online and taken over the Internet.
According to the Pastor, bathing Church members n@k3d will cleanse them and make them Pure & Holy.
They had to remove their underwear before getting into the bath…
Is this also Divine and acceptable?
Source: Zambian Observer
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