Updated: Jul 24, 2020
1. Pivotal Decision in the Caribbean Court of Justice rules in favour of Guyana’s opposition party in ongoing election dispute
Guyana’s March 2nd disputed election looks closer to resolution after the Trinidad based Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the Guyana Court of Appeal, based in the country’s capital Georgetown, does not have jurisdiction to declare the results of the election null.
After a recount of the original election, it was declared the Irfaan Ali, the opposition leader had received more votes and not the incumbent David Grainger as had been originally reported. However, after the recount, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield issued a report arguing that there had been further electoral irregularities and as a result, the entire election should potentially be annulled.
This latest ruling makes that outcome extremely unlikely and upholds the result from the recount of the March 2nd election, positioning Irfaan Ali, the head of the PPP/C opposition party, to assume the presidency.
2. Cameroon’s government has held its first set of peace talks with the primary leaders of the country’s ongoing insurgency.
Representatives of the Cameroonian government have held their first set of significant peace talks with the leaders of the country’s anglophone insurgency since the conflict started in 2017. Violence broke out in 2017 after a crackdown on peaceful protests conducted by English-speaking lawyers and teachers. Insurgents are fighting for a range of aims, from increased rights for anglophones to an independent state of Ambazonia, an anglophone area in the North of the country. The fighting has claimed at least 3000 lives and has seen hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes.
Meetings took place this week with Julius Ayuk Tabe, the most prominent separatist leader, who is currently serving a life sentence for terrorism charges. Tabe reported that nine other separatist leaders took part in the meetings in which the potential for a ceasefire between the insurgents and the government was discussed.
Talks between the government and separatist leaders in exile had previously been mediated by Switzerland in 2019, but were not considered significant as those leaders held no real sway, by virtue of not being in the country.
3. Unprecedented Locust Plagues are Crippling Food Supply Chains in East Africa
Since January, the largest outbreaks of Locusts to ever to hit East Africa have been ravaging crops in several Commonwealth countries and their neighbours. Swarms, like those seen in Kenya, can contain up to 200 Billion locusts. The swarms can travel up to 150 km in a day and are already beginning to spread to West Africa. There are fears that swarms from Somalia could reach India and Pakistan, who are facing their own localised outbreaks. In areas that are already pressed to provide adequate food for their populations, food security is under-threat.
Credit agencies are issuing unprecedented warnings that the disruption to food production could see the economies of several East African countries become unstable, given the regions heavy reliance on agriculture as well as its interconnected economic activity.
4. The WHO has declared Sri Lanka and the Maldives free of Measles and Rubella
After decades of immunisation programmes aimed at removing the illnesses from the countries, Measles and Rubella have been officially eradicated from Sri Lanka and the Maldives, according to a report from the WHO this week. The Maldives saw its last case of the Measles in 2009 and Rubella in 2015, where Sri Lanka saw the same results in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Coming at a time when global health systems have been shocked by Coronavirus this should be celebrated as a huge success, and proof of the importance of determined and well coordinated immunisation programmes.
5. Floods in India’s Assam state have forced a million of people from their homes
More than a million people have been forced from their homes in India’s North-eastern Assam state after monsoon rains have cause severe floods. The Brahmaputra river, which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh, burst its banks inundating around 2000 separate villages. Several people have drowned, and more are likely to lose their lives in the weeks and months to follow as a result of the difficulties caused by the floods.