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Global issue 12

commonwealth network Inbox AU’s first female leader takes office Will and Kate tour the Pacific On 15 October, following a ceremony ed Ping’s candidacy, while the Anglophones, at the headquarters of the African Un- led by members of the Southern African ion (AU) in Addis Ababa, Nkosazana Development Community, backed Dlamini- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ar- Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s former Zuma. There was widespread discontent rived in Singapore on 9 September, at the home affairs minister, took up her post as with South Africa for breaking the unwritten start of their nine-day tour of Asia and the chairperson of the AU Commission. She convention that the five largest contributors South Pacific to celebrate the Queen’s Dia- is the first female leader of the continental to the AU budget (Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, mond Jubilee. The tour included Malaysia, body, which was originally founded as the Algeria and South Africa) should not contest Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. Organisation of African Unity in 1963. the Commission’s highest office. The couple met Singapore’s President Tony Dlamini-Zuma was elected to the position After healing the rifts caused during the Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien in July following a bruising two-round con- election process, Dlamini-Zuma will have Loong. In a short speech at the official presi- test against the outgoing chairman, Jean Ping to turn her attention to key security issues, dential residence, William paid tribute to his of Gabon. The election divided the continent including Mali, Somalia, the Democratic grandmother, ‘Her service has not just been largely along language lines: the francoph- Republic of Congo and the simmering ten- to the peoples of her realms, but to the whole one states plus Nigeria and Ethiopia support- sions between Sudan and South Sudan. Commonwealth family, of which Singapore is such an important member.’ The Duchess gave her first official speech on foreign soil while visiting a hos- pice in Malaysia, their second stop on the tour. In her address, the duchess said she had learned the importance of the care pro- vided by such centres through her role as patron of East Anglia’s Children Hospices. ‘With effective palliative care, lives can be transformed. Treatment, support, care and advice can provide a lifeline to families at a time of great need.’ Institutions dedi- cated to providing palliative care treatment for those with terminal illnesses are rare in Malaysia and across the Far East. While in Malaysia, they attended a state dinner hosted by the head of state and ex- Dlamini-Zuma was elected as the head of the African Union in July plored the Borneo rainforest before being greeted by Pacific warriors at their third The Gambia halts death row executions ited the capital of Honiara, where William-stop in Solomon Islands. The couple vis played football with a group of local chil- Following the executions of nine death row crime rate, in which case the moratorium dren and Kate met local women working to prisoners, President Yahya Jammeh of The would be indefinite, or an increase in vio- help address gender inequality in the coun- Gambia has suspended any further execu- lent crime rate, in which case the morato- try. In their final stop, the tiny island state tions of death row inmates. In a statement on rium will be lifted automatically.’ Another of Tuvalu, the couple were presented with 15 September, Jammeh said he was respond- 37 inmates remain on death row. a number of gifts, including woven mats, ing to ‘numerous appeals’ from governmen- Senegal formally protested to The fans and models of a traditional house vil- tal and human rights organisations, including Gambia about the execution of two of its lage and canoe. the African and European Unions, the Com- citizens and demanded that the life of a monwealth and Amnesty International. third Senegalese death-row prisoner be The executions, which were confirmed spared. A Gambian opposition political by the government on 27 August and in- group, the National Transitional Council cluded one woman and two Senegalese na- of The Gambia, based in the Senegalese tionals, were the first in The Gambia in 27 capital of Dakar, told the BBC that they years. It is unknown for what crimes they intended to create a government in exile were executed, although three of the pris- with an aim to see the end of Jammeh’s oners were believed to have been sentenced ‘dictatorship’. for treason. Jammeh had vowed in August Jammeh’s human rights record has often to clear death row by mid-September, and been criticised by international organisations, declared in his recent statement that the sus- with particular concerns over press freedom. pension of executions could be temporary. The death penalty in The Gambia was abol- According to Reuters, the president’s ished under former president, Dawda Ja- statement said, ‘What happens next will wara, but was reinstated in 1995 shortly after be dictated either by a declining violent Jammeh seized power in a military coup. 76 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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