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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kenya: Current Conditions and the Challenges Ahead


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Kenya, a nation of about 36.9 million people, has been an important ally of the United States for decades. Kenya moved from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy in 1992. Kenyans voted in record numbers in the country’s first multi-party election in almost 26 years. President Daniel arap Moi defeated opposition candidates by a small margin. In 1997, Kenya held its second multiparty elections, at the height of tensions between the opposition and the ruling party. President Moi was re-elected with 40% of the votes cast, while his nearest rival, Mwai Kibaki, won 31%. In the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections, the opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) defeated the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU). In the presidential election, NARC leader Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta, the leader of KANU.

On December 27, 2007, millions of Kenyans went to the polls in Kenya’s fourth multi-party elections, with the hope of strengthening the institutions of democracy and, most importantly in the view of many observers, of bringing change. An estimated 14.2 million (82% of the total eligible voters) Kenyans were registered to vote, while 2,547 parliamentary candidates were qualified to run in 210 constituencies, according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). Nine candidates competed in the presidential election. The opposition reportedly made significant gains in the parliamentary elections. The ECK, however, hastily declared President Kibaki as the winner of the elections. Kibaki was quickly sworn in as president, while international and domestic election observers declared the elections as rigged and deeply flawed.

Following the announcement of the election results, violence erupted in many parts of Kenya. More than 1,000 people have been killed and an estimated 350,000 reportedly displaced. In August 2008, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) released a report on the post-election violence. In early February, the opposition and the government began negotiations under the leadership of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The two parties agreed to work together to end the violence, improve humanitarian conditions, and write a new constitution within a year. In late February, the government and the opposition reached a powersharing arrangement. On March 18, 2008, the Kenya parliament unanimously approved the agreement. On April 3, 2008, the parties agreed on a 40-member cabinet. But important reforms agreed to by the parties have yet to be implemented. The initial United States government reaction to the December elections was considered by some international observers as contradictory and seen by some Kenyans as being one-sided in favor of President Kibaki. On December 30, the United States government reportedly congratulated President Kibaki. Senior Bush Administration officials visited Kenya in an effort to resolve the crisis and provided support to Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts. The Obama Administration has repeatedly pressed the government of Kenya to implement reforms agreed to by the parties in 2008. In September 2009, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson sent a letter to 15 Kenyan officials warning them that reforms must be implemented. In April 2010, the Kenyan parliament passed a new draft constitution, and on August 4, 2010, Kenyans approved the new constitution. The next general elections are scheduled for 2012.



Date of Report: March 16, 2011
Number of Pages: 17
Order Number: RL34378
Price: $29.95

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Uganda: Current Conditions and the Crisis in North Uganda


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In February 2006, Ugandans voted in the first multi-party elections in almost 26 years. President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Revolutionary Movement (NRM) parliamentary candidates won a decisive victory over opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and the Forum for Democracy Coalition. Nevertheless, poll results showed a notable decline in support for President Museveni from previous elections. International election observers did not condemn the election results, nor did they fully endorse the electoral process. Critics charged the government with intimidating the opposition during the pre-election period, and Besigye spent much of the campaign period in jail. The election followed a controversial move by the Ugandan parliament in July 2005 to remove the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency. In February 2011, Ugandans voted in presidential and parliamentary elections. President Museveni won 68% of the vote, while his nearest opponent, Kizza Besigye, won 26% of the vote.

In the north, the government of Uganda has long fought the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. Through over 20 years of civil war, the brutal insurgency has created a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 1.5 million people and resulted in the abduction of over 20,000 children. In 2006-2008, the government of Uganda and the LRA were engaged in an effort to resolve the conflict peacefully. The government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) mediated the talks. In August 2006, the government of Uganda and the LRA signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. In February 2008, the parties agreed on a Permanent Ceasefire and amended the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation and Agreement on Comprehensive Solutions. However, the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, failed to show up for the final signing of the agreement on a number of occasions. The cessation of hostilities has allowed an estimated 1.4 million people to return to their homes. In November 2007, an LRA delegation went to Kampala for the first time and held talks with senior Ugandan officials. In late 2007, Vincent Otti, the deputy commander of the LRA, reportedly was killed in Uganda by Joseph Kony, the head of the LRA. In December 2009, the deputy commander of the LRA, Bok Abudema, was killed by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic. In 2009 and 2010, a number of senior commanders have been killed or captured or have defected. In late November 2010, the Obama Administration announced a “Strategy to Support the Disarmament of the LRA”, as called for in P.L. 111-172.

In late October 2007, President Museveni visited Washington, DC, and met with President Bush and other senior Administration officials. President Museveni also met with several Members of Congress. During his visit, President Museveni discussed a wide range of issues, including U.S.- Uganda relations, the crises in Somalia and Darfur, trade, and HIV/AIDS. Uganda deployed an estimated 2,700 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, shortly after Ethiopian forces invaded Mogadishu and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). As of July 2010, more than 20 members of the Ugandan peacekeeping forces have been killed. In late November 2010, President Museveni visited Mogadishu, Somalia.

On July 11, 2010, the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. The United Nations, the African Union, and the United States condemned the terrorist attacks. More than 20 suspects are currently in prison.



Date of Report: March 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RL33591
Price: $29.95

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Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

U.S. aid to Africa initially reached a peak in 1985, when global competition with the Soviet Union was at a high point. After the cold war ended, security assistance levels for Africa began to decline. In 1995, at the outset of the 104th Congress, substantial reductions in aid to Africa had been anticipated, as many questioned the importance of Africa to U.S. national security interests in the post-cold war era. As the debate went forward, however, congressional reports and bills emphasized U.S. humanitarian, economic, and other interests in Africa. Aid levels did fall, but gradually began to increase again in FY1997. U.S. assistance to Africa is reaching new highs due to a significant increase in health care sectors under the Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS) program. U.S. aid to Africa nearly quadrupled from $1.2 billion in FY2006 to $6.7 billion in FY2010. Moreover, the United States is the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to Africa. Between FY1999 and FY2009, the United States provided over $10.1 billion to East and Central African countries and an estimated $2.2 billion to Southern Africa countries.

U.S. assistance reaches Africa through a variety of channels, including USAID-administered Development Assistance (DA) and GHCS programs, food aid programs, and refugee assistance. As of February 2010, the Peace Corps had an estimated 2,620 volunteers and trainers in 29 African countries. The U.S. African Development Foundation (ADF) makes small grants to cooperatives, youth groups, and self-help organizations and operates in 20 countries. The Obama Administration has requested $30 million for ADF for FY2011. U.S. security assistance, though still far below levels seen in the 1980s, has increased in recent years, primarily because of U.S. support for African peacekeeping and counter-terrorism initiatives. The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is the principal multilateral channel for U.S. aid, but the United States also contributes to the African Development Bank and Fund and to United Nations activities in Africa.

Total U.S. foreign assistance to Africa for FY2009 was $8.2 billion. More than half of the FY2009 funding went to health-related programs. Sub-Saharan Africa received an estimated $8.09 billion in FY2010. The Obama Administration has requested an estimated $7.6 billion for FY2011 and $7.7 billion for FY2012.



Date of Report: March 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RL33591
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Côte d’Ivoire’s Post-Election Crisis


Nicolas Cook
Specialist in African Affairs

Côte d’Ivoire has entered a renewed period of extreme political instability, accompanied by significant political violence, following a contested presidential election designed to cap an often forestalled peace process. The election was held under the terms of the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, the most recent in a series of partially implemented peace accords aimed at reunifying Côte d’Ivoire, which has remained largely divided between a government-controlled southern region and a rebel-controlled zone in the north since the outbreak of a civil war in 2002. A sharp uptick in armed clashes in late February 2011, among other indicators, signaled a heightened risk that a renewed war might break out.

This instability directly threatens long-standing U.S. and international efforts to support a transition to peace, political stability, and democratic governance in Côte d’Ivoire, among other U.S. objectives. Indirectly at stake are broader, long-term U.S. efforts to ensure regional stability, peace, democratic and accountable governance, and economic growth in West Africa, along with billions of dollars of U.S. foreign aid to achieve these ends. The United States has supported the Ivoirian peace process since the 2002 war, both diplomatically and financially, with funding appropriated by Congress. It supports the ongoing U.N. Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI); funded a UNOCI predecessor, the U.N. Mission in Côte d’Ivoire; and assisted in the deployment in 2003 of a now defunct Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military intervention force. The 112
th Congress may be asked to consider additional funding for UNOCI; U.S. support for a potential ECOWAS military intervention force; or funding for emergency humanitarian aid in response to the deteriorating political-military situation.

On November 28, 2010, a presidential election runoff vote was held between the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, the two leading winners of a first-round poll a month earlier. Both claim to have won the runoff and separately inaugurated themselves as president and formed rival governments. Ouattara bases his victory claim on the U.N.-certified runoff results announced by the Ivoirian Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). These show that he won the election with a 54.1% share of votes, against 45.9% for Gbagbo. The international community, including the United States, endorsed the IECannounced poll results as legitimate and demanded that Gbagbo cede the presidency to Ouattara. H.Res. 85 (Payne), introduced on February 10, 2011, voices support for these positions. Gbagbo, rejecting the IEC decision, appealed it to the Ivoirian Constitutional Council, which reviewed and annulled it and proclaimed Gbagbo president, with 51.5% of votes against 48.6% for Ouattara. Gbagbo therefore claims to have been duly elected and refuses to hand power over to Ouattara.

The electoral standoff has caused a sharp rise in political tension and violence, deaths and human rights abuses, and spurred attacks on U.N. peacekeepers. The international community has broadly rejected Gbagbo’s victory claim and endorsed Ouattara as the legally elected president. It is using diplomatic and financial efforts, sanctions, and a military intervention threat to pressure Gbagbo to step aside. H.Res. 85 would express congressional support for such ends. Top U.S officials have attempted to directly pressure Gbagbo to step down. An existing U.S. ban on bilateral aid was augmented with visa restrictions and financial sanctions targeting the Gbagbo administration. As of early 2011, regional mediation had produced few results. Continued political volatility was likely under most current scenarios, and there was a growing risk of war. A unity government might temporarily reduce political tension, but would likely not resolve the root causes of the crisis. If the political crisis is resolved, however, Côte d’Ivoire is well-placed to recover economically.



Date of Report: March 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 82
Order Number: RS21989
Price: $29.95

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy


Christopher M. Blanchard
Acting Section Research Manager

Over forty years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan uprising is occurring in the context of popular protest movements and political change in other countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In mid-February 2011, confrontations between opposition activists and government security forces in the eastern cities of Benghazi and Bayda resulted in the death of some unarmed protestors. Security forces used military force in confrontations at subsequent funeral gatherings and protests in incidents that reportedly killed or wounded dozens, if not hundreds, of civilians. Opposition groups seized several police and military facilities and took control of some eastern and western cities. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents.

In the weeks that have followed, opposition advances and Qadhafi-supporters’ counterattacks have pushed Libya to the brink of civil war. Multilateral efforts to evacuate third-country nationals continue, and the United States and several international partners are assisting thousands who have fled Libya and remain in temporary camps in Tunisia and Egypt. A stalemate that prevailed through early March broke in favor of pro-Qadhafi forces, which attacked opposition-held western cities and central coastal towns and now threaten cities and towns further east. Increasing concern about Qadhafi’s prospects for swift victory and the potential humanitarian and security crises that such a scenario might create have fueled intensifying international and U.S. debate about the necessity and advisability of military intervention. Both sides to the conflict continue to express wariness of direct foreign military involvement, even as the Libyan opposition Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) called for the imposition of a no-fly zone and its calls were echoed in a March 12 Arab League Council consensus decision.

On March 17, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, calling for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declaring a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, authorizing robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo established by Resolution 1970 of February 26, and authorizing member states “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” World attention is now focused on the potential steps that the United States and governments in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East may take to enforce the resolutions. Qadhafi supporters have threatened to respond to any foreign attack by striking civilian and military targets in the Mediterranean.

Until recently, the United States government was pursuing a policy of reengagement toward Qadhafi after decades of confrontation, sanctions, and Libyan isolation. President Obama now has joined some leaders in asserting that Muammar al Qadhafi must give up power. On March 18, President Obama outlined nonnegotiable demands for an end to violence and indicated the United States was prepared to act militarily as part of a coalition to enforce Resolution 1973 and protect Libyan civilians. The President said the United States would not introduce ground forces. Many observers believe that Libya’s weak government institutions, potentially divisive political dynamics, and current conflict suggest that security challenges could follow the current uprising, regardless of its outcome. In evaluating U.S. policy options, Congress may seek to better understand the roots and nature of the conflict in Libya, the views and interests of key players, and the potential consequences of various policy proposals now under consideration.



Date of Report: March 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL33142
Price: $29.95

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