Africa Media Review for April 1, 2022

UN Authorises New AU Mission in Somalia To Dislodge Armed Groups
The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to endorse the African Union’s new transitional mission in Somalia and authorised it to take action against al-Qaeda and armed groups allied to the ISIL (ISIS), as well as to conduct a phased handover of security responsibilities to Somalia’s government. Thursday’s vote replaces the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has been in the Horn of Africa nation for 15 years trying to build lasting peace and security, with the AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The resolution adopted by the council recognises significant changes in the security situation since it authorised AMISOM in February 2007 and improvements in Somalia’s capability to respond to security challenges, but also reaffirms “the need to combat terrorist threats by all means.” Al Jazeera

Burkinabe Government Dismisses ECOWAS Calls for Kaboré’s Release
Burkina Faso has dismissed regional bloc ECOWAS ‘expression of serious concern about its 36-month transition period and calls for the immediate release of former President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré’. A few days after the summit of ECOWAS heads of state held in Accra on March 25, the Burkinabe government reacted Thursday saying it will do things on its own terms…There have been growing calls in Burkina Faso for the release of the ousted leader Kabore who has been under house arrest for two months since the coup that brought the military to power. ECOWAS heads of state at its last meeting on the social and political situations in Mali Guinea and Burkina Faso called for the unconditional release of the former president. AfricaNews

UN Chief Calls for Accountability by Mali, Military ‘Partners’
The U.N. secretary-general has called for Mali and its “bilateral partners” to respect their international obligations as concerns grow over human rights violations by the West African country’s military in its battle with jihadists. While acknowledging “widespread attacks by extremists,” Antonio Guterres told the U.N. Security Council that Mali’s counter-terrorism efforts also had “disastrous consequences for the civilian population” in a confidential report obtained Thursday by AFP…The term “bilateral partners” is believed to be an implicit reference to mercenaries allegedly deployed in the country by the Russian Wagner Group, reputedly close to the Kremlin. Voice of America

Kenya’s Supreme Court Declares BBI Unconstitutional
The Supreme Court on Thursday stopped President Uhuru Kenyatta’s divisive bid to make sweeping constitutional changes through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which opponents say was an attempt to widen his powers. His estranged deputy and presidential candidate William Ruto has charged the changes would have led to an all-powerful presidency, while Mr Kenyatta argued the proposal would promote power-sharing among competing ethnic groups. In a majority judgment, the Supreme Court, whose ruling is final, upheld a finding by the lower courts that Mr Kenyatta initiated the changes through a constitutional provision exclusively reserved for ordinary citizens. East African

Ethiopia: Supreme Court Upholds Bail for Journalist
Ethiopia’s Supreme Court has upheld the order to release on bail journalist Amir Aman Kiyaro, who has been imprisoned for four months without charges, rejecting a police effort to block his bail. The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal by police against bail that had been granted by a lower court earlier this week for Kiyaro, an Ethiopian video journalist accredited to The Associated Press. That ruling said Kiyaro should be freed on bail while prosecutors determine whether or not to press charges against him. The bail of 60,000 Ethiopian birr, about $1,170, has been paid, but Kiyaro remained in custody Thursday while police processed the bail paperwork before his expected release, according to his lawyer. Al Jazeera

Ethiopia Fails at U.N. To Block Funding for Independent Abuse Inquiry
Ethiopia failed at the United Nations on Thursday in its bid to block funding for an independent investigation into abuses in the country’s conflict, garnering just 27 yes votes, while 66 countries opposed the move and 39 countries abstained. The vote was in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly’s budget committee. The budget committee then voted to approve funding for the inquiry established by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in December to collect evidence and identify those responsible for abuses, with a view to future prosecutions. Reuters

South Sudan: Top Military, Police Generals To Lose Key Positions, Says Kiir
A number of senior South Sudanese military and police officers will lose their positions in fulfillment of the key provisions of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, President Salva Kiir said Thursday. These positions, according to Kiir, will be occupied by nominees of the armed opposition group (SPLM/A-IO) under the leadership of the First Vice President, Riek Machar and members of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA). He cited Vice President James Wani Igga’s decision to twice step down from his leadership position for the sake of preserving peace and stability. Sudan Tribune

Sudanese Police Kill One More Protester in Khartoum
A protester was shot in Khartoum on Thursday by the security service in the latest demonstration rejecting the military coup, despite the recent U.S. sanctions against the systematic and widespread use of extreme violence. In a statement seen by the Sudan Tribune, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said that  Assem Hasab Al-Rasoul, in his second decade of life, died after being shot in the chest by the forces on March 31. “The coup authority is still using deadly violence against the peaceful protesters who are still committed to nonviolence, which has proven its strength against bullets and the security arsenal,” said the pro-democracy medical group. Sudan Tribune

Sudan: At Least 10 Killed, Two Villages Burned in Deadly Darfur Tribal Clash
At least 10 people were killed and two villages were burned in clashes between the Fallata and Rizeigat tribesmen in South Darfur’s capital of Nyala, on Wednesday. Now in the third day of unrest, the conflict between the tribesmen was sparked by the decision to demarcate the borders between tribes. The decision was issued by the Committee to Address the Situation in Eastern Sudan, headed by Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Vice-President of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council. This follows yesterday’s reports of at least 20 people reported to have been killed following the tribesmen’s clashes, on Monday and Tuesday. The clashes that broke out between the two parties can also be attributed to the killing of an officer from the Rapid Support Forces, who belonged to the Rizeigat tribe, in an armed attack by the Fallata on the Singo – El Daein road, on Thursday. Dabanga

Tunisia’s President Rules Out Early Elections After Dissolving Parliament
Tunisia’s president said late on Thursday he would not hold elections within three months after he dissolved parliament this week, the latest step in a march to one-man rule after brushing aside most of the democratic constitution. Parties from across Tunisia’s political spectrum and the powerful labor union have cited the constitution to demand that the president hold quick elections after announcing Wednesday that he was dissolving parliament. “I don’t know how they get this interpretation,” Saied said in the video of a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden that was posted at midnight on the presidency’s Facebook page. Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington was deeply concerned at Saied’s dissolution of parliament and reports that he would prosecute lawmakers who joined a session in defiance of the president on Wednesday. Voice of America

Ghana: Akufo-Addo Assents E-Levy Bill Into Law
Following the latest development, the implementation of the controversial levy will take off on May 1, 2022, as disclosed by the Minister in charge of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta. Reacting to the news of the President assenting to the E-Levy in an interview on Asempa FM’s ‘Ekosii sen’ programme this afternoon, North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP) Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said it is of no significance. “It’s not significant. It makes no difference and he [President Akufo-Addo] knows,” Mr. Ablakwa stated. According to him, the passage of the E-levy is a sham, bogus, of no effect and it won’t go anywhere. “The passage of the E-levy bill without 138 MPs is contemptuous and disrespectful to the Supreme Court. “We’re going to the Supreme Court for enforcement. We want the court to help enforce its own ruling,” the North Tongu MP added. Modern Ghana

Kaduna Train Attack: Security Threats Rising, Need New Strategies, Says Niger President
Niger Republic President, Mohammed Bazoum, has said African countries battling terrorism need to come up with new strategies for dealing with the challenges. Bazoum spoke with State House correspondents, yesterday, after his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja. The Niger Republic leader said the West African region is battling an increased level of security threats, especially in the wake of recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train…After the attack on the Kaduna-bound train on Monday, el-Rufai said “we know where their camps are, we know where they are, the SSS has their phone numbers, they listen to them and they give me report.” Similarly, Amaechi, while expressing frustration on the incident stated that he had made a failed request for the installation of security surveillance equipment to avert terrorist attack on the Kaduna-Abuja rail track. Guardian Nigeria

NEMA Receives 129 Stranded Nigerians From Libya
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Friday received 129 Nigerians stranded from Libya at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The Director-General of NEMA, Alh Mustapha Ahmed, who was represented by the Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office of the Agency, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos…He said that the returnees were brought back to the country by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This was done through a voluntary repatriation programme for the distressed who had left the country to seek greener pastures in various European countries but could not afford to return when their journey became frustrated. Guardian Nigeria

Pro-Russia Sentiment on Indian Twitter Draws Scrutiny
In the days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Twitter accounts shared messages of support for Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president. They tried to deflect criticism of the war by comparing it to conflicts instigated by Western countries. Their commentary — along with tweets from other users who condemned it — made the hashtag #IStandWithPutin trend on Twitter in several regions around the world. While some of the accounts said they were based in Nigeria and South Africa, the majority of those with a declared location on Twitter claimed to be from India and targeted their messages to other Indian users, researchers said. New York Times

A Knight’s Tale: How Chess Is Keeping Children off the Streets in Nigeria
Slum communities in Nigeria are like a snake pit, where one fights for territory from as early as pre-teen years. Faced with social ills, such as poverty and homelessness, there’s hardly an escape route for children. In most cases, they never reach their full potential as they are slowly drawn into a life of crime, drugs and prostitution. It could have been the case for Babatunde “Tunde” Onakoya, 28, who at the age of 10 was likely to go down the same path that would lead to self-destruction. But, as he sat at a barber shop one day, a man gave him a chess set. The gift would keep him busy and away from the wrong path. “This single action opened doors for Tunde. He went on to become the 10th highest-rated chess player in Nigeria,” said Samuel Awobajo, a friend of Tunde and his business partner. News24



Photo: Adam Jones