Africa Media Review for April 22, 2024

Sudan’s Horrific War Is Being Fueled by Weapons from Foreign Supporters of Rival Generals, UN Says
The year-old war in Sudan between rival generals vying for power has sparked “a crisis of epic proportions” fueled by weapons from foreign supporters who continue to flout U.N. sanctions aimed at helping end the conflict, [Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo] said Friday…Burhan, who led a military takeover of Sudan in 2021, is a close ally of neighboring Egypt and its president, former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. In February, Sudan’s foreign minister held talks in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart amid unconfirmed reports of drone purchases for government forces. The Rapid Support Forces’ leader, Dagalo, has reportedly received support from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group. U.N. experts said in a recent report that the RSF has also received support from Arab allied communities and new military supply lines running through Chad, Libya and South Sudan. AP

Chad’s Junta Leader Orders Military Crackdown after Opposition Calls for Election Boycott
Chad’s transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, has ordered his military to arrest angry civilians and make sure peace reigns in the run-up to the May 6 presidential election and afterwards…He told state TV on Wednesday that government troops have been quelling confrontations between his supporters and opposition followers in towns and villages across the country since the presidential campaign was launched on April 14…He said he has asked Chad’s military to be on alert because he will not allow people he describes as inexperienced and power-hungry to create chaos in Chad. He said the military will ensure that peace reigns in Chad before, during and after the May 6 vote. VOA

Togo Constitutional Changes Spark Calls for Popular Protests
Some of Togo’s opposition parties and civil society groups on Saturday renewed their calls for widespread popular protests a day after lawmakers approved constitutional changes likely to extend the 19-year rule of President Faure Gnassingbe. In a statement, the Dynamique pour la Majorité du Peuple (DMP) opposition coalition and other signatories said the changes, relating to presidential term limits and how presidents are elected, were a political manoeuvre to allow Gnassingbe to extend his tenure for life…In Friday’s vote, lawmakers unanimously approved an amended charter under which the president will no longer be elected by universal suffrage, but by members of parliament. The amendments also introduce a parliamentary system of government and shortened presidential terms to four years from five, with a two-term limit. The changes do not take into account time already spent in office, so could enable Gnassingbe to stay in power until 2033 if he is re-elected in 2025, a highly likely scenario as his party controls the parliament in Togo, where Gnassingbe’s father and predecessor Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power via a coup in 1967. Reuters

South Africa Election: ANC Loses Battle for Zuma’s MK Party Name and Logo
South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has lost a legal bid to stop a new party from using the name and logo of its former armed wing. The governing ANC had argued that uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), headed by ex-President Jacob Zuma, had breached trademark law. But the Durban High Court disagreed, allowing the use of the name, which translates as Spear of the Nation. It is a significant victory for MK ahead the 29 May general election…Last month, the ANC suffered another legal blow in its attempt to stop MK from running in the election, saying it had not met the official registration criteria. The MK name and logo holds huge political symbolism because of the now-defunct armed wing’s role in fighting for the end of white-minority rule in South Africa. BBC

South Sudan: ‘There Must Be a Constitution in Place to Guide the Elections’-NCRC Chairperson
Dr. Riang Yer Zuor, the Chairperson of the National Constitutional Review Commission (NDRC), has said that it is imperative that a constitution is promulgated and in place to guide the forthcoming elections as stipulated by the revitalized peace agreement. In an exclusive interview with Radio Tamazuj, the NCRC head also said the entity has not yet received any funds from the government to commence its work but is engaged in preliminary preparations to undertake its mandate…Q: How will NCRC make sure that the constitution-making process is inclusive? A: The process has been prescribed first by the agreement then the Constitution-making Process Act which will tell you exactly which people are to be involved. It is said to be a people-led process and you achieve that through several things; first by conducting civic education exercises just to inform the people of the issues so that when they decide they know what they want, secondly, the public consultations exercise will be conducted so that views of the people of South Sudan are collected countrywide, the third way of including the people of South Sudan is through national constitution conference where all the sectors of the South Sudanese society will be represented to deliberate on the first draft of the constitution text this what is called inclusivity in the agreement. Radio Tamazuj

The West African Sahel Is Becoming a Drug Smuggling Corridor, UN Warns, as Seizures Skyrocket
Drug seizures soared in the West African Sahel region according to figures released Friday in a new U.N. report, indicating the conflict-ridden region is becoming an influential route for drug trafficking…The location of the Sahel, lying south of the Sahara desert and running from the Atlantic to the Arabian Ocean, makes it a natural transit point for the increasing amount of cocaine produced in South America and destined for Europe. The trafficking has detrimental impacts for both peace and health, locally and globally, said Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative in West and Central Africa…Increased trafficking networks in the region is spilling out onto local markets and leading to higher drug consumption, said Lucia Bird, director of the West Africa observatory of illicit economies at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. AP

UN in Libya Urges Probe into Death of Detained Activist
The United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) urged authorities in the eastern-ruled part of the country to investigate the death of an activist who had been in detention since last year. Siraj Dughman died while in custody at Rajma military camp in Rajma town, about 27 km (17 miles) east of Benghazi, UNSMIL said on social media platform X…The agency said Dughman had been detained pending a case referred by the public prosecution concerning meetings that included discussions about the overthrow of political bodies and the military…UNSMIL said Dughman and four other detainees were all arbitrarily arrested and detained in 2023…Briefing the U.N. Security Council last week, the U.N. envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, expressed his deep concerns about “the rise in abductions, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests in Libya”. Reuters

Sub-Saharan Africa Incomes Falling Further behind Rest of World, Says IMF
Incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa are falling further behind the rest of the world amid a “tepid” economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday, warning of risks from geopolitics, domestic instability and climate change. The IMF earlier this week said the region’s economy would grow 3.8% this year, up from 3.4% in 2023, as it begins to emerge from four years of shocks, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising global interest rates…It noted that other developing countries saw real income per person more than triple since 2000, while they grew 75% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 35% in developed countries. Reuters

Ghana Finance Minister Expects MoU with Bilateral Lenders in May
Ghana’s Finance Minister expects a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from the country’s bilateral creditors in May on a restructuring deal, he said on Sunday. The MoU, once signed, would cement a deal to restructure $5.4 billion of loans with its official creditors, including China and France, agreed in January. The restructuring is a milestone in Ghana’s quest for debt relief as it charts its way out of the worst economic crisis in a generation and should unlock further tranches of its $3 billion programme with the IMF. Reuters

Portugal’s Galp Says Field off Namibia Could Contain 10 Billion Barrels of Oil
Portuguese oil company Galp Energia said on Sunday it had concluded the first phase of exploration in the Mopane field off the coast of Namibia and estimated it could have at least 10 billion barrels of oil. The Mopane field is located in the Orange Basin, along the coast of the southern African country, where Shell and France’s TotalEnergies have made several oil and gas discoveries. Galp said flows achieved during the tests reached the maximum allowed limit of 14 thousand barrels per day, potentially positioning Mopane as an important commercial discovery…The OPEC+ oil producers group, having lost Angola and other players in recent years, is eyeing Namibia for possible membership as it sets up what could be Africa’s fourth-largest output by the next decade, an African industry official told Reuters. Reuters

UAE Giant Eyes Majority Stake in Vedanta’s Zambian Mines in Expansion Drive
The mining investment arm of Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company has offered to buy a majority stake in Vedanta Resources’ Zambian copper assets, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, in its drive to build an African copper mining empire. The unit of International Holding Company recently made an offer of more than $1 billion to buy a 51% stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) from Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta, the sources said. The unit – International Resources Holding (IRH) – is racing to broaden its burgeoning copper mining business in Zambia after buying a 51% stake in Mopani Copper Mines in a deal worth $1.1 billion. IRH said last month it planned to bid for a stake owned by EMR Capital in Lubambe Copper Mine, which is also for sale. The deals spree is part of a push by oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia to secure critical metal supplies from Africa, a move that could also help them participate in the transition to green energy…The Zambian government owns 20% of KCM through state firm ZCCM-IH. Reuters

DR Congo Should File Complaint against Rwanda with ICJ, Says Belgian Envoy
Democratic Republic of Congo should file a complaint with the International Court of Justice over Rwanda’s failure to respect its border, Belgium’s ambassador to Congo said on Friday at a meeting to assess the deepening crisis in eastern Congo. Congo has been struggling to push back M23 rebels since they launched a comeback offensive in the already restive east in 2022. The fighting has displaced 738,000 more people in the first three months of this year alone, according to the U.N. aid agency OCHA…United Nations experts have said they have evidence that Rwandan troops have fought alongside the M23 in eastern Congo and supplied the rebels with weapons. They also said that members of Congo’s army have fought alongside the FDLR. Reuters

Nigeria, Cameroon Sign Wildlife Protection Pact
Nigeria and Cameroon on Friday signed a historic partnership designed to protect wildlife, preserve critical habitats and tackle illegal wildlife trade across their borders. Nigeria’s environment minister, his Cameroonian counterpart and other dignitaries were present at a signing ceremony for the pact, which provides legal support for the joint protection of endangered species, including gorillas and chimpanzees, and shared natural habitats. Authorities said the countries would share intelligence, conduct research and strengthen law enforcement against offenders…The partnership will also address illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking. Nigeria shares a nearly 2,000-kilometer border to the south with Cameroon. The region is home to some of Africa’s most endangered species of apes, chimpanzees, leopards and elephants, all of them threatened by poaching, growing population, mining activities and illegal felling of trees.  VOA News

Flooding Wreaks Havoc across East Africa. Burundi Is Especially Hard-Hit
Lake Tanganyika’s rising waters have invaded the port of Bujumbura, Burundi’s economic capital, disrupting business there and elsewhere in the country that relies heavily on donor support to run government programs…Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries, with 80% of its 13 million people employed in agriculture, according to the World Bank…Climate experts say flooding events in Burundi and elsewhere in the region are part of extreme conditions linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon. AP