Africa Media Review for April 24, 2024

Togo Revises Constitution to Eliminate Term Limits: An Explainer
On April 19, lawmakers in the National Assembly from the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party adopted a change to the Constitution, by a vote of 87-0, that eliminates citizens’ right to vote directly for the president of the republic…The Constitutional revision creates an avenue by which President Faure Gnassingbé can extend his family’s 57-year dynastic rule, along with his own 19-year tenure in power…Togo is preparing for legislative elections on April 29 in which the opposition is contesting. The timing of the Constitutional revision is apparently an effort to lock in ruling party control while it has a stranglehold on power…The move has generated outrage from the opposition who have labelled the legislative action a constitutional coup. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Togo: Women Candidates Campaign Ahead Legislative and Regional Elections
As Togo prepares for the legislative and regional elections on April 29, 2024, a significant number of women are in the electoral race, defying traditional norms and expectations. With 2,348 validated candidacies for the legislative elections and 113 seats up for grabs, some 593 women are in the running for parliament and 438 women for the regional elections, according to figures obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission…At present, Togo has 17 women members of parliament out of 91 deputies, while at local level they represent only 13.23% of municipal councillors, with only 12 women mayors out of 117 communes. Africanews

Truce Crumbles in Sudanese Army’s Last Darfur Holdout
Attacks around the Sudanese city of al-Fashir have shattered a truce that protected it from a year-old war, leading to warnings of a new wave of inter-communal violence and humanitarian risks for 1.6 million residents crammed into the North Darfur capital. Al-Fashir is the last major city in the vast, western Darfur region not under control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The RSF and its allies swept through four other Darfur state capitals last year, and were blamed for a campaign of ethnically driven killings against non-Arab groups and other abuses in West Darfur…The fight for al-Fashir, a historic centre of power, could be more protracted, inflame ethnic tensions that surfaced in the early-2000s conflict in the region and reach across Sudan’s border with Chad, say residents, aid agencies and analysts. Reuters

At Least 21 Migrants Dead after Boat Capsizes off Coast of Djibouti
At least 21 people have died after a boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti, the UN’s migration agency has said. It was the second fatal maritime accident in two weeks off the Horn of Africa nation, which lies on the perilous so-called eastern migration route from Africa to the Middle East. Another vessel carrying mainly Ethiopian migrants sank in the same area on 8 April, claiming the lives of several dozen people. Tanja Pacifico, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief of mission in Djibouti, told AFP in Nairobi that 21 bodies had been recovered, while 23 people were still missing. Another 33 people survived the disaster, she said late on Tuesday. The Guardian

Migrants Drown in English Channel Hours after UK Passes Rwanda Policy
Five migrants, including a child, died in an attempt to cross the English Channel from France to Britain in an overcrowded small boat on Tuesday, hours after Britain passed a bill to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda in a move to deter the dangerous journeys. The deaths occurred when a boat carrying 112 people set out to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and panic took hold among the passengers not far from the shore. Rescuers picked up 49 people, with four taken to hospital, but others stayed on the boat, determined to get to Britain. The French coastguard was still searching for any survivors. Reuters

Tunisian Coast Guard Retrieves Bodies of 19 Migrants
The Tunisian coast guard has retrieved the bodies of 19 migrants who were trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa, the national guard said on Tuesday. The latest incident took the number of migrant deaths off the Tunisian coast to nearly 200 in first four months of this year. Reuters

Senegal’s New Leader Calls for a Rethink of the Country’s Relationship with the EU
Senegal’s new leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye has called for a rethink of the country’s relationship with the EU during a visit by European Council President Charles Michel…Speaking at a joint press conference with Michel on Monday night, Faye said cooperation between Senegal and Europe was “dense and multifaceted, but together we want a rethought, renovated partnership”, one “capable of supporting the innovative dynamic we want to imprint on our relations”. As part of his promised reforms, Faye recently announced the renegotiation of oil and gas contracts, and hopes to do the same with fishing agreements signed with the European Union…Michel said the two parties “should not dread” broaching difficult subjects if it meant “bringing about improvements for both sides”, pointing to the fisheries issue in particular. RFI with AFP

US Sanctions Militant Leaders over Hostages in West Africa
The U.S. on Tuesday imposed sanctions on leaders of militant groups over the taking of hostages, including Americans, in West Africa, the Treasury and State departments said. The sanctions on leaders of the West African branch of al Qaeda, called Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), and Islamist militant group Al-Mourabitoun come as Washington has sought to deter and punish detentions of U.S. citizens abroad…The U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on seven leaders of JNIM and Al-Mourabitoun for their involvement in the hostage-taking of U.S. nationals in West Africa…The U.S. Treasury Department meanwhile also issued sanctions against two leaders of JNIM based in Mali and Burkina Faso, including one it accused of supervising the detention of a U.S. national. Tuesday’s action freezes any of their U.S. assets and generally bar Americans from dealing with them. Reuters

Turkish Warship Docks in Somalia’s Coastline
The implementation of the defense deal between Somalia and Turkey has kicked off, following Ankara’s decision to dispatch a warship which has since docked along Mogadishu Port, in the country’s mineral-rich coastline which is yet to be fully explored. The Kınalıada F514 ship docked at Mogadishu Sea Port on Tuesday, two months after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed the pact, which irked the United Arab Emirates (UAE), since it had also signed a similar agreement with Somalia…Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre addressed members of the cabinet in February and said that under the agreement, Turkey will build, train, and equip the Somali navy. Garowe Online

Turkey to Drill Oil off Somali Coast Starting in 2025
Somalia says Turkey will begin drilling oil off the country’s massive coastline from next year, according to the Director General of the Somali Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mohamed Hashi Abdi ‘Arabey’. Talking to the BBC Somali Service, Abdi affirmed the recent assertion by a Turkish official on a plan for deep-sea oil drilling operation from early 2025…Somalia in early March had signed a new oil and gas deal with Turkey in which officials said will aid cooperation in exploration and exploitation of the hydrocarbons. The deal was inked in Istanbul by Somalia’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirisaaq Omar Mohamed and Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar. The EastAfrican

More than 50 000 Displaced by Clashes in Northern Ethiopia, UN Says
More than 50 000 people have been displaced by clashes in a disputed area in northern Ethiopia, the United Nations said, as the international community expressed concern about the violence involving fighters from rival regions…Under a peace deal between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and Tigrayan authorities, Amhara forces – which backed federal troops during the conflict – were due to withdraw from Raya Alamata after the agreement was signed in Pretoria in November 2022. AFP

In Northeast Nigeria, Those Who Fled Conflict Are Being Returned to Conflict
The recent closure of all eight official displacement camps in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in conflict-torn northeast Nigeria, has led to a fresh wave of violence and displacement. More than 150,000 people who were relocated from their camps may now be forced to flee again due to the insecurity and lack of protection in their resettlement sites…The persistent violence in Borno has forced more than 1.5 million people to abandon their homes, leading to the depopulation of rural areas — a situation the government seeks to overturn through an IDP resettlement initiative across the state as part of its counter-insurgency goals. The plan to move all IDPs from displacement camps back to their homes or to newly established settlements in Borno’s countryside started four years ago, but it has been widely criticised by human rights groups. They say it is putting IDPs back in harm’s way, violating international and national guidelines that specify that displaced people and refugees may only be voluntarily returned to their homes when it is safe to do so, and that returns must be carried out with dignity and respect for their human rights. The New Humanitarian

We’ve Resumed Prosecution of Boko Haram Suspects across Nigeria — Ribadu
[T]he Federal Government has resumed prosecution of Boko Haram suspects across Nigeria, [National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said at a 2-day High-level African Counter-terrorism Summit in Abuja on Monday]…Ribadu said the summit highlights the strategic commitment of Nigeria to the UN Counter-terrorism agreement, adding that Africa faces threats from diverse terrorist groups who exploit local vulnerabilities. He added that Nigeria has broadened its approach to counter the evolving security threats posed by activities of Boko Haram and ISWAP, including the use of digital assets…He also said Nigeria is strengthening its judiciary to effectively deal with cases of terrorism and has earmarked a fund to boost counter-terrorism efforts. Vanguard Nigeria

South Africa: Campaigners for Zuma’s MK Party Make Their Presence Felt during Ramaphosa’s KZN Walkabout
President Cyril Ramaphosa spent the weekend in the lion’s den of KwaZulu-Natal, where his predecessor and nemesis Jacob Zuma is popular and has started the uMkhonto WeSizwe Party. Its stated mission is to dislodge the ANC and Ramaphosa from power…Wherever the president went there was a heavy security presence, as MK party organisers made sure to counter the ANC with their own show-up and campaigns, at times trying to drown out ANC volunteers and even the President himself…This is a traditional ANC power base and the home of the ANC’s biggest branch in the country…But it is in KwaXimba that the rival MK party held its first rally in January this year, drawing thousands of supporters, thus demonstrating its crowd-pulling prowess. Daily Maverick

South Sudan Leaders, Ramaphosa Discuss Peace Agreement, Elections
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa held series of talks with South Sudanese leaders as he concluded a three-day visit to the country [last week]. Discussions…focused on the full implementation of key provisions of the September 2018 peace agreement as the East African nation prepares for elections scheduled for December 2024…The visit [was] part of the efforts by South Africa as the chair of the African Union (AU) appointed High-Level Ad hoc Committee for South Sudan. The five-member committee, comprises of South Africa, Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda. It is tasked with periodic review and convening a ministerial level consultative meeting to assess and consider progress and challenges in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Sudan Tribune

Africa-Focused Fund Draws Early Investors to Tech Industry
An Africa-focused venture capital firm has steered one of the region’s biggest fundraising efforts of the past five months to invest in technology start-ups, signalling a potential upturn in dealmaking for the industry. TLcom Capital, which has over the past seven years backed prominent tech start-ups in east and west Africa, on Monday said it has completed a $154mn two-year raise, almost doubling its previous round and attracting investment from the US and Europe…The investment comes as the tech industry around the world has suffered a downturn in funding. African tech companies in 2023 received $3.5bn equity and debt funding from investors, a 46 per cent drop from the previous year, according to a report by the global investor Partech. That decline outstripped an estimated 38 per cent fall globally, according to the report, as rising interest rates and investor caution took their toll. Financial Times