Africa Media Review for April 5, 2023

Calls for President Sall to Forgo Third Term as Senegal Celebrates 63 Years of Independence
Senegalese President Macky Sall has been advised not to seek a third term and to continue setting an example of a working democracy for the rest of Africa. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and a former World Bank vice-president gave Sall this advice on Tuesday as Senegal celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its independence. … In Senegal, there are fears that Sall might be interested in a third term despite not openly saying so. In 2016, the country’s Constitution shortened the presidential term limits from seven to five years, and no one should stand for a third term. … NGOs in Senegal pleaded with Sall not to take up a third term as this would dent the country’s democratic record. … This is because third terms were not received well in Guinea, where Alpha Conde was later removed through a coup as well as in Ivory Coast where Alassane Ouattara got a third term in an election marred by a huge boycott. News24

Humanitarians Launch $877 Million Plan for Burkina Faso
A staggering 4.7 million people in Burkina Faso, a fifth of the population, will need humanitarian assistance this year, the UN and partners said on Tuesday, announcing a $877 million response plan to meet urgent needs. The funding will support some 3.1 million people, as the West African country continues to face the worst humanitarian crisis in its history. Armed group activity, and military operations, have led to widespread displacement, with nearly two million citizens uprooted. Human rights abuses and violations, and political instability – including two coup d’états last year – have also fuelled the growing needs and vulnerabilities, which have increased since last year. “The humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso in 2023 is more worrying than ever,” said Abdouraouf Gnon-Kondé, the top UN aid official in the country, recalling that half of those in need are children. UN News

Russia Targets Ivory Coast to Expand Military Influence in Africa
In a visit to Mali last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov offered the Kremlin’s military support to a long list of West African countries facing internal security threats. Not coincidentally, he named a series of traditional French allies as potential recipients of Russian military aid – including coastal states such as Ivory Coast. “This concerns Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Chad and the Sahel region generally, and even the coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea,” Mr. Lavrov told a press conference. … In Ivory Coast, analysts noted that four activists at an opposition rally in February had wrapped themselves in Russian flags. They were photographed with the flags at a rally of the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Code for Africa, an investigative consortium that monitors disinformation operations, found that the photos of the Russian flags at the opposition rally were amplified in late February by a co-ordinated network of 64 pro-Russian social-media accounts, operating primarily from Ivory Coast. Globe and Mail

Are Storms Getting More Powerful and Dangerous?
It started off innocuously, like any other tropical storm. But Cyclone Freddy, born off the northwest coast of Australia in early February, was anything but ordinary. It intensified, then headed west and crossed the Southern Indian Ocean, travelling more than 8,000km (4,971 miles) to reach Southeast Africa. By the time it eventually dissipated after making two landfalls in mid-March, it had become the longest-lasting tropical cyclone in recorded history. It was also the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, with its trail of destruction leaving more than 600 people dead and more than 1.4 million affected. … Major storms also leave a legacy of health woes. Mozambique is now battling a deepening cholera challenge amid disruptions to sanitation and water supplies because of the cyclone. Reported cases quadrupled between early February and March 20, crossing 10,000 patients, according to UNICEF. … Mounting evidence shows that increasingly warmer oceans are fuelling more powerful tropical storms than before. The link to climate change is clear, say many scientists. Al Jazeera

Network Helps Connect African Journalists on Climate Issues 
As more people become concerned about the effects of climate change on their lives, journalists in an otherwise struggling industry are becoming specialized in the environmental beat. But that wasn’t always the case, said Frederick Mugira, founder of Water Journalists Africa, the largest network of journalists on the continent reporting on water. Mugira said that when he started the organization in 2011, “not so much was being tackled about water.” But now, “we have more journalists preferring to specialize in water and climate issues.” Mugira, an award-winning journalist based in Kampala, Uganda, founded the network to share ideas and provide training. From investigative reporting on the impact of a large agricultural industry in Cameroon to how plastics and water pollution are devastating the fishing trade in the African Great Lakes, the coalition is combining environmental, data and solutions-led journalism. Made up of about 1,000 journalists across Africa, the network works collaboratively to investigate issues around water, wildlife, biodiversity and climate change. VOA

10 Schoolchildren Kidnapped in Nigeria’s Kaduna State
Ten students have been kidnapped in northwest Nigeria’s Kaduna State where criminal gangs have previously carried out several mass abductions of children, a government official said Tuesday. The victims who are students at the Awon Government Secondary School in the central Kachia district were seized on Monday in unclear circumstances, said Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna’s internal security and home affairs commissioner. This was the first known mass abduction of students after a lull and since a cash swap policy that was in part introduced by the government to end ransom payments to kidnappers. … Kaduna is one of several states in northwest and central Nigeria terrorized by bandits who raid villages, kill or kidnap residents and burn homes after looting them. The gangs launch their attacks from camps in a vast forest straddling Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states. AFP

Central African Republic: UN – Children in Central African Republic Are Victims of Appalling Abuse, Brutality
A review by U.N. independent experts of the human rights situation in the Central African Republic reveals rampant ethnic violence and systemic gross violations throughout the country with children suffering appalling abuse and brutality at the hands of armed groups, defense and security forces, and private military and security companies. “It is rare to find a country with a human rights record so alarming, which has been forgotten by the rest of the world,” said Volker Türk, U.N. high commissioner for human rights in his opening salvo at the U.N. human rights council Friday. “The people of the Central African Republic face a daily reality of sudden spikes of violence where fear is used as a weapon and serious trauma, which has been caused by years of violence.” He said children were not spared the ravages of the conflict that has been ongoing since 2012, noting that girls especially were subjected to horrific acts of sexual violence linked to the conflict. … A recent U.N. food assessment finds 2.7 million people, nearly half the population, are acutely food insecure, with 642,000 on the verge of famine. OCHA reports hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from acute malnutrition, most are children under age five. In addition, more than half a million children aged three to 17 are out of school, making them susceptible to recruitment, exploitation, and trafficking. VOA

Kenya: President Ruto Meets with Kagame in Kigali, Discusses Regional Security
Kenyan President William Ruto has met with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to discuss the security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the protests in Nairobi. The meeting on Tuesday was part of Ruto’s official two day visit to Kigali on the invitation of President Paul Kagame in what is also the Kenyan leader’s first visit to Rwanda since he came to power last year September. “The last month has seen a lot of positive developments around the challenge of security in eastern DRC,” Ruto standing alongside Kagame told reporters. According to a statement from the Kenyan State House in Nairobi, the agenda of the trip is to deliberate on areas of “mutual interest and cooperation” including the integration projects on the Northern Corridor, the main supply line for imports out of the region to Rwanda, through Kenya. AfricaNews

Somalia Hasn’t Printed New Cash Since 1991. Now It’s a Central Bank Top Priority
The Central Bank of Somalia’s top priority is to reestablish the nation’s currency, which will enable it to take full control of monetary policy, its governor said. Somalia hasn’t printed new banknotes since descending into a civil war after the government collapsed in 1991. Most of the bills that were in circulation disappeared or became too worn out to use. They were replaced by US dollars or counterfeit notes, often printed or shipped in by warlords and businessmen in breakaway regions. In 2017, the International Monetary Fund estimated that 98% of the local currency circulating in the economy was fake. Bloomberg

Somalia: At Mogadishu’s Lido Beach, a Growing Community Hub
… today – even as famine looms again over Somalia, amid the worst drought in 40 years – the majority of this nation’s roughly 17 million citizens get on with daily life the best they can. For residents of Mogadishu, that can mean taking advantage of the beaches and warm sea that define the southeastern edge of the capital. A small fleet of fishing skiffs is moored in the quaint old port in the shadow of the ruins of Italian colonial-era buildings dating back nearly a century. Men bring in hauls of tuna and sometimes shark, while children play in the surf. But the real place of unbridled happiness lies just up the coastline, at Lido Beach. It is here that families feel the rush of the waves, laughing and shouting as they enjoy the freedom offered by the sea. Women enter fully clothed, and life jackets can be rented for those who can’t swim. Keeping the beach clean has become a priority, in the process turning its increasingly pristine expanse into an unexpected community hub. At dawn on Friday mornings citizen volunteers take to the sands, leaving daily dangers behind as they comb the coastline for trash. CS Monitor

The Ugandan Judge Who Strikes Fear into Poachers
When Gladys Kamasanyu was asked to become head of a new wildlife court in Uganda in 2017, she felt conflicted. Although the chief magistrate had participated in discussions that led to the court’s creation – the first in Africa dedicated to wildlife crime – part of her wanted to stay with the human cases she had always adjudicated on rather than swap the familiar for the risk of the unknown. Kamasanyu has tried more than 1,000 wildlife cases, convicting more than 600 traffickers, including a man sentenced to life in prison last year for possession of ivory. She has presided over cases involving pangolins, the most trafficked mammal in the world, and ruled on cases involving rhino horns, elephant ivory and hippopotamuses’ teeth. … Kamasanyu founded Help African Animals, an organisation that trains prosecutors and investigators of wildlife crime and animal rights. “There is a lot of ignorance in our society,” she says. Guardian

Angola Landmines: The Women Hunting for Explosives Left from Civil War
An increasing number of women in Angola are working to get rid of the scourge of landmines left from the 27-year civil war, which are still claiming victims long after the fighting finished. “I don’t want my daughter, or any other child, to be the next victim of a landmine,” Helena Kasongo tells the BBC on a video call from Moxico in eastern Angola. Her smile broadens when she talks about her three-year-old daughter, despite the grim nature of the subject. The child is still too young to really get what the 25-year-old mother does for a job, namely risking her life every single day at the “office.” Ms Kasongo, nonetheless, is adamant that the little girl will someday understand what led her mum to become a “sapadora” – the Angolan term for people who clear mines. BBC