Africa Media Review for April 5, 2024

New Mass Graves in Rwanda Reveal Cracks in Reconciliation Efforts, 30 Years after the Genocide
In the months since [the discovery of human remains at a house construction site in October], Rwandan authorities say the remains of at least 1,000 people have been found in this farming community in the district of Huye, a surprisingly high number after three decades of government efforts to give genocide victims dignified burials. As Rwanda prepares to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the genocide next week, continuing discoveries of mass graves are a stark reminder not only of the country’s determination to reconcile with its grim past but also of the challenges it faces in aiming for lasting peace…Today, serious crimes fueled by ethnic hatred are rare in this small country where Hutu, Tutsi and Twa live side by side — but signs persist of what authorities say is a genocidal ideology, citing concealing information about undiscovered mass graves as an example. AP

President Macron Says France and Its Allies ‘Could Have Stopped’ the 1994 Rwanda Genocide
French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France and its allies could have stopped the 1994 Rwanda genocide but lacked the will to do so, a strong declaration ahead of the African country’s 30th anniversary of the slaughter that left over 800,000 people dead. Macron’s office said in a statement that the French president will release a video on social media on Sunday as Rwanda marks the solemn commemoration of the genocide. In the video, Macron says that “France, which could have stopped the genocide with its Western and African allies, lacked the will to do so.” In 2021 during a visit to the central African country, Macron acknowledged France’s “responsibility” in the genocide that left over 800,000 people dead, mainly ethnic Tutsis and the Hutus who tried to protect them. AP

Rwanda to Send More Troops to Mozambique as South African Soldiers Prepare to Leave
Rwanda plans to put more boots on the ground in Mozambique’s oil-rich Cabo Delgado when the SADC Standby Force in Mozambique (Samim) withdraws in about two months, a senior Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) commander has disclosed…Rwanda already has a personnel count of more than 2 500 in Mozambique, Brigadier General Patrick Karuretwa, who heads the Rwandan Defence Force’s international cooperation, told journalists in Kigali. That force was deployed just after the SADC bloc sent in a roughly equivalent number of soldiers…Rwanda’s intervention in Mozambique is outside the United Nations mandate, via a bilateral agreement between Maputo and Kigali. News24

Algerians Question President for Calling an Early Election without Announcing His Own Campaign
[Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s] March 21 decision to announce elections three months ahead of schedule surprised voters and reawakened the oil-rich North African country’s political parties from a deep lethargy. Scrambling opposition parties have promised to put forward challenger candidates for the poll on Sept. 7. And all the while, Tebboune himself has not formally announced plans to seek a second term…His demurrals coupled with the new election date have injected a sense of bewilderment into business-as-usual politics, raising questions about what lies ahead for the 78-year-old leader and the military apparatus that backs him. AP

Togolese Opposition Members Arrested over Campaign against New Constitution
Nine Togolese politicians who were running a campaign against a new constitution that could allow President Faure Gnassingbe to extend his 19-year rule have been arrested, a spokesperson for an opposition coalition said on Thursday. Opposition voices are growing in the tiny phosphate-producing West African nation over constitutional reform that could change the way the president is elected. Some members of the opposition coalition were detained on Wednesday afternoon while they were campaigning against the constitution at a market in the suburbs of Togolese capital Lome, spokesperson Thomas Nsoukpoe said. Others were detained at night during a meeting at the house of a coalition member. Reuters

Fears of Violence Grow as Somalia Scraps Power-Sharing System
An overhaul of Somalia’s constitution, scrapping its power-sharing system and handing the president increased control, is threatening to destabilise the fragile country, as its wealthiest and most stable state refuses to recognise the changes. The amendments risk worsening violence, the information minister from the semi-autonomous state of Puntland has warned…The current power-sharing model of government, a system that ensures the country’s four main clans get equal representation in parliament, will be also scrapped in place of universal suffrage…Puntland, one of Somalia’s five federal states, was established as a separate self-governing entity in 1998, and is the country’s most powerful regional administration. The Guardian

Good News: Democracy Won in Senegal. Here’s Why It Matters.
Senegal’s election last week was a major win for democracy. It’s also an indication that a new political class is coming of age in Africa, exemplified by Senegal’s new 44-year-old president, Bassirou Diomaye Faye…The strength of Senegal’s democracy depends on several factors that go beyond any single politician, including relatively robust, independent democratic institutions like the courts and, perhaps surprisingly, the military…[T]hough Faye’s aims won’t be easy to achieve, his win can tell us not only about how Senegal managed to establish its young democracy, but also about the positive trend of democratic entrenchment and international cooperation in African nations, and the power of young Africans. Vox

Tinubu Inaugurates ECOWAS Parliament, Seeks Direct Election of Representatives
Speaking at the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, on Thursday in Abuja, President Tinubu, who is the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said regional solidarity is imperative to strengthen the bloc’s resilience and effectiveness at this critical juncture…“To this extent, reinforcing the legitimacy of the decisions taken by the Authority of Heads of State is key in sending a message that ECOWAS is one indivisible body. It is also very important that the executives, on the other hand, show similar confidence in the Parliament, which would indeed deepen democracy in our region. Meanwhile, in the midst of ongoing challenges, our partnership can be a driving force for stability, growth, and prosperity in our region,” the president said. Premium Times

Institute, UN Women Move to Bridge Gender Gaps in Nigeria’s Security Sector
The Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abubakar Sulaiman, has called for amendments to legislation bordering on security to allow more women’s participation in security management in Nigeria…He decried the low involvement of women in the security architecture of the country, saying the abilities of women were untapped in the fight against insecurity ranging from the violent ones like terrorism, banditry, kidnapping to civil disturbances, among others…The UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, congratulated NILDS on the successful review of some security laws in the country. She said the Armed Forces Act, Nigeria Police Act and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act had been reviewed from a gender perspective, with support from UN Women. Premium Times

Nigeria Union Requests More Troops to Combat Oil Theft
Nigeria’s oil workers union has asked President Bola Tinubu to deploy more troops, including military chiefs, to combat oil theft and boost output to help Africa’s largest economy tackle dollar shortages, an official said on Friday. Large-scale oil theft from pipelines and wells has been one of Tinubu’s biggest challenges in recent years, damaging government finances and limiting the country’s output and exports. Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, relies on the commodity for more than two-thirds of its earnings and about 90% of foreign exchange income. It has struggled to raise output as theft and sabotage have forced oil majors including Shell and Exxon Mobil to exit all their onshore assets. Reuters

China Invites Uganda’s Energy Minister for Talks on Pipeline Financing
China has invited Uganda’s energy minister to Beijing to discuss the East African country’s $5 billion crude oil pipeline, Uganda’s presidency said on Friday. The development could signal a possible breakthrough in Uganda’s efforts to woo Chinese financiers to fund the pipeline, which the country requires to start crude production from oilfields that were discovered in 2006…China’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs, Xue Bing, delivered a message to President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday, in which Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his support for the 1,445-km (898-mile) pipeline, Museveni’s office said. Reuters

Morocco Expects More EV Battery Investments, Minister Says
The Moroccan government is in talks to attract more electric battery manufacturers as it seeks to adapt its growing automotive sector to an increasing demand for electric vehicles, industry and trade minister Ryad Mezzour said…Last week, the Moroccan government gave the green light for Chinese electric battery maker BTR New Material Group to build a factory near Tangier to produce key component cathodes…Another Chinese manufacturer, CNGR Advanced Material, is expected to build a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 kilometres south of Casablanca, where the government has allocated 283 hectares to electric battery industries. Reuters

Zimbabwe to Launch ‘Gold-Backed’ Currency to Replace Collapsing Dollar
Zimbabwe will on Friday launch a new currency that it has said would be backed by the country’s gold reserves, the latest move by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to tackle decades of monetary chaos. Mnangagwa said after a tour of the central bank vaults that the southern African nation had sufficient gold to support the new “structured currency”, although analysts questioned the adequacy of these assets. The change is being introduced after the collapse of the current Zimbabwe dollar accelerated this year. Its value has fallen by three-quarters against the US dollar benchmark in 2024, five years after Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party brought back a local currency for the first time since hyperinflation in 2008 destroyed the original. Financial Times

Over 100 Inmates Die in DR Congo Prisons since Start of Year, UN Says
More than 100 inmates have died so far this year in Democratic Republic of Congo’s underfunded and chronically overcrowded prisons, a U.N. human rights official said on Wednesday. The main cause of the deaths was contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, which spread easily in crowded facilities and require unavailable medical attention. Insufficient food also contributed, the official said…Most of the recorded deaths occurred in Congo’s eastern provinces of North Kivu and Tanganyika, and in the western province of Kwilu. Reuters

Slavery Tribunal? Africa and Caribbean Unite on Reparations
Support is building among Africa and Caribbean nations for the creation of an international tribunal on atrocities dating to the transatlantic trade of enslaved people, with the United States backing a U.N. panel at the heart of the effort…Formally recommended in June by the U.N. Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, the idea of a special tribunal has been explored further at African and Caribbean regional bodies…Advocates, including within CARICOM and the African Union (AU), which groups 55 nations across the continent, are working to build wider backing for the idea among U.N. members…A special U.N. tribunal would help establish legal norms for complex international and historical reparations claims, its supporters say. Reuters