Africa Media Review for April 7, 2022

Former Burkinabé President Blaise Campaoré Sentenced to Life for 1987 Killing of Thomas Sankara
A military court in Burkina Faso has handed down a life term to former president Blaise Compaoré over the 1987 assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. On Wednesday, the special Burkinabé court sentenced Campaoré to life in absentia, but also handed life sentences to Hyacinthe Kafando – an officer believed to have led the hit squad that killed Sankara – and General Gilbert Diendéré, an army commander at the time of the assassination, which coincided with a coup that brought Compaoré to power. Compaoré has been living in exile in Côte d’Ivoire after being toppled by public protests in 2014, while Kafando has been on the run since 2016.The six-month trial – which was punctuated by a coup d’etat in January – brings the curtain down on a 34-year saga on trying to bring the revolutionary leader’s killers to justice. RFI

Burkina Faso: Ex-President Kabore Released From House Arrest
Burkina Faso’s former President Roch Kabore, who had been under house arrest since he was toppled in a military coup in January, has been allowed to return to his family home, according to the country’s interim government. Kabore was allowed to return to his residence in the capital Ougadougou on Wednesday, the interim government said, adding that security measures would be installed to “guarantee his safety”. West African leaders last month asked the military government to free the ex-president and lay out a “more acceptable” timeline for a return to democracy than its current 36-month transition period, which was agreed upon internally after the coup. So far, the government has resisted pressure from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to relinquish power in less than three years, saying its priority is to tackle insecurity across the country. Al Jazeera

On Anniversary of Anti-Bashir Sit-In, Thousands of Sudanese March
Sudanese protesters geared up for mass anti-coup rallies Wednesday to mark the anniversary of a sit-in which resulted in the ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir. Thousands of Sudanese marched in the capital of Khartoum and other cities on Wednesday in new protests against an October military coup that plunged the African country into political turmoil and aggravated its economic woes. It was the latest in efforts to pressure the ruling generals, whose takeover has triggered near-daily street protests demanding civilian rule. Called by pro-democracy groups, the demonstrators marched in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman amid tight security around the presidential palace, which has seen violent clashes in previous protests. AfricaNews with AP

Protester Killed in Sudan As Thousands Rally Three Years After Anti-Bashir Uprising
A Sudanese protester was killed Wednesday as thousands rallied against last year’s military coup on the anniversary of previous popular uprisings, most recently against autocrat Omar al-Bashir three years ago. The 19-year-old was hit “by a bullet fired by coup forces” during the crackdown on the demonstrations in eastern Khartoum, the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said. His death brings to 94 the death toll from the crackdown on anti-coup protests since the October 25 military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the committee said. Security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators in the capital Khartoum, its twin city of Omdurman, and in Wad Madani to the south, witnesses and AFP correspondents said. They also “stormed Al-Jawda hospital and fired tear gas inside, scaring patients and health workers and causing suffocation among some of them”, said the doctors committee. France24

Sudan Opposition FFC Announces New Structure
The National Accord Group of Sudan’s opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC)have announced a new structure, announced on Tuesday a new structure that includes “a comprehensive diversity of all the Sudanese people, and also included the committee composed of the General Secretariat, which includes 26 members”. Under the new structure, which was announced in a press conference on Tuesday, Mubarak Ardol became Secretary-General of the FFC, the National Accord Group, while Suleiman Sandal and Nour EL Daem Taha became deputies to the Secretary-General. Dabanga

Guinea-Conakry’s Former Prime Minister Arrested on Alleged Embezzlement Charges
Former prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and three ex-ministers in the Guinea-Conakry have reportedly been detained on embezzlement charges. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana served as prime minister under ex-president Alpha Condé from May 2018 until September 2021, when the army ousted the elected government in a coup. According to lawyer Salifou Beavogui, Fofana along with former defence minister Mohamed Diane, ex-environment minister Oye Guilavogui and former hydrocarbons minister Zakaria Coulibaly “have been charged with embezzling public funds and put in prison.” The four are expected to go on trial next Monday. RFI

Mali Says It Has Opened Investigation Into Alleged Massacre in Village of Moura
Mali said on Wednesday that military investigators had opened an investigation into events in the village of Moura, the site of an alleged massacre by local forces and foreign fighters…Mali’s army announced on April 1 that it had killed 203 militants in Moura, in the centre of the Sahel nation, during an operation in late March. However, that announcement followed widely shared social media reports of a civilian massacre in the area. Human Rights Watch said this week that Malian forces and foreign fighters killed 300 civilians in Moura, in what it called “the worst single atrocity reported in Mali’s decade-long armed conflict.” France24

Win for Nigerian Women on Public Offices Quota
A Nigerian court has ordered the government to enforce the country’s gender policy which stipulates that 35% of appointments in public offices be reserved for women. Justice Donatus Okorowo’s ruling has been hailed by rights campaigners. Nigerian women groups have been calling for more women representation in political and appointive positions. Activist Mufuliat Fijabi, who was present during the ruling, told local media that she was happy with the judgement. This comes as Nigerian lawmakers are expected to vote again on three of the five rejected gender equality bills this week. Parliament rescinded its decision last month after women groups held protests across the country. BBC

What Is Happening With Chad’s Peace Talks in Doha?
In the second week of March, some 300 Chadian rebels checked into a five-star hotel in downtown Doha. They had flown to the Qatari capital to sign a deal with representatives of Chad’s transitional government and pave the way for their country’s transition towards democracy. What they didn’t foresee is that the process would take weeks…Now, each of the three groups has put forward its own list of preconditions. These are being synergised by the Qatari mediator into a single wish list that will be presented to the Chadian government. That’s when the talks will officially restart. Al Jazeera

Somali President Hits Back at PM on Envoy’s Expulsion
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has dismissed a move by the prime minister to expel the African Union’s special representative in the country. Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble earlier said that Francisco Madeira had been declared persona non grata for engaging in “acts that are incompatible with his status”. In a statement, he said that the AU representative had 48 hours to leave the country. But dismissing the move, Mr Farmajo said the government “doesn’t endorse any illegal action” and “our foreign policy is not anchored on emotions and vested interests against Mr Madeira”. The counter action comes amid a long-running fractious relationship between President Farmajo and the prime minister. BBC

African Migrants Make New Lives in Atlantic Canada
Somali-born refugee Ali Duale has positive memories of his arrival in Canada’s Atlantic province of Nova Scotia, where he first entered his hotel room to find a welcoming note in his native language along with hygienic supplies and a check to pay for anything else that he needed. Twenty-five years later, Duale is repaying the province with his service as an elected member of the provincial legislature representing a district in Halifax, the provincial capital. That service, he says, is all about his sense of community. “The word community to me has many meanings,” Duale told VOA in a recent interview. “I’m a Muslim, I’m Black, I’m a refugee, I’m a newcomer, I’m a Nova Scotian, I’m a Haligonian. Each one has a meaning to me and that’s what brought me to what I am today.” Voice of America

Rwanda Becomes First African Country To Launch Centre Dedicated to Artificial Intelligence
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Rwanda’s government seems to understand this more than most with the launch of the Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR). “With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapid innovations witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an increased urgency to develop digital and technological capacities to build more resilient systems for a healthier society and more sustainable economy,” said Rwandan Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation Paula Ingabire. News24



Photo: Adam Jones