Africa Media Review for April 8, 2022

Africa: UN General Assembly Votes To Suspend Russia From the Human Rights Council
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday calling for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council. The resolution received a two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favour and 24 against. Fifty-eight abstained from the process…Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, were among those who voted against. Those abstaining, included India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia…The vote took place on the anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the Ukrainian ambassador drew parallels with this dark page in recent history. “The genocide in Rwanda was largely due to the indifference of the world’s community, when the UN did not respond to warnings in the UN Security Council and in the General Assembly, a year before the tragedy that we commemorate exactly on this day,” said Mr. Kyslytsya. “Today, in the case of Ukraine, it is not even a year, because the tragedy is unfolding right now before our eyes.” UN News Service

No, COVID-19 Is Not Over Yet
Covid-19 is once again on the rise in certain parts of the world. But, because these countries mostly have high levels of vaccination, deaths and hospital admission numbers are proving low compared with earlier in the pandemic. But African countries are now dropping their Covid-19 restrictions, despite low levels of vaccination. The United Nations wants countries to vaccinate at least 70% of their populations. But just 16% of Africans have been fully vaccinated, compared with the global average of 57% — mostly because countries on the continent ended up at the back of the Covid vaccine queue thanks to their wealthier peers hoarding vaccines. Mail & Guardian

WHO: Two-Thirds of People in Africa May Have Had COVID
More than two-thirds of people living in Africa may have contracted COVID-19 over the past two years, about 97 times more than the number of reported infections, a World Health Organization report has suggested. Laboratory tests have detected 11.5 million COVID cases and 252,000 fatalities across the African continent. But according to the report released on Thursday, some 800 million people could have already been infected by last September. But the WHO Africa region said its study – which is still being peer-reviewed – suggests the officially confirmed numbers were “likely only scratching the surface of the real extent of coronavirus infections in Africa.” Al Jazeera

More Than Half of Public Health Issues in Africa Linked to Climate Change: WHO
Natural disasters had also spiked dramatically since 2010, with 70% of all-natural disasters occurring between 2017 and 2021…”The analysis found that of the 2 121 public health events recorded in the African region between 2001 and 2021, 56% were climate-related. The region is witnessing an increase in climate-linked emergencies, with 25% more climate-related events recorded between 2011 and 2021 compared with the previous decade,” the report stated. Various United Nations agencies, global think tanks, and aid givers had since incorporated climate change awareness and mitigation in its programmes as the world, particularly Africa, was feeling the effects of global warming. Part of the message being conveyed was that African governments should prioritise human well-being in all key decisions, stop new fossil fuel explorations and subsidies, tax polluters and implement WHO air quality guidelines. Climate change-related issues had also become a political campaign rallying point. News24

Nigerian Social Media Accounts Targeted in Influence Campaign Centered on Ukraine Invasion
Olalekan Owonikoko’s Twitter account was used to post support for the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 27 — just days after the invasion. … In February, Buffer accounts were accessed by threat actors to “spread support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” as confirmed in an official statement from Buffer on February 26. According to Buffer, 1,552 accounts were accessed, out of which 618 accounts were used to post 766 unauthorized messages across Twitter (505), Facebook (233), and LinkedIn (28). … “We know what Russian disinformation campaigns have looked like in Africa in the past, so even if we can’t say these are Russian actors pushing these narratives at the moment, we can say it fits this established pattern of what inauthentic coordinated campaigns have done in the past — and Russia has a big incentive right now to be doing something similar,” said Mark Duerksen, a research associate at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, told The Record…“[Russian disinformation has] been destabilizing the information ecosystems in [places like Libya and Sudan], leaving people confused as to which narratives are true, which is part of the strategy of misinformation campaigns — to sow distrust,” Duerksen said. The Record

Mali Tri-Border Security Worrying
The security situation on Mali’s borders with Burkina Faso and Niger has deteriorated to the stage where the UN mission in the landlocked west African country notes “significant” population displacement. “Attacks by armed terrorist groups have a devastating impact on an already distressed civilian population, resulting in dozens of deaths and significant displacement of populations in Gao and Ansongo towns,” a MINUSMA statement reads. The mission is “concerned” about these developments condemning killings and other criminal acts. “Every effort must be made to bring the perpetrators to justice”. In response MINUSMA deployed a unit to the area and will boost its presence with another. DefenceWeb

In Northern Ivory Coast, Fulani Men Say They Are Being Persecuted by Security Forces
[VIDEO] As Ivory Coast beefs up its border security with Burkina Faso, ethnic Fulanis say they are being labeled as Islamist militant supporters and persecuted by security forces. Rights groups warn the heavy-handed tactics could backfire, providing fertile recruiting ground for the insurgents. Henry Wilkins reports from Kong, Ivory Coast. Voice of America

Nigeria: Ukraine: FG Condemns Detention of Nigerians, Other Black Students in Poland
The Federal Government has condemned the Polish Authority for detaining Nigerians and other African students who fled war-torn Ukraine due to their black skin…Dabiri-Erewa said that some Nigerian students who fled war-torn Ukraine to neighbouring countries of Poland and Hungary were now in detention in Poland. A development she said was unacceptable by the Federal Government. She lauded the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, for making it possible for the stranded students to return home “imagine we are not able to bring them back home look at what is happening in Poland? “Some Africans and Nigerians decided not to return home, now Polish authority is now going around and capturing blacks and putting them in detention camps. “So, those Nigerians who refused to return are at a risk, some are in detention centres in Poland and they are in a traumatic condition. Guardian Nigeria

Party of Deposed Guinean President Condé Denounces “Harassment”
The party of former Guinean President Alpha Condé has denounced what it refers to as “harassment” and “arbitrary actions” of the military junta in power. The party is threatening to suspend participation in national meetings… On Wednesday, a former Guinean prime minister and three former ministers were detained on charges of embezzlement. The detentions come amid a crackdown on alleged graft by coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya who seized power last year following Alpha Condé’s successful bid for a third term. AfricaNews

Spain’s Sanchez Visits Morocco, Ending a Year-Long Diplomatic Crisis
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI hosted Spain’s prime minister on Thursday, the landmark visit is aimed at ending a year-long diplomatic crisis, after Madrid reversed decades of neutrality on the Western Sahara conflict. The move is seen as a U-turn that has angered Algeria, has sparked a domestic backlash, with Spain’s parliament on Thursday. Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister said it was a “historic moment for both countries that is necessary in defining our bilateral relations.” “One of the first objectives of this new stage will be the recovery of full normality in the movement of goods and merchandise at the border crossings of Ceuta and Melilla.” “We will proceed with the gradual reopening of the border crossings, to ensure an orderly flow of people in complete safety and in compliance with the necessary health requirements, and goods will also flow normally.” AfricaNews with AFP

Analysts Warn Tunisia Risks Drifting Back to Pre-Revolutionary Era
Political analysts say a quest for ever-greater power by Tunisian President Kais Saied risks sending the nation back to pre-revolutionary times of “strongman” rule. On Wednesday, Saied announced changes regarding the coming legislative elections. Tunisians will now vote for individuals instead of lists in a two-round ballot. He also indicated there would be changes to the Independent Electoral Commission, which he said would supervise the election but not with its ”current composition,” Reuters reported. Voice of America

Rwandans Remember 1994 Genocide With Somber Events
Rwandans have begun a solemn commemoration of the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu who tried to protect them were killed. President Paul Kagame on Thursday laid a wreath at a memorial site where more than 250,000 people are buried in the capital, Kigali. The ceremony marked the beginning of a week of somber events. Kagame said he opposes any attempts to rewrite the history of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The killings were perpetrated by extremist Hutu over a period of 100 days. Some rights groups have accused Kagame’s soldiers of carrying out some killings during and after the genocide in apparent revenge, but Rwandan authorities strongly deny this allegation. AP

DR Congo President Tshisekedi Arrives in Kenya, Set To Sign EAC Treaty
DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi and First Lady Denise Tshisekedi arrived in Kenya early Friday for a two-day visit, where the Head of State is expected to sign the East African Community (EAC) treaty. He was received by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru. Kenya is the current chair of the EAC and Tshisekedi is expected to sign the treaty before President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi. DR Congo became the seventh member of the Community on March 29 when the EAC Heads of State, during their 19th Ordinary Summit, admitted Kinshasa following recommendation by the Council of Ministers. East African

South Africa: Ramaphosa Tells His Diplomats UNSC Is “Outdated”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this week told the country’s senior diplomats the current formation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is “outdated and unrepresentative.” He told high commissioners, ambassadors and others representing South Africa abroad that the Russia/Ukraine conflict “exposed the inability of the UNSC in fulfilling its mandate of maintaining international peace and security”. According to him the outdatedness of the UNSC disadvantages countries with developing economies. “The entire peace and security architecture of the UN needs to be overhauled. DefenceWeb

Malawi Government Apologizes Over Police Detention of Journalist
Malawi’s attorney general has apologized for police detaining a journalist and trying to force him to reveal his sources on a government corruption story. The rare public apology came after the government faced criticism from advocates for press freedom and the U.S. and British embassies in Malawi. The Media Institute for Southern Africa in Malawi, MISA-Malawi, says Attorney General Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda offered an apology Wednesday during a meeting at his office in the capital Lilongwe. Voice of America

Experts Say US Suspension of COVID Aid Will Prolong Pandemic
They [health experts] warn the suspension of COVID-19 aid for poorer countries could ultimately allow the kind of unchecked transmission needed for the next worrisome variant to emerge and unravel much of the progress achieved so far. The U.S. has been the biggest contributor to the global pandemic response, delivering more than 500 million vaccines, and the lack of funding will be a major setback. The money has paid for numerous interventions, including a mass vaccination campaign in the Cameroonian capital that saw hundreds of thousands of people get their first dose, as well as the construction of a COVID-19 care facility in South Africa and the donation of 1,000 ventilators to that country. AP



Photo: Adam Jones