Africa Media Review for August 10, 2022

A Tense Kenya Awaits Results of High-Stakes Vote
Kenyans waited anxiously on Wednesday for the results of the country’s presidential election after a largely peaceful poll, with low turnout in some areas suggesting growing frustration with the political elite. Although presidential frontrunners William Ruto and Raila Odinga have both vowed to maintain calm following Tuesday’s poll, the memory of past election-related violence remains fresh for many Kenyans, who have urged political parties to accept the results. With pressure building on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which has to declare the results by August 16, officials worked overnight to count votes and dispel rigging fears. “We call for patience among Kenyans as we undertake this rigorous exercise and also endeavour to complete this exercise as soon as possible,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a late-night briefing. Kenyans, some of whom lined up before dawn to cast their ballot, voted in six elections on Tuesday, choosing a new president as well as senators, governors, lawmakers, woman representatives and some 1,500 county officials. Mail & Guardian

Kenya’s Next President Will Have to Act Fast to Fix the Economy
Kenyans braved the morning cold on Aug. 9 to vote in an election largely seen as an opportunity to reverse the economic turmoil and plunder hobbling their country. At the Rongai open-air polling station, 20 kms from Nairobi, two long queues of voters waited outside tents, where clerks helped them elect a new government. The presidential vote pits Raila Odinga, a former prime minister and opposition leader, against William Ruto, the deputy president William Ruto. Odinga promises economic recovery and a fight against corruption; Ruto’s manifesto centers on what he calls the “bottom-up” economic model. “It is a moment to reclaim the economic vision that [former president] Mwai Kibaki showed us,” Joyce Mwaniki, a voter, told Quartz. “A time to end mass retrenchment and create business opportunities for all.” A few meters from the polling clerks is a middle-aged man making chapati, an unleavened flat bread that is a popular street delicacy. Fuelled by rising wheat prices, the size of the chapati has reduced by half in the past four months—precisely the kind of inflation that has been at the heart of electoral issues. Shrinkflation has also hit servings of other foods, such as ugali, mandazi, doughnuts, and beans, as street-food vendors try to maintain prices. Ugali, made from maize flour, is Kenya’s staple food. Quartz Africa

EXPLAINER | What You Need to Know About AU’s New Action Plan on Climate Change
The African Union (AU) has launched its Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan for 2022 to 2032. The plan outlines the continental organisation’s approach to combating climate change over the next 10 years and identifies the guiding principles, priorities, and areas for increased climate cooperation. The document was launched a few days before the United Nations Security Council’s open debate on peace and security in Africa. During the debate, AU commissioner for political affairs, peace and security Bankole Adeoye highlighted how climate change threatened the livelihoods of millions in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. In these areas, the socio-economic crisis, climate change and related extreme weather events have accelerated human migration and displacement internally and across borders. Migrants face a high number of health risks before, during and after their journeys, with access to essential healthcare often disrupted. News24

New Laws of the Land: Sierra Leone Reshapes Environmental Battleground
It is a struggle that communities across the world have faced: stopping companies from grabbing their lands, polluting their environment and forcing them to relocate. When a major investor sees an opportunity to profit from a mine or large-scale agriculture, long-established ways of life, and even land ownership rights, often prove to mean little. But in one West African country, Sierra Leone, the rules of such struggles may be about to change drastically. Under new laws passed this week, companies operating in Sierra Leone will have to obtain the express consent of local communities before starting mining, industrial or farming activities. Residents owning land will be able to veto any project affecting it. And the government will have to help pay for any legal fees that the local communities incur in negotiations — meaning it will most likely finance legal expertise used against the companies. Environmental and land rights experts have hailed the laws as a bold step for the nation of eight million people, which remains among the world’s poorest despite extensive natural resources, and even as intensive mining and palm oil and sugar cane plantations have led to deforestation, landslides and soil erosion. New York Times

Mountains of Clothes Washed Up on Ghana Beach Show Cost of Fast Fashion
Huge piles of discarded clothes line a beach in Accra, capital of Ghana. The rags started life thousands of miles from the Gulf of Guinea and their coming to rest on this West African coast reflects the shortcomings of a huge global trade buoyed by fast fashion. Ghana is the third-largest importer of second-hand clothing in the world and its market for used garments is so strong that traders of new lines struggle to compete. Second-hand clothes enter the country from distributors abroad – Britain and the US are the biggest players – and are sold in bulk to local dealers before hitting the market stalls. It is no circular economy: More than one hundred million items of used clothing drop from circulation and go to waste each year in Ghana’s capital alone. Muntaka Chasant, a photographer based in Accra, knows where a good deal of this waste ends up. He tells The Independent of his trip this week to the beach at Jamestown, an old district of the capital that is home to a fishing community. Having been there before Mr Chasant knew what to expect but was nonetheless disappointed when he saw dense mounds of clothing lining the seafront. Independent

Mali Gets More Military Equipment from Russia
Mali on Tuesday received military jets and a combat helicopter from Russia. During a ceremony, L-39 and Sukhoi-25 jets as well as Mi-24P helicopter gunships were displayed. Defense Minister Sadio Camara paid tribute to what he called Mali’s “win-win partnership with the Russian Federation.” The new deliveries “strengthen our reconnaissance and attack capabilities,” he said. No information was disclosed about the conditions for acquiring the gunships. Previous Russian arms deliveries made public this year, were helicopters and surveillance radars as well as mobile radar systems. Mali has been battered by a jihadist campaign that began in the north of the country in 2012. It then spread to the south and insurgents reached Burkina Faso and Niger. Recently, Al-Qaeda terrorists have heaped pressure on Mali’s military. In July, jihadi rebels attacked Mali’s Kati military base on the outskirts of the capital city Bamako where the president of the transitional authorities resides. AfricaNews with AFP

Nigeria: Owo Attack: Akeredolu Confirms Arrest of Attackers
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has confirmed the arrest of the attackers of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo. The incident, which happened on 5 June, left at least 40 worshippers dead and scores of others injured. Mr Akeredolu confirmed the arrest shortly after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lucky Irabor, announced that some of the attackers had been arrested at a media parley in Abuja on Tuesday. Mr Irabo, a general, also stated that the military was on the trail of the other attackers, saying that as soon as they conclude their investigation, they would parade the attackers. In a statement through his spokesperson on Tuesday, Mr Akeredolu further disclosed that the owner of the house where the attackers stayed before the June attack in Owo had also been arrested He noted that government did not spare a moment in trailing the terrorists since the horrendous attacks on innocent worshipers at the St Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo. Premium Times Nigeria

Twin Blasts Kill 15 Burkina Faso Troops, Army Says
Two explosions killed 15 soldiers in Burkina Faso on Tuesday, the army said, the latest in a series of such attacks as the country battles a jihadi insurgency. The twin blasts using “improvised explosive devices occurred on the road from Bourzanga to Djibo” in the Center-North region, the army general staff said. “The toll for both incidents is 15 fallen soldiers and one wounded,” the statement said. It was carried out during an escort mission, the statement said. “One of the vehicles in the convoy, which was carrying troops, hit an explosive device near Namsiguia district in Bam province,” it added. While troops secured the area and tended to the victims, “a second device was remotely detonated, causing many casualties.” Jihadis based in neighboring Mali began mounting cross-border raids on Burkina Faso and neighboring Niger in 2015. In Burkina Faso, violence blamed on jihadis affiliated to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group has killed thousands of people and prompted 1.9 million more to flee their homes. Voice of America

Kenya’s Rise as a Regional Geothermal Power
Kenya is looking to capitalise on rising commercial drilling contracts in East Africa by growing its geothermal talent pool. Governments in the region are warming up to renewable energy in the race to net zero emissions. Energy producer KenGen has floated a tender for the construction of a geothermal training centre, a multimillion-dollar development with the potential to strengthen Kenya’s pole position as Africa’s leader in geothermal production. The project, funded by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is already looking for prime contractors. The qualified firms must demonstrate having an annual turnover of $8-million and have handled at least five similar projects, each valued at over $4.5-million.  “The bidder shall also demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the employer, that it has adequate sources of finance to meet the cash flow requirements on works currently in progress and for future contract commitments,” according to the tender document. New training facilities will comprise, among others, lecture and administration facilities, a workshop and laboratory blocks. The facilities will also have male and female student hostels, a villa and a dining area. The facility is projected to take nine months to complete, following the award of the contract to the developer. Mail & Guardian

Al-Shabab Faces Pushback in Ethiopia’s Somali Region
Ethiopia’s Somali region is mobilizing against al-Shabab militants to prevent further incursions by the group. The region had been hailed as the most peaceful in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. But that was put to the test three weeks ago when al-Shabab fighters forced their way into the region, igniting a deadly confrontation deep in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has now amassed troops along the border for possible military operations against al-Shabab. But the Somali region is also mobilizing community leaders including religious scholars, women and traditional elders. Business leaders have pledged funds and pastoralists have donated livestock to the security forces. The apparent goal is to resist infiltration of al-Shabab’s ideology in a region known for its tolerance and peaceful cohabitation between various faith communities. Voice of America

Blinken Calls for End to Congo Violence, Backs Negotiations
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that his country will support the efforts led by Kenya and Angola to put an end to the violence in Congo’s east and to help solve the central African nation’s crisis with Rwanda. Blinken traveled to Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Tuesday as part of his three-nation African tour. There, he met with Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and other government officials, including Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula who joined him at a press conference after meetings. “We want this violence in eastern Congo to end,” Blinken said. “We call on the M23 and all other armed groups to cease their actions, lay down their arms and come within the framework of the negotiation process.” Blinken is in Congo for two days and was expected to encourage solutions to the violence in eastern Congo where attacks have increased dramatically in the past month, with the resurgence of the M23 rebel group and ongoing violence by the many militia groups vying for control of the mineral-rich region. AP

Will Chad’s Latest Peace Agreement Hold?
[Video] The transitional government and dozens of rival factions have signed a peace deal. Chad’s Transitional Military Council has signed a peace deal aimed at ending decades of conflict. The agreement is the first step towards democratic elections and a new constitution. Many political factions signed the deal, but Chad’s largest armed group walked out of negotiations when its demands were not met. Al Jazeera

TRANSCRIPT | US Secretary of State’s Address at University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Institute
On his visit to South Africa, one of US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken’s major highlights was his address at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Institute on Monday. It was there where he unveiled a new US strategy for relations with Sub-Saharan Africa. News24



Photo: Adam Jones