Africa Media Review for August 17, 2022

Central African Republic: Why Putin’s Private Army Is Snatching Kids from Their Moms
Christelle Youmbi says the Russians seized her only child while the 11-year-old was taking a bath just behind where they live in the same compound in Boko-Boudeye. She said a Wagner soldier hit her son in the head with a gun and carried him away “completely naked.” “They (the Russian mercenaries) said the rebels were planning to attack the community and kidnap male children, so they were taking all the boys away to keep them in a safe place,” said Youmbi, who turned 30 in July. “I begged them to tell me where they were taking him to but they refused to say anything.” In total, seven boys were taken away by Putin’s private army, according to Youmbi, who said the children were between the ages of 10 and 13, and were “crying and struggling” to escape the grip of their abductors. Most of the people who lived in the compound in Boko-Boudeye are families who fled Bouar, 7 miles away, after January 2021 attacks by a coalition of rebel groups who were opposed to President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. That led to the displacement of over 8,000 people. Some of them sought refuge in local churches, others, like Pirioua and Youmbi, whose husbands have been missing since the deadly attacks, moved with their children to a settlement in Boko-Boudeye, not far from the border with Cameroon. Daily Beast

Mali Rights Situation ‘Poisonous’: UN Expert
The human rights climate in Mali is “poisonous”, the UN’s expert said Monday after witnessing evidence of “atrocious, cruel and barbaric torture” by its security forces. He also referred to reports that Russian “foreign military personnel” had, working alongside members of Mali’s armed forces, been involved in rights violations. Following a 10-day visit to Mali, Alioune Tine welcomed steps to restore constitutional order and civilian rule, but voiced grave concerns about the resurgence of extremist violence and a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation. “There is a poisonous climate marked by suspicion and mistrust, with a continuous narrowing of civic space, the hardening of the Malian transitional authorities, and a malaise,” Tine added. “This poisonous climate led several actors to self-censor, fearing reprisals from the Malian transitional authorities and/or their supporters,” he said. The Senegalese expert is mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council, but does not speak on behalf of the UN. Tine noted the resurgence and frequency of attacks and violence committed by violent extremist groups in Mali’s north, centre and around the capital Bamako. Barrons

Kenyan Observer Group Says Projections Tally with Election Result
An independent observer group has said the results of Kenya’s August 9 presidential election as announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), are in line with its own projections. At a news conference on Tuesday morning in Nairobi, the capital, the Elections Observation Group (ELOG) said it received data from over 5,000 observers deployed across 290 constituencies in the country’s 47 counties. “Of these, 1000 Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observers were carefully recruited, specially trained and deployed to a nationally representative random sample of polling stations,” Anne Ireri, the group’s chairperson said. “ELOG’s PVT estimates are consistent with IEBC’s official results for the 2022 presidential elections,” she added. “In light of our assessment of the Election Day processes and given that IEBC figures fall within the projected ranges, the PVT projections, therefore, corroborate the official results.” Al Jazeera

Kenya: Women’s Representation in Legislature Significantly Increase
Women’s representation in legislature will significantly increase in the upcoming government after a higher number of women were elected to various offices. In the Tuesday General Election, seven governors, three senators and 29 single constituency members elected were women. The first elections held under the promulgated constitution in 2013 saw no female governors in government…NGEC Chairperson Dr Joyce Mutinda attributes the positive trajectory to affirmative action mechanisms within the constitution. However, Dr Mutinda notes that the two-thirds gender principle will still not be realised in the 13th Parliament’s National Assembly and Senate. “Even though the two-thirds gender rule will be realised after nominations (special seat members that ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly are of the same gender) in the county assemblies, the Commission believes the enactment of mechanisms to promote affirmative actions for women, youth and PWDs in the political spaces is the missing link in ensuring gender equality in the national assembly and senate,” part of NGEC’s statement reads. For most women in Kenya, this year’s elections have been a step towards narrowing the political participation gender gap in elective politics. Nation

Defeated Kenyan Candidate Declares Election Results ‘Null and Void’
Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the results of the election “null and void” and promised to challenge them in court, ignoring calls for him to concede to declared winner William Ruto. Ruto was named the winner of last week’s election by Wafula Chebukati, chair of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), on Monday — an announcement marred with allegations of vote-rigging and dissent among commission members over the close-fought race. “The figures announced by Mr. Chebukati are null and void and must be crushed by a court of law,” Odinga said at a news conference. “I want to commend our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace and urge them to continue to do so. Let no one take the law into their own hands.” “We are pursuing constitutional and lawful channels and processes to invalidate Mr. Chebukati’s illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement,” he added. Washington Post

Explainer: What Next After William Ruto-Raila Odinga Kenya Election Results Stalemate
With the declaration of Deputy President William Ruto as the President-elect, focus now shifts to the Supreme Court after Raila Odinga who lost the 2022 Kenya presidential contest by a narrow margin rejected the results. If Mr Odinga, the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Party candidate, files a petition at the Supreme Court it will be heard by a bench of seven judges. The judges are Chief Justice Martha Koome, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaola and William Ouko. Three of the seven judges nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election in 2017. Chief Justice Koome and Justice Ouko, joined the Supreme Court in mid-2021. Any person wishing to contest the presidential election results has seven days within which to file a petition after the date of declaration of the results. The Supreme Court, which has the sole jurisdiction to hear presidential election petition, is supposed to determine the petition within 14 days from the date of filing and its decision shall be final. If no petition is filed at the Supreme Court, President-elect Ruto and Deputy President-elect Rigathi Gachagua will be sworn in on Tuesday, August 30 as opposed to September 12 if a petition is filed. East African

Analysis: Angola’s Election Race Is Between Continuity and Change
On August 22, millions of voters in Angola will go to the polls for parliamentary elections that will also decide the country’s new leader. They will elect a new president and members of parliament simultaneously with a single mark on a ballot paper under the country’s electoral system. The incumbent President Joao Lourenço is seeking to extend his presidency with a second five-year term on the platform of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has been at the wheel for almost half a century. National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the former rebel movement turned largest opposition party, is hoping its candidate, legislator Adalberto Costa Junior, can unseat him. Lourenço became president in 2017, handpicked by his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos who stepped down after four decades of iron-fisted rule. He presented himself as a man who could usher in a new era and a clear break from the past; painful memories of civil war, mismanagement of state resources and extreme poverty. Al Jazeera

FG “Imagine Nigeria” Study Seeks Collective Effort to Re-Build Nigeria
A Federal Government study called `Imagine Nigeria’ on Monday urged Nigerians from all works of life to join hands in developing Nigeria to an enviable height. Ms Lanre Shasore, Senior Special Assistant on Planning and Coordination, Office of the President, made the call at a news conference in Abuja. Reports have it that ”Imagine Nigeria” is a study promoted by the Federal Government and supported by Untied Nation Development Programme (UNDP), in exploring the future of Nigeria in the study’s framework. “Imagine Nigeria will be launched on Aug.10 at the State House with a website that will allow all Nigerians to gain access to see possible ways they can contribute to re-build Nigeria.” Shasore said that the study framework made some recommendations for Nigeria to lead Africa in becoming successful in the 21st century future by showing leadership on the continent. “This is not a project, it has no budget, no expenditure and so on, it is a free standing future study, it is imagination on what we want our country to be and it recommended five ways to achieve that. WithinNigeria

Wealthy Nigerians, Middle Class, Youths in Web of Naira Shorting
Confidence in the economy has dropped to its lowest ebb, emboldening some Nigerians – the wealthy and hustlers– to bet against the naira, investigations have suggested. As desperate behaviours intensify, the lines between the elite and ordinary folks, as well as the vanishing middle class and struggling youths, are fast disappearing with the majority boxed in the same ring, while they watch the currency lose its peg against its peers. Through different approaches, which reflect individuals’ economic power and exposure, Nigerians from all walks of life are piling pressure on the naira, shorting it in expectation of a further fall in value. The Guardian learnt of a worrisome tendency to short the currency (sell with the intention of buying it back when it slumps further) each time the dollar retreats slightly against the naira. Guardian Nigeria

Tunisia Passes New Constitution Granting the President More Powers
The final results of a controversial referendum granting unchecked powers to the office of Tunisia’s President Kais Saied showed 94.6 percent of votes in favour, the electoral authority said Tuesday. Voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution, the electoral board said, officially announcing definitive results from the July 25 poll. The charter was approved by just over 2.6 million people, the board’s president Farouk Bouasker told reporters. Turnout was considered very low at 30.5 percent. The referendum came a year to the day after Saied sacked the government and froze parliament in what rivals have branded a coup… However, opposition politicians and human rights groups have warned of a return to dictatorship under the new constitution. “The constitution comes into force with the announcement of the final results, its promulgation by the president and its publication in the official journal,” Bouasker said on Tuesday. He said the fact that appeals against the referendum process had been rejected “confirmed the integrity and transparency of ISIE”, the North African country’s electoral commission. Bouasker said ISIE had been subjected to “an unprecedented wave of allegations by certain political parties and civil society groups”. The new text puts the president in command of the army, allows him to appoint a government without parliamentary approval and makes it virtually impossible to remove him from office. He can also present draft laws to parliament, which will be obliged to give them priority. A second chamber is created within parliament to represent the regions and counterbalance the assembly itself. Tunisia is mired in crisis with growth of just three percent, nearly 40 percent of young people jobless and four million people out of a population of nearly 12 million in poverty. AfricaNews

Condemnation as New Political Initiative Calls for Army to Be ‘Supreme Authority’ in Sudan
The mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change, the Central Council faction (FFC-CC), condemn the Sudan People’s Call initiative as anti-democratic and call it “an attempt to turn back the clock” that allows the military to control Sudan’s politics. The Sudan People’s Call initiative, backed by coup-leader and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) commander Abdelfattah El Burhan, was launched last month by renowned Sufi leader El Tayeb El Jad with the aim of ending the country’s political crisis. This weekend, a conference took place with a round table dialogue and resulting recommendations. The conference recommended that the High Council of the Armed Forces, as proposed by Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan on July 4, be given broad authority, including sovereign powers, so that it will be the supreme authority in the country. El Wasig El Bereir, Secretary-General of the National Umma Party (NUP) and spokesperson for the FFC-CC, said that the initiative is “an attempt to turn back the clock and tame the revolutionary political forces that believe in democratic transformation by a force that defends the military coup. The military will work from behind the curtain to guide them in the directions they want”. El Bereir noted that the Sudan People’s Call initiative, from the beginning, defined the crisis in Sudan as a conflict between groups of civilians. While the real crisis, he said, is caused by the October coup “which blocks the path to a genuine civilian-led democratic transformation.” Dabanga

Burundi Deploys Troops to DR Congo
Burundi has become the first country to deploy troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part the recent decision by the East African Community for a joint mission against rebels. A contingent of the Burundian army officially entered Congolese soil on Monday 15 August. And, according to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), these soldiers will be deployed in the operational zone in the south of the province of South Kivu, in eastern DRC, to hunt down armed groups. The Congolese army specified that this is within the framework of the joint forces, recently agreed on by the heads of state of the East African Community under the then chairmanship of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Until Monday, neither the troop contributors nor the actual timelines had been unknown. The Burundian soldiers will be stationed at the Luberezi training centre, about 100km from Bukavu, the largest city in South Kivu. East African

South Africa: A Royal Family Feuds over Who Should Be King of the Zulus
Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu, 47, carries himself like a king. He is the son of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who died last year after a 50-year reign, and a descendant of the family of King Shaka Zulu, whose bloody conquest to unite the Zulu kingdom two centuries ago has made him something of a mythic figure in popular culture. But Misuzulu’s claim as their successor is hotly contested. His father left behind more than a dozen sons. And although Misuzulu has received the blessing of several powerful members of the royal family, as well as the president of South Africa, some of his relatives — including uncles, aunts and siblings — have cast him as a reckless playboy unfit to lead them. Now members of one of Africa’s most storied monarchies are locked in a vicious fight that threatens to tear the family apart. Two of the deceased king’s sons are now calling themselves king. There have been many lawsuits, public insults and dramatic confrontations — all captivating a country where an estimated 14 million Zulus make up the largest and most culturally influential ethnic group. “I like to call it domestic terrorism — family domestic terrorism,” Misuzulu said in a rare news media interview, his first with a foreign outlet. “The family is still deeply, deeply divided.” Misuzulu is scheduled to enter the cattle kraal — a Zulu ritual said to introduce the next king to the ancestors — on Saturday. It is traditionally one of the final customs before coronation. Although the Zulu king has no official government powers, he holds real sway. He controls a vast swath of land — slightly larger than Haiti — belonging to the kingdom. He oversees a $3.9 million annual budget that the government provides for the royal family. And he serves as the moral leader of a people brimming with pride. New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones