Africa Media Review for August 18, 2022

Angola’s General Elections 2022: What You Need to Know
Incumbent Joao Lourenco is under pressure as the election draws near because his rival in the presidential race, Adalberto Costa Junior, is ahead in most opinion polls. In the larger cities, where most Angolans live, and among the youth, the level of dissatisfaction with Lourenco and his  government, and the desire for a political change, is pronounced. The general election is expected to be the tightest contest since democratic elections were first introduced in 1992…More than 14 million voters are eligible to take part in the general election, according to the National Electoral Commission (CNE). The election is the fourth in Angola’s post-war period and the fifth electoral process since 1992. This election marks the first in which Angolans living abroad will be able to vote. In recent weeks, civil society groups have repeatedly complained about mistakes in the electoral process. For example, millions of deceased citizens are still included in the electoral lists. In addition, many voters have been assigned polling stations very far from their places of residence. This is especially true for Angolans in the diaspora. The election will involve hundreds of observers. According to the CNE, the limit of 2,000 national and international observers has been reached. DW

US Congressional Delegation in Kenya amid Election Crisis
A U.S. congressional delegation has arrived in Kenya to meet with the new president-elect and the opposition figure likely to file a court challenge to his election loss in the latest electoral crisis for East Africa’s most stable democracy. The new U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, said the delegation led by Sen. Chris Coons also will meet with outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been publicly silent since the largely peaceful Aug. 9 election. President-elect William Ruto is Kenyatta’s deputy president, but the two fell out years ago, and Kenyatta in the election backed longtime opposition figure Raila Odinga instead. Odinga has said he is exploring “all constitutional and legal options” to challenge his close election loss. His campaign has a week from Monday’s declaration of Ruto’s win to go to the Supreme Court, which then has 14 days to rule. Odinga has urged his supporters to remain calm in a country with a history of post-election violence. Voice of America

Kenya Seeks Return to Normalcy After Presidential Election
Election officials on Monday declared William Ruto the winner of Kenya’s presidential election. His rival, Raila Odinga, has rejected the results and expressed his intention to launch a court challenge. Many analysts now anticipate that Odinga will file a petition in the Supreme Court, the only viable option left to him. William Ruto’s supporters are, meanwhile, still celebrating, and protests in Odinga’s opposition strongholds such as Kibera and Mathare in the capital, Nairobi, are largely peaceful. Voters cast their ballots on August 9, and the nation waited anxiously for several days to hear who the new president would be.  “It is important to get back to normalcy. The economy is threatened post-pandemic, we need to recover,” Zaida Mwajuma, a resident of Kisumu, told DW. She said that she wants to go back to doing what she loves best, including schooling. “We cannot allow politicians to hold us hostage.” Denis Mogaka supported Raila Odinga in the elections. Mogaka said the outcome of the vote has left him feeling devastated and depressed. “These have been very tough moments for us and in many years during elections, our people haven’t taken things lightly,” he said. “Right now, I feel that we should get back to our normal daily activities because our children need to go to school, our children need to eat.” DW

Kenya’s President-Elect Ruto to ‘Engage’ with Any Court Challenge
Kenyan President-elect William Ruto says he “will engage” with any potential court challenges to the election results, as the East African country awaits an expected petition from losing candidate Raila Odinga. Ruto, the country’s deputy president, spoke to journalists on Wednesday after meeting with members of his political alliance. He declared that his administration “will have nothing to do with the blackmail we have seen, the threats we have seen, the fear sown around the country” amid differing political views. “We are having our democratic country back,” he said. The 55-year-old did not directly address Odinga’s plan to challenge his victory, but said, “If there will be court processes, we will engage because we adhere to the rule of law.” Ruto asserted he was forging ahead with creating an administration, promising that no Kenyan would be excluded, whatever their political or ethnic affiliation. He also promised that public servants will be professional and would be under no pressure to carry out political work for any party. “I really want us to know that the expectations of the people of Kenya are huge. We don’t have the luxury of wasting time,” Ruto said. Al Jazeera

Teenage Boy Killed in Guinea Anti-Junta Protests
At least one person has been killed in Guinea during a day of protests against the ruling military junta. Reports from the capital, Conakry, say a teenage boy was shot dead by the security forces as the motorcade of the military leader Col Mamady Doumbouya passed through the city. An opposition group says a second young man was also shot. Police deny this. Clashes broke out during the day, as demonstrators hurled stones at officers, who retaliated with tear gas. Several people were arrested. Guinea’s military, which seized power last September, has banned all demonstrations. It has pledged to move to civilian rule within three years. BBC

Mali Demands Emergency UN Meeting over French ‘Aggression’
Mali has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to stop what it calls French “acts of aggression”, including alleged espionage and violations of sovereignty, and accused France of supporting jihadists…French authorities have not responded to the accusations. On Monday – the date of the letter – the last French soldiers departed from Mali after nine years of battling a jihadist insurgency. The junta, which seized power in an August 2020 putsch, has turned away from France, its traditional ally and former colonial power, and towards Russia. Mali “invites” the Security Council to ensure that France “immediately ceases its acts of aggression,” Diop said. The letter asks the Chinese presidency to communicate these details to the council’s members in the hope of arranging an emergency meeting. AFP

Nigeria Restores Power After Nationwide Shutdown
Power has been restored in Nigeria after a nationwide blackout due to a workers’ strike over pay. Africa’s most populous nation was plunged into darkness on Wednesday after the workers shut down the national power grid. The electricity workers’ union had said it wanted to compel the government to honour an agreement from 2019 to pay former employees of a state-owned electricity company. They accused the government of failing to address staff welfare issues. The workers, under the National Union of Electricity Employees, called off the strike on Wednesday night after a meeting with the government. They have threatened to resume the strike in two weeks if their demands are not addressed. Nigeria’s power sector (electricity generation and distribution) was fully privatised in 2013; but corruption and inefficiency have ruined any progress. Incessant power cuts have forced many Nigerians, including entrepreneurs to rely mostly on petrol or diesel-powered generators to power their homes and businesses. BBC

Ethiopia: WHO Chief: ‘Colour of Skin’ May Be Why Tigray Crisis Not Getting Attention
The World Health Organisation’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has suggested that racism is behind a lack of international attention being paid to the plight of civilians in Ethiopia’s war-shattered Tigray region. Calling it the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”, with 6 million people unable to access basic services, Tedros questioned in an emotional appeal why the situation is not getting the same attention as the Ukraine conflict. “Maybe the reason is the colour of the skin of the people,” Tedros, who is from Tigray, told a virtual media briefing on Wednesday. In April this year at a briefing, he questioned whether “black and white lives” in emergencies worldwide are given equal attention. WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan also hit out at an apparent shortage of concern about the drought and famine unfolding in the Horn of Africa, and the ensuing health crisis. “No one seems to give a damn about what’s happening in the Horn of Africa,” said Ryan, speaking at a virtual media briefing on Wednesday. The WHO called for $123.7 million to tackle the health problems resulting from growing malnutrition in the region, where around 200 million people live and millions are going hungry. Reuters

Ethiopia Government Proposes Plan for Peace in War-Torn Tigray
The Ethiopian government called for a formal Tigray ceasefire agreement to be reached as soon as possible to enable the resumption of basic services to the war-stricken northern region. A committee established in June to explore the possibility of talks with Tigrayan rebels said on Wednesday it had drawn up a “peace proposal” to try to end the war that erupted in November 2020. The announcement came on the same day that the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) described the situation in Tigray as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”. “In order to ensure a sustained provision of humanitarian aid as well as to facilitate the resumption of basic services and also to resolve the conflict peacefully; the committee has underscored that there is a need to conclude a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible,” the Ethiopian peace committee said in a statement. Al Jazeera

South Sudan: Ethiopia Accepts Juba’s Proposal to Mediate Border Row with Sudan
Ethiopia has accepted South Sudan’s proposal to mediate its border dispute with neighbouring Sudan, a top government official has disclosed. South Sudan’s security affairs advisor, Tut Gatluak Manime said he visited Ethiopia to solicit views on its relations with Sudan and the need to strengthen them for the benefit of both nations and the region. “We have been warmly received, hospitably cared for, and had the opportunity to give the message of his excellency to relevant leadership and authorities in this beautiful and hospitable country in Africa. Ethiopia is a great country with great people. They love people from other countries and their relationships with Sudan and South Sudan are quite unique”, he told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday. Manime revealed that Ethiopia accepted South Sudan’s proposal to mediate its border row with Sudan. Sudan Tribune

Spanish Court Clears Way to Return Body of Angola’s Ex-President
A Spanish judge has ruled that the body of Angola’s longtime leader José Eduardo dos Santos may be returned to his home country in southern Africa. The former president died in Barcelona on July 8 at the age of 79, but his burial set off a family feud with political consequences after his daughter Welwitschia dos Santos formally accused the former first lady as well as Mr. dos Santos’s longtime private doctor of homicide. Mr. dos Santos stepped down in 2017 after 38 years in power, amid growing public protest, but remained a towering political figure in Angola. After an autopsy showed that Mr. dos Santos had died of natural causes, Judge Francisco Javier Pauli Collado on Wednesday found in favor of his wife, Ana Paula dos Santos. The ruling allows Ms. dos Santos to repatriate her husband’s body to Angola as soon as Friday, her lawyer, Josep Riba, said. New York Times

DRC: Security, Trade High on the Agenda as SADC Leaders Meet in Kinshasa
Leaders of Southern African nations are meeting in Kinshasa for their 42nd summit. The leaders are expected to review the progress made towards achieving closer integration and deepening regional trade. The summit will be held under the theme “Promoting Industrialization through Agro-Industry, Mineral Resource Enrichment and Regional Value Chains for Inclusive and Resilient Economic Growth. The summit comes at a time when the host country is faced with renewed violence in its east. Before fellow leaders, President Felix Tshisekedi denounced ‘cowardly and barbaric aggression’ against his country by Rwanda. Some SADC member states such as Malawi and Tanzania are trooop contributors to the UN’s Rapid Intervention Brigade under MONUSCO. Another member of the bloc, Mozambique, is also dealing with a militant insurgency in its northern provinces. A regional force known as SAMIM, alongside forces from Rwanda has managed to win back territory from the Islamic State-linked rebels. At the end of the summit, Congo will take over the bloc’s rotating presidency from Malawi. AfricaNews

AU, Others Woo Youths to Boost COVID-19 Vaccination by 70% in Africa
African Union (AU) has collaborated with Trace TV to engage the creative community in pushing its Bingwa Initiative geared at increasing COVID-19 vaccination across Africa by 70 per cent in 2023. The programme, which is also in partnership with the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC), GIZ and MasterCard, has public figures and social media influencers like The Pamilerin, Jenni Frank, Nigerian singer, Chike and comedian, Pencil, among others engaged to promote COVID-19 vaccination championed by African youths. The strategy is to get the continent’s young population mobilise their peers, families and communities for vaccination against the pandemic. Speaking at a strategic workshop in Lagos, acting Director of AU Commission’s Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, Ngwenya Nonkululeko, noted that the initiative is a response to the innovative ways requested by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during the AU Heads of State Summit in January 2022. She recalled that the President called for mechanisms to increase COVID-19 vaccination rate to 70 per cent by 2023, adding that this sparked the idea for the AU COVID-19 Vaccination Bingwa Initiative. Guardian Nigeria



Photo: Adam Jones