Africa Media Review for August 2, 2022

Environment and Security
Africa is projected to suffer the greatest near-term effects of global warming of any region in the world, despite having contributed the least carbon emissions. Climate change will impact the viability of Africa’s arable land, power sources, and coastal cities, leading to rapidly escalating resource pressures as the continent’s population doubles by 2050. This In Focus pages provides a selection of Africa Center products that track climate-related pressures and their security implications. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

In Libyan Town Searching for Justice, a Struggle Even to Find Graves
After more than a year of brittle stability, Libya is again tipping toward the chaos that shattered it after rebels overthrew Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, the dictator of more than 40 years, in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. The upheaval left this North African country split in half, east and west, carved up by two rival governments and dozens of rival militias that operate above the law. Last year, a period of relative peace offered a snatch of hope. Elections scheduled for December were supposed to produce a government that could reunify Libya’s long-divided institutions, shepherd in a constitution, disarm the militias and expel foreign fighters. But disagreements over candidate eligibility scuttled the vote, pitching a country on Europe’s doorstep into a new phase of uncertainty…But government in Libya is paralyzed. After funding cuts, the effort to uncover and identify Tarhuna’s dead is almost at a standstill. The country is not divided by religion or ideology. But a host of other obstacles impede progress: the intervention of foreign powers including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt, which prize Libya for its strategic location and oil reserves; the need to reconcile east and west after the recent fighting; and political leaders who show little interest in resolving the crisis unless it benefits them. New York Times

US Orders Departure of Personnel from Mali over Attack Fears
The United States has ordered non-emergency personnel and their families to leave Mali due to a heightened risk of attacks, the State Department said. The US did not mention a specific threat to its employees, but said there was an increased danger of violence affecting Westerners in a country that has been plagued by jihadist attacks for years. “On July 29, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees and family members due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks in areas frequented by Westerners,” the State Department said in an updated travel advisory on Mali. “Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting kidnappings and attacks in Mali,” the advisory said, warning of attacks on places including “night clubs, hotels, restaurants, places of worship (and) international diplomatic missions.” Jihadists first struck the north of Mali in 2012, joining a regional insurgency. After being scattered the following year by French forces, they regrouped, in 2015 launching attacks in the ethnically volatile center and cross-border raids on Niger and Burkina Faso. AFP

At Least Four Shot Dead in Guinea Protest, Opposition Group Says
At least four people were shot dead and several wounded during a second day of anti-government protests in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Friday, an opposition coalition said. The protests were spurred by fears that Guinea’s ruling junta, which took power in a coup last September, is not moving quickly enough to restore civilian rule. “The FNDC is profoundly shocked and outraged by the loss of human lives registered during the day of Friday 29th of July,” the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) said in a statement. Four deaths were reported by monitoring groups and victims’ family members, and several people wounded by gunshot of which five in critical condition, it added. Authorities have not yet commented on the protests, but a human rights activist working with families to identify victims told Reuters the death toll was credible. Residents said gunshots rang out in several Conakry neighbourhoods on Friday night as protesters clashed with security forces. Reuters

Senegal’s Ruling Coalition Claims Win but Opposition Rejects
The mayor of Dakar, Barthelemy Dias, denounced the results, claiming that “the opposition won the elections” and calling on the youth to mobilize to “preserve their victory.” Official provisional election results are expected later this week. The Autonomous National Electoral Commission, the body responsible for monitoring and supervising the elections, declared that the ballot took place in peace and calm. About 6.8 million voters were expected at the polls to elect 165 deputies to the National Assembly. The opposition has focused its campaign on the need to vote against the ruling coalition to prevent Sall from trying to secure a third term in the 2024 presidential elections. Senegal’s political atmosphere is tense. Violent protests broke out last year after Sall’s main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, was arrested on rape charges and more than a dozen people were killed. Sonko, who came in third in the 2019 election, denies the allegations and his supporters have been vocal about their opposition to the president. This year, Sonko and another of Sall’s prominent opponents were disqualified as candidates, sparking more widespread anger and protests in which three people died in June. AP

Nigeria Missing as BRICS Moves to Cut Western Domination
Though Nigeria is listed as one of the countries that have expressed interest in joining BRICS, a bloc of five major economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – whose focus is to reduce Western dominance and build a new economic order, its membership may have been stalled by its peculiar challenges. Experts list the low economic complexity of the country, weak productive capacity and fragile fiscal position as part of the hurdles the country will need to surmount to stand a chance of being enlisted. There are no documented membership criteria, at least, none is accessible to the public, but almost all the BRICS members are ahead of Nigeria in terms of industrial development and economic base. At some of its summits, leaders of the member nations said they would continue to develop processes and standards to expand BRICS Plus as an alternative for championing the growth of emerging markets. Interest in the organisation has grown tremendously in recent years. Iran and Argentina are said to have applied for membership, while Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Nigeria have also shown interest. Guardian Nigeria

Algeria Wishes to Join the BRICS
Algeria’s president said the club was an “economic and political power” that permitted to “move away from the attraction of the two poles.” According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the bloc represents 42% of the world’s population and accounts for over 31% of the world’s GDP. The latest member to join the group was South Africa in 2011. On Sunday Tebboune also said good news could quickly come but events shouldn’t be anticipated. The leader took part in a video conference between the BRICS members at the end of June…According to a senior French economist interviewed by a fellow journalist from RFI, if Algeria is a heavyweight in the region, notably for its energy resources which are of great interest to Russia and China, the process of Algeria’s entry into the BRICS could be very gradual given the global geopolitical instability. AfricaNews

Algerian President Calls on Mali to Move Towards Elections
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called on Sunday evening for the military in power in Mali to return to legality “as soon as possible.” “I ask the current leaders of Mali to return to legality as soon as possible. I call on the current leaders of Mali to return to legality as soon as possible, to give voice to the people and to go to elections,” the Algerian head of state said in a televised interview with the local press. “As long as the Algiers agreement is not applied, the problems in Mali will persist,” the Algerian president said. Algeria, which shares some 1,400 km of borders with its southern neighbour, took an active part in the peace agreement signed in 2015 with the pro-independence rebellion to end the war in Mali, but its implementation remains uncertain…Mali has been shaken by two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021. The political crisis is coupled with a serious security crisis that has been ongoing since 2012 and the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in the north. The country continues to be the scene of attacks by groups affiliated with al-Qaeda (some of whose leaders are Algerians) and the Islamic State, and of violence by other armed actors, self-defence militias or criminal gangs. AfricaNews with AFP

Sudan: West Darfur Activists: ‘Authorities Detained 177 Illegally’
The Defence Authority for West Darfur Detainees reported that the authorities has arbitrarily detained 177 people last week. The whereabouts of a large number of them are still to be determined. In a statement yesterday, the defence authority said it issued a request for immediate release, on behalf of the 21 detainees they were able to account for in El Huda Prison in Omdurman. The request was submitted to the Attorney General in Khartoum. The defence authority noted that it would provide legal aid for the detainees. It will hold a press conference as soon as the detainees’ whereabouts are known, and to give an update on their current legal and medical status. Dabanga

Four Dead in South Africa Protests over High Power Costs
At least four people have died during protests over the cost of electricity in a South African township, police officials have said. On Monday, residents angry at the high cost of basic services barricaded roads with burning tyres and set ablaze a municipal building in Thembisa township, northeast of the financial hub, Johannesburg. Authorities said two people were killed in alleged police shootings after the protests broke out in the morning. “It’s alleged they have been shot,” local municipal police spokeswoman Kelebogile Thepa told AFP. Later in the evening, Thepa said two more bodies had been found near the entrance of the burned building – bringing the total death toll to four. Police were yet to confirm what caused the deaths, she added. Investigations were under way. Al Jazeera

Zimbabwe Electoral Appointments Spark Controversy Ahead of 2023
Four years ago, Tawanda Kasirori imagined a new Zimbabwe he would live in – a thriving economy and a blossoming democracy. Today, none of that has happened and only a flicker of that hope remains, even as the 2023 presidential elections beckon. Back in July 2018, Kasirori, an opposition supporter, believed young politician Nelson Chamisa was going to win the presidential election and end the dominance of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, which has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980. That hope dissipated when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delayed announcing the results of the poll. This prompted street protests in central Harare that authorities quelled by firing live bullets at the protesters, killing six and injuring others, on August 1, 2018. Then ZEC announced that Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had taken over in a coup in November 2017 from Zimbabwe’s first president Robert Mugabe, had won. “I still believe Chamisa won,” Kasirori, now 42, told Al Jazeera. “I am sure ZEC did something.”…This increasing distrust of the electoral body is rooted in a number of recent decisions by ZEC. The recent appointment of former vice president Kembo Mohadi’s daughter, Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, as one of its electoral commissioners has sparked controversy. Al Jazeera

Police Disperse Anti-UN Protesters in Congo amid Tensions
Police dispersed about 100 demonstrators in Congo’s eastern town of Beni on Monday, a day after U.N. peacekeepers returning to duty killed three people and wounded more than a dozen at the border with Uganda. Dalzon Mikundi, president of the Beni Urban Youth Council, said they want the U.N. to cover medical care for the victims wounded by peacekeepers amid demonstrations demanding that the U.N. force leave Congo. Tensions between the population in restive eastern Congo and the U.N. peacekeeping force have risen dramatically in the past week or so, with more than 20 killed in protests calling for the force to leave. On Sunday, U.N. peacekeepers opened fire on civilians in Kasindi, a border town with Uganda in Congo’s North Kivu province. “I call on the youth of Beni to put pressure peacefully and not to fall into vandalism,” said Mikundi. “I also call on our government to play its role well in securing its population so as not to rely on foreign forces.” AP

 



Photo: Adam Jones