Africa Media Review for August 26, 2022

Angola President Lourenço Set for Another Term amid Allegations of Unfair Vote
Angola’s ruling party, already in power for nearly five decades, was set to narrowly win this week’s general election, the country’s electoral commission said Thursday, handing President João Lourenço another five-year term…As early results were released throughout the day Thursday, Unita officials contested the electoral commission’s numbers and said its parallel count pointed to an opposition victory. “Don’t let them steal our hope,” the party’s leader, Adalberto Costa Júnior, who had joined forces with two other popular opposition groups for the election, posted on Facebook. In the run-up to the vote, civil-society groups had questioned the impartiality of the electoral commission, saying it was too close to the MPLA, and raised concerns over the limited airtime given to opposition parties on state media. Billboards emblazoned with Mr. Lourenço’s portrait and the MPLA’s election promises dominated the streets of the capital, Luanda. Neither the U.S. for the European Union sent full observation missions to make public assessments on the vote, and Washington-based pro-democracy group Freedom House, which assesses countries’ political rights and civil liberties, rates Angola as “not free.” At stake is the future of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria. Angola is home to one of the region’s most powerful militaries and an important mediator in an escalating conflict in eastern Congo. A disputed election could also complicate efforts in recent years by the U.S. and Europe to deepen economic ties with Angola. Since the end of its 27-year civil war, Angola has borrowed heavily from China to build roads, housing and other infrastructure. Wall Street Journal

Court Petitions Allege Hackers Manipulated Kenya’s Presidential Poll Results
William Ruto may not have been validly elected as Kenya’s fifth president, because, according to court petitions filed in Nairobi, technology was used to rig out his closest competitor Raila Odinga. Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua, an experienced attorney, claim that the presidential vote was stolen five months before election day with 19 foreigners and two Kenyans having unauthorized access to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) IT voting system…Karua claims that digital footprints of IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati could be seen in the voter verification system as late as Aug. 15 after the declaration of the president-elect. “Chebukati was personally continuously deleting and uploading different result declaration forms.” Quartz Africa

Germany Warns Russian Destabilization of Mali Set to Intensify
Annalena Baerbock’s comments come two weeks after Germany’s military suspended reconnaissance and transport operations in Mali when the military junta blocked a rotation of the troops Germany contributes to a multinational security force and barred others from leaving the country. “It must be feared that the situation there will intensify further in coming months. That’s why it’s so important that we work against the Russian narrative and do everything together to minimize the terrible effects of this war where we can,” Baerbock told reporters Thursday in Morocco’s capital, Rabat. Mali’s military government has grown more hostile to western military intervention in the region since the deployment of what the US estimates to be 1,000 mercenaries by Russia’s Wagner Group last year. Mali’s government has denied the presence of Wagner forces. Bloomberg

Anti-Jihadist Fight: Burkina Faso and Niger Invite Mali to “Return” to Military Cooperation
Burkina Faso and Niger, two countries affected by the jihadist violence that started in northern Mali in 2013, on Monday called on Bamako to “come back and assume its responsibilities” as part of sub-regional cooperation in the fight against jihadism. In mid-May, Mali’s transitional authorities, prevented from assuming the presidency, decided to withdraw from the G5 Sahel and its joint force, a military alliance fighting jihadist groups, citing a “loss of autonomy” and “instrumentalisation” within the regional organisation formed with Mauritania, Chad, Burkina and Niger. “We reviewed (…) the sub-regional situation and we thought that Mali (…) is today the great absentee in defence cooperation,” said Niger’s defence minister, Alkassoum Indattou. “We have to work so that Mali can come back and assume its responsibilities and play its role,” he added. AfricaNews with AFP

Ghana Return to IMF Not Because of My Mismanagement — Akufo-Addo
The President of the Republic, H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has explained the reason for Ghana’s 17th return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout. The President has debunked claims that Ghana’s return to IMF is as a result of economic mismanagement. In an interview with Damongo-based PAD FM in the Savannah Region on Wednesday, August 24, as part of his two-day tour of the region, he insists that the return is due to global factors, thus the COVID-19 and Russia/Ukraine war. “In fact, the big difference that we are having in Ghana today and why we have gone back to the IMF is that everybody recognises it is not as a result of my mismanagement, as was the case during the tenure of the previous government,” he said. The president clarified that “the reality is that there are global inflation, high commodity prices, among others, and all these have been the principal reasons for the difficulties we are having as a country.” The Vice President last month blamed Ghana’s return to IMF on what he described as a “quadruple whammy” in which the bad policies by the previous Mahama-led NDC government and other global factors were re-emphasised. Modern Ghana

Cameroon, Nigeria to Reopen Border Markets and Schools in Boko Haram-Free Areas
Markets will be re-opened and schools re-built along the shared border between Cameroon and Nigeria after the area was declared free of Boko Haram militants — this is the latest plan presented by governors from both countries. Governor of Nigeria’s Borno state, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Thursday (25 August) said President Muhammadu Buhari instructed governors of border states affected by Boko Haram to work with neighboring countries to improve living conditions. “We are doing everything possible to ensure that the Banki market is reestablished,” Babagana said after meeting a delegation led by Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region. “The bringing of cattle from the Republic of Chad to Cameroon, to Nigeria had stopped. North Africa Post

Nigeria: Inibehe Effiong Released from Prison
Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong has just been released from Uyo prison after spending 30 days for alleged contempt of court. The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Ekaette Obot, on 27 July, sentenced Mr Effiong to prison after the lawyer objected to the presence of two armed police operatives in the courtroom. The lawyer stepped out of the prison at around 8 a.m. to a waiting crowd of supporters around the prison premises. “I consider it an honour for me to be incarcerated for the truth,” Mr Effiong told reporters and supporters. He said his incarceration has strengthened his resolve to fight for truth and justice in Nigeria. “This voice, till no end, is now louder,” he said. Premium Times Nigeria

Chad: More than 340,000 People Affected by Floods in Two Months
More than 340,000 people have been affected by floods in Chad since the end of June, according to a provisional UN assessment consulted Wednesday by AFP. “The provisional toll from the floods is 341,056 people affected (55,123 households) in 11 of the 23 provinces,” including the capital N’Djamena, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement. Heavy rains have been affecting this landlocked central African country for several weeks. The “affected” people are those who have had to “abandon their homes” and who have “lost property”, the Ocha office in Chad told AFP. “As a reminder, 256,000 people were affected by the floods in 2021 and 388,000 in 2020,” Ocha said. On Aug. 19, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced that 22 people had been killed since June in Chad because of the heavy rains. AfricaNews with AFP

ICC Prosecutor Requests Access to Ousted Sudan Dictator Al Bashir
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, confirmed that he had requested access to former ousted President Omar Al Bashir concerning cases of alleged war crimes in Darfur. In yesterday’s press conference, the ICC prosecutor stated that “we must respond to the aspirations of the people of Darfur to achieve justice for the victims, but we cannot achieve anything without cooperation”. The ousted dictator, already indicted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, was also investigated on charges under Sudan’s Foreign Exchange Law and money laundering, after Sudanese authorities seized a substantial amount of cash during a search of his residence in Khartoum last year*. Khan added that they are in the process of receiving evidence in each of the 31 cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity being tried against former janjaweed leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abdelrahman (known as ‘Ali Kushayb’). He called on the Sudanese authorities to cooperate with the ICC in the investigations into the crimes witnessed throughout Darfur. Dabanga

First US Envoy to Sudan in 25 Years John Godfrey Arrives in Khartoum
The first US ambassador to Sudan in nearly a quarter a century has arrived in Khartoum to take up his post. John Godfrey landed in the Sudanese capital on Wednesday, the local US embassy said in a statement, marking the end of more than two decades of under-representation of Washington DC in the eastern Africa nation. In 1993, the US listed Sudan as an official sponsor of terrorism, accusing Khartoum of supporting al-Qaeda, whose founder Osama bin Laden lived on its soil from 1992 to 1996…His deployment could imply Washington is not going back on its improved ties with Khartoum. He arrives at a time Sudan is facing a transition challenge, meant to ensure it resumes civilian leadership, rectifies its crippled economy and one which needs to convince armed groups to down their weapons. East African

Tigray Rebels Accuse Ethiopia Forces of Major Offensive
The TPLF claims come five months after a truce was declared in the brutal conflict in northern Ethiopia that erupted in November 2020. On Tuesday, the Ethiopian National Defence Force issued a statement accusing the TPLF of seeking to “defame” the army by claiming government forces were moving towards their positions or shelling them with heavy weapons. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF have been locked in a war of words in recent weeks even as both sides have raised the prospect of peace talks to end the war. The two sides disagree on who should lead any negotiations, and the TPLF also insists basic services must be restored to the region of six million people before dialogue can begin. AFP

Japan Is Changing Its Approach to Africa
With the eighth edition of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) kicking off in Tunis, Tunisia on Aug. 27, Japan is looking to change its Africa policy from one focusing on aid to foreign direct investment (FDI)—a move it considers more pragmatic… But critics have highlighted that Japan’s investment strategies in Africa have yielded little benefits since the first edition of TICAD in 1993, with the balance of Japan’s FDI in Africa, which stood at $12 billion at the end of 2013, declining to about $4.8 billion at the end of 2020, compared to $65 billion from the UK, $60 billion from France, $48 billion from the US, and $43 billion from China in the same period. The number of Japanese companies operating in Africa slowly increased from 520 in 2010 to 796 in 2019 but total investment has fallen in recent years. This year’s summit is a chance for Japan to prove critics wrong, and give its private sector renewed impetus to invest in Africa and lend to the continent as economic engagement by its great geopolitical rival China drops off. Japan’s influence in the G7’s Build Back Better World (B3W) could help also unlock more funds for Africa. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones