Africa Media Review for August 29, 2022

Mourners Gather in Angola for Funeral of Former President dos Santos amid Election Results Dispute
Angolans and foreign dignitaries gathered on Sunday for the funeral of long-serving ex-leader José Eduardo dos Santos, who died in Spain in July, but whose burial was delayed by a family request for an autopsy. The funeral of Dos Santos, who died in a clinic in Barcelona on 8 July at the age of 79, is taking place days after an election appeared to have returned his MPLA party to power in results that have been disputed by the country’s main opposition coalition. Dos Santos and his family dominated Angolan politics for the 38 years that he ruled, up to 2017. His formerly Marxist party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in power for nearly five decades, looks almost certain to have won Wednesday’s election. Heads of state and senior ministers from around the continent, as well as the president of Angola’s former colonial ruler Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, were slated to attend. The presence of foreign VIPs has enabled authorities to seek to head off possible protests over the disputed provisional results. Reuters

Angola Approves Final Vote Count That Gives MPLA Majority
Angola’s national electoral commission approved the final count from last week’s election that showed the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola received more than half the votes cast, its spokesman said. The agency will hold a press conference later on Monday to announce the final results of the Aug. 24 elections, Lucas Quilundo said in comments broadcast by state-owned TPA television station. Bloomberg

At Least 32 People Dead Following Violent Clashes Between Rival Militias in Libyan Capital of Tripoli
At least 32 people have died and 159 have been injured in violent clashes between rival Libyan militias across the country’s capital of Tripoli, according to an update from the country’s Ministry of Health. Intense fighting erupted in the capital overnight as rival factions exchanged intense gunfire and several loud explosions resounded across the city. Pictures and videos circulating on social media show the extent of the clashes with dozens of buildings, including residential ones, destroyed and several cars smashed and burned…The Libyan Red Crescent in a tweet Saturday called on all parties “to support the Libyan Red Crescent teams to perform their humanitarian tasks within the city.” The municipality of Tripoli held both the UN-recognized Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army responsible for the deteriorating situation in the capital, according to Libyan News Agency LANA, the official news agency of the internationally recognized government. It also called on the international community to protect civilians, LANA reported. CNN

In Algeria, Macron Seeks to Reshape Traumatic Ties with France
Standing outside the cemetery, Mr. Macron said he sought ”truth and acknowledgment” but rejected ”repentance,” much less a formal apology, for what he described in 2017, before becoming president, as a French ”crime against humanity” in Algeria. ”In Algiers, Mr. Macron lacked the courage of great leaders,” Le Soir d’Algérie, the country’s third-largest French-language newspaper, said in front-page commentary that accused him of failing to retract the ”great lie” that ”Algeria was created by France.” It was one indication of the deep resentments that linger. Algeria is an outsize French national interest, more acutely so with the war in Ukraine sending energy costs soaring and forcing diversification away from Russian gas, although French dependence on gas is much lower than that of some other European economies. France’s third-largest embassy, after Washington and Beijing, is in Algiers. The millions of French citizens and residents linked to Algeria — immigrants and their children, binationals, descendants of the 900,000 ”Pied-Noir” French Algerians messily repatriated in 1962 — place the country at the core of domestic politics. The French nationalist far right is not quite ready to forgive the loss of Algeria. Bleak projects on the outskirts of major cities speak of immigrant exclusion. Islamist terrorist attacks harden anti-immigrant sentiment. The vortex of mutual incomprehension deepens. New York Times

Russian Trolls and Mercenaries Win Allies and Good Will in Africa
But now it’s not only Malians who are celebrating the unceremonious exit of the French. The Kremlin too is delighted, happy to declare Operation Barkhane a debacle, with billions of dollars spent and the loss of thousands of lives, including dozens of French soldiers, to little effect. If the West was hoping to isolate Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia sees an opportunity in the “global South” to gain more diplomatic influence and secure lucrative economic deals. “Russia is using Africa as a pawn to out-muscle the west,” Jean le Roux, Africa expert at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), told me. Russia, for years now, has been adept at playing on and inflaming anti-France sentiment in former French colonies, from Mali to the Central African Republic. The Kremlin has largely succeeded in charming African leaders into tighter alliances and upsetting both the United States and particularly Europe, whose once unshakeable hold on the continent, in terms of trade, has considerably weakened. Coda Story

Five Things to Know for Africa Climate Week
The UN’s Africa Climate Week begins on Monday in Libreville, Gabon, with more than 1 000 participants expected to tackle the climate emergency as it intensifies throughout the continent. With severe drought, raging floods, and extreme weather bearing down on Africa’s 54 nations, the five-day meeting will focus on the major elements required to lessen the dangerous effects of the rapidly changing climate.  “Climate week will explore resilience to climate risks, the transition to a low-emission economy, and environmental protection,” says the United Nations. Below are five things to know about the climate crisis as it affects African countries that are the least responsible for the crisis, but that are set to pay the highest of prices. Al Jazeera

Niger Begins Making Artificial Rain to Curb Drought
Niger has deployed rainmaking technology aimed at alleviating the effects of drought in the country, weather authorities said Thursday. The desert country has faced a food crisis for years because of extended dry spells. The head of the national meteorology institute Katiellou Gaptia Lawan told AFP news agency, “we had to do something about this drought.” The “induced rain” technology involves using an aircraft to spray chemicals into clouds. The intervention is targeting areas where people farm. Some parts of the country have experienced flooding further adding to the food crisis. Star Kenya

Burkina Faso Launches Its First Pharmaceutical Production Plant
Burkina Faso has built its first pharmaceutical production plant, specializing in the production of generic drugs, which was visited on Tuesday by Prime Minister Albert Ouédraogo. Built by actors of the Burkinabe private sector and named Propharm, this factory, erected on 1.5 hectares in the commune of Komsilga, on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, will ensure a “permanent availability of the most requested medicines”, according to its promoters. Certified by an independent Spanish organization, it will start producing paracetamol 500 mg, phloroglucinol, an antispasmodic, as well as a “kit of oral rehydration salts and zinc, for the treatment of diarrhea”, explained Propharm’s General Manager, Armel Coéfé. AfricaNews with AFP

CAR’s Opposition and Civil Society Denounce Constitutional Revision
Opposition leaders and civil society associations gathered in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, on Saturday to demonstrate against the attempted revision of the Constitution.  The protest was called one day after President Faustin Archange Touadera ordered the creation of a committee to rewrite the constitution. One opposition leader denounced the initiative accusing the President of trying to scrap the two-term presidential limit set in the Constitution. “We do not understand that today, when the Central African people are experiencing other problems, we are suddenly presented with a story about amending or revising or drafting a new constitution like a thunderclap during the dry season. This is not the priority of the Central African people. The aim of this manoeuvre is to blow up the locks limiting the number of presidential terms to two, so that Touadera will be president for life”, claimed Martin Ziguélé, spokesperson for the BRDC, president of opposition party MLPC. AfricaNews

Chad: Sovereign National Dialogue Opens
After the opening ceremony last Saturday and a subsequent postponement of a few days, the work of the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue was scheduled to restart on Wednesday, August 24 to run till the end of the week. Participants will first work on setting up the dialogue bodies, with the adoption of rules of procedure and the installation of a presidium. Among the approximately 1,400 participants are civil society organisations. They have already taken steps to constantly monitor the dialogue, in order to make sure their proposals are taken into consideration by the transition. Abderamane Ali Gossoumian, the national coordinator of the Follow-up Committee of the Call for Peace and Reconciliation, explains that his organisation “will follow daily the debates which will be broadcast live on national television to try to note the important points and make proposals that can be passed on to our colleagues who are in the room.” AllAfrica

Attacks Increase Against Somaliland Media
Amid protests that turned deadly, persistent drought and election controversies, Somaliland’s media are coming under attack. Arbitrary arrests, threats, beatings. Somaliland’s journalists are bearing the brunt of a spike in attacks, media associations say. In a recent incident, police in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway region, detained two Horyaal 24 TV journalists — Abdinasir Abdi Haji Nur and Ahmed-Zaki Ibrahim Mohamud — on August 11, as they reported on violent protests over claims that elections could be delayed. According to journalists in Hargeisa who spoke with VOA over the phone, police initially held the pair at the criminal investigation department before transferring them to the Mandera prison on August 15. The pair, who were accused of taking part in the unrest, were finally freed on Wednesday. The Somali Journalists Syndicate, which tracks violations, says members of the police and national intelligence often perpetrate hostilities against the media, and that in many cases, no one is held accountable for attacks. Voice of America

Lesotho’s State of Emergency, Reconvening of Parliament Challenged in ConCourt
Lesotho’s Constitutional Court will on Tuesday hand down rulings on two matters challenging the legality of the state of emergency and the king’s decision to reconvene Parliament. On Wednesday, media activist Kananelo Boloetse filed court papers challenging the legality of the state of emergency. Then on Thursday, Law Society of Lesotho deputy president Lintle Tuke also filed papers arguing King Letsie III had no legal mandate to reconvene Parliament. The applications were made after the king, through a government gazette on Tuesday, recalled Parliament for a period of six days to pass the 11th amendment to the Constitution Bill 2022 and National Assembly Electoral Amendment Act – two laws deemed critical ahead of the 7 October general elections. Both laws are part of the electoral reforms that have been pushed for by SADC and the international community, the European Union (EU) in particular. News24

A Skills, Literacy Initiative Is Giving Almajirai a Lifeline in Northern Nigeria
He started the Khalifa Dankadai Charitable (KDC), which gets professional entrepreneurs to train young people, particularly those attending private schools, for a fee. KDC offers those skills at no cost to local public schools and Dankadai has been its executive director since it was founded in 2014. After a year, he and his team realised that the people who would benefit most from their services weren’t formal students but rather children living on the streets, particularly the Almajirai who have been sent from faraway villages to fend for themselves despite being so young. It was at that moment the entire framework that KDC Foundation was based on changed. The group’s work is based on the premise that poverty is not just a result of people’s income and expenditure, but because social and economic changes in their societies have failed to reach them.  The social exclusion of Almajirai often makes them feel inferior, hindering them from full social and economic participation. Dankadai believes that the only way to support them is to teach them new skills that could empower them economically. “When you mix with them, you can see how inferior they feel about themselves, and it affects them socially and psychologically,” he said. HumAngle



Photo: Adam Jones