Africa Media Review for December 16, 2022

Biden Announces Presidential Visit to Africa Next Year
“I’m eager to visit your continent,” Biden said. “Some of you invited me to your countries. I said, ‘Be careful what you wish for because I may show up.’” “I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in your home countries,” Biden added…Biden hosted the first U.S.-Africa summit in eight years; the last such summit was in 2014 under President Barack Obama. Biden has also worked to repair the relationship with many of the continent’s leaders after Trump denigrated and cast aside the region during his presidency. Biden has spent much of the week seeking to convince African leaders that the United States will improve its relationship with the continent and that it is serious about its commitments. The White House had also announced it would commit $55 billion to Africa over the next three years in economic, health and security support. Many African leaders expressed hope that Biden would visit, which they said would signal a level of seriousness about his administration’s engagement with Africa that has been lacking. Washington Post

Uganda: Russia’s Influence Campaign in Africa Targets a U.S. Ally
The Kremlin’s propaganda efforts have grown since its invasion of Ukraine. Uganda’s leadership and well-equipped military have long worked with Washington in the war on terror and other U.S. priorities. One morning in the capital, Kampala, a group of motorcycle-taxi drivers gathered to watch Russia’s state-controlled RT news reports on a national TV program, “Good Morning Uganda.” “I am sure Russia is winning, look at all those prisoners of war,” said Dennis Tumwesigye, one of the drivers, as a Russian soldier paraded several black-hooded men bound together by their hands. “This is the kind of news you can’t find on European or American TV.”…Western officials say a central figure in Russia’s campaign is Yevgeny Prigozhin, a confidant of President Vladimir Putin and founder of the Wagner mercenary group. Wall Street Journal

Ghana Alleges Burkina Faso Paid Russian Mercenaries with Mine
Ghana’s president alleged the government of neighboring Burkina Faso has given Russian mercenaries a mine as payment to help fight an insurgency in their country. Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is in Washington for the US-Africa Leaders Summit, raised the claims at a meeting Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a statement from the department. Bloomberg

Consensus Politics Has Failed Tunisia
On Dec. 17, Tunisia will elect a new parliament, the third since Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime fell nearly 12 years ago. But this election is nothing like the last two, which were held in 2014 and 2019. For starters, Tunisia’s parliament has been suspended for the past year and a half. Then, in September, President Kais Saied decreed a new electoral law that limits political parties’ ability to campaign for parliamentary seats and granted him the right to essentially ban candidates at will. In response, the opposition has announced that it is boycotting the election. Foreign Policy

Sudan’s Socialist Ba’ath Party Leaves FFC Alliance over Framework Agreement
The mainstream Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party announced its departure from the ranks of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition due to the fact that the majority of coalition parties signed the Framework Agreement, which the party believes is “devoted to legitimising the October 25 coup.” In a statement read by Mohamed Dia El Din on Tuesday evening, the party affirmed its commitment to overthrowing the coup, removing its effects, and dismantling remnants of the dictatorial Al Bashir regime. The party considers these as basic conditions for building a sustainable democratic system. El Din explained that the Framework Agreement led to confusion in the political scene and the weakening of the unity of the revolutionary forces. He said that the participation of the majority of the FFC in signing the Framework Agreement contradicts the basic goals and principles for which this broad alliance was established and “empties it of its revolutionary content.” Dabanga

Sudan’s Burhan Says Military Won’t Accept Political Agreement That Undermines Constants
Sudan’s military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, said Wednesday that the armed forces will not accept a final peace deal that includes any item that undermines the country’s constants. Speaking at an army training event, Al-Burhan said the framework agreement is in the interest of all Sudanese people, and no party should try to hijack it for its own interests. On 5 December, the Sudanese army and political parties signed a framework deal that will pave the way for a two-year civilian-led transitional period towards elections and end a political crisis triggered by the October 2021 military coup. Remarking on reports of a “settlement” between the army and civilian forces, Al-Burhan said: “There is no settlement in the sense that some have understood, but rather points that have been raised that we believe can help resolve the current political complexities.” Radio Tamazuj

France Pulls Out Last Remaining Troops from Central African Republic
The last French troops deployed in the Central African Republic have left the war-torn nation following a chill in relations caused by closer ties between Bangui and Moscow. Forty-seven troops from a logistical support unit left Bangui airport aboard a C-130 transporter aircraft on Thursday, becoming the last of a 130-person French contingent to leave the troubled country. Their departure was witnessed by an AFP reporter. France, the former colonial power, dispatched up to 1,600 troops to help stabilise the country after a coup in 2013 unleashed a civil war along sectarian lines. TRT World

Investigators Probe Violent Suppression of Protests in Chad
Members of the international commission charged with throwing light on the violent suppression of October’s street protests in Chad have arrived in the capital…According to Botelho Urbino, Ambassador and Special Representative of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to Chad, the members of the commission would have exchanges with heads of institutions and persons involved in the events and produce a report that would be submitted to ECCAS. The commission is composed of representatives from the United Nations, the African Union and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) who will be in N’Djamena for more than ten days to carry out their investigations. HumAngle

BEAC Puts into Circulation New Range of Banknotes in Central Africa
In the six countries of the Economic Community of Central Africa (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, CAR and Equatorial Guinea), the BEAC (Bank of Central African States) has put into circulation new banknotes from December 15. On posters and banners announcing these new banknotes, the BEAC emphasizes that these are “more compact, more modern and better secured” banknotes that it has put into circulation. “For the production of these bills, BEAC has used technology that puts it one step ahead of counterfeiters. These bills have modern security features that are difficult to forge,” Emmanuel Asafor Sho, BEAC’s deputy national director for Cameroon, told the agency on Thursday. AfricaNews

Cameroon Says Peace and Civilians Returning in Restive Regions
Cameroon governors say several thousand of the 750,000 people displaced by the separatist conflict in two western regions are returning home for the first time since hostilities began in 2017. The military says no major separatist attack has been reported within the past six weeks, an indication that peace is returning to the regions where 3,500 people have been killed in five years…Deben Tchoffo is the governor of the Northwest region. He says besides displaced children, merchants and government workers who fled separatist atrocities are returning to their towns and villages. “The security situation has improved a lot allowing many people to come back to their various villages,” Tchoffo said. “The diaspora are also coming back to celebrate their weddings. The administration is functioning very well. The traditional rulers are coming back, political activities have resumed in many areas. Globally, the Northwest is faring well.” Voice of America

S Africa Ex-President Zuma Sues Ramaphosa Ahead of Key Party Vote
South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has charged current President Cyril Ramaphosa in a private prosecution, a move Ramaphosa rejects as an “abuse of legal processes”. This comes as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) begins its national elective conference on Friday to decide whether Ramaphosa will stand for president in South Africa’s next election in 2024. Ramaphosa has led the ANC since he took over from Zuma in 2017. Al Jazeera

China Is Helping Zimbabwe to Build a Surveillance State
Registering to vote in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, isn’t easy. The only registration centre is two bus journeys from the most populous suburbs. Nationwide there are just 71 voter-registration centres, or one for every 216,000 people (though some mobile ones are operating ahead of a general election next year). And this is not the only worry. Since 2018 Zimbabwe has collected fingerprints, photos, addresses and phone numbers to clean up the voters’ roll, which was reportedly full of “ghost voters”. This frightens many Zimbabweans, especially those belonging to the minority Ndebele ethnic group, much of which is concentrated near Bulawayo. In 1983 some 20,000 mostly Ndebele people were massacred by the army. Emmerson Mnangagwa, now the president, was head of the security services at the time. Now, people fear data collection “is a way to re-identify and target us,” says Rodwin Sibanda of the Habakkuk Trust, an ngo in Bulawayo. Economist

Somali Government Says Al-Shabab Is Deliberately Displacing Civilians
The Somali military accused al-Shabab militants of deliberately displacing civilians from villages and towns they had captured before they could be reclaimed by government forces. Military officials said al-Shabab’s strategy is to prevent people from collaborating with the government. Al-Shabab also is “kidnapping” relatives of self-mobilized local forces supporting the government as a punishment, officials said. The Somali government says troops seized nearly 70 localities from al-Shabab. The last major town seized, Adan Yabaal in the Middle Shabelle region, was almost empty when troops entered on December 5. Voice of America

Number of Jailed Journalists Worldwide Hits Record High— CPJ
In Africa, the committee says 56 journalists have been jailed for crimes related to their work, while four have been killed in the same period. Egypt remains Africa’s highest jailer with 21 journalists behind bars while South Africa does not feature on the list. In sub-Saharan Africa, Eritrea with 16 cases remains the region’s worst jailer of journalists, ranking ninth globally. Journalists there have been held without trial or access to their families or lawyers for periods ranging from 17 to 22 years. In Rwanda, three of the four journalists behind bars publish their work on YouTube, one of the country’s few remaining publishing platforms as the space for dissenting voices continues to shrink within the mainstream media. Nation



Photo: Adam Jones