Africa Media Review for December 7, 2023

Creating a Culture of Military Professionalism in Senegal
Senegal’s culture of military professionalism has been the outcome of a deliberate and long-term effort to inculcate values of service, meritocracy, and respect for democratic values…General Birame Diop explains that “defining the army’s role requires normative documents. The National Security Strategy (NSS) is the mother document, but after that you need concepts of employment, doctrine, general strategies for different ministries to support the NSS, and sectoral strategies”…”There’s another aspect that we don’t discuss as much when we talk about military professionalism: it is the role of civilians and of civil authorities…But civil authority also has a very important role in realizing military professionalism. Military professionalism must be balanced by civilian professionalism on the other side of the scale.” General Mbaye Cissé, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Senegal, underlined that democratic values must be learned and must not be considered as a given. According to the colonel, “Another important aspect in Africa, is what politicians do. The temptation to bring the army into politics is extremely dangerous. What the military does, how militaries conceive their role, and how a culture of professionalism emerges, is very important. Equally so is the understanding political authorities have of the army’s role. This interaction is crucial.” Africa Center for Strategic Studies

US Declares Warring Parties in Sudan Committed War Crimes
The United States on Wednesday formally determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as Washington increases pressure on the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to end fighting that has caused a humanitarian crisis. Washington also determined that the RSF and allied militias committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, Blinken said in a statement…The RSF has been accused of leading an ethnic massacre in West Darfur, and in the capital Khartoum residents have accused the paramilitary force of looting, rape and imprisoning civilians…Meanwhile, the army has carried out an intense campaign of air and artillery strikes on residential neighborhoods, where the RSF has occupied, which experts say could be violations of international law…The official determination follows a detailed legal process and analysis led by the U.S. State Department but does not automatically come with punitive actions and therefore has no immediate consequences for the parties. The decision comes after Saudi and U.S.-brokered talks aimed at halting fighting between Sudan’s warring parties faltered again, and the country’s army and the RSF have pressed on with military campaigns. Reuters

North Darfur Faces Scarcity of Essential Goods as Humanitarian Convoys Cease
A North Darfur state official has revealed a severe shortage of fuel, commodities, and medicines due to the suspension of humanitarian and commercial convoys following armed movements’ abandonment of neutrality to protect civilians. He attributed this scarcity to the halt of convoys, previously escorted by the joint force of armed groups, from central Sudan to Darfur via Kordofan. The movements, signatories of the Juba Sudan Peace Agreement, established a joint force responsible for maintaining security in Darfur in response to the security vacuum created by the conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This force operated in El Fasher, securing government facilities and markets, as well as delivering humanitarian aid to the region’s states. However, these convoys, under the protection of the joint force, have faltered as the RSF seized several major cities in Darfur, rendering these movements no longer neutral in the conflict. Sudan Tribune

Coups Fuelling Insecurity in West Africa – ECOWAS
The Economic Community of West African States has said the military coups in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger were fuelling insecurity in the region. The ECOWAS Commission President, Omar Touray, made the discloure in his welcoming address at the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at Ministerial Level in Abuja, yesterday…He said: “On the political front, the transition roadmaps and timetables agreed with the transition authorities in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso for rapid and peaceful restoration of constitutional order have been implemented at varied paces amid worsening security situations. “The attempted coup d’état in Niger has further distracted attention from the support to these transition processes as the transition countries seek to forge solidarity with the military authorities in the Republic of Niger, thereby, creating an impression of a divide between them and ECOWAS.” Touray noted that these military coups were not only “based on fake narratives and false justifications, they are also a driver of insecurity in the region.” Vanguard

Gabon Coup Leader Visits Cameroon to Press for End to CEMAC Sanctions
Gabon’s military leader, General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, visited Cameroon on Wednesday, asking central African states to lift economic sanctions on his country before the 2025 elections. When Nguema ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba in a bloodless coup on August 30, economic sanctions were imposed on the country by CEMAC, the six-nation Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community, which condemned the unconstitutional power shift and suspended Gabon…Nguema’s visit to Cameroon ended a tour that has taken him to Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo since he seized power in August…Before the elections, Gabon’s military junta says it will fight corruption, accelerate economic reforms, ensure sustainable economic development, restore stability and revise the electoral code. Georges Mpaga, president of Gabon’s Network of Free Society Organizations for Good Governance, said Nguema’s insistence on executing so many projects looks like a plan to hold onto power. VOA

Calls Grow to Reform UN Peacekeeping Missions
UN peacekeeping missions have received a significant boost from UN member states, who pledged their support and resources this week at the 2023 ministerial meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra…[I]n the past decade, UN peacekeeping missions have faced many challenges, including reputational damage and mistrust, particularly in Africa. In Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, UN peacekeeping missions haven’t achieved their goals and have often been accused of escalating tensions. Both countries have called for an end to the peacekeeping missions in their respective nations and the blue helmets are already withdrawing from Mali following a request by the ruling junta…UN peacekeeping missions are ongoing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Western Sahara, and the Central African Republic…This is the fifth UN peacekeeping ministerial meeting and the first in Africa. Ministers and delegates from the over 85 countries attending the meeting focused their deliberations on how best to reform peacekeeping operations and adapt to prevailing challenges. A peacekeeping mission that prioritizes the protection of troops and civilians, making operational environments safer and secure while rolling out effective and efficient technological tools, was key on the agenda of the meeting. DW

How Egyptians Will Vote for Their President
Egypt will hold a presidential election on Dec. 10-12 in which former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is poised to secure a third term that will extend his rule into a second decade…The candidates running in the election are Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, president since 2014; Farid Zahran, head of the centre-left Egyptian Social Democratic party; Abdel Sanad Yamama, head of the liberal Al Wafd party; and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party. The most prominent potential opposition candidate, Ahmed al-Tantawy, withdrew in October, complaining that dozens of his supporters had been arrested and that officials and pro-government thugs had hampered his campaign. Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) has said it was reviewing Tantawy’s complaints, and that such allegations were baseless…Following constitutional amendments in 2019, the presidential term was extended to six from four years. The amendments changed an outright bar on any president serving more than two terms to a bar on serving more than two consecutive terms. An additional clause extended Sisi’s second term to six years from four, and allowed him to run for a third term under the new rules. Reuters

Seychelles Declares State Of Emergency After Blast, Floods
Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan declared a state of emergency on Thursday, ordering all citizens except essential workers to stay at home, after a blast at a store and flooding due to heavy rainfall, the presidency said…The explosion occurred in the Providence industrial area in Mahe, the largest island in the Indian Ocean archipelago, and caused huge damage there and to surrounding areas, the presidency said, without elaborating further. “The Seychelles International Airport is still operational and ferry services between islands are operating for visitors,” the tourism-dependent country said on its official Visit Seychelles account on X…Parts of Africa — particularly Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia — have experienced heavier rainfall than usual since October, linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon. AFP

Cholera is spreading in Zimbabwe. Globally, the illness has become an indicator of social collapse
As cholera spreads across the country, more than 10 million Zimbabweans are now at risk of contracting the water-borne disease, which can kill within hours if untreated, health workers say. This is the third such outbreak in the country since 2008, a sign of Zimbabwe’s collapsing infrastructure and worsening corruption. It is not alone. The World Health Organization said in a situation report last month that the number of cholera infections worldwide by mid-October had already exceeded the numbers in recent years, with more than 603,000 cases and more than 3,800 deaths in 29 countries. Case fatality rates are the highest in a decade. Cholera has become a key indicator of collapse in social stability. Most of the countries with cholera outbreaks this year are also enduring parallel humanitarian crises, such as wars, hunger, drought, flooding or earthquakes, the WHO said…And then there are countries such as Zimbabwe. The poor sanitation that has caused its cholera outbreaks is linked not to war or earthquakes, but to corruption and mismanagement by the authoritarian regime that has ruled the country for more than four decades…The 2008 epidemic killed more than 4,000 Zimbabweans and sickened nearly 100,000 people, yet little seems to have changed since then. Many homes are still without safe running water or are dependent on dangerously shallow wells. Massive piles of garbage are often uncollected. The Globe and Mail

The Looming Land Grab in Africa for Carbon Credits
Blue Carbon, a private company whose founder and chair Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook al-Maktoum is a member of Dubai’s royal family, is in discussions to acquire management rights to millions of hectares of land in Africa. The scale is enormous: the negotiations involve potential deals for about a tenth of Liberia’s land mass, a fifth of Zimbabwe’s, and swaths of Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania…But the scale and speed of dealmaking between countries over available land have sparked concern about a lack of guardrails around this system. Seller countries are not being given enough time to develop a natural resource strategy that would promote a fair trade in carbon credits, say community leaders and activists in the countries where Blue Carbon is active. Key issues include revenue-sharing, land rights and the potential impact on the host countries’ ability to hit its own climate target…Scientists have also warned about the broader risk to the planet of giving big polluters a green light to continue pumping oil and gas based on purchases made from the existing unregulated market for credits…No matter the fairness of the terms, poorer countries will continue to be attracted to carbon credit deals because of the scarcity of other financing to help pay for the effects of climate change, argues Gilles Dufrasne, a policy lead at the non-profit Carbon Market Watch. Financial Times