Africa Media Review for February 27, 2023

Polls Closed but a Day Later Nigerians Were Still Voting in the Presidential Election
How do you stage elections for more than 93 million voters? With great difficulty, headaches, delays and technical issues, it turns out. More than 24 hours after the polls closed, some Nigerians were still voting in Africa’s largest democratic exercise. The numbers are staggering; Nigeria has 176,606 polling units and voting passed without incident in most of them. However, it was overshadowed by widespread reports of delays, technical issues, and attacks and voter intimidation at some polling stations…Yiaga Africa, a non-profit civic group that deployed 3,836 observers across the country said it was disappointed with the elections. “There’s a sense of disappointment, quite frankly, with the way this process has gone. Clearly, we’ve not overcome and resolved, perennially our logistical challenges with elections,” Samson Itodo, Yiaga’s Executive Director told CNN. This was supposed to be the year that the electoral commission would provide real-time results via its new portal, iReV. Yiaga said it was concerned that as of Saturday 10pm local time, when results were known from thousands of polling units, they had not been uploaded to the electoral commission’s voting portal. CNN

Nigeria’s Peter Obi Wins in Lagos State in Presidential Election
Nigerian presidential candidate Peter Obi, whose campaign attracted young people and urban voters fed up with corrupt politics, won most votes in the commercial hub of Lagos state, where Africa’s biggest city is located. Nigeria’s electoral commission began announcing state-by-state results in the national elections on Sunday, though it is not expected to name a victor in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari for several days…He was most popular with the youth, but especially urban, relatively educated voters with access to smartphones and social media. But he still faces an uphill struggle in rural areas with a less sophisticated audience. Reuters

Tension As Nigerians Await Presidential Election Results
Tension is palpably high across the country as Nigerians await results of the presidential and the national assembly elections, over 24 hours after time was called in on the exercise…The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has weighed in on the controversies trailing weekend’s presidential and National Assembly elections in some states, and cautioned the INEC and security agencies against colluding to subvert the people’s will. Addressing alleged complicity by INEC officials to scuttle the election and unleash violence, NLC urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call the leadership of the commission to order. This Day

Jill Biden Sees East Africa Drought Up Close
First lady Jill Biden got an up-close look Sunday at the historic East Africa drought as she walked along arid land and listened as some Maasai women described how their children and livestock are going hungry. She appealed for more countries to join the United States to help alleviate the suffering. Some areas of the Horn of Africa have endured five consecutive failed rainy seasons, meaning there was no rainfall or an insufficient amount to help farmers with their crops and livestock. An upcoming sixth rainy season, beginning in March, is expected to be about the same or worse…Nearly 23 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are thought to be highly food insecure, which means they do not know where they will find their next meal, according to a food security working group chaired by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development. AP

Macron To Outline Revamped Africa Strategy Ahead of Four-Nation Tour
The French head of state is set to unveil on Monday “his priorities and his method to deepen the partnership between France, Europe and the African continent”, the presidential office has said. He is also expected to give more details about the future of the French military presence on the continent after announcing in the autumn the end of its Barkhane anti-jihadist operation in the Sahel. France has withdrawn its troops from former French colonies Mali and Burkina Faso amid worsening relations with both countries’ new military authorities. France still has thousands of troops in the region, including in Niger and Chad, but is seeking to redeploy some towards the Gulf of Guinea and tone down its presence on the ground. RFI

African Climate Activists Fight Online Surveillance
Online climate activism is on the rise in Africa – a continent that draws mining and oil companies to its rich mineral reserves. Tanzania tightened control of the media and civil society after the election of former President John Magufuli in 2015, whose administration shut down newspapers, arrested opposition leaders and activists, and restricted political rallies. President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who came to office after Magufuli died in March 2021, lifted a six-year bar in January on opposition political rallies and protests, and lifted bans on four newspapers under a programme of reforms. “We are still nervous about our rights being protected,” said Peter. “Things don’t change that quickly.”…In Uganda, environmental groups are also taking steps to protect their online security as they take to the internet to protest. Climate campaigners say they are being targeted under laws governing NGOs and public meetings under a tightly-controlled system led by President Yoweri Museveni since 1986. Last year the government suspended the operations of dozens of NGOs including climate groups, and police have arrested environmental activists protesting the EACOP pipeline. Reuters

Hundreds in Tunisia Protest Against President’s Anti-Migrant Clampdown
Hundreds of people in Tunisia’s capital took to the streets on Saturday to protest over the president’s anti-migrant clampdown. On Tuesday, amid wider moves against his critics, President Kais Saied accused undocumented sub-Saharan migrants of being part of a plot to change the country’s character, bringing longstanding racial tensions to the surface. Since the president’s comments, there have been reports across social media of mob violence, with accounts of crowds storming the houses of migrants and forcibly evicting the occupants. There have also been reports of private transport companies refusing to sell tickets to those perceived to be undocumented, and many civil society organisations have been scrambling to find shelter for the displaced. Guardian

DRC: Thousands of Ordinary People Are Dropping Everything To Fight a Brutal Militia
30-year-old Esperance Betande is one of 3,000 of young Congolese men and women frantically mobilising to join the army in the fight against hundreds of M23 rebels, who have encircled Goma, the regional capital. M23 is an armed group that has committed summary executions, and is accused of raping dozens of women and forcibly recruiting hundreds of men and boys in the Democratic Republic of Congo…The president’s call for young people to join the army or form vigilante groups, kicked off a scramble, with many joining pro-government rebel coalitions in a region that’s already overrun by more than 120 such groups. Army officials say more than 3,000 applicants aged between 18 and 30 have so far registered across the province. VICE

Fishrot: The Corruption Scandal Entwining Namibia and Iceland
The financial scandal – named after a 2019 Wikileaks release called the “Fishrot Files” – stretches from Namibia to Iceland, taking in government ministers and involving at least $20m (£16.6m). The southern African country is now preparing for the biggest corruption trial in its short history. It is all about fish quotas – not an immediately obvious source of corruption, but in Namibia they are very lucrative. With nearly 1,600km (1,000 miles) of South Atlantic coastline, fishing is one of the country’s main industries, accounting for about 20% of export earnings. In the Fishrot scandal, a number of prominent politicians and businessmen are accused of running schemes to get control of valuable fishing quotas, for example those held by the state fishing company Fishcor. It is alleged that they then diverted them to the Icelandic fishing company Samherji in return for kickbacks. BBC

FATF Grey Lists South Africa Over Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding Concerns
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, has grey listed South Africa because it deems the country’s financial controls being not strict enough to prevent financing of terrorist organisations and money laundering. National Treasury, with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana at the helm, “noted” Friday’s (24 February’s) FATF decision listing South Africa as “a jurisdiction under increased monitoring”. The decision was taken at a FATF plenary that finished in Paris the same day and came after South Africa failed to address all of the shortcomings on money laundering and the financing of terrorism that the task force identified in its 2019 evaluation of the country…South Africa now joins a list of grey listed countries such as the Cayman Islands and Panama, which are known tax havens that potentially attract laundered money. “Others are known as war zones or countries with jihadist and Islamist terror groupings operating on their land. These include Syria, Yemen, Mali, Nigeria, and Mozambique. The list also includes countries with very weak governments, such as Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” DefenceWeb

Athletes Wounded After Blasts Hit Race in Cameroon: Reports
Multiple short explosions at a running race in Cameroon’s English-speaking region left 19 athletes wounded, a local doctor told the Reuters news agency. The blasts took place on Saturday in Buea, the regional capital of the Southwest region where separatists are fighting government forces…The armed wing of Ambazonia Governing Council, one of the separatist armed groups in the region, claimed responsibility for the blasts. “Our primary target was the Cameroon elite forces … that were providing security for the athletes. We will not allow Cameroon to continue its occupation,” the group’s spokesperson Capo Daniel told Reuters. There was no immediate comment from the authorities in Buea. Videos were shared widely on social media, but Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify the footage. One clip showed spectators cheering on a runner before dashing for cover when a small explosion goes off in the distance. Another showed a different explosion going off near a pack of runners elsewhere on the route. Al Jazeera

How the Ethiopian Light Rail May Define Ties With China
Ethiopia, like most sub-Saharan African countries, has had various struggles including repaying its debt to China and other lenders. And last week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the Summit of the African Union that countries in the region will need certainty on repayment terms to cope…In January, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang indicated Beijing may cancel part of the $13.7 billion owed to China. China and Ethiopia had been tight pals, however. And much of the debt by Ethiopians was accumulated from recent infrastructure constructions such as the Addis-Djibouti railway, the Addis Ababa tram (Light Rail Train (AALRT) and the refurbishment of the Bole international airport in Addis Ababa. It is the light rail, however, that may define how future relations will strain or strengthen. The light rail project became the first inner-city tram in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, becoming a symbol of rising China-Africa ties. But it is now an overloaded piece of infrastructure that needs constant repairs, by the Chinese. Nation

3 Killed, 8 Injured in Helicopter Crash in Somalia
Three people died and eight others were injured when a helicopter operated by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia crashed Saturday in the country’s Lower Shabelle region, the mission said in a statement on Sunday. In the statement the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) said the helicopter, carrying eleven passengers including soldiers from Somalia military, was participating in training drills for casualty evacuation when the crash occurred…It did not give any details on casualties, including their nationality, but said investigations had begun to determine the cause of the crash. ATMIS is assisting Somalia’s central government in its war against the Islamist al Shabab insurgency. Reuters