Africa Media Review for January 26, 2024

International Court of Justice Issuing Ruling on Emergency Measures over Genocide Case
The ICJ said Friday it has jurisdiction to move forward with the case between South Africa and Israel. It acknowledged that the parties have “clearly opposite views” and that this is an interim stage, with the merits of the case due for further examination. However, it added: “In the court’s view, at least some of the acts and omissions alleged by South Africa to have been committed by Israel in Gaza appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the [Genocide] convention. … The court considers it cannot accede to Israel’s request that the case be removed from the list.” The Washington Post

Explainer: What is the ICJ and what is South Africa’s claim against Israel?
The international court of justice (ICJ) – not to be confused with the international criminal court (ICC), which tries individuals for war crimes – is the UN’s top court. Established in 1945, it is based in The Hague and rules on disputes between countries as well as giving advisory opinions…South Africa has accused Israel of genocide in its campaign against Hamas in Gaza, saying among other things that it has the “specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group”. In its 84-page filing it also says Israel has failed to prevent genocide and failed to prosecute officials who have publicly incited genocide. While the court decides the case, South Africa also wants it to implement a provisional measure that would oblige Israel “not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide”.  The Guardian

Mali Junta Ends 2015 Peace Deal with Separatist Rebels
Mali’s junta ended a 2015 peace deal with Tuareg separatist rebels on Thursday in a move that could further destabilise the conflict-torn West African nation. Tensions between the central authorities and the northern separatists have resurfaced since the military consolidated power in two coups in 2020 and 2021, teamed up with Russian military contractor Wagner Group, and kicked out French forces and U.N. peacekeepers…The Tuareg peace agreement had recently come under increasing strain. Fighting between the two sides picked up again since last August as they jostle for position during the gradual withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers. Reuters

Death Toll from Mali Gold Mine Accident Rises to over 70
The death toll from last week’s accident at an artisanal gold mine in southwest Mali has risen to more than 70, the head of Mali’s Mines Chamber said on state radio on Thursday. The deaths were caused after a shaft collapsed on Friday inside an artisanal gold mining site in the Kangaba Cercle in Mali’s southwestern Koulikoro Region…Artisanal mining is a common activity across much of West Africa and has risen in recent years due to growing demand for metals and rising prices. Deadly accidents are frequent as the artisanal miners often use unregulated digging methods. Reuters

At Least 60 Civilians Were Killed in Burkina Faso Last Year in Military Drone Strikes, Watchdog Says
Human Rights Watch said Thursday that Burkina Faso’s security forces last year killed at least 60 civilians in three different drone strikes…The report also said the strikes were “in violation of the laws of war” and showed “little or no concern” for civilians. HRW had said last year that it found Burkina Faso’s forces were carrying out extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and torture in conflict-hit communities. The drones targeted crowds at a market and a funeral between August and November last year, according to Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Sahel researcher at HRW. AP

The Colonel Who Overthrew Guinea’s Government While Protecting It from Coups Just Became a General
The head of Guinea’s ruling junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, has been elevated to the rank of general, the presidency said on social media. Colonel Doumbouya, 43, has ruled Guinea since overthrowing the country’s first democratically elected president, Alpha Conde, in September 2021…Doumbouya was sworn in as president for a so-called transitional period…After initially declining “in his usual humility”, Doumbouya accepted the position, it said. Doumbouya also announced that he was stepping down as commander of the special forces group and would be replaced by his deputy…Under international pressure, the junta has promised to hand the reins of government back to elected civilians within two years, but the opposition has accused it of authoritarian drift. AFP

Kenyan Court Blocks Deployment of Police Force to Haiti
A Kenyan court on Friday prohibited the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti, jeopardizing a multinational security force charged with stabilizing the chaos-hit Caribbean island nation before it even got off the ground. The force, which is backed by the United Nations and financed by the United States, had been stalled since October, when Kenyan opponents of the mission challenged it in court, calling it unconstitutional. The High Court upheld some of those arguments on Friday…Kenya agreed last summer to lead the mission, with backing from Washington, which pledged $200 million. The force was intended to eventually increase to 3,000 security officers. The New York Times

Once Dormant, East Africa Standby Force ‘Ready to Deploy’
The East Africa Standby Force (EASF) says it’s ready to deploy troops to the region to help end ongoing conflicts…In its current form, the regional force is usually made up of troops from 10 member countries – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Comoros, Sudan and Burundi – and includes combined military, police and civilian components…While the Force reached full operational capability to carry out rapid peace and security support operations including prevention and mediation in 2014, it has yet to deploy in conflict-affected member states. It has, however, deployed election observation missions in the EASF member states such as Morocco, Kenya and Somalia. The East African

At Least 19 People Killed in Fierce DRC Army, M23 Rebels Clashes
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) town of Mweso in Masisi, North Kivu Province is still reeling from the tragic deaths of 19 people following bombardments from a clash between the Congolese army and M23 rebel group on Thursday…The war in Kivu between the FARDC and the M23 continues, causing massive population displacements…Meanwhile, peace initiatives in the region have stalled. Neither the Nairobi process, which called for talks between the armed groups and the government in Kinshasa nor has the Luanda process, led by Angola’s President João Lourenço, has produced expected results. The Luanda process was supposed to bring peace between the DRC and Rwanda. The East African

Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Nelson Chamisa Quits ‘Hijacked’ Party
Zimbabwe’s defeated presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa has quit the political movement he founded two years ago, claiming it had been “hijacked” by the ruling party…The decision by Chamisa, the country’s best-known opposition leader, is a blow for Zimbabwean efforts to build a credible opposition to Zanu-PF after the party’s election defeat in August…The months since have seen the CCC embroiled in a bizarre row after a previously obscure member of the party, Sengezo Tshabangu, declared himself as its interim secretary-general…Tshabangu, with backing from Zanu-PF, then removed several lawmakers from the CCC, triggering a series of by-elections. Though Chamisa appealed to the courts, they backed Tshabangu. Financial Times

In Angola, a Former Cold War Rival, Blinken Touts U.S. Investments
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrapped up a four-nation tour through Africa on Thursday with a visit to Angola…During his visit to the coastal capital, Luanda, Mr. Blinken spotlighted major American investments in Angola, including more than $900 million for solar energy projects and $250 million to upgrade a rail corridor that carries critical minerals, including cobalt and copper, from central Africa to Angola’s Atlantic port of Lobito…In Angola, Biden administration officials seemed especially proud of U.S. backing for the Lobito Corridor rail project, which they consider a model for a planned wave of American investment in the continent. The New York Times

Tunisian Cabinet Approves Bill Allowing the Central Bank to Finance the Treasury
The Tunisian cabinet approved on Thursday a controversial bill allowing the central bank to finance the treasury, in a move aimed at financing the budget deficit but which reinforced fears over the bank’s independence. Last year, President Kais Saied said the law must be reviewed to allow the central bank to finance the budget directly by buying state bonds, a step bank governor Marouan Abassi has warned against…Critics of the move said amending the 2016 law indicated a likelihood of more state intervention in monetary policies, especially in light of the growing fiscal deficit, scarcity of financial resources, and difficulty in foreign borrowing. Reuters

Mass Graves Are Still Being Found, Almost 30 Years after Rwanda’s Genocide, Official Says
A Rwandan official said Thursday that the remains of 119 people believed to be victims of the 1994 genocide have been discovered in the country’s south, as authorities continue to find mass graves nearly three decades after the killings. The remains of more victims continue to be found because perpetrators of the genocide tried their best to hide possibly incriminating information, Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of the genocide survivors’ organization Ibuka, told The Associated Press. In October, authorities first found six bodies under a house that was being built in Huye district. They have since found more bodies there after investigating further, he said. AP

Uganda’s First Oscar-Nominated Film Tells Story of Bobi Wine Persecution
The nomination of Bobi Wine: The People’s President for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars marks the first time a Ugandan film has earned recognition from the Academy Awards. But while it has led to celebration within Wine’s camp, the film is also a surreal reminder of the many challenges the 41-year-old politician has had to confront in his relatively short political career. Filmed over five years, it begins with singer Wine’s election to the Ugandan parliament in 2017 and shows his meteoric rise through politics, becoming the face of a vibrant youth movement…On Friday, which also marks the anniversary of Museveni taking power, Wine and his followers attempted to mount the first public screening of the film in Uganda. Security personnel deployed heavily along the road, intimidating people going to see the film. Al Jazeera