Africa Media Review for January 6, 2023

Chad Says It Foiled ‘Destabilisation’ Attempt by Officers
Chad’s government says its security forces foiled an attempt by a group of army officers to destabilise the country and undermine constitutional order. “This plan was devised by a restricted group of conspirators composed of 11 army officers,” the government said in a statement on Thursday, adding that Baradine Berdei Targuio, president of the Chadian Human Rights Organisation, was at the helm of it. A group of 11 officers, including Targuio, was behind the attempt, according to the government statement which also said security services arrested those responsible after December 8. A formal investigation had been opened for “violation of the constitutional order, criminal association, illegal possession of a firearm and complicity”, said Communications Minister and government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh. Al Jazeera

Mali Avoids Sanctions over Detention of Ivorian Soldiers
West African leaders will not go through with a threat to sanction Mali for imprisoning 46 Ivorian soldiers, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) said on Wednesday, adding it will give time for Togo’s mediation in the diplomatic spat to bear fruit. Malian authorities detained the Ivorian troops after they arrived at Bamako airport on 10 July to provide backup security for a United Nations peacekeeping mission, accusing them of being “mercenaries.” Mail & Guardian

Benin’s Electoral Campaign Ends This Friday at Midnight
The campaign for Sunday’s January 8 legislative elections in Benin ends this Friday at midnight. Seven parties, three of which claim to be in opposition, are vying for the 109 seats in the National Assembly. Among them, Les Démocrates, the party of former President Thomas Boni Yayi, is participating in a ballot for the first time and will have to measure his strength. The Bloc républicain (BR), the party of the presidential movement best rooted in the north, will have a strong opponent this time in this area where the former head of state is based…The Republican Bloc has been behind the government for seven years. UP [the Progressive Union party, editor’s note] has now become UPR [Progressive Union Renewal] and has stayed with the government. Article 44 of the legislation stipulates: “The number of deputies in the National Assembly is 109, including 24 seats reserved exclusively for women. AfricaNews

Nigeria’s New Cash Limit Leaves Traders in the Lurch
Nigerians will soon be unable to withdraw more than 20,000 naira (€42 or $44) daily and 500,000 naira weekly from ATMs as the government attempts to mop up excess cash in circulation and increase the use of digital banking in Nigeria. The announcement of the policy, which comes into force on January 9, came a week after the government officially launched newly designed naira banknotes. Though experts say the policies make sense in theory, they warn that poor timing may decrease their effectiveness. Nigeria’s economy is still reeling from multiple shocks, including the devaluation of the naira and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. DW

Mozambique Takes “Historic” UNSC Seat
June 7, 2022 was “an historic date,” according to Mozambique’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Pedro Comissário Afonso, when his country won its Security Council (SC) seat. The UNSC is the UN body responsible for the maintenance of global peace and security, Mozambique’s two-year term started this January 2023. This week (Tuesday, 3 January) Mozambique, along with Ecuador, Malta and Switzerland received an official welcome to the UNSC. It was historic because, for Mozambique and Switzerland, it was their countries’ first-ever terms on the UN’s most powerful body…It is not unusual for a UNSC seat to raise a small nation-state’s global profile in a positive way, but it can also put the country under the spotlight as world SC watchers check the country’s performance. This scrutiny may be more than otherwise received on issues of global peace and security…After being elected, the High Commission for Mozambique published a press statement. It said, “In his first reaction to the vote, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi pledged that, during its two years as a member of the Security Council, Mozambique would do its utmost to prove a constructive and effective partner in the construction of peace, adding that President Nyusi said, ‘We shall be the voice of African countries who are seeking to build a peaceful and prosperous future for all.’ DefenceWeb

Kampala Stampede Deaths Have Exposed Weaknesses in Uganda’s Public Safety
On the eve of New Year’s Day, a stampede at Kampala’s Freedom City mall led to the death of ten people according to police records, but the Daily Monitor newspaper counted 16 bodies at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) mortuary. Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has ordered speedy investigations into the deaths, a move largely seen as only reactive and hypocritical, given the country’s poor state of public safety… a lack of proper coordination between the police and event organizers, who were in charge of inner security, resulted in the tragedy…Police officers had inspected the venue and ascertained that it passed all public safety and security tests including having multiple entry and exit points. Counter terrorism police officers were in charge of the fireworks display. But the same police, tasked with ensuring law and order during the event, were too slow to guide a crowd of 500 revelers to move in an orderly manner after the event’s emcee asked them to move to a section of the mall so they could view New Year fireworks. Quartz Africa

Kenyan LGBT Activist’s Body Found in Metal Box
Police in Kenya are investigating the death of an LGBT activist whose body was found stuffed in a metal box. The body of Edwin Chiloba was found on Wednesday on a road in Uasin Gishu County, in the west of the country. Police say a motorcycle taxi operator reported seeing the box being dumped by a vehicle with no license plates. The rider reported the incident to police officers who were manning a nearby roadblock. Officers who opened the box found the decomposing body of a man, whom they described as wearing women’s clothes…Chiloba is a known LGBT activist and has in the past been attacked and assaulted for his activism, his friend Denis Nzioka tweeted on Wednesday. LGBT people living in Kenya have often decried discrimination and attacks in a country where sex between men is illegal. AP

Sudan & South Sudan: Juba, Khartoum Put Up Measures to Curb Illicit Arms Dealing
South Sudan says it agreed with neighbouring Sudan to curb illicit arms deal through reinforcing cross-border movement, a move seen as essential in ensuring peace and stability in both countries. In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday, South Sudan’s presidential adviser on security affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime leaders from the two nations agreed on the deployment of forces and security elements to carry surveillance and verification activities at the border to curb illicit arms deal. “Security situation at the border between the two countries is okay. There is no problem but for the safety of the people across either Sudan or South Sudan, the leadership felt it would be prudent to reinforce security measures so that there are widows for illicit activities. Some people with political motives may take advantage of the lack of control,” he explained. Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s FFC Factions Divided on Egyptian Dialogue Offer
Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change-Democratic Block (FFC-DB) faction has announced its support for the Egyptian initiative to open a platform for a Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue in Cairo. However, the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change Central Council (FFC-CC) reject the idea. As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, on Monday, the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID), Maj Gen Abbas Kamel, held separate meetings with Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces, leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and of the FFC-Democratic Block alliance of rebel movements and the Democratic Unionist Party. Sources reported that Kamel proposed a new platform for dialogue between the parties, to be held under Egyptian auspices. Dabanga

The Cultural Aftermath of the Sudanese Revolution
Women artists continue to create their work in a country where their cries for freedom and justice for all have still gone unheard. When millions of Sudanese people marched in uproar against their president Omar al-Bashir in late 2018, they chanted a slogan that channeled the frustrations of young people living under the former military officer’s harsh 30-year rule. Four years later, Sudanese women, a number of whom played a crucial galvanizing role in the uprising against al-Bashir, still live in a country that has not fulfilled the hopes and wishes that many died for. Okay Africa

Morocco Says EU Ties Under Attack amid Corruption Scandal
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said Thursday that the north African country is the target of calculated media attacks and legal harassment aimed at undermining ties with the European Union, weeks after Belgian authorities implicated Morocco in a major corruption scandal…The allegations that cash and gifts were exchanged for political influence are at the heart of one of the biggest scandals to hit the European Union. EU lawmakers have suspended work on Qatar-related files and vowed to toughen lobbying laws. AP

Former Mauritania President Banned from Travel
Mauritanian police at the Nouakchott airport have prevented former President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz from travelling abroad, he says. Mr Abdelaziz was about to board an Air France flight when police officers told him he was not allowed to leave the country. They also seized his passport. “I am the former president Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. The political police prevented me from traveling abroad. Although I am not under any judicial supervision. There is no legal reason from them to prevent me from travelling,” the former president said in a video recording posted on social media. He accused the “corrupt regime” of “targeting him and mistreating him”. The government has not yet responded. The former president together with top officials who worked under him from 2008 to 2019 are being investigated over allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Mr Abdelaziz says he is the victim of political score-settling, and says he should enjoy immunity under the country’s constitution, according to the AFP news agency. BBC

Tunisian Former Minister Jailed over Toxic Waste Scandal
A former environment minister of Tunisia has been sentenced to three years in jail for his role in the illegal import of 280 containers of waste from Italy, according to local media in the capital, Tunis. Mustapha Aroui and several ministry officials were sacked from their jobs in 2020 following an investigation into how the waste had been imported. Aroui was arrested in December 2020. Tunis allows the importation of plastic waste for recycling. However, the import of domestic rubbish is strictly illegal.  Earlier this week, a Tunis court sentenced Aroui and three others to three years each in prison. RFI

Record Funding Drive by African Startups Masks Challenges Ahead
African startups raised a record $5.3 billion last year, though that may be the high-water mark as a deepening slump in the technology industry reduces the funding pool. While investment in 2022 exceeded the previous year by just $100,000, the number of deals jumped 20% to 964, according to data from Briter Bridges, a market intelligences company…Global funds such as Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and the failed crypto firm FTX led the largest investments in African startups over the past few years. But with recession looming in many Western nations and job cuts accelerating across technology companies — Amazon.com Inc. is laying off more than 18,000 employees — private-equity and venture-capital firms may choose to conserve cash. Bloomberg



Photo: Adam Jones