Africa Media Review for July 1, 2024

Mauritania’s President Ghazouani Wins Re-election, Provisional Results Show
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has won the country’s presidential election, according to provisional results from over 99.27% of polling stations released by the West African nation’s electoral commission Sunday. Ghazouani was re-elected in the Saturday election with over 56% of the vote, results from 4,468 polling stations out of 4,503 showed on Mauritania’s independent electoral commission’s website. The 67-year-old former army chief of staff and defence minister, who was first elected in 2019, has pledged to boost investment to spur a commodities boom in the West African country of 5 million people, as it prepares to start producing natural gas by the end of the year. Reuters

South Africa: Ramaphosa Announces Cabinet with Ministers from ANC, DA, IFP, PA, PAC and FF+
President Cyril Ramaphosa has been unable to reduce his executive, but has instead increased the number of positions to accommodate members of the GNU. In a televised address on Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Cabinet had been largely restructured to accommodate members of the government of national unity (GNU)…Before the elections, Ramaphosa’s Cabinet included 30 ministers. It has now grown to 32…The announcement comes after lengthy wrangling between the largest two parties. Leaked letters were making the rounds, showing the turmoil between the parties over the GNU negotiations…The ANC failed to achieve an outright majority in the 2024 national and provincial elections which led to its decision to form the GNU. The IFP was the first party to back the proposal followed by the DA, PA, UDM, Good, Rise Mzansi, PAC, Freedom Front Plus, Al Jama-ah and United African Transformation. Daily Maverick

Total Desolation’: Rwanda-backed M23 Rebels Seize Key Town in East DRC, Says Official
The Rwandan-backed M23 have seized a strategic town in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile east, an official told AFP Saturday, as surrounding areas also fell into the hands of the rebels. The town of Kanyabayonga lies on the northern front of the conflict in the North Kivu province, which has been rocked by violence since 2021 when the M23 (March 23 Movement) resumed its armed campaign in the region. The town is home to more than 60 000 people and tens of thousands of people have fled there in recent months, driven from their homes by the advance of the rebels…The administrative official said that the population in Kanyabayonga “no longer have anywhere to go, it is total desolation, the population is tired”…Other nearby towns have been seized by M23, according to officials and security sources. The M23 have taken control of a town called Kanya some 17 kilometres north of Kanyabayonga, an administrative official told AFP Saturday. AFP

DRC Sends First Minister to Eala Two Years after Joining Bloc
The East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) has sworn in the first Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) minister as an ex officio member in Parliament, two years after the Congolese nation joined the regional bloc. Didier Mazenga, the Francophone and Regional Integration minister, took the oath of office on Friday at the Arusha-based assembly, hours after a heated debate over the non-remittance of contributions by member states, chief among them being the DRC…Since becoming a member of the East African Community in May 2022, DRC rarely takes part in regional meetings and has never remitted a cent. It owes the EAC over $14 million spanning two fiscal years. On Thursday afternoon, Eala MPs had called for the suspension of legislators from countries that had failed to send their remittances to the EAC. The EastAfrican

Nigeria: 18 Dead, 42 Injured As Boko Haram Unleashes Multiple Female Suicide Bombers In Borno
At least 18 people, including women and children, were killed, and 19 others seriously injured in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on Saturday, June 29, in a series of coordinated suicide bombings carried out by female attackers believed to be affiliated with the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, an Islamist jihadist organisation, also known as Boko Haram. A local security source, requesting anonymity, reported that several female suicide bombers, all equipped with explosives, were deployed between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon to target selected communities…The first attack occurred at Gwoza, in the southern part of Borno, where a female bomber carrying a baby detonated an explosive device during a wedding gathering, causing multiple casualties. Subsequent bombers targeted mourners at a hospital and a burial ground…The suspected group has not claimed responsibility for the attacks. HumAngle understands that the Gwoza general area is Boko Haram’s primary area of dominance and control, where the group is constantly fending off attacks from both security forces and its rival terrorist group, the Islamic State West Africa Provence (ISWAP). HumAngle

Child Malnutrition Crisis in Nigeria amid Rural Violence and Soaring Food Inflation
An unprecedented number of children in northern Nigeria are suffering from acute malnutrition, aid workers in the country have said. Nigeria has the “largest number of food insecure people globally” at 31.8 million, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization office in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri said…Severe acute malnutrition has also led to other conditions, such as tuberculosis and acute diarrhoea, and stunted children’s growth…The reasons for the increase in malnutrition are well noted: food inflation is close to 30% as Africa’s most populous country is experiencing worsening food insecurity…Meanwhile, farmland has been abandoned in parts of the north because of gangs kidnapping, extorting and in some cases killing farmers. The Guardian

Cameroon, Nigeria Agree to End Border Dispute
Nigeria and Cameroon said Thursday they would no longer seek a court ruling to settle their disputed border. Rather, the two nations said, joint delegations will validate a demarcation plan on site and put an end to long-standing territorial disputes. The nations share about 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) of border, from Lake Chad in the north of the Gulf of Guinea to the Atlantic Ocean coast. Leonardo Santos Simao, chairperson of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission set up by the United Nations to solve the countries’ territorial disputes, said he is delighted the two countries decided to resolve their disputes without long and expensive processes at the International Court of Justice…Cameroon and Nigeria say the border demarcation was slowed by Boko Haram terrorism in both countries. They say that the Boko Haram group’s firepower is drastically reduced now and that the demarcation can continue. VOA

At Least 30 Killed in Kenya Anti-government Protests – Human Rights Watch
At least 30 people died in protests in Kenya [last] week sparked by a government drive to substantially raise taxes in the East African country, Human Rights Watch said Saturday. “Kenyan security forces shot directly into crowds of protesters on (Tuesday) 25 June 2024, including protesters who were fleeing,” the NGO said in a statement…The largely peaceful rallies turned violent on Tuesday when lawmakers passed the deeply unpopular tax increases following pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After the announcement of the vote, crowds stormed the parliament complex and a fire broke out in clashes unprecedented in the history of the country since its independence from Britain in 1963. President William Ruto’s administration ultimately withdrew the bill. AFP

AU Attempts New Mediation as Hunger Ravages Sudan
The African Union (AU) is launching another bid to save Sudan from war, even as it fights what it calls a proliferation of mediation channels competing with one another, amid a mounting humanitarian crisis. [Last] week, the African Union Peace and Security Council endorsed an “all-inclusive” meeting for July 10 to 15 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Sudan’s warring factions and other political movements are to meet. Known as Political Dialogue, it is to be led by the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan whose chair is Ghanaian lawyer Mohamed Ibn Chambas who is also the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns. Other members are former Ugandan Vice-President Specioza Wandira-Kazibwe and Mozambican diplomat Fransisco Madeira. The EastAfrican

I Recognised My Sister in Video of Refugees Captured in Sudan War
[After the outbreak of war in Sudan, some refugees already in the country and recently arrived migrants were treated with suspicion and taken as prisoners of war]…A Sudanese army general refers to the 50 or so detainees on board a truck as “mercenaries from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia,” [in videos posted online in April]…There have been unsubstantiated reports that foreign fighters are being used by the RSF – which may explain the hostility to the group from the army officers…The UN refugee agency says it has received similar reports about the detention by the army of asylum seekers and refugees. According to the UN, there are more than 147,000 Eritreans and around 70,000 Ethiopians in the country. BBC

2 Algerian Journalists Arrested for Publishing Video Showing Businesswomen Protesting
Algerian authorities arrested two journalists for publishing a video showing businesswomen protesting how they were treated at a government-sponsored event. Journalists in Algeria have faced mounting repression since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune came to power four years ago, with possible long jail time on flimsy charges, experts say. Many news outlets have also shuttered due to mounting legal fees. Sofiane Ghirous and Ferhat Omar of the news website “Algerie Scoop” were detained last week for broadcasting material authorities claimed “constituted incitement and hate speech,” according to a statement from the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, a local watchdog group, on Saturday…The crackdown on freedom of expression comes as Algeria gears up for an election in September. Tebboune will likely seek a second term as president. AP

Fishermen Left Stranded as Senegal’s Most Sought-after Catch Moves North
Coastal communities in Senegal are reeling as stocks of sardinella – the country’s most consumed fish – disappear from local waters…A study this month in the British journal Scientific Reports found that sardinella were migrating up the coast of west Africa from Senegal and Mauritania to Morocco, where large catches are now being recorded. The so-called “tropicalisation of ecosystems” – or warmer sea temperatures altering north-west African coastal waters – is driving the redistribution of sardinella and other small pelagic fish. The warming has caused sardinella to migrate northward at a rate of 181 kilometres per decade. Led by scientists in Senegal, France, Norway, Morocco, Mauritania and the Gambia, the study analyses data from 2,363 trawlers and 170,000 kilometres of acoustic sea surveys done between 1995 and 2015…The loss of sardinella, a vital resource, risked further threatening food security in West African countries that depend on the fish, the study found. RFI

Ivory Coast Receives First Life-saving Malaria Vaccines
Ivory Coast [last] week received its first vaccines against malaria, a disease that kills four people a day in the country, mostly small children, the government said Saturday. A total of 656 600 doses have been received, which will “initially vaccinate 250 000 children aged between 0 and 23 months” in 16 regions, the government said. Although the number of malaria-related deaths has fallen from 3 222 in 2017 to 1 316 in 2020 in Ivory Coast, the disease “remains the leading cause of medical consultations”, according to the Ministry of Health. The R21/Matrix-M vaccine has been authorised by Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic. The Ivorian government is also distributing mosquito nets and is spraying insecticide in endemic areas. AFP