Africa Media Review for July 10, 2024

Sudanese Civilian Coalition Snubs AU Meeting over Islamists’ Inclusion
The Coordination of Civilian Democratic Forces “Tagadum” has declined to participate in the initial phase of political dialogue organised by the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, scheduled from 10 to 15 July. In a statement released on Tuesday, the coalition’s General Secretariat cited concerns over a lack of transparency in the meeting’s design. It stated that information received had confirmed these concerns over the participation of the Islamists of the banned National Congress Party…The coalition believes this situation will only legitimise the war and its proponents, rather than achieving peace in Sudan. The African Union has been sticking to its idea of an ” all-inclusive Sudan political dialogue process” referring to the participation of the Sudanese Islamists who reject the idea of a secular state in Sudan and actively undermined the civilian-led transitional government of Abdallah Hamdok. Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed Visits Sudan, Discusses Peace with Burhan
In the first visit by a foreign head of government since the outbreak of war in Sudan, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the head of the Sovereign Council and Sudanese army commander, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in Port Sudan on Tuesday. The two leaders discussed the ongoing conflict and potential paths to peace…According to a statement released by the Sovereign Council, al-Burhan briefed the visiting Prime Minister on the situation in Sudan…Ahmed, who departed hours after his arrival, emphasized the importance of peace as the foundation for development. He stressed that the problems of nations should be resolved internally without external interference…Multiple reports suggest that the Sudanese and Ethiopian leaders also discussed the situation in eastern Sudan, including the possibility of an RSF attack on Gedaref and the potential for the conflict to spill over into Ethiopia. Ethiopian analysts have warned that an alliance between Amhara Fano militias and the RSF could destabilize the region, given the undisciplined nature of both forces and their shared propensity for looting and attacks against civilians. Sudan Tribune

Sudan: 328k+ Displaced from North Darfur Capital in Three Months
Approximately 328,981 people (65,933 families) were displaced from El Fasher locality over three months, from 1 April to 30 June. This includes those who had previously been displaced before the escalation of clashes in the city, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). Since 10 May, El Fasher has experienced an escalation in fighting between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), along with SAF-allied rebel movements. MSF-supported hospitals have treated more than 1,781 war wounded, with 278 fatalities reported…The matrix highlighted an increase in displacement to sites south of El Fasher and other states in Sudan during June. According to the report, clashes in April displaced an estimated 40,615 people (8,123 families). These clashes occurred in rural villages in North Darfur, with most affected families relocating within El Fasher locality. Radio Dabanga

Group Warns over Extension of South Sudan’s Interim Period
An umbrella organization has warned the leadership in South Sudan against plans to extend the interim period, saying the country remains on the edge of total collapse owing to the worsening economic crisis. The caution from the National Consensus Forum (NCF) comes amid food insecurity as ethnic tension and inter-communal clashes rage across the country. NCF describes itself as an entity that comprises of 21 South Sudanese political, civil society, women, youth, faith-based organizations, academic and professional association and represents a major segment of the South Sudanese society…According to the forum, the recent passing of the Security Bill, allowing for the arrest of suspects without a warrant, demonstrated a dictatorship with impunity…“Good governance and the rule of law have been abolished with impunity in South Sudan through the passage of that Bill,” stressed NCF’s statement. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan: Machar Rejects Election Date, Passing of Security Bill
South Sudan’s First Vice President and leader of armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar has rejected the December 22, 2024 date proposed by the National Elections Commission (NEC), citing ongoing inter-parties dialogue and the Kenyan-led peace initiative with the hold-out groups. The SPLM-IO, Machar said, questioned the approval of the security bill without consulting the presidency and the council of ministers to have sections of the security bill which do comply with provisions of the 2018 peace deal revoked. Last week, NEC announced December 22, 2024 as the elections date, while South Sudanese lawmakers passed on July 3, 2024 a controversial security bill authorizing the country’s national security agency to search and arrest without a warrant…Machar stressed that the implementation of the transitional security arrangements, the ongoing inter parties dialogue on the unification and deployment of the necessary unified force phases I and II cannot be subverted because the three main signatories to the peace agreement were still having standing forces they which command and control until such time they are unified and deployed under the provisions of the peace deal the parties signed in 2018. Sudan Tribune

Cameroon’s President Wins Backing to Delay Legislative, Local Polls
Cameroonian President Paul Biya secured approval from lawmakers on Tuesday to delay parliamentary and local elections until 2026, a move opposition parties fear could make it harder for them to mount a challenge in next year’s presidential election. Lawmakers in Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement have a majority in the National Assembly and voted in favour of the bill to extend their mandate by a year to March 2026. As a result, legislative elections – and municipal elections usually twinned with them – will take place after the 2025 presidential poll…Many in the opposition fear the extension could weaken the challenge to Biya, because holding legislative and municipal elections next year could have given them momentum ahead of a presidential election scheduled for October 2025. Reuters

Congo UN Peacekeepers Pausing Pullout, No Timeline for Next Phase
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will pause its withdrawal, with no timeline set for the next phase following the initial one in June, the government and mission said. In September last year, President Felix Tshisekedi asked the mission to fast-track the withdrawal of peacekeepers who were deployed to the Central African country to quell insecurity caused by armed groups fighting over territory and resources. The first phase of the withdrawal, in South Kivu province, was completed on June 25, Congo’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zenon Mukongo Ngay, said on Monday. It had been scheduled for completion by April. Ngay indicated that conditions had not yet been met for the next phase, however, blaming neighbouring Rwanda for an escalation of clashes in the restive east of Congo…Congo’s foreign minister Therese Wamba Wagner said the government wanted to avoid creating a security vacuum. Reuters

South African Soldier Killed by Hand Grenade on UN Congo Mission
A South African soldier, who was part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, died on Monday when a hand grenade exploded close to his sleeping quarters, South Africa’s military said. It was not clear what caused the hand grenade to explode, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said in a statement late on Tuesday, adding that a board of inquiry including UN officials would investigate the incident that happened in Beni. South African soldiers are in Congo as part of the UN force called MONUSCO and a separate mission deployed by southern African regional bloc SADC to help the government fight rebel groups. Including the latest death, at least seven South African soldiers have lost their lives in Congo since February. Reuters

South Africa to Try Ex-parliament Speaker for Corruption
The former speaker of South Africa’s parliament was back in court on Tuesday to face charges of charges of corruption and money laundering. At the Magistrate’s court, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula learned that her case was transferred to the High Court in Pretoria for trial. The development shows that the prosecution believes it has a solid case against Mapisa-Nqakula. The trial at the High Court will start on October 16. Mapisa-Nqakula is accused of soliciting a R4.5 million from a defence contractor, during her time as South Africa’s defence minister. She resigned as speaker of the national assembly following her indictment in early April. Mapisa-Nqakula denies the charges against her. Africanews

UN Mission to Libya Says Political Activist Abducted in Misrata
The United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) called on Wednesday on Libyan authorities to free political activist Al-Moatassim Al-Areebi and to end arbitrary detentions. Al-Areebi, 29, was abducted on Monday in the city of Misrata by unidentified armed men in civilian clothes along with his friend Mohamed Shtewi, the mission said in a statement.
UNSMIL said that Shtewi was released “after being beaten” but that the whereabouts of Al-Areebi “remain unknown”. UNSMIL urged Misrata city’s security and law enforcement agencies to urgently investigate the abduction of Al-Areebi, disclose his whereabouts, and secure his safe and immediate release. Misrata is a port city some 200 km (125 miles) east of the capital Tripoli. The Tripoli government is considered to be in charge of Misrata but has not commented on the case. “Reports of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment, torture, and deaths in custody committed with impunity continue to plague Libya,” the mission said. Reuters

Torture, Starvation, Rape: Moi’s Kenya and the Dark Legacy of Nyayo House
[Daniel arap Moi], Kenya’s longest-serving president, had seen off a coup attempt by a section of the armed forces in 1982. Afterwards he cracked down hard, introducing excessive policing and human rights abuses and passing laws to suppress political freedom. During the height of the crackdown between 1986 and 1992, more than 150 pro-democracy activists were detained and tortured in the Nyayo cells…This dark chapter of Kenya’s history is barely taught in schools and the old interrogation cells in the basement of a multi-storey immigration centre are classified as a “protected area” that can only be accessed with permission from the security services and Nairobi officials. Last month, victims of torture at Nyayo launched a lawsuit against the government challenging these restrictions…The survivors are demanding that the area be converted into a national monument open to the Kenyan public, as recommended in 2011 by the country’s truth, justice and reconciliation commission, a body formed after Kenya’s 2007-08 post-election violence to help resolve historical injustices. The Guardian