Africa Media Review for July 11, 2019

Record Number of Forcibly Displaced Africans Likely to Grow
There are 27 million people in Africa who have been forcibly displaced from their homes (internally displaced, refugees, and asylum seekers). This figure is a record and nearly triple the number of a decade ago. If forced displacements continue to grow at the current rate of 1.5 million people per year, the total will double in 18 years. Nearly all of Africa’s forced displacement is a result of conflict and repressive governance. Nine of the ten countries with the highest levels of forced displacement in Africa are experiencing conflict. Of the ten African countries with the highest numbers of forcibly displaced people, eight have authoritarian-leaning governments. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Ethiopia Jails Critics in Crackdown after Killings: Activists
Ethiopia is using last month’s assassination of high-ranking officials as a pretext to arrest critics with no apparent links to the attacks, international and domestic rights activists said Wednesday. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office last year, has been praised for releasing political prisoners and embarking on sweeping reforms to loosen controls in long-authoritarian Ethiopia. But activists fear after the killings, his government’s crackdown on journalists, critics and opposition supporters represents a return to repressive tactics used by past governments to stifle dissent. “They’re resorting to violence,” journalist and former political prisoner Eskinder Nega told a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa. “They’re resorting to strong-arm tactics.” AFP

Opposition Calls for International Support to End Impunity in Sudan
Yasir Arman, Sudan Call’s Secretary for External Relations called on the United Nations human rights body to take concrete steps to end impunity in Sudan saying the recent regime change provides a real chance to deliver justice in the east African country. The opposition leading member who is also the deputy chairman of the SPLM-N led by Malik Agar made his calls in the margin of the meetings of the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday. Speaking in a briefing to state delegates, human rights groups, media and activists, Arman who had been deported from Khartoum to Juba on 10 June, shortly after his return to Sudan stressed that the current human rights situation and impunity remains unchanged in the country despite the ouster of the al-Bashir’s regime last April. “We were hoping that the TMC (Transitional Military Council) would create a partnership with the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) on a new political framework. However, it has become clear that the TMC is working to safeguard the old system,” he said referring to the brutal attack on the peaceful protesters on 3 June and the wave of repression that took place after. Sudan Tribune

Uganda Court Issues Criminal Summons against Bobi Wine
A magistrate’s court has issued criminal summons against Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, after he failed to appear in court for the hearing of a criminal case against him. He and four others had been accused of disobeying Sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act 2013 by holding a public meeting on July 11, 2018 at City Square in Kampala District without giving notice to any authorised officer, for not adhering to the required criteria and for refusing to cooperate with the police. It is alleged that the Kyadondo East MP was holding a meeting with his fans to protest against the introduction of the new social media tax (OTT) of Ush200 ($0.054) daily as well as mobile money tax. In a session presided over by Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu at Buganda Road court, the prosecutor said Bobi Wine and one of his co-accused, David Luke, were not present before court and sought criminal summons to be issued against the two. The East African

Algeria Parliament Elects Opposition Figure as Chairman after Protesters Demand Change
Algerian lawmakers late on Wednesday elected an Islamist opposition figure as chairman of parliament under pressure from mass protests demanding the departure of the ruling elite. The parliament elected Slimane Chenine of the Movement of National Construction party to replace Moad Bouchareb from the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has ruled Algeria since independence from France in 1962. Bouchareb resigned a week ago, three months after Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit as president, also pressurized by demonstrators seeking democratic reforms and government personnel changes. Chenine, 47, is the youngest lawmaker to be elected as head of the National Assembly and his party has only 15 out of a total of 462 seats in parliament, where the FLN and its coalition partners have an overwhelming majority. Reuters

Press Attack in Nigeria: ‘36 Journalists Attacked in 6 Months’
At least 36 Nigerian journalists were attacked between January and July this year, with 30 of the attacks recorded during the 2019 general elections. A civic tech platform that tracks attacks on journalists in Nigeria, Press Attack Tracker (PAT), gave the statistics in a statement on Wednesday. The Press Attack Tracker was set up by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) in collaboration with the Coalition for Whistleblowers and Press Freedom (CWPPF) and Leaks.NG, in response to the unrelenting attacks on the press. The platform tracks these attacks and reports them for the purposes of advocacy tool that is data-driven. The platform observed that despite the clamour for a peaceful, free and fair elections, the majority of the press attacks in Nigeria occurred during that event. The attacks on the press during the elections included illegal arrests and detention, harassment, physical attacks, denial of access and the death of a journalist covering the elections in Delta State. Premium Times

The Brave Women Fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria
[…] When [Komi] Kaje introduced the idea of joining the fight against the rebellion to her friends and family, it was received with mockery and indifference. “How can a woman fight Boko Haram?” she was told. However, other women aside from Kaje, such as 45-year-old Idris Fati, shared her ambition to flush the fighters out of Maiduguri. Kaje and Fati joined the Civilian Joint Taskforce (C-JTF) – a civilian militia drawn from communities affected by Boko Haram – that partners with and supports the military in its operations. C-JTF had been an all-male force but there were tasks best-suited for women. For one, Boko Haram favoured using girls and women in the group’s operations, especially as suicide bombers attacking markets, hospitals, mosques, churches and other public places. “Boko Haram were using many women and girls to fight the war. Women were needed to counter that strategy,” Kaje told Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera

Ethiopia’s Governing Coalition under Strain
One of the parties in Ethiopia’s governing coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has unleashed damning criticism of one of its coalition partners, reports BBC Tigrinya’s Yemane Nagish. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, once seen as the coalition’s dominant party, accused the Amhara Democratic Party of “working with chauvinist forces” and “spoiling the security of the region”, in a statement it released after an urgent central committee meeting. “At the moment, the unity of the nation is endangered by chauvinist forces from here and there. The ADP has been a fertile ground for this,” the statement reads. The TPLF was referring to last month’s killing of the governor of Amhara region, Ambachew Mekonen, and two other officials, who were members of the ADP, in what the authorities have described as an attempted coup. BBC

Europe Shut These Migrants Out, Then Libyan Rebels Bombed Them
The 53 migrants and refugees killed in a July 2 airstrike on a detention center in Libya were being held less than 100 yards from a militia’s arms depot at the time of the attack, a Times investigation has found. The depot had also been struck just two months earlier, and both the detainees and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had warned of the dangers faced by those held there. Our video investigation used satellite imagery to pinpoint the location of the detention center in Tajoura, a town on the eastern outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, and confirmed its proximity to the militia’s depot. The investigation shows how the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration, an agency of the United Nation-backed government in Tripoli, ran the detention center for nearly 600 migrants and refugees within a large military compound that became a target in the country’s raging civil war. New York Times

AU Taskforce Renews Bid for Direct Kiir, Machar Talks
An Africa Union taskforce on restoring peace in South Sudan says broad political engagement with President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar is urgently needed to kick-start direct talks between the two leaders which is crucial in implementation of the revitalised agreement. With four months to go to November 14 when a new interim government is supposed to be formed the taskforce known as C5 says the face to face talks would provide the required leadership, cohesion, inspire public confidence and facilitate reconciliation at all levels of the nation. “There is need to generate further impetus on the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement,” the AU high level Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan said in a communique on July 9. The East African

Greater Response Needed to Worsening West African Violence – UN Head
Islamist attacks are spreading so fast in West Africa that the region should consider bolstering its response beyond current military efforts, and donors should back such a move, the head of the United Nations said on Wednesday. Groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the arid Sahel this year, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking local ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso. The situation has raised concerns that the perennially under-funded regional G5 force, comprising troops from Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso, is unable to stop unrest fanning out from West Africa’s restive hinterland to coastal countries including regional economic powerhouses Ivory Coast and Ghana. Reuters

UN Orders Malawi to Release Trapence, Sembereka
The United Nations (UN) has ordered the Government of Malawi to immediately release activists Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka. Trapence – Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRD) – and Sembereka who is a coalition member were arrested on Tuesday for fraud and operating an unregistered organisation called MANGO. In a statement dated July 10, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said the organisation has reached a resolution with the activists. A letter from UN resident Coordinator in Malawi to the Malawi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said MANGO had agreed to repay funds which the organisation received from UNAIDS but did not use for intended purpose. Malawi24

‘Nothing Left to Go Back For’: UN News Hears Extraordinary Stories of Loss, and Survival as Mozambique Rebuilds from Deadly Cyclones
As UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrives in the southern African nation of Mozambique on Thursday for a two-day visit, he will be surveying the damage wrought by the deadly back-to-back cyclones earlier this year. UN News reports from the ground, on some of the extraordinary stories of loss, courage, survival and recovery, that have defined the months since then. UN News

Africa’s Demographic Dilemma
Africa’s population is not only young – it is also growing fast. But the large number of children is not a blessing for families. Economic growth in many countries cannot keep up, poverty is on the rise. The belief that children act as a life insurance in old age is still widespread and is making the demographic situation worse. The population in Africa is expected to double from 1.3 billion to 2.5 billion by 2050. “Such an increase in the number of people poses problems for the individual states and would even overburden a country like Germany,” says Alisa Kaps, a member of staff at the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. She cites the poor West African country of Niger as an extreme example. It has the highest birthrate and will triple its population by 2050. “There is a lack of appropriate infrastructure, health care, access to hospitals, education and jobs for these people,” says Kaps, outlining the dilemma many African countries will face in the future. Despite waning infant mortality, the average birthrate of 4.7 children per woman remains high when compared with the rest of the world. DW



Photo: Adam Jones