Africa Media Review for July 14, 2023

International Criminal Court Opens New Probe into Sudan Violence
The International Criminal Court has opened a new probe into alleged war crimes in Sudan, its chief prosecutor said Thursday, expressing major concern over escalating violence. Karim Khan made the announcement in a report to the UN Security Council, after three months of war between feuding generals have plunged the northeast African country back into chaos. The ICC has been investigating crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region since 2005 after a referral by the UN Security Council, and the Hague-based court has charged former leader Omar al-Bashir with offenses including genocide. Allegations of atrocities have mounted during the recent fighting, with the top UN official in Sudan calling for the warring sides to face accountability. Around 3,000 people have been killed and three million displaced since violence erupted between Sudan army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group. AFP

Army Shelling of Market Kills Dozens as Sudan Violence Escalates
At least 30 people died when the Sudanese army shelled a market in Omdurman during what residents of the country’s most populous city described as the worst week for civilian casualties since the outbreak of war in April. Most of the victims in the incident at the Shaabi souk on Tuesday were children and women, according to witnesses. Medical sources said the shells were fired from the Karri military base, which the army controls, during fierce fighting with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. A vegetable seller who goes to the market on most days to buy his goods wholesale said people trying to steal produce were among the victims. Food prices have risen sharply in recent months and many people living in Omdurman and its sister cities of Khartoum and Bahri have run out of money. Guardian

Egypt President, Ethiopia PM Aiming to Finalize Dam Agreement within Four Months
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday agreed on initiating urgent negotiations to finalize an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the rules of its operations, a joint statement said. The statement mentioned the two leaders will make all the necessary efforts to finalize the agreement in four months. Egypt and Ethiopia, Sudan’s two largest neighbours, have been at odds in recent years over the construction of the huge hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, close to the border with Sudan. Reuters

UN Experts Urge Ethiopia to Stop Deporting, Detaining Eritreans
A group of United Nations investigators and experts called on Ethiopia on Thursday to halt the deportation of Eritreans and the arbitrary detention of Eritrean refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. The group also condemned what they called the “summary expulsion of hundreds of Eritreans” by Ethiopia at the end of June. “Collective expulsions are prohibited under international law,” they said in a statement. “Deporting migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers without conducting an individual and objective risk assessment of their exposure to human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearance, upon return is refoulement.” Under international human rights law, the principle of non-refoulement guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would face abuse or punishment. Ethiopia’s official Human Rights Commission said on June 24 that it was monitoring the forcible return of about 200 Eritreans. Al Jazeera

DR Congo Ex-Minister Turned Opposition Figure Found Dead
The body of a DR Congo opposition deputy and former government minister was found riddled with bullets in the capital Kinshasa on Thursday, officials said. Cherubin Okende was a member of the party of Moise Katumbi, a leading opposition politician who is set to contest the presidential election in the central African nation in December. An official in Katumbi’s team told AFP that Okende, 61, had disappeared on Wednesday after travelling to an appointment at the constitutional court in Kinshasa. Okende’s bullet-riddled body was subsequently found in his car on Thursday morning on one of the city’s main thoroughfares, the official added. … Okende was transport minister before he resigned from office in December at the same time as two other ministers in Katumbi’s camp. At the time, Katumbi had announced his presidential bid and withdrawn his Ensemble pour la Republique party from the ruling coalition. AFP

South Africa: Former President Zuma in Russia As ConCourt Orders Him Back to Jail
Former president Jacob Zuma is seeking medical treatment in Russia, Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi confirmed, barely a day after the Constitutional Court ruling that he should return to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Zuma, 81, received a 15-month jail term in 2021 for disobeying a court order to testify at a hearing looking into high-level corruption during his nine years in office, which ended in 2018. He turned himself in to the authorities in July 2021, but was freed on medical parole two months later. In 2022, the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that it was “unlawful” to release Zuma on early medical parole and that he should go back to jail to serve out the remainder of his term for contempt of court. … Zuma’s jailing in 2021 triggered violence in two of South Africa’s provinces – KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Looters vandalised shopping malls, other retail outlets, businesses, factories and infrastructure with over 1,000 people arrested as a result. AllAfrica

South Africa Deploys Army over Burning of Trucks, Braces for Unrest over Ex-President’s Court Case
South Africa deployed the army in four of its provinces Friday after at least 21 trucks carrying goods were set on fire in various parts of the country over the past week. The move came amid concerns of more unrest over a court decision that could send former president Jacob Zuma back to jail, although authorities have denied they are connected. … The truck burnings appear to have started on Sunday, the second anniversary of the start of the 2021 protests. … But Police Minister Bheki Cele said there is a possibility that the truck burnings are economic sabotage against South Africa. He didn’t say who might be behind the campaign but police are hunting for at least 12 people believed to be linked to the attacks. AP

Kenya Opposition Calls for Third Anti-tax Protest on July 19
Kenya’s opposition on Thursday called for a third day of demonstrations against tax hikes on July 19, after previous protests saw several of Kenya’s towns and cities witness violent and sometimes deadly stand-offs with police. Police shot at least two protesters dead in the capital Nairobi on Wednesday, officers said, as they sought to repel a crowd advancing down the main expressway. At least nine people were killed in the nationwide protests, according to the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. President William Ruto was elected last August on a platform of helping Kenya’s working poor, but his critics say the tax rises he signed last month will deepen the plight of Kenyans already struggling to afford basic commodities like maize flour. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has finished runner-up in five straight presidential elections, said two lawmakers had been among those arrested for their role in Wednesday’s protest, which saw tens of people hospitalised. Reuters

Iran Signs Agreements with Zimbabwe as Raisi Wraps Up Africa Tour
Iran and Zimbabwe have signed 12 agreements to boost bilateral relations as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi wrapped up a three-country African tour. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa greeted Raisi as “my brother” on the tarmac after the Iranian leader’s plane landed on Thursday in the capital, Harare. … For his part, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe welcomed “investments in several sectors of our economy” without specifying how much investment his country was expecting from Iran. … Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani has described Raisi’s tour as “a new turning point” that could bolster economic and trade ties with African nations. He also said on Monday that Tehran and the three African countries share “common political views”. Iran also signed agreements with Kenya and Uganda on Wednesday. Al Jazeera

Niger: When the Migrants Vanished from This Desert Outpost, So Did the Jobs
During the heyday of European-bound migration, this city built amid the sands of the Sahara Desert was booming, with shop owners who catered to the travelers making healthy profits and the men who drove busloads of them north earning a comfortable living. But today, eight years after the government banned foreigners from traveling north from here, the development assistance that many believed would make up for the lost business has amounted to little more than a trickle, Agadez residents say. “I was expecting suffering, and I was expecting aid,” said Abdou Salaam Abdou, whose taxi business dried up as the flow of African migrants in Agadez dwindled after the adoption of a law banning the northbound transit and criminalizing the work of those who helped them. “We received only suffering.” Today, with undocumented immigration to Europe at the highest levels since 2016, officials in the European Union are debating strategies to curb migration. … “No funding can replace migration,” said Ibrahim Rissa Ixa, a vice president of Agadez’s regional council. “Europe and our partners must do more for the region of Agadez, because we’re doing a job for Europe — we’re not doing it for ourselves.” Washington Post

Nigerians Are Rattled by Prices That Just Keep Going Up. How Are They Coping?
The cost of food and transport have soared since the end of May. The trigger was the removal of a fuel subsidy that dates to the 1970s and kept fuel prices artificially lower than the market rate and lower than in neighboring countries. But in his inaugural speech on May 29, new president Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared an end to the subsidy. It had become too expensive — rising to $9.7 billion last year, a quarter of Nigeria’s budget– all while government revenues were stretched thin. The ripple effects were immediate. Fuel prices almost tripled overnight, from roughly 180 naira (23 cents) per liter in May, to roughly 500 naira (70 cents). Fuel prices are expected to rise even further to account for the depreciation in Nigeria’s currency since May. The impact of the subsidy has been profound in a large but challenging economy with 70% of people living in poverty. The World Bank says an additional 7 million people in Nigeria could be plunged into poverty by the end of the year — driven by a combination of a painful cash crisis earlier this year, high inflation and the fuel subsidy. NPR

Nigeria’s Senate Approves Tinubu’s $800 Million World Bank Loan Request
Nigeria’s Senate on Thursday speedily approved a request by President Bola Tinubu to borrow $800 million from the World Bank to help cushion the impact of high fuel prices after ending a popular but costly petrol subsidy. Tinubu had requested the Senate’s consent earlier on Thursday for the loan, which had previously been approved by the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari, to help scale up the National Social Safety Net Programme, according to a letter to lawmakers. “The purpose of the facility is to expand coverage of shock responsive safety net support among the poor and vulnerable Nigerians,” Tinubu said, adding that 12 million poor households will be paid 8,000 naira ($10.32) per month for six months, “with a multiplier effect on about 60 million individuals.” Reuters

U.S.-Africa Business Summit Looks to Enhance Africa’s Value in Global Chains
Over 1,000 participants from the U.S. and across the African continent, including government officials, private sector executives, investors, and multilateral stakeholders, are meeting in Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit to explore investment opportunities and strengthen business relationships between Africa and the U.S. The 15th U.S.- Africa Business Summit, hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and the Government of Botswana in Gaborone, is under the theme Enhancing Africa’s Value Chains. “Through this annual summit, the CCA seeks to strengthen connections between the U.S. and Africa and to mobilize action as we have done for 30 years. CCA’s member companies are crucial in that effort, along with partnerships with U.S. and African governments and multilateral organizations. These collaborations are crucial to fostering a deeper understanding in government of private sector interests and needs and equally important to helping the private sector gain a deeper understanding of policies and expectations,” said Jeffrey Sturchio, Chairman of CCA. Sturchio said such constructive collaborations benefit the people of the U.S. and Africans. As a result in the past three years, the U.S. Government has closed more than 900 deals valued at U.S.$22 billion across 47 African countries in trade and investment. AllAfrica

‘There Is Always Risk’: The Zimbabwean De-Miner in South Sudan
When the call came from war-ravaged South Sudan in June 2011, Job Tawengwa did not hesitate to say yes. Harare-based Tawengwa, a de-mining and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) expert, knew it would be risky, as usual. His first call to clear landmines came in 1998, from Mozambique, next to his native Zimbabwe. It was six years after a peace treaty ended a brutal 15-year civil war between the Renamo rebels and the Mozambican army. He joined a team of de-mining experts and was deployed to various provinces of the Southern African country to clear the fields. Since then, Tawengwa, now 47, has gone everywhere from Iraq to Lebanon and Afghanistan in a life full of uncertainties. “With this job, there is always risk,” he told Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera