Africa Media Review for June 2, 2023

Clashes in Senegal Leave at Least 9 Dead; Government Bans Use of Social Media Platforms
Clashes between police and supporters of Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko left nine people dead, the government said Friday, with authorities issuing a blanket ban on the use of several social media platforms in the aftermath of the violence. … Sonko came in third in Senegal’s 2019 presidential election and is popular with the country’s youth. His supporters maintain his legal troubles are part of a government effort to derail his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Sonko is considered President Macky Sall’s main competition and has urged Sall to state publicly that he won’t seek a third term in office. Corrupting young people, which includes using one’s position of power to have sex with people under the age of 21, is a criminal offense in Senegal that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to more than $6,000. Under Senegalese law, his conviction would bar Sonko from running in next year’s election, said Bamba Cisse, another defense lawyer. “The conviction for corruption of youth hinders his eligibility, because he was sentenced in absentia, so we can’t appeal,” Cisse said. AP

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Warring Sudanese Factions
The United States announced new sanctions on Thursday on two Sudanese military factions and on companies linked to both sides, which have been fueling a war that has killed hundreds of people in Africa’s third-largest nation. Sudan’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has been fighting the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, since April 15 in a sprawling conflict that has devastated the capital, Khartoum, and displaced at least one million people. The sanctions came a day after Sudan’s military pulled out of peace talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, led by American and Saudi diplomats, that aimed to stop the fighting and allow humanitarian access in a country where 25 million of the country’s 46 million people urgently need help, according to the United Nations. … The sanctions include visa restrictions on officials from both the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the Rapid Support Forces. … More crucially, the Treasury Department put two major weapons companies affiliated with the Sudanese Armed Forces and General al-Burhan — Defense Industries System and Sudan Master Technology — on its blacklist, barring Americans from doing business with them. It also put sanctions on Al Junaid, a gold mining company controlled by General Hamdan’s family, and Tradive, a Rapid Support Forces-controlled company based in the United Arab Emirates that the paramilitary group has used to procure weapons. New York Times

More than 100,000 Flee to Chad from Sudan Conflict, UNHCR Says
More than 100,000 people have fled violence in Sudan to neighbouring Chad and the numbers could double in the next three months, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday. The near seven-week conflict has pushed Sudan into a humanitarian crisis and turned one of Africa’s greatest cities – the three-part capital of Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri on the confluence on the Blue and White Niles – into a war zone. “As the rainy season is coming within the next few weeks, we require massive logistics to move refugees from border areas… We need to establish immediately new camps and extension of existing camps,” UNHCR Chad representative Laura Lo Castro said. One of the poorest countries in the world, Chad was already hosting close to 600,000 refugees before conflict broke out in Sudan in April. UNHCR said it needs $214.1 million to provide vital services to displaced people in the country, which is currently 16% funded. Reuters

Burkina Faso Is the World’s ‘Most Neglected Crisis’
The displacement of 2 million people in Burkina Faso has been named the world’s most neglected crisis according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Burkina Faso has endured five years of conflict with militias – who have attacked water sources and forced school closures – now controlling up to 40% of the country’s territory. About 800,000 people in these areas have no access to services, according to the report, and a quarter of the population relies on humanitarian aid. The NRC said a siege on the city of Djibo means many have resorted to eating wild leaves to survive. … “We must do more to end the suffering in Burkina Faso before despair becomes entrenched and it is added to the growing list of protracted crises. That this crisis is already so deeply neglected shows a failure of the international system to react to newly emerging crises, as it also fails those lost in the shadows for decades,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s secretary general. Last year’s humanitarian response was only 42% funded and this year’s plan, launched in April, has also received only 18% of the $882m (£659m) requested. Guardian

Eswatini: Two Pro-democracy MPs Convicted of “Terrorism”
Two pro-democracy MPs in Africa’s last absolute monarchy, Eswatini, were found guilty on Thursday of terrorism and murder in connection with the wave of anti-regime protests that rocked the country in 2021. The two men, Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, were tried by a court in the capital Mbabane almost two years after their arrest in July 2021. Charged with inciting demonstrations, they had pleaded not guilty. … Mr Mabuza and Mr Dube were arrested in the midst of a wave of demonstrations calling for democratic reforms. These protests were severely repressed by the regime’s police and dozens of protesters were killed. The two MPs had in particular called for reform of the complex system of elections in which political parties, although theoretically authorised, are not allowed to participate. Parliamentary elections are due to be held on 29 September in the country formerly known as Swaziland. AfricaNews with AFP

Nigeria: Tinubu Mandates Security Heads to Come Up with a Blueprint To Change Security Architecture Soon
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting that lasted about two hours, the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major Gen. Bafana Monguno (retd), said the President has directed heads of security agencies to come out with their blueprints. He said it was an appraisal meeting for the President to get a briefing on the activities of the different security formations and for him to tell them his own philosophy and what he expects from the security heads. “First and foremost, he appreciated the armed forces and intelligence agencies and the wider paramilitary agencies for the work they have been doing in the past couple of years. Their sacrifice, their loyalty, and he also paid tribute to those who died in defending this country, from the great big menace of terrorism, insurgency banditry, oil theft, sea robbery, piracy, etc. “The President has made it very clear that he’s determined to build on whatever gains that have been made and to reverse misfortunes and turn the tide in our favour. “As far as he’s concerned, this country should not be on its knees struggling while other countries are working and achieving greater heights.” President Tinubu said in moving the country forward he needs the security agencies to redouble their efforts, stressing that his own philosophy is one of contemporary security measures dealing with the requirements of the time. Vanguard

Tanzania Appeals for Africa’s Support in Bagging IPU Presidency
Tanzania has appealed for the African continent to throw its weight behind its Speaker of Parliament Tulia Ackson, who is a candidate for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) presidency. The appeal was made by MP Ng’wasi Kamani who represents special seats under the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. She addressed the Pan-African Parliament during the adoption of a committee report on gender, family, youth, and people living with disabilities. Ms Kamani noted that Tanzania is the only country in Africa that has given women the rare opportunity to head two arms of government, with President Samia Suluhu as the head of the executive and Dr. Ackson heading the legislature. … The IPU is the main decision making organ made up of parliamentarians from 179 Parliaments out of the 193 countries that have legislative organs. Nation

Namibian Fishrot Saga Paymaster Arrested in Paarl
Marén de Klerk, the self-confessed paymaster in Namibia’s ongoing multimillion “Fishrot” corruption case, was arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI, known as the Hawks) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) in Paarl on Thursday. De Klerk willingly met the Hawks and police in relation to a matter in which he was allegedly conned out of millions of rand by a disbarred lawyer. The Hawks said they would issue a statement on the matter at a later stage. De Klerk is wanted by the Namibian government for corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering. He is accused of using his trust account for the distribution of ill-gotten loot to various accounts in the Fishrot corruption trial in which Namibia’s former fisheries minister, Bernhardt Esau, is embroiled. The South African government received a request from Namibia for De Klerk’s extradition on 15 October 2021. This came after the high court in Windhoek issued a warrant of arrest for De Klerk. According to the warrant, which the Mail & Guardian has seen, De Klerk faces a maximum penalty of 100 years in prison or a fine not exceeding N$1 billion, or both. Mail & Guardian

African Countries Agree Major Soil Fertiliser Deal to Combat Food Crisis
Seventeen countries in West Africa and the Sahel have agreed a deal to make soil fertilisers more accessible and affordable. The region, heavily dependent on imports, is facing a major food crisis that has been exacerbated by climate change. … The “Lomé Declaration on Fertilizers and Soil Health” was approved after two days of talks in Togo by country leaders and other representatives. Officials from the regional body Ecowas and the World Bank were also in attendance. … Leaders in West Africa and the Sahel pledged to consider soil health as a “critical pillar of food security” and committed to tripling fertiliser consumption by 2035 in order to step up agricultural productivity. Several measures were announced to help small farmers who will benefit from subsidies to obtain mineral and organic fertilisers to meet their urgent needs. RFI

Eusebius McKaiser, Acerbic South African Political Analyst, Dies at 44
Eusebius McKaiser, a South African writer and broadcaster who focused a sharp and often unsettling gaze on his nation’s struggles with apartheid’s legacy in race, politics, sexual violence and identity, died on Tuesday in Johannesburg. He was 44. … Moshoeshoe Monare, the executive for news at South Africa’s public broadcaster, SABC, told Daily Maverick, an online news outlet, that Mr. McKaiser had contributed to SABC’s “mission to reflect the diversity of opinions and our culture of openly debating our differences.” “We will remember his courage to express unpopular views,” he added. New York Times