Africa Media Review for June 28, 2022

Guinean Prime Minister Meets Political Parties to Ease Tensions
Guinean Prime Minister Mohamed Béavogui has met with political parties to ease tensions after the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) suspended its call for a demonstration that was due to be the first major protest rally under the now ruling junta. The FNDC had called for people to take to the streets on Thursday in defiance of a recent protest ban announced by the military leaders who overthrew former president Alpha Conde in September. “Only an inclusive approach, adapted to the Guinean reality, will enable us to lay the foundations for the good life together that we all aspire to” ” We have already set up an inter-ministerial council, a group of colleagues. We are going to refine the group as we go along… You also have to get organised. The government is counting on the good faith of all the participants in this consultation.” the Prime Minister of the transitional government, Mohamed Béavogui, told the political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions. Guinea has been ruled by a military junta since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya overthrew President Alpha Conde in September 2021. The authorities have set the duration of the transition at three years. This meeting between the country’s political forces comes less than a week before a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is expected to decide on an extension of economic sanctions. AfricaNews

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Could Force African Countries to Become More Self-Reliant – Ramaphosa
The Russia-Ukraine conflict could have a silver lining for African countries in the long run, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, because it forces them to be more self-sufficient as they look to bolster their food supply. He said African countries faced a similar concern during the Covid-19 pandemic when they had no choice but to manufacture their own vaccines. The president spoke after he took part in a G7 summit meeting in Germany on Monday. He said one of the pertinent engagements between the seven members of the G7 and the five invited non-members – South Africa, Argentina, India, Indonesia and Senegal – was around food security in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia invaded Ukraine in February, sparking a deadly war and sending ripples across international food and energy markets. Ramaphosa said he and Senegal’s president, Charles Michel – the current African Union chairperson – “represented the African Union and the continent” at the meeting. He said they reflected “on the path that we had traversed together with India and many other countries on the issue of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) waiver to ease access to vaccines for the Global South”. “We argued against the views that were, at the time, expressed by many G7 countries and finally got them to concede that they should be a waiver, and in a way, we were today (Monday) celebrating the success of having achieved a Trips waiver, and they conceded that we had represented the developing economies rather well. We also felt that we should use that as a discussion for further discussions that would take place,” Ramaphosa said. News24

Influx of DRC Refugees into Uganda Poses Health Crisis as COVID Spikes
The recent explosion of violence in eastern DR Congo has triggered a new wave of refugees crossing into Uganda, presenting a potential health crisis as the region grapples with a new Covid-19 wave. More than 62,000 Congolese refugees have entered Uganda since January and the numbers have increased in the past few weeks following renewed fighting between government forces and M23 rebels. According to the Uganda Red Cross, the majority of the refugees are not vaccinated against Covid-19. The UN refugee agency protocol is that refugees are scanned for several diseases, including Covid-19, at receiving centres near the border. But it has not been easy to control movements of those coming from the DRC, with many of them refusing to go to reception centres for screening, opting to remain along the border as they wait for fighting to subside. East African

Kenya: Fake News, Disinformation Risk Causing Violent Elections, Warn Experts
Experts are warming that fake news and disinformation could lead to potentially greater electoral violence across the world, including Kenya…Debunk Media’s Asha Mwilu said a situation where there is elite media capture and without independent media to counter disinformation is a recipe for disaster. “…Tik Tok, which is becoming very popular among young people in Kenya, and I think in many developing countries, had some 300 accounts posting hate speech videos around Kenyan election,” Mwilu said. “We are seeing the same messaging as was in 2007 on TikTok.  Research showed the videos from the 300 accounts had been viewed by more than four million people. When the study came out, Tik Tok pulled down the accounts but it was a little too late. So it is not just a problem with Facebook but the various platforms,” she added. The Debunk Media founder said pulling down videos cannot be a solution and there is need to discuss algorithms and content moderation.  Star

Ethiopia: Addis Names Team for Nairobi Peace Talks with Tigray Leaders
The Ethiopian government has named seven negotiators for peace with Tigray rebels. The team was announced on June 27 after the Central and Executive committees of the ruling Prosperity Party held meetings on the crisis in the northern part of the country.  State-run Ethiopian Press Agency said the team would be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen. The other members are Minister of Justice Gedion Timothewos, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service Temesgen Tiruneh, Ambassador Redwan  Hussine, security adviser of the Prime Minister Lt-Gen  Berhanu Bekele, Ambassador Hassan Abdulkadir and Dr  Getachew Jember. Dr Gedion said the party will pursue peace” in a manner that respects the constitution and national interest,” facilitated by the African Union. There was no any immediate comment from Tigray leaders over the announcement. East African

Sudan Summons Ethiopian Envoy over Killing of 7 Soldiers
The Sudanese Foreign Affairs minister, Ali Al-Sadiq Ali on Monday summoned Ethiopia’s ambassador to Sudan, a day after seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian were killed on Ethiopian soil. The minister, in a statement, described the Ethiopian government’s act as “barbaric” and in contravention of international law and divine morals. “While the ministry condemns this inhumane behavior, it would like to remind that Sudan is hosting more than two million Ethiopian citizens who enjoy dignified treatment and share with the Sudanese people its resources and livelihood in generosity and tolerance,” partly reads the statement. Al-Sadiq said his ministry would submit an official complaint to the United Nations Security Council, relevant international and regional organizations in order to preserve the country’s sovereignty and the dignity of its citizens. He further said stressed that the Sudanese government reserves the full right guaranteed by the United Nations Charter to defend its lands and dignity. Meanwhile, Sudan said it would recall its ambassador to Ethiopia for “consultations”, days after its soldiers were executed on Ethiopian territory. In recent years, tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia have run high in because of a spillover of the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and Ethiopia’s construction of a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile. Sudan Tribune

Sudan: West Darfur Tribal Leaders Sign Accord to End Hostilities
On Saturday, West Darfur witnessed the signing of agreements to stop hostilities between Arab and Masalit tribes in El Geneina locality, and the Rizeigat and Iringa tribes in Sirba locality, in the presence of Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemeti’, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces. The Darfur Bar Association has dismissed the conference as “mere political demonstrations that encourage impunity in the absence of the Rule of Law”. The document on cessation of hostilities and peaceful coexistence between Masalit and Arab tribes, consisting of 13 points, stipulated the formation of a joint mechanism between the two sides, headed in turns by leaders of both tribes and a commitment not to protect criminals within the tribes and to report them, as well as a commitment to build confidence. The document called on the government to extend the Rule of Law. Hemeti said during his address to the signing ceremony in El Geneina that the government issued a decision not to allow native administration leaders (tribal leaders) to leave their places without the prior permission of the authorities. He said that the coming days will witness the arrival of joint forces to join the forces in the state to secure the agricultural season, villages, and the camps for the displaced. Hemeti described what is happening in Darfur as “deliberate sabotage, not far from what is happening in Khartoum”. In his address to the signing ceremony of the agreement to stop hostilities between Rizeigat and Iringa in Sirba in West Darfur, he accused unidentified parties of aiming to undermine peace, bring Darfur back to the square of war, and dismantle its social fabric. “Much of what is happening here, is run by the same rooms messing with the scene in Khartoum, which he said are pursuing their own narrow self-interests,” he said. Dabanga

‘Military Coup Has Cost Sudan $4.4 Bn in Suspended Aid’
Sudan has lost $4,364 billion in aid pledged by the international community, in the eight months since the October 2021 military coup d’état, according to Faroug Kembereisi, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Sudan (SBoS). In a statement vis social media, Kembereisi says that only $268 million in aid was implemented, out of $4,643 billion pledged, which represents a loss to the country of 94 per cent. He said that the World Bank and others committed an amount of $760 million during the period in favour of the Samarat family support programme, of which only $181 has been disbursed. The US Agency for International Development has also suspended its specified commitment of $2,595 billion in full. The projects effected include irrigation, agriculture, small farmers, energy, water, improving statistics) and include $500 million in direct budget support. Kembereisi explained that the total planned US support, including wheat, during last eight months amounted to $1,288 billion, of which $87 was implemented. Immediately following the October 25 2021 military coup d’état, the World Bank announced the suspension of all aid to Sudan and halted decisions on any new operations in the country. Dabanga

Tunisian Union Calls for New Public Strike, Escalates Dispute with President
Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union called on Monday for a new nationwide strike in the public sector including state firms to protest against the government’s economic policies, escalating a dispute with the government of President Kais Saied. The latest confrontation between the union and Saied comes as Tunisia prepares to start official negotiations with the IMF over a loan to save public finances from bankruptcy in exchange for unpopular reforms including cutting food and energy subsidies and freezing wages. The UGIT, the country’s main labour union, strongly rejected these reforms, saying it would increase the suffering of Tunisians and lead to an imminent social implosion. Its leader Nourredine Taboubi told reporters that the date of the new strike would be announced later. A national strike by the UGIT on June 16 brought the nation to a standstill. Public transport ground to a halt and flights were cancelled. The latest UGIT move intensifies pressure on Saied, who has tightened his grip on power since July 2021 when he froze parliament and sacked the cabinet – moves his opponents called a coup against Tunisia’s young democracy. Taboubi said that the union will strike to refuse “the reforms presented to the IMF”. “The government does not want dialogue, while social conditions are deteriorating, inflation rates are high, and key interest rates raised,” he added. UGTT Union has about a million members in the country, giving it the ability to paralyse the economy with strikes. News24

Presence of Russia in North Africa Is Increasing – Spanish Foreign Minister
The presence of Russia in North African countries is increasing in a region where political instability and militant activity are spreading, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Tuesday, defending a foreign policy shift towards Africa. “There is a growing Russian presence in Africa, in North African countries,” he told Antena3 TV station in Madrid hours before a NATO summit opened in the Spanish capital. Spain is shifting its foreign policy towards Africa while lobbying the EU and NATO for support to address migration from the continent, aggravated by the Ukraine invasion, two senior government officials and two diplomatic sources told Reuters. Albares said on Tuesday the epicenter of world terrorism is in Sahel, an area with very weak institutions, more and more military juntas, a food crisis and migratory movements. Reuters

Angola, Mozambique Seek Answers to Fossil Fuel Concerns at UN Ocean Conference
The urgency decreed in Lisbon can only be overcome if humanity manages to resolve different contradictions. For example, the deep-sea extraction of fossil energy resources collides with the preservation of the oceans. There are policy-makers among oil-exporting countries aware of the need for new solutions. Angola’s president João Lourenço, is one of them. “Heads of State and Government, representatives of the scientific community, the private sector and civil society, will seek at this Summit to find answers to the growing need to implement new paradigms of sustainable exploitation of the immense resources that the Oceans place at our disposal, which we must seek to exploit in an increasingly sustainable way and preserve for future generations.” Fossil resources are sources of wealth that no country can do without, as Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea explains, especially when they allow other development goals to be reached. AfricaNews

Nigeria Gets New Chief Justice amid ‘All-Time’ Low Judicial Trust
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in a new acting chief justice, barely hours after the resignation of the previous one. In a swearing-in ceremony on Monday in the capital, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola took the oath of office to replace Tanko Muhammad, who stepped down earlier in the day, citing health reasons. At the ceremony, Buhari said he had received Justice Tanko Muhammad’s resignation as the land’s highest judicial officer and was “constrained to accept his retirement, albeit with mixed feelings.” According to the president, the former chief justice was scheduled to retire from the Supreme Court on the last day of 2023 but “unfortunately, as no man is infallible, ill health has cut short Chief Justice Tanko’s leadership of the Nigerian judiciary at this time.” “Much as one may wish that the Chief Justice of Nigeria Muhammad Tanko is able to fully serve his term in office, it presupposes that he is able to perform the functions of the office without let, hindrance or any form of disability,” Buhari added. Muhammad’s resignation came barely a week after 14 of the 16 justices of the Supreme Court, including Ariwoola, complained about Muhammad’s leadership, saying he had failed to address the welfare concerns of his colleagues, in a leaked memo. Al Jazeera

Africa’s Dream of Feeding China Hits Hard Reality
Watching workers poke avocados from the treetops in an orchard owned by Kenyan agriculture firm Kakuzi, managing director Chris Flowers revels in the thought some might soon go to the crown jewel of emerging consumer markets: China. Taking advantage of Beijing’s deeper focus on trade with African countries to help reduce gaping deficits, Kenya struck an export deal with China for fresh avocados in January after years of lobbying for market access. Six months later, no shipments have left, Kenya’s avocado society, the East African country’s plant health inspectorate and Kakuzi  told Reuters. While 10 avocado exporters have passed Kenyan inspections, China now wants to do its own audits and, based on the past experience of some other African fruit producers, it could take a decade to get the green light. “You can actually have a market, but if you can’t meet the standards, you can’t take advantage,” said Stephen Karingi, head of trade at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones