Africa Media Review for June 4, 2024

South Africa: Divergent Policy Positions May Hinder Potential ANC-DA Coalition Talks to Form a National Government
The possibility of the ANC collaborating with the DA could soon become a reality. The parties’ combined support comes up to more than 60%, which would see them dominate the National Assembly. If their partnership is extended to provinces, they pose a serious threat to other parties. However, a group within the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is firmly against this move. Daily Maverick understands that there has been robust discussion on the NEC’s WhatsApp group about the divergent policy positions of the two parties. The DA is against the implementation of the National Health Insurance Act in its current form and does not believe in Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, which has been one of the ANC’s key tools for redress. The DA also contested the signing of the ​​Basic Education Laws Amendment (Bela) Bill in its current form…The ANC will hold its National Working Committee and NEC meetings over the next few days to mull over the best option for the party. Daily Maverick

Minimum Wage: Strike May End Today as Nigerian Govt, Labour Unions Reach Agreement
The indefinite strike by labour unions may soon end after the unions late Monday reached an agreement with the federal government on a new national minimum wage. The agreement was reached at a meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, in Abuja…Although no amount was agreed upon as the new minimum wage, the parties agreed that the federal government would agree to a higher figure than the N60,000 it currently offers. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) began an indefinite strike on Monday to force the government to agree on a new minimum wage for workers as well as review the increase in the price of electricity for some consumers. Monday’s agreement was signed by the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero; his counterpart in the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo; the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, and the Minister of Labour, Nkiruka Onyejeocha. Premium Times

The Strange Case of a ‘New’ Nigerian National Anthem
Nigeria’s president signed into law a bill to change the national anthem, sparking criticism from Nigerians. The “new” anthem returns to a version used from independence in October 1960 until 1978, a year before the first era of military rule ended. The lyrics and music of the former anthem, titled “Nigeria We Hail Thee,” were composed by two British women, Lilian Jean Williams and Frances Berda. “Arise, O Compatriots,” on the other hand, was created by five members of the Nigerian police band and has since been sung and played across the world for nearly 50 years. The bill for the new anthem passed through parliament within a week. Ruling party supporters of the change say the old anthem helped shape national identity and unity, provoking “feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.” The speedy amendment has rankled many Nigerians. Made official on the day of the president’s first anniversary, proclaiming a new-old anthem smacks of a hasty attempt at contriving a feel-good anchor to distract from a difficult year for residents. Semafor

Egypt’s Sisi Orders Prime Minister to Form New Cabinet
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reappointed Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Monday to form a new government after the latter submitted his cabinet’s resignation, following Sisi’s reelection for a third term last year, the presidency said in a statement. Sisi directed the new government to focus on lowering inflation and regulating markets as well as attracting and increasing local and foreign investments, the presidency added. Targets for new cabinet members would also include preserving the country’s national security in light of regional and international challenges, and counter-terrorism, the statement said. Reuters

Sudan: Mass Exodus from El Fasher amidst Intensifying Conflict in North Darfur
As fierce battles rage between the Sudanese army, its allied movements, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), thousands of civilians are fleeing El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. Since May 10, the historic city has been engulfed in bloody conflict, resulting in substantial civilian casualties and widespread devastation…Adam Regal, spokesperson for the Coordination of Displaced Persons and Refugees in Darfur, reported a significant influx of displaced people arriving in the Tawila area and other locations in Jebel Marra, areas controlled by the Sudan Liberation Movement…El Fasher, the central hub of the five-state Darfur region, remains the only city not under RSF control. The paramilitary group has been mobilizing thousands of fighters for months in a concerted effort to seize the strategic capital. Sudan Tribune

Saudi Arabia Pledges $1.082M in Aid for South Sudanese Returnees
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $1.082 million in relief items to support South Sudanese returnees fleeing the Sudan conflict, with the first batch set to arrive this month,[Albino Akol Atak, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs] said. Atak highlighted that the influx of refugees from the Sudan war has forced the government to seek humanitarian support from neighboring countries…In response to a request from South Sudan, Saudi Arabia agreed to procure food items from within South Sudan and neighboring countries to support those affected by the conflict…He noted that out of the 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries, about 1.3 million have already returned home, with over 500,000 people returning following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ACRSS). “Additionally, over 700,000 people have returned from Sudan since the conflict began on April 15, 2023, and due to the unfavourable humanitarian and security situation in Ethiopia.” Atak said. Radio Tamazuj

South Korea, Africa Leaders Pledge Deeper Ties, Critical Mineral Development
Hosting a first-ever summit with the leaders of 48 African nations, [South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol] said South Korea would increase development aid for Africa to $10 billion over the next six years as it looks to tap the continent’s rich mineral resources and potential as a vast export market…He also pledged to offer $14 billion in export financing to promote trade and investment for South Korean companies in Africa. South Korea is one of the world’s largest energy buyers and is home to leading semiconductor producers. It is also home to the world’s fifth-largest automaker, Hyundai Motor Group, which is making a push for electrification…In a joint declaration issued by South Korea, the African Union (AU) and its member nations, the leaders pledged to speed up talks for economic partnership agreements and trade and investment promotion frameworks. Reuters

Russian FM Sergei Lavrov begins Africa tour
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Guinea on Monday on the first leg of a three-country African tour aimed at boosting support for Moscow. Russia’s foreign ministry announced the visit on the Telegram social media app. Lavrov is expected to continue his tour in Chad and Burkina Faso, according to reports by Russian state media. The trip comes as Moscow looks to bolster support from countries on the continent, amidst Russian isolation on the world stage…While the African Union and several African capitals opposed Russia’s stance [on Ukraine], more than half of African countries, including Guinea, abstained from UN resolutions calling for a withdrawal of Russian troops. Africanews

Somalia to Expel Ethiopian Troops Unless Somaliland Port Deal Scrapped, Official Says
Somalia will expel thousands of Ethiopian troops stationed in the country to help with security by the end of the year unless Addis Ababa scraps a disputed port deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland, a senior Somali official said on Monday. Security experts and foreign diplomats said the move risks further destabilising Somalia as local forces would be unable to fill the security vacuum, which would likely be exploited by fighters from al Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda. At least 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers are stationed in the Horn of Africa country as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission (ATMIS) fighting al Shabaab, which controls large portions of Somalia, while an estimated 5,000-7,000 are stationed in several regions under a bilateral agreement. Relations between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa nosedived earlier this year after landlocked Ethiopia agreed to lease 20 km (12 miles) of coastline from Somaliland – a part of Somalia which claims independence and has had effective autonomy since 1991, but has failed to win international recognition. Reuters

Chadian Women Contest Underrepresentation, Say It Undermines National Dialogue Recommendation
Several dozen female activists and opposition members say they are upset with what they call Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby’s decision to exclude them from political issues in his first civilian government…Amina Tidjani Yaya is the coordinator of Voix De La Femme, or Women’s Voice, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for the respect of women’s rights and political participation. She says female leaders and activists do not understand why Chad’s new prime minister, Allamaye Halina, decided to reduce the number of female ministers from 12 during Chad’s three-year transitional period to eight in the first civilian government he appointed May 27. Yaya says Chadian officials have not respected the resolution of the central African nations’ 2022 Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue, which states that more women should be appointed to government positions…The female leaders and activists say increasing women’s political participation would have been synonymous with improving respect for human rights, justice, the rule of law, governance and democracy. They say women constitute the majority of Chad’s population and can have more influence than men in peacekeeping processes. VOA

Zambian Ex-First Lady Arrested on Fraud Charges
Zambia’s former First Lady Esther Lungu and her daughter Chiyeso Katete have been arrested over possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime. The two were arrested on Thursday in the capital, Lusaka, alongside another close relative identified as Charles Phiri, authorities said. Ms Lungu “failed to give a reasonable explanation” of how she acquired a $1.5m (£1.2m) estate in the capital, the state anti-drug agency said. Former President Edgar Lungu said the family would challenge the charges in court. The former leader has been accusing the government of victimising him and members of his Patriotic Front (PF) party to block his return to politics ahead of 2026 elections. He recently claimed to have been put under house arrest over his heightened political activities although the government denied it. Last September, his wife was arrested over corruption allegations, involving cases of theft of motor vehicles and title deeds, which she denied. BBC

Meet Oumar Diémé, Former Senegalese ‘Rifleman’ Now Olympic Torchbearer
After having first fought for the French colonial regime and then the right to return to Senegal with a pension, this veteran has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through the district of Seine-Saint-Denis in July…Diémé is one of thousands of Africans who fought in the Senegalese Tirailleurs corps, created in 1857…[In 1953] he volunteered to go to French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), where colonial France, backed by the US, was fighting the Chinese-backed Viet Minh independence movement…After returning to Senegal, he left again in 1959 for the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962). It was there that he learned of Senegal’s independence in 1960. He was repatriated and re-enlisted in the Senegalese army, retiring at the age of 36…After that, he settled in France…He eventually obtained French nationality. In 2023, the French government granted the last remaining tirailleurs the right to continue receiving the minimum old-age pension of €950 a month without having to spend half the year in France…Since then, Diémé lives between his native village and the capital. Jeune Afrique with AFP