Africa Media Review for June 5, 2024

South Africa Cabinet Minister Arrested over Bribery Allegations amid the Country’s Coalition Talks
A South African Cabinet minister who is a senior member of the African National Congress was arrested and appeared in court on Wednesday over allegations of bribery, just as his party was meeting for talks to work out a way forward for the country after an election deadlock. Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa faces charges of taking bribes of around $90,000, according to police…Kodwa, 54, is a member of the ANC’s internal National Working Committee, which met Tuesday as the party discusses how it might form a government after losing its 30-year majority in an election last week…Kodwa was implicated in taking bribes from a businessman at a judicial inquiry in 2021 that looked into allegations of widespread government corruption involving ANC officials and others. The allegations relate to the time when Kodwa was the national spokesperson for the ANC and later the deputy minister of state security. AP

ANC to Speak as South Africa Waits to Find Out Who Will Govern
The African National Congress will give an early indication on Wednesday of its response to last week’s election, which ended its 30-year run as the majority party and plunged South Africa into political uncertainty unseen in the democratic era. The ANC, which is still the largest party but can no longer govern alone, said it would hold a news conference at 12 p.m. (1000 GMT), but it is not expected to make an announcement about any coalition plans as it has yet to decide on its position…A note to media said the news conference would include an announcement about a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting “to be held this week”, suggesting that the meeting had been postponed from Wednesday, when it had originally been scheduled…The news conference will also be about the outcome of Tuesday’s discussions by an internal working group and about the selection process for ANC candidates to be provincial premiers, according to the note to media. Reuters

Sudan: Mass Displacement from South Khartoum amidst Insecurity and Deteriorating Conditions
Volunteers in Sudan disclosed on Tuesday that a substantial number of residents from southern Khartoum have been displaced due to escalating insecurity and a decline in health and living conditions…[Mohamed Kandasha, spokesperson for the South Belt Emergency Room] explained that the area experienced a wave of displacement to the states of Gedaref, Gezira, and others in the early days of the war. Some residents returned to their homes in southern Khartoum after the RSF seized control of Gezira State. However, the deteriorating security and health situation and soaring food prices over the past three months have forced them to flee again. According to Kandasha, the ongoing communication blackout in vast areas of Khartoum has further exacerbated the residents’ plight…Authorities in the army-controlled states have been hesitant to permit the delivery of certain goods to RSF-controlled areas in Khartoum. They have also implemented stringent security measures on the roads, further worsening living conditions for the residents. Sudan Tribune

In Burkina Faso, a Growing Number of Children Are Traumatized by War
About 60% of the displaced [in Burkina Faso] are children. Many are traumatized, but mental health services are limited and children are often overlooked for treatment…Mental health services in Burkina Faso are often reserved for only the most severe cases. A U.N. survey published in 2023 showed 103 mental health professionals in the country of more than 20 million people, including 11 psychiatrists. Community-based mental health services by social workers are expanding, now numbering in the hundreds and supported by a small team of U.N. psychologists. In addition, traditional medicine practitioners in Burkina Faso say families are increasingly turning to them for help with traumatized children. But the need is immense. The U.N. said surveys by it and partners show that 10 out of 11 people affected by the conflict show signs of trauma. AP

The Forgotten Crisis in Burkina Faso
[PHOTO ESSAY] With a record-high 707,000 new displacements within the country’s borders, the humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso continued unabated in 2023, while hundreds of thousands of people were cut off from aid. The number of people killed in violence doubled last year, with over 8,400 deaths. Meanwhile, the number of Burkinabe refugees seeking safety in neighbouring countries almost tripled, reaching a total of 148,317 according to UNHCR figures. An unprecedented 42,000 people suffered catastrophic levels of food insecurity and up to two million civilians were trapped in 36 blockaded towns across the country by the year’s end. As armed groups imposed movement bans, little to no humanitarian assistance reached some of these areas. At least half a million people were cornered into a near-total “aid blind spot”…An all-time high of 6.3 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2024 and more than two million remain internally displaced. Al Jazeera

Nigeria: NLC, TUC Suspend Strike
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have announced the suspension of their industrial action for one week. The announcement was made by TUC President, Festus Osifo, following a joint extraordinary national executive council meeting of the unions held in Abuja on Tuesday…NLC President, Joe Ajaero, later told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that the strike was called off to enable the leadership of the unions to interface with their members. The unions embarked on the strike on Monday to protest the government’s refusal to meet their demand for a minimum wage of N494,000 though the government proposed N60,000. They had met with the government team led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, on Monday night in Abuja. Although no amount was agreed upon as the new minimum wage, the parties agreed that the federal government would raise it above the N60,000 it currently offers. Premium Times

South Korea, African Countries Sign Agreements on Minerals, Exports
Nearly 50 deals and agreements have been signed during South Korea’s first summit with leaders from 48 African countries to cooperate in areas such as mining, energy and manufacturing, South Korea’s industry ministry said on Wednesday. Hyosung Corp, a South Korean conglomerate, signed a contract to supply electric transformers to Mozambique worth $30 million, the ministry said in a statement. The industry ministry also signed agreements to cooperate on critical minerals with Madagascar and Tanzania in order to secure supplies for industries such as batteries, it said. The 47 agreements with 23 African countries were made during the summit as Asia’s fourth-largest economy seeks to tap the minerals and the vast export market in Africa…Yoon pledged on Tuesday that South Korea would increase development aid for Africa to $10 billion over the next six years, and said it will offer $14 billion in export financing to promote trade and investment for South Korean companies in Africa. Reuters

Rwanda’s 2024 Election: What to Know
[President Paul Kagame], 66, is expected to win a fourth term, according to observers. (There are no independent polls in Rwanda.) In 2015, he oversaw a referendum that changed term limits, ensuring that he can extend his tenure until 2034. He won in 2017 with almost 99 percent of the vote in an election that observers said was rigged. The arrest and prosecution of opposition members, the intimidation of activists and accusations that many voters were forced to choose Mr. Kagame all pointed to voting that was not free or fair, independent observers and rights groups said…The election will be a three-day affair. On July 14, Rwandans living abroad will begin voting at the country’s embassies and diplomatic missions. On July 15, voters in Rwanda will go to the polls to choose their president and 53 of the 80 seats in the lower house of Parliament. On July 16, the remaining 27 members, who include representatives of the youth and disabled, will be elected. The Electoral Commission will publish provisional election results on July 20. It will announce the final results on July 27, about two weeks after voting day. The New York Times

Act of Faith: Kenya Enlists Evangelical Pastors to Guide Haiti Mission
President William Ruto has consulted political advisers, security officials and foreign leaders about the high-profile anti-gang mission. He also turned to less conventional counsellors: a circle of Christian evangelical pastors…The pastors have issued recommendations to Ruto and served as a conduit between Haitian communities and the president…The pastors’ efforts ahead of the deployment, due to begin later this month, have included meetings with Haitians in the United States, as well as evangelical counterparts, U.S. government officials and even Haiti’s most notorious gang leader, Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier…People involved in the initiative say the relationships forged with Haitian communities will help the Kenyan-led multinational force avoid the mistakes of foreign interventions in Haiti in recent decades…Not everyone is convinced by the Kenyan pastors’ strategy. Evangelicals themselves have a complex history in Haiti, where they have poured resources into humanitarian projects but also faced criticism for ethical scandals. Reuters

“Blood Tea”: A Community’s Fight to Take Back the Lipton Tea Estates in Kenya
A community-led consortium in Kenya’s tea-growing region is fighting to stop a global private equity firm selling the renowned Lipton tea estates to a Sri Lankan conglomerate in a deal estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars…Two people close to the latest discussions told Semafor Africa that the Kipsigis Community Clans Organization — an umbrella group of elders, clans and cooperative societies claiming to represent over 340,000 members — had earlier sealed a partnership with London-based management consultancy firm 101 Partners with whom they formed a consortium and sought financing for the bid…Members of the consortium claim their bid was not considered despite their willingness to match the highest offer, and that the community was not adequately consulted on the sale. They said they are planning to file an objection to the sale with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CA) and also with the United Nations Human Rights Council over alleged violations by Lipton of requirements of free, prior and informed consent from communities on use and transfer of their ancestral lands. Semafor

Two Jailed in Senegal for Criticising PM on Gay Rights
A Senegalese court has jailed two men for “spreading false news” after they accused Ousmane Sonko, the country’s new prime minister, of tolerating homosexuality. Activist Bah Diakhate and Imam Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Ndao were jailed for three months and fined 100,000 CFA francs ($165, £130) each. They had been angered that Mr Sonko had allowed a visiting French politician to express his support for same-sex marriages. Homosexual acts are banned in the mainly Muslim West African country and are punishable by up to five years in prison. The political activist and the preacher were arrested two weeks ago after posting a video attacking Mr Sonko for giving a platform to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a far-left French politician. Mr Mélenchon gave his opinion about same-sex marriages at a student forum in the capital, Dakar, in mid-May…In response Mr Sonko said that Western countries should show restraint on social matters such as LGBTQ rights as it could “lead to anti-Western sentiment”. Senegal would continue to manage issues around homosexuality in accordance with its socio-cultural norms, the prime minister said. He was quoted as saying that homosexuality was “not accepted, but tolerated” in Senegal. BBC

NGOs, Media Groups Fight Lesotho Govt’s Attempted Blackout of Famo Music ‘Terrorists’
Journalists and civil society in Lesotho are fighting a government demand for a media blackout of Famo music groups turned gangs. Acceding would set a dangerous precedent for censorship, they say…In early May, the government outlawed 12 Famo music groups, with Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police Minister Lebona Fabian Lephema declaring them illegal entities. A week later Mahlape Morai, then acting as Lesotho Mounted Police Service boss, told the media that it was a criminal act for journalists to publish interviews with the banned music groups…The Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), a human rights group in Lesotho, said the government was using the 1984 Internal Security Act, “meant to operate in an authoritarian setting that does not subscribe to fundamental human rights and freedoms”, to enforce the blackout. Famo is a music genre that originated in Lesotho, featuring singing backed by an accordion, a drum, and sometimes a bass…But over the years, the music has come to be associated with gangs primarily linked to illegal gold mining in Lesotho and areas in South Africa bordering the mountain kingdom. News24

Slam Poems and Dance Shows: How Congolese Creatives Are Responding to the M23 Conflict
Congolese civil society and ordinary citizens have played a leading role in responding to the humanitarian fallout of the M23 insurgency, hosting the majority of the 1.5 million displaced people, and running soup kitchens in camps. Likewise, Congolese artists have been organising various cultural initiatives and events for affected people, from spoken word poetry sessions to dance spectacles and music concerts blasting Afrobeats and Ndombolo hits through the camps…Slam, a form of spoken-word poetry, is popular in Goma, and has been used by artists and activist groups to articulate political grievances and raise awareness around important social issues. Slammers from an organisation called Elikya have recently been using the art form as a therapy tool to help displaced people…At a displacement camp called Bassin du Congo, artists from a campaign group called DAI were performing a music show with a political message in late April. Fed up with politicians making promises they don’t keep – like building health centres or restoring peace – the artists used song to call for displaced people to hold elected officials to account on issues that matter to them. The New Humanitarian