Africa Media Review for June 7, 2024

South Africa: 1994 2.0: ANC Will Form a Government of National Unity ‘To Tackle Pressing Issues’ – Ramaphosa
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the party’s decision to invite other political parties to form a government of national unity (GNU) following the ANC’s failure to secure more than 50% of the national vote in the 29 May general elections. This announcement was made after a special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on Thursday. The concept of a GNU is not new to South Africa: the first democratic-era government featured a GNU, which included the National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)…The ANC has already initiated discussions with the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), IFP, National Freedom Party (NFP) and Patriotic Alliance (PA)…The ANC could have gained a majority by forming a coalition with just the DA, but the ANC’s alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, criticised the idea. A GNU allows the ANC to avoid choosing between the DA, EFF and MK, but it could also be unstable as it will involve a variety of partners with different priorities. Daily Maverick

UN Member States Approve 5 Countries for Security Council Seats
The U.N. General Assembly approved five new members Thursday for two-year terms on the organization’s powerful 15-nation Security Council in a lackluster “election.” Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia will start their terms on Jan. 1, 2025…It is rare to have a country that has a U.N. political assistance mission and an African Union mission with troops and police in its country on the council. Somalia has been fighting al-Shabab militants, which the United Nations says still pose a serious threat to the country, and working to rebuild its government institutions after a decades-long civil war. Somalia is a regular item on the council’s agenda. Somalia’s foreign minister sought to characterize their recent history as an asset to the council. “We are fully prepared to bring our distinct perspectives, experiences and solutions to the global arena, making a meaningful contribution to the work of the U.N. Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security,” Ahmed Moallin Fiqi told reporters after the election. VOA

What to Know about Russia’s Growing Footprint in Africa
Moscow has aggressively expanded its military cooperation with African nations by using the private security company Wagner and its likely successor, Africa Corps, with Russian mercenaries taking up roles from protecting African leaders to helping states fight extremists…Moscow is also seeking political support, or at least neutrality, from many of Africa’s 54 countries over its invasion of Ukraine…Russia-linked entities also spread disinformation to undermine ties between African states and the West, the Africa Center For Strategic Studies, an academic institution within the U.S. Department of Defense, wrote in a March report…Russia has taken advantage of political unrest and discontent in coup-hit nations…Russia has thrived in countries where governance is limited, and has signing mining deals through companies it controls. An EU parliament study showed that Russia secured access to gold and diamonds in the Central African Republic, cobalt in Congo, gold and oil in Sudan, chromite in Madagascar, platinum and diamonds in Zimbabwe, and uranium in Namibia. AP

Children Among Dozens Killed in Attack on Sudanese Village
A gun and artillery assault by Sudanese paramilitaries on a village in Sudan’s main farming region killed at least 104 people, including dozens of children, Sudanese pro-democracy activists said…A video shared online and geolocated by The Times shows a convoy of at least five Rapid Support Forces vehicles lining a roadway about half a mile from Wad al-Noura on Wednesday. Gunmen standing on the back of the stationary vehicles can be seen firing machine guns across open fields toward the village. The video runs for about five minutes, amid constant gunfire…The local resistance committee, part of a national network of pro-democracy groups, called the incident a massacre. On Thursday it posted videos showing at least 50 bodies draped in cloth and laid out for burial at the village. The videos and photographs were verified by The Times and the Sudan Witness Project at the Center for Information Resilience, a nonprofit organization that monitors conflicts and documents potential war crimes. The New York Times

U.S. Treasury Blocks UAE Companies Pending Investigation for Potential Sudan Sanctions Violations
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a “blocked pending investigation action” (BPI) against seven United Arab Emirates-based companies due to their potential involvement in activities violating U.S. sanctions on Sudan. The companies identified for this action are Capital Tap Holding L.L.C., Capital Tap General Trading L.L.C., Capital Tap Management Consultancies L.L.C., Creative Python L.L.C., Al Jil Alqadem General Trading L.L.C., Al Zumoroud and Al Yaqoot Gold and Jewellers Trading L.L.C., and Horizon Advanced Solutions General Trading – Sole Proprietorship L.L.C…The BPI designation carries the same restrictions as other designations under the Sudan sanctions program. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with these companies. Further investigation will determine if these companies will be formally added to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). Sudan Tribune

Sudan: RSF Assassinates Journalist and Family Members in Khartoum Suburb
A Rapid Support Forces (RSF) unit assassinated journalist Muawiya Abdel Razzaq and three of his family members late Tuesday night at their home in the Al-Droshab suburb, north of Khartoum Bahri (North). Since the war began between the army and the RSF on April 15, 2023, numerous journalists have faced widespread violations from both sides, including arrest, killing, and looting, with the paramilitary forces being responsible for the majority of these abuses. The Journalists’ Syndicate recorded 393 direct violations against journalists and media outlets, mostly occurring due to their work or affiliation with the profession. These violations included murder, physical assault, kidnapping, and detention, with at least one female journalist experiencing sexual violence, according to the union…The Rapid Support Forces have also detained journalist Tarek Abdallah from the Al-Haj Youssif suburb in eastern Khartoum for more than two weeks. Sudan Tribune

Nigeria: Senate Urges Tinubu to Review Security Strategies in North-West
The Senate on Thursday called on President Bola Tinubu to review the strategies adopted by security agencies in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping and other insecurity challenges in the North-west region. It also urged President Tinubu to consider the deployment of additional security personnel to the identified hotspots to ensure the protection of lives and properties in the region. The call was a sequel to a motion sponsored by Nasiru Daura (APC, Katsina North) during the plenary. The motion was also co-sponsored by 20 other senators from the region…Mr Daura, while presenting his motion, said the states in the North-west have been experiencing banditry attacks which have resulted in the loss of lives, kidnapping, displacement of communities and disruption of economic activities…Mr Daura also prayed the Senate to urge relevant security agencies to collaborate with respective state governments, local communities, traditional leaders and stakeholders to gather intelligence and enhance security operations in affected areas. Premium Times

Why Are Nigeria’s Worker Unions Up in Arms?
Nigeria’s trade unions earlier this week went on a nationwide strike, shutting down the country’s power grid and disrupting flights as they resorted to drastic measures to press the government to hike minimum wages amid a cost of living crisis. The labour unions suspended the indefinite strike on Tuesday after government officials invited them for negotiations as the industrial action affected power supply for the country’s 200 million people and stranded thousands due to flight cancellations. The talks so far have not yielded results…For months, the labour unions – which represent government workers and employees in medium-to-large companies, had been demanding a minimum wage increase to compensate for the spike in inflation…Monday’s strike came after months-long negotiations collapsed in mid-May. Al Jazeera

Under Nigeria’s Tinubu, Journalists Are as Unsafe as Ever
[Journalist Daniel Ojukwu’s recent] detention was the 45th attack on the media since President Bola Tinubu took office last May. About 62% of these attacks were by state security, according to Edetaen Ojo, who leads Media Rights Agenda, a Nigerian press defence organisation. Despite promising to uphold press freedom in a meeting with newspaper owners in December, Tinubu’s record is on track to be worse than his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration arrested 189 journalists over its eight-year tenure, according to a Global Rights report. From 1986 to 2023, 1034 Nigerian journalists have been detained, according to the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development. That makes the 28 attacks on journalists by state security over the first year of Tinubu’s administration equal to the annual average of the last 38 years, some of which were under military rule. The Continent

Chinese Nationals Ran Cybercrime Syndicate from Zambia
Twenty-two Chinese nationals have pleaded guilty to committing cyber-related crimes in Zambia. They are among 77 suspects who were arrested in April in connection to what authorities described as a “sophisticated internet fraud syndicate”. The swoop on a Chinese-run company in the capital, Lusaka, followed an alarming rise in internet fraud cases in the country, targeting people in countries around the world. The Chinese nationals are set to be sentenced on Friday, local media report. There have been increasing cases of Zambians losing money from their mobile and bank accounts through money-laundering schemes which extend to other foreign countries, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) said in April. People in countries including Singapore, Peru, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and others across Africa have also been targeted in the online scam, Zambian authorities said. BBC

Benin-Niger Spat Deepens with Arrests at Crude Pipeline Terminal
A prosecutor in Benin said authorities had detained on Wednesday five Niger nationals for allegedly entering Benin’s Seme-Kpodji pipeline terminal under false pretences, deepening a dispute over exports of crude oil from Niger via Benin. In a statement on Thursday, special prosecutor Mario Metonou said the group had entered the terminal clandestinely and accused at least two of the detainees of being agents of Niger’s ruling military junta…Relations between the West African neighbours have been strained since Benin blocked crude exports via its port from landlocked Niger in May, demanding the junta reopen its border to Benin’s goods and normalise relations before shipments can restart. On May 15, Benin provisionally reversed the export block and agreed to hold a meeting between the two countries, but a long-term solution has not yet been agreed…The tensions go back to the July 2023 coup in Niger, which led the regional bloc ECOWAS to impose strict sanctions for more than six months. Trade flows in the region were expected to normalise after the bloc lifted sanctions, but Niger has kept its borders closed to goods from Benin.

African Court Gives Tanzania Ultimatum to Scrap Death Penalty
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has reiterated its longstanding order to Tanzania to revoke the death penalty in line with the continental charter on the right to life. Delivering judgment on two separate cases, the court sitting in Arusha emphasised again that mandatory capital punishment was a violation of the African Charter and gave the country six months to remove it from its legal statutes…While the continental court has issued several similar orders for Tanzania to scrap the death penalty in recent years, the punishment has remained enshrined in the country’s Penal Code despite growing opposition against it as a colonial era legacy. This puts it among several African countries that continue to retain it despite a 1999 resolution by the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights calling on African Union member states to observe a moratorium on capital punishment. Only eight countries have abolished it in law and practice in the past 10 years, since 2014. The EastAfrican

Kenya to Submit Raila’s AUC Candidature by June 30
Kenya will submit former prime minister Raila Odinga’s African Union Commission (AUC) candidacy by June 30, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi announced on Wednesday. Addressing a joint press briefing at his Railways headquarters offices, Mr Mudavadi said they were firming up preparatory and application documents together with requisite translations of the resume into six AU languages for submission to the AU Secretariat by the end of the month. Mr Mudavadi, who is also the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS, said the government was also working on a secretariat to spearhead the ODM leader’s campaigns. The EastAfrican

Namibia Starts Three Months of Voter Registration Ahead of Elections
Namibia this week opened a three-month voter registration period, ahead of 27 November elections, which will feature at least three female presidential candidates. The registration period for the presidential and National Assembly elections is due to run until 1 August. The Electoral Commission of Namibia said that, on the first day, 25 000 voters were registered. For the first time since independence, the ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo), will have a female presidential candidate, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, 71…The 2019 general election had 1.3 million registered voters and a 60% turnout. According to a recent Afrobarometer survey, the 2019 elections were considered free and fair, though 30% of respondents felt politically intimidated during the campaign period. It’s against this background that “most Namibians value elections and overwhelming majorities say that they feel free to join any political organisation and to choose whom to vote for without feeling pressured”. News24

Somaliland’s First All-Girls Basketball Team Shoot for Recognition
[Hargeisa Girls Basketball captain Hafsa Omer] and her two sisters, who also play for Hargeisa Girls Basketball, the first all-girls team in the incipient country, are determined to put Somaliland on the map, by mobilising their more than 10,000 followers on social media. “Somaliland is looking for their recognition and we believe that we could be part of bringing the recognition… by wearing the flags, by talking about our country, by promoting it through the short video TikToks or Instagram pictures,” she said…Omer sees her devotion to Somaliland’s independence as an extension of her father and uncles’ armed struggle in the 1980s against the dictator Siad Barre…While the territory of around 3.5 million people remains some way from attaining diplomatic approval abroad, Omer has made significant gains in pushing women’s rights. Since she founded Hargeisa Girls Basketball in 2018, other female teams have sprung up. They now play in an all-girls league, challenging conservative social attitudes and religious beliefs in Somaliland. For her sister Fatima Omer, basketball serves both goals. “We just want the world to see us,” she said. Reuters