Africa Media Review for March 6, 2023

Thousands Defy Protest Ban Against Tunisia President
Thousands of Tunisians have gathered in central Tunis in defiance of an official ban on their protest against President Kais Saied, calling for him to release detained critics and retract his controversial remarks on migrants. He recently blamed illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa for violence and crime and said there was a plot to change the demographic composition of Tunisia. Demonstrators shouted “down with the coup” – referring to the fact President Saied has been ruling by decree since September 2021, after dissolving parliament, suspending the constitution and dismissing the government. “Stop racism and xenophobia” and “no to hate speech and discrimination” read some of the placards at Sunday’s demonstration. Meanwhile in Senegal, 13 activists and an MP have been released after being arrested for protesting outside the Tunisian embassy. BBC

Tunisia Announces Measures To ‘Improve’ Life of Foreign Nationals
Amid an anti-migrant push, Tunisian authorities announced Sunday (Mar. 5) measures to quote on quote to “improve conditions of foreigners’ in Tunisia and ease procedures” for those seeking to put things right. The Presidency, the government and the foreign affairs ministry announced a relaxation of visa rules for African citizens, allowing stays of up to six months instead of three without seeking residency, and of a year for students. Adding that migrants who had overstayed could leave without paying penalty fees of about 25 dollars per month. The authorities also promised to strengthen the support and health and social assistance to migrants through the Red Crescent as they “fight against all forms of human trafficking and exploitation of irregular migrants” through intensified controls. The measures come two weeks after president Kaies Saied linked linked sub-saharant migrants to “violence and crimes” during a national security meeting. AfricaNews with AFP

14 Killed in Jihadist-Hit Burkina Faso
No fewer than 14 people were killed last week in northern Burkina Faso, a region that has been battered by jihadist insurgents, local inhabitants said Monday. “A group of terrorists” on Thursday attacked the village of Aorema, near the town of Ouahigouya, one of the locals told AFP. The attack was confirmed by a security source, who did not give a toll. “The attackers opened fire on a group of young people” sitting at an informal restaurant, one inhabitant said. “Seven died on the spot and three died in their homes where they were hit by stray rounds. Two other people died of wounds,” the source said. Another inhabitant said the fatality toll rose to 14 from others who subsequently died of wounds. The source said that “the terrorists” had previously made incursions into the village and warned youngsters not to gather at the restaurant. AFP

Four Jihadists Escape in Deadly Mauritania Prison Break
Four jihadist prisoners escaped the central prison in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott on Sunday night after an exchange of gunfire there in which two national guards were killed, the interior ministry said. “The National Guard has tightened its control over the prison and immediately started tracking down the fugitives in order to arrest them as soon as possible,” the ministry said in a statement published by the official news agency early on Monday. Two other guards were wounded, it said. The identities of the escaped prisoners were not given. After the escape, which the ministry said took place at 9:00 pm (2100 GMT) Sunday, it asked people to report any information that might help in arresting the fugitives. According to a military official speaking on condition of anonymity, two of the prisoners had been sentenced to death, while the other two were awaiting trial for membership of a terrorist organisation. The same person said their vehicle had been found northeast of Nouakchott. AFP

Polls Failed To Meet Nigerians’ Expectations — US Envoy
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has said the presidential polls of February 25 failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians. She noted in a statement [over the] weekend that many Nigerians were angry and frustrated with the process and outcome of the elections. Leonard, in an op-ed, titled ”The Elections of February 25”, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to address the challenges that could be resolved, ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections and  undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what could be done to fix them…”In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.  ”We commend Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent statements committing to take this path, and Mr. Tinubu, who INEC declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so. Vanguard

Analysis: Trend of Low Voter Turnout Continues in Nigerian Elections
Nigerians’ aversion to voting during elections is well documented, but the challenge saw a new low last weekend when citizens went out to elect federal lawmakers and the president in an exercise that was keenly watched across the world. Since its return to democratic rule in 1999, Nigeria has enjoyed uninterrupted democracy, the first such lengthy period since the country’s independence in 1960. Up to 93 million people in Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy registered to vote ahead of the 2023 elections. It was the first leg of the seventh general election since the end of military rule in 1999…In the three largest states based on voter registration — Lagos, Kano and Rivers — less than a third of the eligible population voted. Rivers turnout was a shameful 15.6 per cent, the lowest in the country, despite producing a lot more votes in past elections. Overall, the national turnout was 29 per cent; no election had a lower participation rate in the six decades of Nigeria’s independence. Of the 93.4 million registered voters this year, 87.2 million people collected their Permanent Voters Card and the total number of actual voters on election day was only 24.9 million. Barely 9 million people voted for President-elect Bola Tinubu who will now govern 220 million Nigerians. Premium Times Nigeria

South Sudan Opposition Wants Sacked Minister Reinstated
South Sudan’s main opposition political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), is demanding that President Salva Kiir reinstates Defence Minister Angelina Teny. President Kiir sacked Ms Teny on Friday in a presidential decree. She was the country’s first female defence minister. The president also dismissed Interior Minister Mahmoud Solomon. No reasons were given for their sacking. Mr Kiir also swapped the Ministry of Defence to his political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Interior Ministry to the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO has “condemned and rejected” the “unilateral removal” of Ms Teny. It called it a violation of the revitalised peace agreement, which gives parties the power to remove their representatives in the council of ministers and nominate the replacements by notifying the president. It said swapping of the ministries also violates the provisions of the peace agreement – which require the parties to agree on the allocation and selection of ministerial portfolios in the unity government. BBC

Sudan, Ethiopia Agree To Accelerate Efforts To Settle Border Dispute
Sudan and Ethiopia agreed on Sunday to accelerate efforts to end the border dispute and reactivate trade between the two countries. Abel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council on Sunday met a number of regional leaders in the marines of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) held in Doha. In a meeting the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and ways to settle the pending issues, particularly the border demarcation…The dispute over the Al-Fashaga border stripe remains the main issue between the two countries as the government of the current Prime Minister Ahmed denounced the previous agreements and called for new talks. Sudan Tribune

KDF Airlifts Troops From Burundi to Eastern DRC for Deployment
The Republic of Burundi deployed its troops to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) on Sunday, 5th March 2023. The Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) troops were received by the EACRF Deputy Commander Brigadier General Emmanuel Kaputa in the company of Senior Staff Officers from the East Africa Community (EAC) Partner States at the Force Headquarters and the Kenyan Contingent Commander Colonel Daniel Rotich. The incoming BNDF troops are to deploy in Sake, Kilolirwe and Kitchanga in North Kivu as approved by the Heads of State mini-summit held in Addis Ababa on 17th February 2023 upon the recommendations of the EAC CDF/CDS of re-posturing troops within Rutshuru and Masisi territories, now designated as a multinational sector to enhance robust operations in order to address the current threat posed by the Armed Groups. The Republic of Burundi is deploying its troops to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF). Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

UN 5th Conference on Least Developed Countries Opens in Qatar
Heads of states and officials from different nations met in Doha on Sunday for the opening of the 5th United Nations Conference on the least developed countries. The conference opened with remarks from the president of the conference Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Emir of Qatar, in which he criticised delays of humanitarian aid to Syria following the devastating earthquake. “As I wonder at the delay in the arrival of aid to Syrian people, I stress that exploiting a human tragedy for political purposes is unacceptable,” Hamad al Thani said. Climate change and its effects on least developed countries was one of main topics discussed during the opening. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly warned of the “ominous” effects of climate change on least developed countries, stating that the demand for water is expected to exceed supply by 40% by the end of the decade. Voice of Nigeria

No More Excuses; Guterres Calls for ‘Revolution of Support’ To Aid World’s Least Developed Countries
“Systems are stretched or non-existent – from health and education to social protection, infrastructure, and job creation. And it is only getting worse,” Secretary-General António Guterres told the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, known as LDC5, taking place in the Qatar capital from 5 to 9 March.  He said that the global financial system, created by wealthy countries to serve their own interests, is extremely unfair to LDCs, who must pay interest rates that can be eight times higher than those in developed countries. “Today, 25 developing economies are spending over 20 per cent of government revenues solely on servicing debt,” said the UN chief.  In the face of such deep challenges, the UN chief stated that the LDCs “need a revolution of support” across three key areas. UN News

Defying Attacks, Arts Return to Somalia With First TV Drama in 30 Years
After African Union peacekeepers pushed the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab insurgents out of the city in 2011, citizens flooded back in. Four years later, Mogadishu launched an annual book fair. Last year, the national cinema, once used as a militant base and then devastated by a bombing, reopened for the first time since the war began. A cafe has just announced an art exhibition…arts are a low priority for the government, which is juggling a military offensive against al-Shabab and a drought that has killed thousands. But like many other dual national Somalis who have moved back in recent years, Farah looks at his battered nation and sees hope and determination. “We did this professionally, and we worked with local people and we trained them to a high standard so they can work on other Somali films,” he said. “We showed them sometimes it takes 20 takes to get something right.” Washington Post