Africa Media Review for March 8, 2023

Ghana Apologises for Military Excesses in Accra
Ghana’s Deputy Defence Minister Kofi Amankwa-Manu has apologised for military excesses after soldiers were deployed early Tuesday in Ashaiman, a suburb of capital Accra. The deployment followed the killing of a young soldier allegedly stabbed to death by unknown assailants in the area. Social media users have been sharing pictures and videos of alleged soldiers’ brutality during the operation. “If decent, innocent residents of Ashaiman were caught up in these operations, I, in my capacity as deputy defence minister, I apologise for that, ” Mr Amankwa-Manu said in an interview with a local TV. “It is only proper that we admit when there are excesses in operations of this nature. But we are not going to apologise for [undertaking] the operations.” Star

Nigeria: Appeal Court Rules Today on INEC’s Request To Vary Order Permitting PDP, LP To Inspect Poll Materials
The Court of Appeal in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned till today for ruling in an application by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to vary the court’s order for inspection of materials used for the conduct of the February 25 presidential election. Today, the court would also rule in applications brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, for permission to carry out similar inspection of electoral materials used for the February 25 presidential election. Justice Joseph Ikyegh, who led a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, announced date for ruling in the application by INEC to vary the court’s order. That was shortly after lawyers representing parties in the suit adopted and argued their briefs of argument for and against the motion. The move by INEC for an order to vary the permission the court had previously granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) to inspect materials used by the commission in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election had elicited questions about the integrity of the recently held poll. INEC had said the request was predicated on the need to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used in the presidential election before deploying the machines for the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls. This Day

Nigeria: Sober International Women’s Day as Men Win 96% of Legislative Seats
Nigeria’s recently concluded federal legislative election has produced only three female senators and 13 representatives based on the results released so far. As the world marks the International Women’s Day, activists tell The Africa Report that Nigeria still has a long way to go with regards to gender equality, calling the latest legislative election “woeful and demoralising.”…The development is seen as a setback in the struggle for general equality which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the current National Assembly, women make up around 4.47% and hold no key positions in the federal legislature. They only occupy 45 out of 990 seats at state houses of assemblies across the 36 states…In February 2022, a bill for a constitutional amendment that would have ensured 111 extra seats for women at the National Assembly was rejected by the male-dominated legislature. Africa Report

Global Leaders Discuss Staggeringly Wide Digital Divide Between Nations
The Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha, Qatar, turned its attention Monday to one of the most nettlesome global challenges: closing the staggeringly wide digital divide between nations. A series of roundtable discussions saw global leaders confront two of the most fundamental hurdles facing LDCs: how to use better science, technology, and innovation (STI) and how to promote structural transformations that can help overcome the real impediments faced by those on the margins of society. STI is critical in LDCs’ efforts to drive poverty eradication, transition to sustainable development, and become globally competitive.  However, due to structural constraints, these vulnerable countries often need help to reap technological development’s full economic and social benefits. According to many speakers, the key is finding ways to connect those left behind, sustainably address the divide, and foster conditions for more inclusive digital access.Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Internet access are key building blocks of the digital economy and have been recognized as important drivers for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Africanews

Sudan: Hemetti Vows To Resist Those Who Cling to Power Refusing Civilian Government
Mohamed Hamdan Daglo aka “Hemetti” Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said they have no dispute with the army, but rather with those who cling to power. Last February, tensions flared between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and army commanders from one side and Hemetti on the other side over the implementation of the Political Framework Agreements. The UAE intervened to de-escalate verbal attacks and sent its state minister for foreign affairs to discuss the rift between the two men. Following what the RSF commander returned from Abu Dhabi and resumed his activities from his residence in Khartoum…“There is a problem between those who hold on to power and those who want to hand it over to a civilian government. This is the point of contention. We said, with all our will, that power to be handed over to a full-fledged civilian government,” he said. He further called on his troops to avoid any disagreement with their brothers in the army and other regular forces. Sudan Tribune

Fighting Racism in Tunisia One Bag of Groceries at a Time
“There’s a group of about 50 Tunisians who are helping,” the woman, who wants to be identified only as Amal, told DW, after Josephus handed her his phone. “The majority of us are human rights activists in Tunisia but right now we’re trying to find a solution, just as citizens.” There is also another similar camp of displaced sub-Saharan Africans in the city, Amal explained. The Tunisian volunteers bring material for tents, food and diapers for the children to both. Besides helping with supplies, the Tunisian volunteers have undertaken various other tasks to help the displaced people, too. Some are mediating between Tunisian landlords and sub-Saharan African tenants, trying to convince the landlords to let them stay. Others are delivering groceries to families who are too afraid to leave their homes for fear of being attacked, and they have set up donations pages to collect funds for this. Members of the Tunisian organization of young doctors has been coming to the camps in the evenings to check if anybody needs medical treatment. “It’s like we’re trying to learn how to live in the middle of a war,” Amal says, sighing. DW

Russia Gives Fertilizer to Malawi, Seeks African Support
The Russian government has donated 20,000 tons of fertilizer to Malawi as part of its efforts to garner diplomatic support from various African nations. Russia will give 260,000 tons of fertilizer to countries in the continent, Russian Ambassador to Malawi Nikolai Krasilnikov said at a handover ceremony Monday at the capital, Lilongwe. He said he hopes African leaders will press for the abolition of international sanctions against Russia when they attend the second Russia-Africa summit to be held in St. Petersburg at the end of July…Malawi voted to censure Russia at the United Nations last year for its invasion of Ukraine. More than 15 other African countries abstained from the vote. AP

Cyclone Freddy To Slam Mozambique Friday in Rare Second Hit
Still recovering from the effects of the first battering, the southeastern African nation of Mozambique is bracing for a rare second hit by long-living Tropical Cyclone Freddy late on Friday night, a regional weather center said Tuesday. The United Nations’ monitoring station on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion warned that Freddy will “gradually intensify to the stage of a tropical cyclone or even an intense tropical cyclone” over the Mozambique Channel before making landfall overnight on Friday into Saturday. Freddy is expected to intensify this Thursday as it approaches coastal Mozambique, with current windspeeds at sea averaging 110 kilometers (around 70 miles) per hour, gusts of 155 kilometers (around 100 miles) an hour. It’s projected to make landfall in Zambezia, the country’s second most populous province…Freddy appeared to have dissipated in recent days before it reemerged, looping around the Mozambican Channel. It was initially destined to land in Madagascar a second time but shifted course back to mainland Africa. AP

Zimbabwe Court Blocks Release of Electronic Voters’ Roll
A high court in Zimbabwe has blocked the release of electronic voters’ roll to the public citing national security concerns that would expose the document to manipulation. This follows a court case filed by opposition MP Allan Makharm after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) refused to give him a copy that he requested in October last year. The MP said the electronic copy was ideal for scrutiny as the printed version would be inconvenient and too expensive for him. However, the Harare High Court on Tuesday said the voters’ roll was a sensitive document to be released to the public without addressing security concerns raised by Zec. The court said the electoral commission was mandated to protect the roll from manipulation and abuse. Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold general elections in July. BBC

M23 Rebels Agree to Ceasefire in Congo, Prepared for Political Solution
The M23 rebel group clashed with Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers, defying a ceasefire that was meant to go into effect Tuesday, according to the United Nations. “The secretary-general reiterates his call on the M23 to respect the ceasefire to create conditions for its full and effective withdrawal from all occupied areas,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman, said in comments published on the UN’s website. “He condemns all violence against civilians and renews his call on all Congolese and foreign armed groups to lay down their weapons and disarm unconditionally.” Bloomberg

Kenya Is Running Out of US Dollars
Kenya is facing an acute foreign exchange crunch, with US dollar reserves dropping to their lowest in eight years as its currency keeps plummeting against major global currencies. According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the plunge of the Kenyan shilling has been so substantial that it has even breached the regional reserves policy. The East Africa Community (EAC) forex reserves policy specifies that a member country must have in its coffers at least four months worth of forex reserves in terms of imports cover at any given time. Kenya’s reserves have been below the required levels since Jan. 26. Quartz Africa

Somalia’s Al Shabaab Recaptures Base It Lost to Military Offensive
Fighters from Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group on Tuesday overran a military base in the southern Jubbaland region that they had lost to the army in January, a Somali officer and a local resident said. Al Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, has come under intense pressure from the military and allied clan-based militias, who launched a major offensive last year. But the group has repeatedly shown its ability to strike back with major attacks…The Jubbaland government said regional and national forces had inflicted a “big blow” on al Shabaab but did not provide details. Casualty figures were not immediately available for either side. Reuters

Lebanon, Gabon and South Sudan Regain UN Vote, Not Venezuela
The president of the U.N. General Assembly announced Tuesday that Lebanon, Gabon and South Sudan made sufficient payments to restore their voting rights in the 193-member world body, leaving Venezuela as the only country that is barred from voting. President Csaba Kőrösi told a plenary meeting of the assembly that the three countries reduced their arrears to the U.N. regular budget below the amount specified in the U.N. Charter to cut off voting rights. The Charter states that countries will be barred from voting if their arrears equal or exceed their assessed contribution to the U.N. budget for the previous two years. AP